Interview- Tom O’Halloran

Age: 27
Home climbing area: Mt Coolum, The Pulpit, Mt Tibrogargan

When did you start rock climbing and why?
I started climbing when I was 12. When I was little I was always climbing everything I could. Trees, buildings, lamp posts anything that was more than a couple of meters off the ground. I loved it. I used to watch Tarzan then run down to the mango tree in the backyard and try and swing around like him! Mum and Dad saw I loved climbing and so decided to sign me up to a kids climbing program at the new climbing gym that had just opened up in Brisbane, Urban Climb. From then on, I have been hooked. I had always been a really sporty kid, you name it, I played it and loved it all. But none really blew my hair back like climbing has. It’s impossible for me to put my finger on what it is about climbing that keeps me going back for more. It’s probably because it’s more than one thing. It’s the people you meet, the places you go, the experiences you have and what it teaches me…about me. It just feels natural. It’s where I feel most like me.

Favourite crag?
That depends on the day I want to have and what I want to climb. Locally, it’s hard to go past Diamond Falls, Elphinstone, Mt Coolum, Frog Buttress and the Ukulore Valley. If we are looking for something overseas, it’s hard to go past Ceuse in France!

Climbing highlight so far?
Probably the moment I drove my old Volvo, chockers with all my stuff, into the Blue Mountains from Brisbane with the idea of having a crack at living and climbing in the best place in the world. It’s been an incredible 5 ½ years.

On the cliff, I think it would have to be when I climbed the first ascents of Kitten Mittens and Baker’s Dozen. Those routes required a lot from me, both physically and mentally. I love how climbing allows me to really push through those boundaries. It’s really satisfying. But there are so many other climbing moments that stand out for all sorts of different reasons. Climbing has given me such an incredible life soo far.

What have you noticed about how food can impact your climbing day and your training:
Food is our fuel! It is crucial you put the good stuff in. I have learnt a lot from Amanda about what to eat and when to eat it. You need the energy to perform well and to continue performing. Amanda tells me the right food for recovery after a hard session or what to pack while hanging on a wall for hours and hours. The world of food is a crazy one full of misinformation and fad craziness, it’s awesome to have someone teach me about the right stuff!

What inspires you:
Having a crack. People that have a go are very inspiring for me. It doesn’t matter if you succeeded, for me, seeing someone step up and have the courage to fall is the thing that inspires me.