While he might be more famous these days for his role as a nicest, nimblest ninja on Australian Ninja Warrior than for his climbing, Tom OH will always be a straight-up crusher to us. The first ‘Strayan to climb the coveted grade of 35, he is also quite good at climbing small rocks. Describing his style as ‘pouncy like a tiger’, Tom OH has sent a bunch of hard boulders, from the Nick Cave inspired When the Ass Saw the Angel (V13) in the Ukulore Valley to the committing toe-hooks of J1 (V13) in Sydney-Town and the questionably named Fairy Hole (V12) in the Grampians.
One thing that is beyond argument is that Tom OH is a master of getting the job done, which is why he is running a masterclass based on the theme of Don’t Just be Strong, Be Smart (which is even more impressive given that Tom is from Queensland). We suggest that anyone lucky enough to see Tom OH climbing during the Festival pay particular attention to how he uses his feet and how he uses his hips – in fact his patented ‘Elvis Pelvis’ thrust has to be one of the more powerful sights in climbing.
What are your Top Five Gramps boulder problems?
My Top 5, in no particular order. (Though The Wheel may be at the top.)
- Wheel of Life (V15) – though I haven't done it yet
- Volume 1000 (V4)
- Bleausard (V5)
- Dead Can’t Dance (V11)
- Fairy Hole (V12) – my first ascent at campground boulders, fun and exciting climbing, terrible name!
It does feel like a bit of a lame list really. I need to do more down there. I want to put much more stuff on the Life List but it just keeps getting bigger! Will there ever be enough skin to be able to do everything!?!?!?!
What advice do you have for boulderers preparing for their first outdoor comp?
Get your skin prepared! Sand those tips down and build up their toughness. Pack lots of tape and plenty of food and water. It’s going to be a full day of pullin!! Oh, don’t forget your COFFEE!!!
What are some of the lessons you are hoping to impart in your masterclass?
A more strategic and purposeful approach to climbing. I really believe there is a lot to be gained by just changing a couple of easy things before you pull on. And I’m not talking about adding more weight to your fingerboard program!
We know you were recently down south trying the much-coveted Wheel of Life. How did it go and will you be trying to send it on comp day?
Yeah I did an express two day trip from Blackheath with some friends. It was ace! First day I felt like junk (I’d been sick for the previous six weeks! Day two was great though. I redid all the individual problems, did the Cave Rave link, then nearly did Sleepy Man, just a little dab at the end of Cave Man flake. I tried finishing out DCD on the Sleepy Man link and fell getting established on the bread loaf rib. I’m frothing to get it done as soon as possible!! It’s the best! If it works to get up there and give it a lash I’ll definitely be on it!
What Ninja skills transfer to bouldering? Or the other way?
Haha hmmm I’m not sure. I think I mainly relied on my bouldering skills for the Ninja stuff. I don’t know if I possess any ninja skills. But maybe the skills are so ninja I don’t even know they are there!! The ninja course did require being super decisive with your movement and commit 100% to each obstacle. Definitely that’s a skill you need in bouldering! Try really hard and throw the kitchen sink at it!