I started climbing regularly aged 16 and gained a solid trad apprenticeship in the Lake District, Peak District, North Wales and Lancashire quarries. Going to Manchester University in the late 90’s, while enjoying the climbing club meets I also started bouldering (in the days before mats, only a beer towel if you were lucky!) and trained at the old McDougall centre on the classic brick edge traverse (with painted edges for feet!)
In the early 2000’s, I started going to Malham regularly and became hooked on sport climbing, doing my first 8a, Raindogs. In 2008, while in-between jobs, I started bouldering a lot in the Peak and managed to get my standard up to Font 8A. This helped me a lot with sport climbing culminating in 2009 with an ascent of Mecca – The Midlife Crisis 8b+, and sub 2 hour ascents of The Austrian Oak 8b at Malham and Zeke the Freak 8b at Rubicon.
I have kept my trad climbing going with my best achievement being an onsight of Bastille E6 at High Tor. I have also climbed numerous E5’s at Pembroke, Gogarth and in the Peak including Headhunter, The Cruise and London Wall. During a spell living in Jersey in 2010, I climbed on the unspoilt granite seacliffs with the Jersey Climbing Club and ticked some classic multipitch E5’s including Tax Exile and did bouldering first ascents at the base of the impressive seastack ‘Le Pinnacle’. In the Dolomites, I have climbed Attraverso Il Pesco (or The Fish) 7b+ on the south face of Marmolada and the Brander/Hasse 7a+ on the north face of the Cima Grade. This summer, I climbed O Sole Mio 6c on the south face of Grand Capucin in the Mont Blanc Massif, despite cold, snowy conditions, fulfilling a longstanding ambition to summit this incredible golden granite spire.
After a year living in Devon and Dorset and climbing regularly at Portland, Anstey’s Cove and on Dartmoor granite, I returned to Manchester in 2011 to focus on sport climbing in the Peak and Yorkshire. A real breakthrough was climbing my first 8c, Mecca Extension, last year which opened my eyes to what is possible. I have been inspired to make four trips to Smith Rock, Oregon, due to it suiting my preferred style of face climbing. This spring at Smith I was excited to do the third British ascent of the USA’s first 5.14a (or 8b+) To Bolt of Not to Be and onsight my first 8a Times Up. Using the fitness gained, I have climbed some of the classic Yorkshire fitness routes at Malham this summer including Overjustified 8b+, Bat Route 8c and Cry Freedom 8c. I also recently completed my long term project Kaabah at Raven Tor which was my first 8c+.
In the coming years, I hope to get back to Smith Rock and try some of the harder lines at Kilnsey as well as plugging away at projects locally at the Tor, of course!
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