The Committee

Paula Toal – President
I am passionate about climbing for being close to nature and exploring places that people who don’t climb will never have the privilege to experience. Having a holiday home in Halls Gap, the Grampians is a special place for me and I also love granite. Some believe it’s fair to say that nobody has ever smiled so much whilst climbing Where Angels Fear to Tread. As a senior tourism industry professional, I have nearly 30 years of international experience in strategy, innovation, tourism, partnerships, stakeholder relationship management, capability & capacity development, financial and facilities management and project management and systems implementation across tourism and events, manufacturing and consulting industries in both private and public sector organisations.

Cameron Abraham – Committee Member
I am a resident of the Natimuk Café on weekends, you will catch me training hard as a dish pig which strengthens my core and finger tips. You are welcome to come and try some dish pig cross training whilst I run off and actually climb something for a change.

Philipp Hammes – Vice President
I’ve been on ropes for almost 20 years but I’m still a pretty mediocre rock climber. Probably this is due to the fact that my real passion are big mountains – you know high things with glaciers and snow on top of them. You can also see me swinging around trees for fun from time to time or helping Andrew hosting the VCC self rescue course. Yes – I really like shiny things like tandem pulleys, ascenders or industrial cam devices.

Ben Wright – Burnley Wall Caretaker
Some say I have not missed a VCC trip in over 10 years, I hate to disappoint but I missed one whilst climbing in China recently. When I am not climbing, I am dreaming about climbing or planning my next climbing trip. You cant miss me at the crag, I am usually sporting one of my dazzling white work shirts.

Andrew Clark – Treasurer
I’ve been climbing for the last decade or so. A few years ago I escaped the rat race of Melbourne and relocated to the sunny Wimmera, halfway between Arapiles and The Grampians. A premium spot for climbing, just sadly also a premium spot for landscaping, gardening, painting the house, dishes and vacuuming. I still get out on the rock both working as a guide and part of the Arapiles Rescue Group and even manage a little climbing with friends.

Michelle Tusch – Committee Member
Former Membership Secretary – Yep all those little white cards were painstakingly posted by little old me but I handed that over to Hannah. This leaves more time for climbing or taking in the cultural delights of Melbourne – watching as many foreign films as my brain will endure is a favourite.

David Scarlett – Wilson Wall Hold Caretaker / Secretary
I am regularly cranking it hard on an Allen key at the Wilson Bouldering Wall, so if you catch me there come and say hi. While not decimating spinners on plastic walls, I can also be found on actual rock, cooking up dinners that impractically complex for a camping trip, being a trip paparazzo, or nerding out over the mechanics of the anchors that we trust our lives to.

Steve Toal – Committee Member
… sorry we’re still missing his bio but he’s a really great guy 🙂


Non Committee Members with a Club Function:

Michael O’Reilly – Trip Coordinator – l have had an ongoing serious addiction to climbing for over 30 years. But I cleverly use my position as VCC Trip Coordinator as cover for this problem. I just can’t help myself and love to climb – especially in The Grampians. I’ve been known to climb first ascents, even having to place bolts, just to get my fix. When I can’t climb outdoors, I’ve been known to do a bit of route setting and climbing at The Lactic Factory and Northside Bouldering gyms.
If you want to run a trip, get in touch clubtrips@vicclimb.org.au

Leigh Hopkinson – Argus Editor
Editing the Argus combines my two passions—climbing and writing. I’ve been climbing for five years now and working in media for ten. When I’m not at my desk or on the wall I tend to have this little guy strapped to me. If you see us at the gym (probably Northwalls) or the crag (Mt Alexander’s my local), come and say hello. And if you have a story to share, send it my way!