Hometown: St. Bees, Cumbria. I’ve lived the last 15 years in the Chamonix valley, France.
Climbing has been getting me out of bed every day since I was about 10 years old! After a very British climbing apprenticeship spent on my local sea cliff, the crags of the lake district and the ice plastered cliffs of Scotland, I was drawn to the Alps as a teenager. My 20’s and early 30’s have been spent climbing obsessively in all the significant mountainous regions of the world.
My climbing taste consistently seems to be on the adventurous side of things - originality and discovery always seeming to be my most driving motives. I've put up routes in the UK, the Alps, Patagonia, Alaska and Pakistan - from enormous north faces to 20 metre sport climbs and everything in-between.
In recent years I’ve become fascinated by the use of a paraglider with climbing and skiing in the mountains. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in some pioneering flying/skiing/climbing adventures in the Karakorum mountains of Pakistan and at home in the Alps. I work as a mountain guide and see it as part job part lifestyle. Its a fulfilling and interesting way to make a living, if not a little dangerous from time to time…
Get to know Will
Tell us about your successes so far?
Significant alpine repeats such as “Voie des Papas” on the Drus in winter. “Manitua” on the Grandes Jorrasses in winter, and many more!
Alaskan first ascents such as - “Beastiality” on the Bare Tooth, and the NW face of Mount Deborah.
The second ascent of the “House - Anderson” on the North Face of Mount Alberta, Canadian Rockies.
First ascent of the east face of the South Avellano tower, Patagonia.
The first ascent of Gulmit Tower using our paragliders to approach and descend from the mountain; the first time a technical route in the greater ranges has ever been climbed in this style.
Many sport climbs at the grade of 8a+, crack climbing test pieces such as “The Optimator” (Utah) and “Thai Boxing” (France). E7 flash in the UK.
Scottish winter climbs to grade IX, many WI6 routes.
What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?
Lots more of the above! Yet remaining honest with myself; if one day climbing and mountains started to mean less to me, I want to be able to turn it down and discover new things in life.
Why do you climb? What do you love about climbing?
To begin with it was purely the excitement and feeling of adventure. Now it is still those two things, but also the interaction with a physical landscape, the travel and friendships made and lost.
Which SCARPA shoe is your favourite?
F1LT. Phantom Tech.
Tell us about your best day climbing?
I have a hundred “best days climbing ever”!!
But I remember a day climbing in the lake district, when I had just returned from 6 weeks in Alaska, completely out of shape to climb on rock. I was with an old friend, grateful to be alive and well after a long soul-searching expedition.
We had a care free “floaty” day, climbing half a dozen routes from E1 to E5 without even noticing a pump. The best days ever are unplanned, unexpected, and often not particularly impressive.