Welcome to the Vertical Year

Hi and welcome to the Vertical Year! My name is Josh, the man behind this project. I am 28 year old climber, alpinist, lover of the outdoors and advocate for all things that make us just that little bit uncomfortable. I guess that’s lucky because the Vertical Year is going to make me VERY uncomfortable for a VERY long time – I will be leaving a full time job as an engineer, a supportive girlfriend, a mortgage that still needs to be paid and trading it all in to live out of a Metolius El Cap Haul Bag.

Have no doubts though – I am psyched to do this. Just like the budding young sport climber about to go for the send on their first 5.12, I am salivating about the battle that lays ahead, the physical and mental challenge and the ultimate sense of fulfilment that awaits.

I am not oblivious to how incredibly lucky I am to even consider a journey like this. It is in fact a large part of the reason why I decided to try and raise more than $100,000 for the Climate Council and ReachOut Australia. I believe I have an obligation to conserve these incredible environments that have given me so much and I want to help enable every young person to realise their potential.

Through showcasing my own adventures I hope to inspire those I touch to take the first steps towards their own Vertical Year. You will be amazed at where those steps will lead you. I truly believe and want to show that epic adventures such as this are within the reach of everyday weekend warriors.

Such a personal journey now being a public event is something I am and will continue to struggle to balance. What are my expectations? What is success? How do I raise $100,000 and awareness for the two amazing charities? How do I remain true to my own intrinsic motivations for undertaking this journey in the first place? These and other issues are what I will explore further as I continue down the Vertical Year path.

So… let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about some guiding principles regarding this blog and the type of subjects you can expect to read about.

Guiding Principles:

I WILL NOT PREACH

This blog is not a space for me to preach my way of doing things or to say I am right and you are wrong. That type of dialogue just doesn’t interest me.

 I WILL CHALLENGE

For anyone who knows me well, I love asking questions which challenge people’s current perspectives. My girlfriend can definitely attest to my sometimes annoying ability to do this! Drilling deeper into why, or picking out the presumption behind their answer and focusing on that I find leads to a more meaningful conversation. Remember, this is not to preach but rather get us all (myself included) to further examine ourselves and our motivations.

REFLECTIONS ON MOMENTS OF THE TRIP WILL BE UN-EDITIED

I will not write an entry regarding a moment and then go back and edit it later on. I want to capture the raw emotion I experience throughout this journey and share it with you. From exploring those moments where I feel completely fulfilled to those toughest moments, where I feel completely vulnerable and scared. As a result, those entries will represent my perspective and emotional state of mind at the time. This leads to the next guiding principle.

I AM NOT INFALLIBLE

I am human and hindsight is 20/20. Be kind…

So what are you likely to read about?

  • Training. From cardio, strength, climbing, core work, balance, flexibility and mental.

  • Trying to balance a full time job, training, a relationship, social life, trip planning, fundraising and creating awareness.

  • What gear I use and why.

  • How to work towards your own adventure.

  • Why it’s important to make yourself uncomfortable

  • My girlfriend’s perspective about this trip and her experiences dealing with the impacts on her life (Bec will author these not me!).

  • Fear and anxiety and the power these emotions hold.

  • Resilience and tenacity

  • The impact the outdoor environment has had on my personal & professional development.

  • What minimalism means to me and why I think it so empowering.

  • Responsible access to the outdoors.

  • Why it’s important to carry your poo off the mountain

  • Previews of each of the climbing areas I visit and why I chose them.

  • Insights into the local climbing communities.

  • Reviews of the most unforgettable climbs.

  • Reflections on my toughest and most vulnerable moments during the trip (such as being tent bound for 5 days straight in a storm on a mountain with nothing but my thoughts and the company of an equally bored/frustrated human to keep me occupied)

  • Stories that my mum will never want to hear or read about (sorry mum)

  • And plenty more…   

I now invite you to share in this journey with me. To explore what is physically, mentally and emotionally possible. And not just within me, but within yourself. Please sign up to this blog so you know when I have posted a new entry. Follow and share the Vertical Year on Instagram (@verticalyear), Facebook (www.facebook.com/verticalyear) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verticalyear). Use this to have “those” conversations with your family and friends. 

Finally, please follow the links to the website and donate what you can to the Climate Council and ReachOut Australia. I am not taking any cut or % to finance this trip. All proceeds go directly to them. Please give what you can to help conserve these awe inspiring environments and to help enable every young person to realise their potential.

Adventure begins when we leave comfort behind and venture into the unknown. Let the adventure begin…

Josh Worley

 Myself and Felipe Andres at the edge of the glacier beneath the North Ridge of the Zinalrothorn after completing the route in August 2016. That trip was one of the final stepping stones leading to what I am now calling the Vertical Year.  

Myself and Felipe Andres at the edge of the glacier beneath the North Ridge of the Zinalrothorn after completing the route in August 2016. That trip was one of the final stepping stones leading to what I am now calling the Vertical Year.