Welcome to Episode 46 of the Ω Powerband Podcast - a podcast dedicated to rock climbing in Aotearoa New Zealand. In this episode, I speak with inveterate climber, photographer, coffee drinker and one half of the senior management team at Unwin Lodge, Simon Middlemass.
"Simon is a middle-aged, semi-retired, semi-reclusive climber..." - at least that's how Simon is described in a guidebook to climbing in Golden Bay that he co-authored with Mark Watson back in 2003. These days, he might be slightly more middle-aged and slightly more retired but, fortunately for listeners of this venerable podcast, his level of reclusiveness was no barrier to getting him to sit down in front of a microphone and talk about himself. Twice.
Simon grew up in Otago. Secondary schooling at a couple of traditional boys schools confirmed that the mainstream (in the 1970s at least) was not the stream for Simon. He eventually found his tribe at the Otago University Tramping Club, despite professing to dislike tramping intensely. Climbing, on the other hand, quickly became Simon's thing and four decades later he's still very much a part of the New Zealand climbing world, even if his actual climbing output is modest these days.
In our conversation, we tour through some of the highlights of Simon's climbing and travels while he reflects on the way that climbing has shaped, and still shapes, his life. Enjoy!
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