Tom sees the beauty of climbing in its problem solving – unravelling the riddles of the rock.
“Easily my favourite part of bolting new routes is discovering the sequences nature has on offer for us to decipher. Some are complex puzzles which take days to unlock, others are dead simple.”
Tom grew up in Brisbane, with a natural interest in all sports, he was always on the move. He started climbing at the age of 12, and that’s when his focus narrowed. Years later he packed his 1984 Volvo, also known as Iced Vovo, and travelled to the Blue Mountains to make climbing the centre of his life. Now, Tom still lives there with his partner Amanda Watts and daughter Audrey.
Known for setting and climbing some of the hardest routes in the outdoors in Australia, Tom takes pride in bolting routes, knowing that others will come after him, inspired and motivated to climb the routes themselves.
When rock climbing was slated for the Olympic Games, Tom had to assess whether it was something he could commit to, with his outdoor pursuits and balancing a family as well. He tussled with the idea, ultimately deciding that it would be too much to pass it up – a dream of a lifetime.
Tom qualified for the Olympic Games in 2020 and is excited by what this new platform will do for the sport of climbing in Australia and around the world. He sees it as an accessible, inclusive sport – open to all abilities, family friendly – and a sport that many Australians have and will come to love.
Tom likes to keep the ego out of climbing, and does his best to make every moment count, as he balances family, work and everyday life with competitive climbing and outdoor pursuits.
Following the Olympics, a season of outdoor climbing with some of his most determined training behind him will open up new possibilities and Tom has his eye on local projects, some representing a new level of difficulty in Australia.
“Climbing has always felt really natural and easy,” Tom says, which helps – when you want to try really hard things.
- First Ascent of Little Baby Cheeses (35) – Cheesedale, Nowra
- First Ascent of Cheesecake (35) – Cheesedale, Nowra
- Qualifying for the 2021 Olympic Games
- The Wheel of Life V15 – The Grampians
- First Ascent of Kitten Mittens (35) – Elphinstone, Katoomba
- First Ascent of Baker’s Dozen (35) – The Pit, Katoomba