Country: United Kingdom
What are your climbing goals?
Get better! Climb more, climb harder. There is so much out there to be experience! I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface, from the treasures in the Peak District, the absolute classics in wales and the lonely Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland that I walked with my father as a child. That’s just the UK! I’ve experienced a delicious snippet of the limestone that Spain has to offer but Europe and the rest of the world has so much to waiting to be discovered!
Since logging training and outdoor routes on Myclimb a few months back, I have smashed two outdoor projects! Sunday Sport (French) 6b in Horseshoe Quarry, a limestone quarry not far from Stanage. It started as my buddy Blanca’s project. It’s like “The Ring” you have to show it to someone else and get them hooked in order to crush it. I worked on it with Blanka for two days in July. Aptly Blanca crushed it on the lead on the Sunday! Its an absorbing corner climb with three distinct cruxses. I shouted, swore and dogged my way up it on top rope on day 1 to leading with just one fall on my first attempt on the Sunday. Each progressive attempt thereafter made me more tired until I had to accept I was going home without it! I finally went back last weekend had a few takes on lead rehearsing sequences while putting the putting the quickdraws in. When I went for the clean lead I was amazed by how much stronger I felt on it, PROGRESS!
The other route I finally mastered was Teaser VS4c(British Trad Grade) at Hollyhead Mountain. I lead it but fell off the penultimate move a year ago, I was gonna lower off but a mate sent me a top rope but it felt ‘unfinished’. Going back after a year of climbing and training, I beasted it and in good time, it felt so good to see the difference in myself. I was more excited about that than leading my first clean HVS!
This year: Before it gets too cold and wet,I NEED to go back and Climb Goliath’s Groove HVS 5a, clean, no falls. It’s a classic Stanage gritstone route powerful and hard for the grade all the way. (Stanage Edge, Sheffield, England). Its a fantastic corner climb with three possible methods for the start, a leg bar with foot and fist jam, a lay-back or a bridge. I’ve dogged the start working out which method worked for me to the point of exhaustion, now I know it’s a wide leg bridge I just need to go back fresh to get it clean. My second stole my hard won beta and flashed it like a boss! It’ll be mine next time!
I wanted to get Dream of White Horses this year, a stunning quartzite sea cliff traverse which is run out over a cave and inescapable except by harder routes. It requires equally confident and competent partners. A fall means an arduous climb back up your rope! Next Year!
Pipe dream goal: Ill Duce on Tintagel Head in Cornwall, a Pat Littlejohn route. Anyone who’s heard of him regards him as a nutter, his sea cliffs routes have a reputation for ending up in the sea! But that cliff is so stunning! If I can’t have that route I’m making my own!
Uber goal: Climb E5 confidently and live to tell the tale before age 40! I’ll settle for french 7a by the end of winter though.
Most memorable climbing experience?
Do I really have to choose JUST ONE?!!
Many of my best life memories and my most life affirming moments have been made while climbing!
My first ever trad climb. I beautiful multipitch HVD on Craig Cowarch, Willow the Wisp, simply breathtaking taking views of the valley, a gorgeous traverse and some wonderful exposure on an arête.
The sound of waves drumming on subtidal sea caves at Castle Helen on Gogarth while climbing lighthouse Arête.
The feeling of utter joy and confidence dancing my way up spiral stairs on Dinas Cromlech this summer.
Climbing the arête on little Trifan with my 4 year old boy. Encouraging my 11 year old daughter to crush a slabby diff at Markfield Quarry.
The feeling of pride when I FINALLY suss a thuggish overhang and prove to my younger self that I am strong and physically capable of achieving butch routes.
What do you like most about MyClimb?
User friendly platform for recording climbing, it is both social and a good data collection device. The recognition it allows you to give to gym sessions really helps with motivation and climbing positivity. Its great to see others training, crushing projects and sharing experiences, its a real buzz to be able to tell folks you’ve crushed something and know they “get it”.
What do you enjoy most about climbing?
It’s for everyone! Many sports segregate males, females and people of different ages but in climbing women can and do outperform their male counterparts, young kids can climb like heroes and my friends in there 70s have down-graded to a grade level stiffer than I can climb!
How did you start climbing?
Earliest memory scrambling and bouldering on the oldest rocks on the planet- the pre-Cambrian Charnwood outcrops at Bradgate Park. I remember seeing news footage of John Bachar soloing and being utterly mesmerised. To my child’s mind, it looked like his hands were somehow magnetised and sticking to the rock, the way he defied gravity so effortlessly. I had a go on artificial walls as a kid on holidays but didn’t get into it properly until after my son was born just before I turned 30. I’m late getting into it but I believe I have the potential to progress significantly in the next 10-20 years!
Favorite Climbing Discipline?
Multipitch trad on seacliffs and mountains- utter exhilaration!
I love sport too, there are some beautiful, fascinating sport routes and it’s a great way to push the grade before taking on harder trad. Bouldering is arguably the frontier where new technical achievements can be pioneered so I respect the hard boulderers too!