Back at Araps! Also, did I mention I have a sore shoulder?

The summer is over, even though it feels like 2014 started only yesterday. I’ve been a full time climber for almost 4 years now. It’s crazy how time seems to speed up the older you get. Since I’m having way more fun now than ever before, I was sort of hoping it would be the other way around.

Back in May, the first day of my Yosemite trip, I hurt my shoulder bouldering and what I hoped would be a few weeks of recovery has turned into months. Five months later it still hasn’t totally healed up. I’ve had a few different diagnosis’s and so far I’ve chosen to go for the safe option and listen to everyone. I’ve seen chiropractors in Bristol and Sheffield and my very supportive physio Nina Leonfellner. The only thing that I have learnt that I can be totally sure of, is that the body is a crazy place. I feel like I know more about the surface of the moon than I do about how my own body works. People think that with modern medicine and rocket planes, and google maps we know most things about how the world works. But dealing with this shoulder has reminded me that there are still big question marks. Through my research I’ve come across musicians that have lost feeling in their fingers because of tight muscles in their necks, people who’s hair turns grey over night, and climbers who are injured because they wear metal jewellery. Despite the lingering shoulder pain coupled with feeling completely clueless about how to make it better, I’m still happy and psyched. Right now I can still climb and I am actually climbing reasonably close to my limit. If there is one thing that an injury is good for, it’s psyche. Since first becoming a professional climber 4 years ago, I haven’t been this psyched.


Arapiles 2014

Right now I am in Australia and today I need to take a rest day. Perhaps if it wasn’t for my shoulder I wouldn’t need to rest after only two days on. But, I’m going to spend most of the day pouring over guide books in a generally twitchy and excited manner. There is no better feeling that being psyched for climbing, with or without an injury, and recognition of this psyche makes me happy.

I came to Australia 6 years ago on my ‘gap year’. I went to 10 different countries in 10 months and 3 of those months were spent in the Pines campsite under Arapiles. In those 10 months I was most happy in the Pines. Life was simple, no money, no car, no work, no school, the only thing to think about was what route we’d climb the next day. We met the weirdest people, saw the craziest wildlife and went the longest I’ve ever been without washing. It’s a bit of a different scene this year. My Dad moved to Natimuk a year ago and got hitched to a local Ausie lass. So this trip my friend Cedar and I will be staying in a lovely house, we can borrow a car and shower every night if we want. What’s interesting is that even though I’m 6 years older and this trip is completely different from my last trip, I’m still overwhelmingly excited to climb on Oz rock. It’s great to know that I’ve not lost my love for moving over stone and that shower or no shower the climbing here is still incredible.

Another positive is that even with an injury I think I’m still a better climber. Maybe, just to be sure, I shouldn’t get on any routes I did last time. Sometimes you do need to protect the ego a little bit.

On a negative note, we only have 2 weeks here! What were we thinking! We’ll spend 8 more days in Nati, then off to the Blueies to do a talk at the Australian Climbing Festival. Should be a good’un.

Here are some pics from 2008

Matthew Rawlinson on Denim, 26, Mt. Arapiles Australia.

Matty Rawlinson styling Denim, 26 (I think). One of the better harder routes I did back then. 2008


We even met some Catholics on our trip. Here is Karl Wiberg with his precious photo of the pope feeding a roo.


Team dirtbag 2008: George the Frenchie, Luke the American with the broken leg, The Swedes Oscar Rastrom and Karl Wiberg, Tasie man Jai Cripley, Matty Rawlinson and myself.


Pines feet (not mine)




no shower, no hairbrush

7 responses to “Back at Araps! Also, did I mention I have a sore shoulder?

  1. Hi Hazel

    Christine Rose here! school friend of Mum’s that lives in Bristol. Currently in the US though on hols so was gutted to have missed your talk with the Wilderness lectures. I hope it went well.

    I have just read your blog and wondered if you had had an MRI scan of your shoulder? It would definitely show up everything there is to show, and with a contrast agent, even more. I’m an MRI Radiographer in Bristol. I’m sure with your contract with North Face, you would have access to a physician, who may be able to arrange one for you. Then, at least you then know what it is, and hopefully, the therapies that you are doing will be the correct ones.

    Injuries are what force many people to retire, I don’t want that to happen to you!!

    You are absolutely amazing in what you do, and what a life you have Hazel. Your passion is your work, what could be better?

    Take care


    Christine x

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi CHristine! Nice to hear from you. My shoulder is doing well at the mo and I’m traveling until end of November, so no MRI scan in the near future. But if it’s still bad when I get home I will look in to it. Thanks for your advice. Hazel

    • Hi again. I am looking into getting an MRI and it’s looking like NHS can’t really help and private is £250 for consultation and then further £400 for MRI. Do you know what my options are? NHS GP was massively unhelpful. Thanks. Hazel

  2. Hazel — Agreed, the human body sure is mysterious. I’m glad to hear you can still climb at a high level despite your injury. I hope you return to 100% soon. Enjoy Australia!

  3. Heading to the Araps again myself in a couple weeks! Nice to see that pic of Matty getting some mileage, some fun days out there with you all. Might make it to the Blues at end of month… I will bring some proper queen’s tea… When you coming to Boulder?

    • Hi! Nice to hear from you? Did you take the pic of matty? Yeah they were some fun times! I’m in the bluies now for the festival and then yosemite bound. Not sure about boulder, one of these days… Hope you’re good.

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