I started climbing around the winter of 2014. I was completing my Mountain Leader summer training and the guide who was running the course pulled me to one side and told me I should try climbing when I returned home as I showed so much enthusiasm on the emergency procedures day. Needless to say, I did what he told me and never looked back.
My intention was to climb mountains but I got hooked on sport climbing almost straight away - more specifically, short bouldery sport climbing! A friend of mine, Adam Harrisson, then introduced me to the idea of training after he spent 6 months training with Tom Randall in 2014. That winter I gave it a go and in the spring of 2016 I ticked my first 8a, just 18 months after I had started climbing. Training then became a structured part of my year. 6 months outside, 6 months inside. As a parent to 2 boys and a husband to an amazing wife this approach worked really well as I was at home all weekend throughout the winter which gave me the chance to spend some quality time with them, without having to fight the desire to go climbing outside.
By taking this approach I managed to improve by a grade a year every spring and then focussed on building my pyramid of routes throughout the summer. I still take this approach now, although more recently it has been with a focus on bouldering as it seems to fit into my life more easily.
I am now working as a climbing coach at Lattice training where I get just as much satisfaction out of helping others to succeed as I do my own success. Being a parent, working 60+ hours a week and continuing to improve as a climber is hard but I somehow seemed to have found a system that works for me. Working at Lattice has given me the opportunity to share this knowledge with others and I love it!
Get to know Jon
Tell us about your successes so far?
I have always tried to measure my success with progression year on year, whether this be breaking a new grade, quick redpoints of previous bests or even PBs on a fingerboard. If I can continue to improve my profile, then in my opinion, I will be able to continue to succeed.
What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?
When I first started rock climbing a friend of mine was projecting an 8c at Malham Cove called Bat Route. At the time I was projecting 7a so I felt as though I was climbing with a superstar! Ever since that day 8c has been a lifetime goal. Hopefully it won't be too long until I get the tick so I can move on.
Why do you climb? What do you love about climbing?
Places and people - Climbing has introduced me to people who have become lifelong friends and has taken me to beautiful places that I otherwise may not have seen.
Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?
I bought the Instinct VS when they first came out and I haven't looked back. In my opinion they are the best all round shoes that give me nothing but confidence even on the smallest of footholds. However, I have recently tried the Chimeras and they are a game changer!
Tell us about your best day climbing?
Ahh, this is a tough one, there are too many to name!.....
The day I did Caviar in the Peak District stands out to me. Usually when I am on a redpoint I completely zone out. I am so focussed on the job in hand that I can't hear anything, so from a belyers point of view it's pointless shouting at me with support but for some reason on this day this was not the case. I was 2 moves from a good hold and my hand rolled on a crimp. Doubt then set in and I was certain I was off. Just then I heard Ollie below and this was just enough to give me the motivation to dig a little deeper. Less than a minute later I was at the top…..
Cheers Oll, we can call that one a team tick.
What do you do away from your sport?
As much as I love climbing, I am definitely at my happiest when I am running in the hills!
Malham Cove – I’m a proud little Englishman and although Malham is only 2 hours from my home I have been unable to go in recent years due to work and family commitments. I'm counting down the days until I can spend a season or 2 there again.