My first taste of climbing came at the age of 12. A day out at the Lancashire venue of Cadshaw Crags with a hawser laid rope and a car seat belt as a harness! I quickly combined the outdoors with the indoors and 25 years ago I climbed in my first competition “The Yorkshire Open” the first ever comp in the UK. The same year Jerry Moffatt won the World Cup in an old railway shed in Leeds, this moment was probably the most defining moment in my life. I simply said, “I am going to do that”.
In 2007 I was proud to become the first and only British Climber to win The Arco Rockmaster, the crowning moment in my competition career. Nowadays I still love to compete and probably always will but much of my spare time is taken up as manager for the GB Boulder team, it is really satisfying to put something back into a sport you have loved for so long.
It’s not always been about the plastic though. From the early days repeating Paul Pritchard’s Lancashire test pieces, Wilton has been a big part of my climbing career. Leaving my mark there with a solo ascent of S Groove and the hard and rarely repeated Toxic Billberries was a satisfying experience. Away from the UK I travelled extensively in Europe ticking many of the classic hard sport routes with my regular climbing partner Ian Vickers.
Every couple of years I seem to venture into something more interesting. My first big adventure was a trip to Greenland where with Ben Bransby, Mat Dickinson and Ian Parnell we made the first ascent of the 4490ft Devils Thumbnail. The largest sea cliff in the World. This trip sadly did not go as planned as we summited we lost a good friend, Bens father in an abseil accident.
Next up was Madagascar. A big wall adventure with Jerry Gore resulting in a rebolt of Gondwanaland and an on sight of the amazing Aways The Sun.
After such a holiday style of expedition I decided to attempt something a bit more challenging. Nameless Tower part of the Trango Massif had been a dream of mine for many years. The aim would be to free climb the classic Wolfgang route, The Eternal Flame. The trip was an amazing experience and a somewhat harrowing one at the same time. The weather was terrible with temperatures down to minus 25 at night and rarely above freezing in the day, we didn’t make it. An avalanche on the last day that flattened our camp site certainly made it clear that it wasn’t our time to climb the mountain.
One of the most important times of the year has become Blokfest season. 5 events running down south in the UK. Now into the 6th year we aim to give climbers the highest quality event in the UK at some of the best walls with the latest and greatest holds in the industry. We aim to inspire and educate the next generation.