John Ewbank Commemorative Saturday 21st June 2014

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To all Blue Mountains climbers, the anouncement below was made on Chockstone.com : " 21/06/2014 JOHN EWBANK COMMEMORATIVE, SATURDAY 21st JUNE 2014 The official ceremony and the scattering of the ashes will be at 1330 hours on top of Mount Solitary knife edge ridge. [Rain, hail or snow!!] At the same time people with crook knees and older less agile folk can meet at the main Dogface Lookout [Cyclorama Point] for a secondary meeting/ceremony. We want everyone to bring a large piton or bong as a clap-stick!! I think it best to meet at the Narrow Neck/Golden Stairs car park at 1000, but this will depend on individuals. The ceremony will start at 1330 and finish about 1400 to allow people to walk back to their cars. A wake will be occurring at the Gearin's Hotel from about 1700 hours in Katoomba...but will not run too late. " [caption id="attachment_74" align="aligncenter" width="437"] John Ewbank on Clockwork Orange in the Blue Mountains in 1993. Photo by Greg Child. John Ewbank on Clockwork Orange in the Blue Mountains in 1993. Photo by Greg Child. [/caption] Widely known to most Australian's as the man to invent our wonderfully simple, yet all encompasing grading system, it doesn't take too many flicks through the Blue Mountains guide book to realise that his influance on our current climbing scene has a lot to owe to Ewbank. If you don't know where to start, take one look at "Gigantor (M5)" on Dogface Katoomba. To conceive that a teenager could put together a first ascent on this wall baffles, let alone in one pitch (commonly done in 3 today) and with the gear of the time. Countless tales of seconders refusing to follow him up pitches exist as well as stories of epics from the ones that did dare. Simon Carter provides a great insite into extent of Ewbank's work with a topo of Katoomba's very imposing Dogface Wall [caption id="attachment_73" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Photo topo of Dogface from the 2010 Blue Mountains guidebook. 3) Scylla, FA – Ewbank, Davis (15 M5) 1968 4) Jormungand, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (20) 1967 5) Fingal, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (18 M4) 1967 6) Landslide Chimney, FA – Allen, Batty (18) 1964 7) Titan, FA – Ewbank, Pickard (18 M6) 1967 8) Colossus, FA – Ewbank, Giles (M6) 1969 11) Gigantor, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (M5) 1967 13) Ogre, FA – Ewbank, Tyrell, Pickard (17 M5) 1967 14) Giant, FA – Ewbank, Tyrell (16 M4) 1967 15) Gorgo, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (17 M5) 1967 19) Goliath, FA – Ewbank, Pickard (16 M6) 1967 20) Gorgon, FA – Ewbank, Davis (17 M4) 1968 And not on topo but impressive – Left Wall of the Citadel, Ewbank, Campbell (20 M7) 1967. Photo topo of Dogface from the 2010 Blue Mountains guidebook.
3) Scylla, FA – Ewbank, Davis (15 M5) 1968
4) Jormungand, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (20) 1967
5) Fingal, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (18 M4) 1967
6) Landslide Chimney, FA – Allen, Batty (18) 1964
7) Titan, FA – Ewbank, Pickard (18 M6) 1967
8) Colossus, FA – Ewbank, Giles (M6) 1969
11) Gigantor, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (M5) 1967
13) Ogre, FA – Ewbank, Tyrell, Pickard (17 M5) 1967
14) Giant, FA – Ewbank, Tyrell (16 M4) 1967
15) Gorgo, FA – Ewbank, Campbell (17 M5) 1967
19) Goliath, FA – Ewbank, Pickard (16 M6) 1967
20) Gorgon, FA – Ewbank, Davis (17 M4) 1968
And not on topo but impressive – Left Wall of the Citadel, Ewbank, Campbell (20 M7) 1967.                                                                                                                                                                                           Photo and topo information By Simon Carter at onsigh.com.au [/caption]   Throughout the Katoomba cliffs and Mt Piddington the list of first ascents by Ewbank does indeed go on and on. And outside of his own stomping ground perhaps is his most internationally recognised route being the first ascent of Tasmania's Totem Pole. Throughout recent years John Ewbank has been abscent from our scene here in Aus, choosing to migrate to New York to fullfil a career in music. From all accounts his influence in his next chosen field was also highly regarded. However reports from his climbing friends who still kept in touch with him in his later 30 years say that a conversation about climbing never failed to light up his eyes. In his own words, Ewbank remarks: “Young climbers today have their own lists of new names, and a lot of the indefinable attraction of the whole racket is somehow woven into the connecting thread that unites the eras and places these various names represent. Even now, as a broken-down old fart, I feel a tremendous kinship with some of these young climbers, though they are doing stuff technically far harder than anything we were doing in the Jurassic period. At the same time I feel an unbreakable bond with climbers of my own and previous generations. The central focus of the fetish of most young contemporary climbers may have moved closer and closer to the pure beauty and sheer technical difficulty of a single move, whereas the central focus of my fetish was how far back the last runner was. But it’s all relative, or at least it can be. From Tricounis to modern slippers, if you’re truly interested in taking a walk on the wild side you still can; and it doesn’t really matter what you’re wearing on your feet when you’re shitting in your pants.”  A full obituary by Ross Taylor can be read at Vertical Life here. Further tributes to John Ewbank can be found by Simon Carter here, and by Rockandice.com's contributer Alison Osius here.

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