Will Birkett

Name: Will Birkett

D.O.B: 08/03/1996

Hometown: Ambleside

Sport: Climbing and Running

Brought up in the heart of the lake district, Little Langdale. With no climbing wall or bus service real rock catered for my trad upbringing, gritting your teeth and cracking on type vibe. In the last few years I’ve been slipping on running shoes and taking to the fells, exploring all aspects of their seasonal hospitality.

Get to know Will

Tell us about your successes so far?

Affording a life within the Lakeland fells, and to climb/run in my ancestral playground feels like success. The seasons provide the medium to enjoy the fells. In the early spring the boulders are like Velcro, Stephan Grossman ss is my hardest. As the clawing cold winds turn warm, trad climbing venues offer challenging onsight potentials. When it’s too sodden to climb or the psyche’s low, it’s a good time to slip on the running shoes.

The 2020 Classic Rock Round escapade was a highlight, me and Tom Randal taking turns knocking the FKT down. I’m pleased to still hold the record for it. doing a self-supported Bob Graham round in under 21 hours a few weeks later was another highlight.

When the cold north winds start blowing back down, we take to the ice/mixed climbing with steel in our hands, scaring ourselves silly, ticking classics, like engineer slabs last year. I do occasionally leave the lakes, for Europe sport climbing, 7c+ is my best onsight, and American cracks (Ho god, the Harding slot) NIAD 14:22 OS

What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?

Short term, I’m looking at getting the autumn bouldering momentum going, then mixed climbing in Scotland, with plans to drive out to the alps for the first time, with an eye trained on some north faces. Then hopefully some Spanish sport climbing.

Long term plans are brewing: some UK based ambitions for next year. Patagonia is calling too.

Why do you climb? What do you love about climbing?

Late evening escapades into the hills, sitting under overhanging boulders in drizzling rain with friends putting the world to rights. It’s the places and it’s the people, the connection to nature and pushing your mental and physical self, however cliché that sounds.

Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?

I always take the Instinct VS-R if its trad, boulder, sport. They fit my feet well and stick like s**t to the rock. Maestro for granite.

For running, Scarpa Ribelle Run, I absolutely fell in love with these shoes, after flicking from one modal to the next of other branded, mainly inov8 running shoes, the Ribelle Run introduced a whole new dimension to fast technical runs. The grip bites wet rock, feeling secure to leg it down wet Lake District cobble paths.

I ran the Glencoe skyline race in these shoes, there comfortable to wear all day, responsive for bombing down wet hills, and the construction is made to last. I’d recommend these to anyone if they fit your feet.

Tell us about your best day climbing?

That one time Tom Randall beat my Classic Rock Record, and I went out the next day to take it back was kind of memorable.

What do you do away from your sport?

I’m a Stonemason/Waller, so my life literally revolves around rocks. I also play music and enjoy writing the occasional thing.

Where is your #NoPlacetooFar?

Everywhere outside of the Lakes is too far! I’m privileged that the Lake District provides so much entertainment. During covid, all our lives were changed dramatically, all trips cancelled. Instead of getting engulphed by a claustrophobic vail I explored the tightly woven valleys in greater detail than ever before. Keeping it local is also low-carbon, which we are all gearing to be more aware of.

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Photo Credits

Bill Birkett

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