I’ve been around rocks my whole life as my parents are very keen climbers – most of my childhood was spent scrambling around at the bottom of the cliff with the occasional easy top rope. In 2005 my family moved to Calgary, Canada, and in 2007 I joined a youth climbing team at my local wall and in 2008 progressed to the competitive youth team. We trained 3 times a week at 6am and competed locally and nationally throughout the winter. In the summer and school holidays I sport climbed with my family in the Rockies and Western States of America.
I left Canada in 2009 to do a BSc in Environmental Science at the University of Manchester. My first impressions of trad climbing were that it was a load of rubbish. However, I soon got the trad bug and was climbing E2 (with the occasional E3) by my second year at Uni.
Throughout the next few years I became more solid at E2 and became much more experienced yet struggled to push my trad grade further, despite climbing 7b/+ inside and onsighting 7a/+ outside. There were so many trad climbs I longed to do and felt I had the potential to one day – but I wasn’t getting on them and I often wondered if maybe I never would. No matter how much fitter or stronger I became, it seemed to make no difference outside on trad.
In September 2013, I finished a 6 month contract with an Environmental Consultancy in Glasgow and embarked on a 3 month sport climbing trip to France and Spain with Tom Livingstone. Less than two months later I redpointed my first 8a (Coliseum in Rodellar). This was 5 grades harder than anything I’d climbed before the trip and a grade I’d never believed would be possible for me. Although I’d become significantly fitter from sport climbing every day, I believe ‘learning how to try hard’ was the biggest factor in my improvement.
I returned to the UK at Christmas but it felt wrong to leave Spain when I was just starting to climb well! I returned on my own in the new year to climb in Catalunya until the end of April.
Back in the UK after Spain I tried to make the most of the beautiful British summer and trad climb as much as possible. Climbing several E5s was a big break through – in 2013 I would have said I’d be happy if I ever managed to do a few E4s! Despite this, I still face a lot of mental battles which prevent me from pushing myself more on trad and this is something I really want to work on.
At the beginning of 2015 I joined the grown up world of 9-5 as a mineral/waste/environmental consultant near Bradford. It’s taking some getting used to but I’m hoping to still have some adventures and be able to share stories on here.
See my climbing logbook here…