Ricky Bell

I’ve spent most of my life based in Belfast but for the last few years I’ve been living hobo style out of my little van spending more time floating around. I got into climbing through my family, a Ford Seirra, a little trailer tent and wee black dog - The Burren, Wicklow, Donegal, Fair Head, The Lakes, North Wales, The Peak District, The Cairngorms, Skye… wobbling up and learning the ropes on classics. I lead my first route in the Mournes when I was 11 years old. I’m 34 now and still have similar feelings to climbing granite in the Mourne Mountains.

Since an early age, I was endorsed with the independence to go on climbing trips to sunny sport crags and sandstone boulders in France with some older climbing friends. My Mum gave me a needle and thread and got me to sew my passport into my back pocket. I went back to France every year for the next 4 years before realising there was climbing elsewhere in the world. I’ve been lucky to have climbed a lot in Europe and on some of the best bits rocks in the States. There’s too much to do and we’ll never do it all! So it’s important to enjoy what you ARE doing. Climbing in Ireland is still one of the things that gets me most psyched. Especially when something new pops up. We’ve got some amazing climbing and for a long time now I’ve been on my own wee mission to climb the best routes and boulders here. There’s a lot of potential. When I was a kid I used to dream that the Gaia block and the Dreamtime boulder where in my back garden. It’s sorta still a bit like that.

I've always been a foot warrior at heart and am very psyched to be supported by Scarpa - the Instinct VS are my all time favourite rock shoe.

Recently I’ve been developing some cliffs in Donegal that I’ll tip along with and most of May will be spent on Inishmore - a massive lump of limestone in Atlantic. This Autumn I hope to be climbing on El Cap again and this winter we’ll be running away to Spain!


-Hometown-

Ireland

-Projects-

I spend most of my time trad climbing but I equally enjoy clipping bolts and bouldering.

-Successes-

The Gentlemans Arete 8B at Fair Head is one of my favourite battles. I managed two Chattanoogan classics Apes on Acid 8b and The Jackel 8b+ both second go. Recently they've stood out to me because they just felt so good and I was having so much fun climbing. But I think its the trad lines in Ireland that I'll always remember and am most fond of. I’ve been lucky to get to open some amazing lines in the areas I started climbing at - The Complete Scream E8 6b, The Big Skin E8 6c, An Empty Book E8 6c, An Bealach Eile E8 6c, The Ratlin Effect E8 6c and Long Runs The Fox E9 6c - All at Fair Head and in the Mourne Moutnains - Mental Crack E7 6c, The Lost Forgotten E7 6c, Peace Time E8 6c and Sleazy Lover E8 6c are all routes that mean a lot to me.

-Favourite Scarpa-

Tough one! The range is so good. I have certain favourites for certain things. This winter I’ve primary worn the Dragos because I’ve been doing lots of setting for comps and indoor bouldering. These shoes are just a dream for this. My go to shoe for rocks have been the Instinct VS-R - if I could only have one pair of boots - it would probably be these. I climbed on El Cap a bit last year in the Techno X found them great. Looking forward to trying the Maestro’s!

-No Place too Far-

Yosemite/Tuolumne - I love the place and climbing up high. The bouldering is not bad either! but right now, that’s where I'd be…or actually maybe the High Sierra, at the bottom of the Hulk.

Through The Green Door - Part 5. Forever Young from Tops Off 4POWER on Vimeo.


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