Brisbane climber Josh Worley gets vertical.
It was a beautiful summer’s day in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. After spending a couple of days rock climbing I was now trying something “a little more Swiss”, ice climbing in a glacial crevasse. Attached to the vertical blue ice by the metallic points of my ice tools and crampons I remember taking a moment to soak in the scenery. Maybe it was fate, but at that very moment two wingsuit BASE jumpers flew over our heads. I remember feeling euphoric. Completely immersed in the flow of the climbing and the beauty of the mountains. That was the moment I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. I was hooked, and I have been seeking out my fix ever since.
Fast forward five years to 2017 and after a recent trip to the climbing mecca of Chamonix I believed I was ready to tackle something bigger. What emerged was a project I am calling, the ‘Vertical Year’.
The Vertical Year incorporates more than 80 objectives across 3 continents over 12 months, whilst aiming to raise $100,000 for youth mental health and climate change. From ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, high altitude mountaineering in the Peruvian Andes, big wall rock climbing in California and summer alpine routes in New Zealand; I will attempt classic and inspiring lines in starkly different styles and environments.
So why and perhaps more importantly, who cares?
If you attended the Radical Reels Tour or the Banff Mountain Film Festival I am sure you appreciate the audacious feats people at the cutting edge of adventure sports achieve. I certainly do. However I want to show people that you don’t have to be a sponsored athlete to have an epic adventure. If you have a dream and a passion then you can share in those same experiences. Adventure is relative.
I want to show people the benefits of adventure. To me the essence of adventure is leaving our comfort zone behind and venturing into the unknown. This forces us to engage with the environment around us and the hazards within it, not only to be successful, but to ensure our survival. Adventure teaches us so much about ourselves, our environment, human frailty and the human spirit. Lessons that can enrich our lives every day.
Finally I wanted to use this opportunity to give something back to the community. I am aware climbing is a selfish pursuit where no-one necessarily benefits from me suffering to stand on top of a summit. Therefore I have partnered with ReachOut Australia, Australia’s leading online youth mental health agency and the Australian Climate Council with the aim of raising $100,000. The Vertical Year is wholly self-funded which means 100% of all donations go directly to these two charities.
You can donate through the website at www.verticaltyear.com/donate
photo 1: Weisshorn Snow Ridge 2.JPG – Walking along the final narrow and exposed snow ridge on the North Side of the Weisshorn (4506m) in Switzerland. (Photo by Josh Worley)
photo 2: Blue Mountains.png – Josh climbing in the Blue Mountains, Australia. (Photo by Rebecca Perkins)
photo 3: Portrait of Josh Worley (photo credit Set in Stone Photography)
photo 4: Josh’s partner follows him up the initial rock slabs on Tour Ronde (3792m) above Chamonix. (Photo by Josh Worley)