Category: Off Belay

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A Grand Day Out

This piece was published in Climber Magazine in 2016. We talk about a golden age of climbing as something passed. The big first ascents, standards being defined, precedents set and a nostalgia for an...

Looking for the Key

Published in Climber Magazine September 2017 I first heard of Sardine and Raven Tor when I was a teenager working in a gear shop. It was a cushy job. Once the floor was hoovered...

Treasured Books

This week I had a chat with Climbing on the Bookshelf about some of my favourite climbing books. These included Hard Rock and the awesome Let’s Go Climbing, by Colin Kirkus.

Adventures on Skye

The past year has been a strange one for adventure. Like most of us, I haven’t left the country which has curtailed some plans for bigger walls and mountains, but also relieved a little...

Should we score climbing comps like Eurovision?

In this post I talk about how distorted the Olympic Combined format is, it’ll be followed up with an interview with the head routesetter for bouldering Percy Bishton. If you can’t wait for more Factor...

When to walk away?

Climbing is full of stories of the siege. Sometimes it’s a positive kind of mania, like Mark Leach on Cry Freedom. Sometimes it’s a standard-pushing necessity, like Steve McClure on Rainman, or Chris Sharma on Realisation. Sometimes...

On Style – Can you have too much?

When Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made the first ascent of the Dawn Wall in 2015 it was news around the world. So much so that my students, knowing I was a climber, started asking about...