Q: What is your MyClimb Username? – Igs
Q: What are your climbing goals?
To get back into 5.13s, 8a or harder!
Q: Most memorable climbing experience?
I have two memorable moments.
1. When I free soloed a route without realising I’d done so, or meaning to! I was so focused and psyched; and visualising every move over and over; and imaging myself doing it; when suddenly I realised I was at the top! 7c+ (5.13d) It was magic. Pure movement and dance – no ego no nothing. Scary but fabulous. (late 90s)
2. When I broke my back – 31/3/2000 – not good. In short, four of us set of for the crag: Anglezarke. I had an up-and-coming trial for the British team after someone had spotted me doing circuits on a few routes: going up a 7c+ (5.13a) and down a 6b+ (5.11a) and back up etc.! It was March and I’d gone to look at some E6 6b’s (5.12c thru to 5.13a) to the left of Golden Tower. There were a few of them and I thought it would be good training. Knock ‘em out one after the other. Anyway, my friend went up a route placing gear as he went up. Got frightened and came down. It was dross. He asked me to finish it saying it would only take me a moment. I went up and tried to finish the route. Fell off and all the gear he put in, and a piece I put in, ripped – so the rope was made redundant. The miracle is that I hit the only flat rock around. I was airlifted to the spinal unit at Preston Royal Infirmary. Where I was told I’d broken my back: L1, L2 and L3.
I am told that I am very lucky that I can walk, and climb, which is the main thing although it is prone to spasm at times.
It has taught me many things, not all of them positive, but needless to say, through suffering comes growth and I see it all as grist for the mill. My goal was to be great but my goal now is to get back to the grades I used to climb. It’s a tall order but hey I’m positive if nothing else.
Q: What do you like most about MyClimb?
I like the ease of which you can log climbs, which was my sole reason for downloading it. However, since opening it and using it I have found it invaluable. The camaraderie across nations, the positivity and the gentle competition which exists with point scoring has been transformational. I now have friends across the globe who regularly celebrate my successes and show sympathy and compassion when things aren’t going well. MyClimb has become a motivational network that crosses continents and time frames. A brilliant bit of kit that is indispensable for anyone wanting to track their progress and make friends around the world. Well done Bill. We owe you dude.
Q: What do you enjoy most about climbing?
I like the interaction, both with the people you meet and climb with, and with the rock. When climbing well and at your limit it is like meditation. Your problems cease to exist, your job, car, your money problems, wife and even your ego ceases to exist. It is just movement; a dance; something primordial, and then if you top out the wave of euphoria and the sense of achievement is supreme, almost magical. That’s what I like most about climbing!
Q: How did you start climbing?
I did a lot of martial arts. I did Wing Chun Kung Fu, Under Sam Kwok – direct lineage to Ip Man – and Stephan Moore. I also did Tai Chi and basically trained like a demon trying to be the next Bruce Li! A friend of mine who was always competitive, and up for most things, said he’d tried climbing the week before with a friend at work. (I was a student at Uni.) He asked me if I wanted to join him. I said yes and went. It was like finding my path, my totem. I took to it like a duck to water. I never stopped going after that, I was hooked. (Nick never went again!) A few lads saw me climbing and asked me to join their club – The Fylde Mountaineering Club. They took me under their wing, and outdoors! My first outdoor route was seconding an E2 5c – not knowing anything about gear, ropes or the like – which is about 6b+/6c or 5.11a ish! I’d only been climbing about 3 months.
Q: Favourite Climbing Discipline:
I used to like doing comps but I’m getting way to old and I’m nowhere near as good as I used to be. Now I like sport climbing! Give me a sunny day in the mountains and I’m happy!
Q: Favourite Place to climb or destination:
Difficult to say: Yosemite, Squamish, Fontainebleau, El Chorro and there’s some great stuff here in the UK. Also I’ve not been to enough places to really say.