I'm drawn to climbing by big lines on impressive bits of rock, the kind of thing you look at and think "imagine being up there!" I like to climb more for the intense experiences to be had on the rocks rather than for particular ticks or numbers. I'm most inspired by people who seek out true adventure in the sport.
I started climbing aged 7 at the Castle Climbing Centre in London and got into comps at a young age. It wasn't until I was 20 that I truly discovered outdoor climbing and the climbing lifestyle. I learned to climb trad by working my way up through the grades in the UK, repeating classic test pieces like Lord of the Flies (E6 6a) and The New Statesman (E8 7a). In Spring 2014 I went to Yosemite Valley to try Big Wall climbing for the first time. That trip changed my life, it's like a switch flipped in my brain and all I wanted to do was more big wall climbing! Since then I've made many return trips to Yosemite, climbed El Capitan 10 times and made many trips to other big walls in Baffin Island, Norway, Greenland, France, Canada and Morocco.
I now live in Squamish, Canada with my wife Bronwyn Hodgins. In the future I’m interested in climbing more big walls, being part of more expeditions to remote areas, continuing to improve as a climber and living a life of adventure!
Get to know Jacob
Tell us about your successes so far?
I’ve redpointed up to 8c and onsighted up to 8a+, but to be honest I’ve been climbing for 26 years now and the numbers and ticks don’t tell the real story for me. The most meaningful climbs have been the huge adventures, big remote climbs with a small team of friends in places like Baffin Island and Greenland. Some of these big adventures have included:
What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?
These past few years I’ve been getting really into putting up first ascents on the Stawamus Chief, my home crag! I’ve been particularly drawn to hard slab climbing. In October 2020 I finished off a three year project making the first free ascent of Call of the Sirens 14a(8b+) 5 pitches, definitely the hardest slab climbing of my life so far!
Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?
For everything slabby to vertical I use theMaestro Mid, I’ve found they perform incredibly well on the extreme granite tech and some of my most magic feeling performances have been in these shoes. For steeper climbing I like theVapour Vs.
Tell us about your best day climbing?
Wow so many it’s impossible to decide. A really really good one that comes to mind was climbing Freerider (7c+ 31 pitches) in 17 hours with Pete Whittaker in 2016, the route is so good and it felt amazing to be flowing up the endless golden granite, feeling so comfortable in an environment that had previously been hard, unfamiliar and scary.
What do you do away from your sport?
I have a second life as a mathematician. I finished my PhD in pure maths in 2016 and since then I have taught at Quest University in Squamish and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I love maths as much as I love climbing, which is a lot!