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.

Top 5: Best Climbing Movies

2018 is going to be a fantastic year for climbing movies, with The Dawn Wall and Free Solo – documentaries following two of the biggest names in rock climbing, both being released. Therefore, we offer our pick of the Top 5 Best Climbing Movies… we’d love to hear your recommendations!

5. Valley Uprising (2014)
A history of the Yosemite valley climbing scene. An in-depth look at the evolution of American rock-climbing, from the pioneers in the 1950s, the stonemasters of the 1970s and later the stone monkeys, right up to the trail-blazers leading climbing today. Well-made and an interesting look at the history of the most famous climbing spot in the world.

4. First Ascent (the series)
Terrifying, emotional exciting and crazy. Featuring the Alex Honnold classic Alone on the Wall, where he attempts to free solo Half Dome. This is followed by an emotional journey to Patagonia led by Stanley Leary. After this the climbing gets hard again as Chris Sharma tackles his latest project.

3. Reel Rock 10 (2015)
Really, you could put just about any Reel Rock here, and we didn’t want this just to be a list of Reel Rock’s, so we’ve picked 10. A great mix of entertaining features, such as the zany climbing competition Showdown at Horseshoe Hell and more serious efforts like Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold’s Fitz Traverse in A Line Across the Sky. The Fitz Traverse earned the duo the Piolet d’Or. Top this off with a tribute to rock climbing legend Dean Potter and it is a fantastic mix.

2. The Sufferfest 1 & 2 (2014)
Cedar Wright at his hilarious, gonzo best. Sufferfest 1 chronicles Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright as they attempt to climb all the 14,000ft peaks in California by technical climbing route. Back for Sufferfest 2, they attempt to climb 45 of the most iconic desert towers. In both movies, their mode of transport? Bicycle. A tremendous feat of endurance and a very entertaining story along the way.

1. Meru (2015)
Meru manages to tell an engaging, emotional story like no other climbing movie out there. It follows the attempt by Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk to climb the Shark’s Fin route on the Meru Peak in the Himalayas. Aside from the mammoth task and the beautiful scenery, one of the most captivating aspects to it, is how it shows the fact that climbing – and life – don’t always go as planned.

The Ethics of Climbing

Anyone who has seen Valley Uprising, will know about the classic rivalry between Royal Robbins and Warren Harding. Two of the great figures in American climbing in the 1950s.

Royal Robbins is painted as the stoic, thoughtful philosopher-climber while Warren Harding is shown as a wild, drunken man barging his way up big walls. Both made impressive ascents.

A classic point of rivalry is Royal Robbins taking offense to Warren Harding’s siege-tactic climbing style: placing large numbers of bolts and fixed ropes to get through tough sections of climbing. The story goes, that Royal Robbins would climb Harding’s routes, chopping off the heads of the bolts. He saw it as defacing the rock – it wasn’t pure climbing.

In the Czech Republic, near the border with Germany there a style of climbing that has developed to be extremely sensitive to the natural landscape. Very few bolts are placed. Climbers are not allowed to place any sort of metal protection. Instead, knotted ropes are wedged into the rock. Climbers climb barefoot and chalk is not allowed.

Flip back to America, and the guys pushing the barriers of Modern climbing: guys like Tommy Caldwell, Chris Sharma, Alex Honnold all climb sport routes (on bolts), with shoes and chalk. They are also doing things people previously thought was impossible.

Such as Caldwell’s ascent of the Dawn Wall:

Sharma’s iconic climbing of Biographie:

and any number of Alex Honnold’s amazing free-solo’s (on routes he’d practice with bolts first):

There is no question that as climbing gets more and more popular, climbers need to be conscious about the marks we are leaving on the natural landscape. At the same time, however, we want to be pushing harder and climbing further than ever before. No one wants to fight progress.


Each generation of climbers have broken ground in their own ways. Whatever your personal ethics on climbing are, those breaking ground in the future will almost certainly do it by streamlining and reduction of lasting impact.