Natural Wisdom: What Continent is New Zealand On?

For a country that is frequently left of world maps altogether, the question doesn’t seem to come up much. Hence when it does, it can be a head-scratcher: what continent is New Zealand On?

The answer is that it is part of a continent called Zealandia. Seriously. (Note: whether this is a “micro-continent” or a full “continent” we don’t see as a significant issue to this article).

Topographical Map of Zealandia
Topographical Map of Zealandia by World Data Center for Geophysics & Marine Geology (Boulder, CO), National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA [Public domain]
This sounds too perfect to be true. When we think about the topography of New Zealand, however, it starts to make a lot of sense with what is going on in this truly unique part of the world.

Most people, we imagine, who have spent time in New Zealand, especially in the Southern Islands – Fiordland National Park or the Southern Alps, will be struck by how unique this landscape is: mountains that instantly rise up out of the ocean, fjords and lakes.

It would seem like New Zealand flooded a long time a go and the waters never receded. That is pretty much the case. Zealandia is a sunken continent – sinking perhaps 23 million years ago with 93% of the continent remaining underwater.

The remaining 7% is the peaks – the highest land – much of this forming as a result of the movement of tectonic plates – pushing into each other and driving the earth’s crust up into mountains.

Like most island nations, New Zealand has this strong connection to the water – the water which is covering most of the continent, but because of this, there is in such close proximity mountainous and alpine regions that also form such an integral part to the identity of the place.

This post first appeared on our sister-site: Feature image by NAQAG


Do You Climb in Jeans?

Those that do, wouldn’t have it any other way – those that don’t, can’t understand it.

To understand this, let’s have a look at the pros and cons. Just like we did in our post about the bouldering shirt.

– Durable and easy to repair
– Good protection against cuts and scrapes
– Walk straight off the wall and into da club

– Restricts movement
– Kinda hard to move in them
– Sometimes you can’t move in them
– It’s hard to do flexible moves in them

Well, looks like the cons outweigh the pros! It’s official, only maniacs climb in jeans…

However, there is denim and there is denim. And there is climbing denim. If you really want that denim look when you are sending, we recommend you check out: Boulder Denim.


Feature image by adifansnet.

Natural Wisdom: What is the Difference Between a Fjord and a Sound?

The name Fjord will, for many people, conjure up mental images of Norway. One of the world’s most famous Fjord’s, however, is known by a different terminology: Milford Sound (pictured below).

Milford Sound Edited


This made us curious (like other similar nomenclature debates such as river, creek, stream, etc…) as to what, if any, the distinction was.

Technically different things, a fjord is probably best visualized as a type of sound. If we take a Sound to mean a large ocean inlet, a Fjord is specifically one that has been carved out by a glacier meeting the coast before receding or being flooded by the ocean.

There is another similar geographical feature found half way around the world. The Musandam Peninsula in Oman looks very much like fjords and shares many of the same characteristics:

Cliffs in Musandam Peninsula
By StellarD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
The difference here is, this is the result of tectonic plates pushing into and under each other. This produces mountains in a traditional sense but as they begin to sink the sea water rises to create this Fjord-esque landscape.

Climbing in the Olympics

As you may have heard, climbing is now an Olympic sport. A far cry from dirt bags in Yosemite or sketchy barefoot climbing Eastern Europeans.

Climbing will be introduced in 3 forms: sport, bouldering and speed.

One of the more interesting of these forms is speed climbing. It’s interesting because it’s not nearly as frequently practiced recreationally as other forms. Sure, you may hear of the speed record on The Nose. However, The Nose speed record is often set by efficiency of climbing technique, not speed as it will appear in the Olympics.

For those who haven’t seen this type of speed climbing, it looks like this:

As such it may present a stumbling block for many other climbers and that is because competitors in the Olympics will be judged on their success in each of these categories. That’s right, you will not go to the Olympics to compete in Bouldering, but rather compete in all three.

What does this mean? Well, the difficulty is that this isn’t reflective of how most people climb. Most people will excel at one type of climbing. Mastery through specialization. This probably means that we may not see the best boulders, or best sport climbers competing for gold. To us, this is a bit of a shame.

However, we must think of the bigger picture and the bigger picture being painted here is of a fantastic sport that has been given a bit more of a spotlight. Really, it doesn’t matter if the format isn’t perfect – what matters is getting more people to know and love climbing.

Feature image by mike_fleming.

The Zen of Climbing

We touched a little bit on this on our post, which posed the question, “Why Climb?

On of the things we thought about was the mental aspect – the benefit of doing something that entirely focuses your mind on the task at hand.

Any of us who are familiar with yoga or meditation, will definitely see the meditative aspect to this.

Without diving too deep, this connects directly with a concept found in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras are some of the earliest writings on yoga. Yoga in this sense is closer to the original meaning of the word: yoking. That is, looking inwards.

The concept is discussed as a jewel, but often the analogy of a small pond of water is more descriptive. Essentially, you approach a still pond of water and look down into it.
If the water is still and calm, you will see a clear reflection of yourself. If someone throws a rock into the pod, there is chaos on the surface and the reflection becomes disturbed and misleading.

Likewise, if our consciousness is calm and still, we see our true selves more clearly. We understand our real nature and we begin to see the problems that we are creating for ourselves in the world. For that reason, we should embrace any activity that helps to calm the turmoil of our consciousness. We embrace an activity where our mind is working automatically, where it is focused on an immediate reality, and not dwelling in non-existent pasts and futures.

Many rock climbers describe this feeling. In long or particularly challenging climbs, they talk about finding out who you really are. As Edmund Hilary said, “it is not the mountain that we conquer but ourselves.”