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AAOTW: Senden Blackwood

This is the first of a serious about the Awesome Athletes of the World. Learn more about it here. Want to be a part of it? Email us at pureoutside [at] gmail [dot] com .

Many of us don’t have the luxury of being very close to our favorite playground. Days of travel are followed by few moments of absolute bliss and then it’s back to the grind.

What if you lived in a city that offered you exactly what you wanted in your outside sanctuary? Senden Blackwood, a climber from Australia, does exactly that and is having a fantastic time. I caught up with Senden while I was in Australia to see how he was doing.

Climbing at The Grotto

Where do you currently call home?

Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, N.S.W. Australia.

Where would you like to call home?

Actually Katoomba is satisfying all my current needs. It’s nestled in amongst beautiful National Parks which house some of the best (sandstone) cliffs for climbing in Australia, as well as canyons and bushwalks. It contains the whole gamut of personality types, which results in a fantastic melting pot of possibilities. It’s small so as to encourage community but large enough to allow a certain level of anonymity

What do you love doing most outside?

Climbing with friends.

Sea Cliff Climbing

How did you get into it?

Pulling on plastic in city climbing gyms. Just trying out something new, I guess. I found that my mind and body responded well to the challenge of gravity.

Why do you like it?

I love the gymnastics of climbing, the pure movement separated from thought. It can be quite meditative at times. I’ve also found a great sense of community and mateship in climbing. It’s awesome to spend a day scaling a cliff with friends, overlooking beautiful places, sharing lunch on a ledge in really unlikely places. I also love the challenge and the fear though, you certainly know you’re alive sometimes… I also love climbing because it balances my body. I carve stone sculptures so climbing helps to strengthen my opposing muscles. Check out

Where is your favorite place to climb?

Mount Arapiles in Western Victoria, (Australia) is a mecca for trad climbers. The rock is superb, the setting is beautiful and the climbing is perfect. I could easily live in my van in the campground if I didn’t have other things I also wanted to do…

Bouldering in the Arapiles

What would be your perfect day?

In terms of climbing, my perfect day might constitute a long multipitch trad climb with a good friend on a cool, calm day. I love climbing with my partner Laura. We’re so familiar with each other’s processes and limitations. We know when to encourage, when to stay quiet and when to move. So yeah, maybe a few pitches with her followed by dinner with friends and a music gig to wind down…

Senden’s latest projects can be found at

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