Each month we feature one of our most valuable Explorers, the lifeblood of the We Are Explorers community. Meet Lachie Thomas. Hailing from the edge of the Victorian High Country, Lachie is often found deep in the mountains, thrashing his legs on everything from skis to slacklines.
What’s your day job?
At the moment I’m just finishing up my honours year at Uni down in Melbourne. From Monday to Friday you’ll usually find me looking at how we can increase biodiversity on farms, unless I’ve ducked off for a surf or slackline.
What got you inspired by the outdoors in the first place?
Before I learnt to walk I was already being taken outdoors in my parents packs as they went skiing and hiking around Victoria. After that I spent nearly every school holiday camping next to rivers, mountains or the beach. Since leaving home the trend just hasn’t stopped.
What continues to get you out the door to explore?
Having moved to the city from a country town I now have a much greater appreciation for getting outdoors. In the country I took it for granted how easy it was, a five minute drive and you’d be alongside a beautiful river with no-one else around. I’m not convinced life in the suburbs is for me, so any opportunity to escape is quickly snapped up.
Since making friends with some absolute legends at Uni I’ve also really started pushing boundaries by trying new sports. I’ve had a go at white water kayaking and taken on harder trips that have further fuelled my passion for getting outside.
What’s your essential piece of outdoor gear you never adventure without (and why?)
I have a big, old-school red mug that is my pride and joy. I can fit nearly half a litre of delicious tea in that bad boy. It’s a combo that, when coupled with a great view, cannot be beaten.
Where’s your favourite place to microadventure in Australia or NZ?
It has to be the high country of North-East Victoria. It’s basically my second home because there is an endless supply of mountains to trail run, hike or mountain bike in summer and to ski in winter. With so much to do it is hands down my favourite place to microadventure.
And what’s your favourite activity to sink your teeth into outdoors?
As a person who has spread his interests thin (I’m a jack of many trades and a master of absolutely none) I’d have to say that cross-country and backcountry skiing would have to be my pick of the lot.
Snow just turns the mountains into an enormous, beautiful playground. When you can escape from the crowds and find yourself alone on a perfect day in the backcountry, there is nothing more enjoyable.
You have a penchant for old school equipment, what inspires your love for the gear of yesteryear?
I do love old school gear, it’s simple and it just works. I often find myself looking into the smallest/lightest gear when I’m looking at something I need. But then when you think about the ‘primitive’ equipment many legendary explorers used to use, even compared to the baseline items today, you realise just how easy it is to get by without the latest and greatest.
Oh and the style! Old school gear is so colourful and retro that todays equipment looks incredibly bland. What’s better? The plain black climbing harness you find at the shops these days, or Mum’s old fluro-rainbow coloured climbing harness? you tell me…
The only thing better is making your own gear. I think that the skills you learn making your own equipment are invaluable. it’s so satisfying to create something with your own hands that you then take hiking as an essential piece of equipment. Currently I’m sewing my own tarp and bivy, it’s great fun.
What camera gear do you use?
I shoot with a Sony a7 that I absolutely love because it’s so small and unassuming. In terms of lenses, I just use my Dad’s old prime lenses from about 25 years ago. They’re manual focus and I often come home with a lot of blurry shots but I think they’re really fun to shoot with. They often help me to achieve a different feel to my photos.
Have you had any disasters on any of your trips? What happened?
Funny you should ask actually, not long ago I wouldn’t have had a great answer for you but the other weekend I had my biggest trip disaster. I had bush-bashed my way a few kilometres down an incredibly steep hill and deep into a gorge with a mate in search of an unreal waterfall we had seen from far away.
After swimming 50m across a freezing cold pool of water, we were wedged in the shadows between 100m tall vertical rock walls. Within sight of the waterfall we were chasing, my mate slipped and cut his heel unbelievably well. Within seconds his 8cm gash was bleeding profusely and creating a right mess of the rocks he was standing on.
After making him swim back to the bags where I luckily had packed a snake bandage to slow the bleeding, he had to crawl a few kilometres (the entire way down the creek bed) and then scramble up the huge, slippery hill. It took two hours of pain-filled walking before we got back to the car and the hospital. He needed 11 stitches to patch his foot back together hahaha, good times.
Why did you get involved in the Explorer Project?
What are you most digging about the Explorer Project?
Engaging with this community has been an awesome way to grow my network of really cool people who love the outdoors as much as I do. Sharing my adventures, hearing about other people’s and having the opportunity to meet other adventurous people is just really awesome.
You have to be stranded in a tent with 2 people for 2 days – who would you choose and why?
I’d be beaten up if I didn’t say my best mates Scotty and Pat. Plus, the three of us are going to South America together next year and this scenario is highly likely anyway.
Fortunately we get along pretty bloody well and we could turn two days stuck inside a tent into an adventure of its own; partly because we’d inevitably forget to bring something important like the tent poles and partly because these two can make the most out of any situation.
Epic adventures and local knowledge from Lachie
Are you a weekend adventurer and content creator (novice, dabbler or expert)?
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