I’m a climber from Scotland. I live in the western highlands with my wife Claire and cat pusspuss. I’m 30 and been climbing half my life. I’m known most for my dangerous trad routes, but I enjoy all the types of climbing. My best performances are Echo Wall (I didn’t rate it but it’s around 8c+ with almost no gear), Dont Die of Ignorance XI on mixed, A’Muerte 9a on bolts and various V13s on bloc. When I’m not climbing or training I write on my blog, or coach climbing.
Birthday? 17th July 1978
Year you first started climbing? 1994
Three climbing achievements you are most proud of? My best climbing achievement is definitely Echo Wall on Ben Nevis, It’s close to my sport climbing limit but with very little protection. After that I think my free ascent of Don’t Die of Ignorance XI in winter. I was also really happy to get to the 9a level in sport climbing with A’ Muerte in Siurana.
Memory/story of the first time you ever went climbing? I persuaded my mum to give me a lift to the closest mountain to my home city of Glasgow. I walked up in lovely sunshine with lots of other people around on the path. All the way I followed a guy who wore just his shorts and had a small jacket in one hand, and a bottle of Irn-Bru (our ‘other’ national drink) in the other. Early influences die hard and I still sometimes go climbing with a shell jacket in one hand and a bottle of Irn-Bru in the other.
Favorite climbing area and why? Ben Nevis has to be my favourite place for its beauty, the quality of the rock and the adventurous routes for summer and winter. It is a true climbers playground.
Best climbing experience? I think its an equally amazing experience any time you are trying a route that is impossible for you, and you suddenly realise it might not be impossible after all.
Worst climbing experience? Injury from training is definitely a frustrating part of climbing.
What's your dream trip? Where? With who? I guess your dream trip is always your next one! The next one for me is probably to look at a big wall on Orkney. It’s as lose as we get to a big wall in the UK. It’s going to be pretty damn hard as well!
Guilty pleasure? Food in general!
BD gear you use every time you go climbing? I still think Camalots are pretty amazing creations. Even though I use them almost every time I climb, I don’t think I take them too for granted??
Something that annoys you while climbing? Lack of hours in the day to do more climbing.
What/who inspires you in climbing? Two Scottish climbers, Dave Cuthbertson and Malcolm Smith have always inspired me for different reasons. Dave for his matching of an athletic approach to climbing with adventure, and Malc for his very clear and direct understanding of the hard work and dedication that makes hard climbs become possible.
Favorite apre-climb meal? Pancakes. Inch thick massive ones with maple syrup and banana. And a pale of tea.
Favorite climbing flick? The Dosage series always get me fired up, for sure.
What's in your iPod? Croft No. 5, Anna Murray and Start the Week with Andrew Marr.
Strangest place you've ever woken up? In a park in Trento at 2am when the sprinklers came on.
Strangest person you've ever woken up with? Pass
Three things you'd never roadtrip without? Good friends, tea, and I can’t think of anything else that is truly essential.
What's your dream job? Sometimes I think it’s writing. At times I find writing easy, but other times it can be totally impossible. Lecturing can be really good although the travelling can become a little relentless. Coaching climbing can also be really fun and rewarding, but sometimes I find it hard because I’m quite a shy person. So maybe a little of all them is the dream job - thats what I do.
How are you training when you are not climbing? I am pleased to say I just had my first session on my home board I just built! I’ve been waiting for many years to move to a place that had enough space for a board. I’m pretty excited about this.
If you could steal one thing and not get caught, what would it be? Time.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive) who would they be? Claire, my wife, Seth Godin and Michael Johnson.
Which would you prefer: power of flight or invisibility? Flight has many more obvious uses. I would think some of the things you might encounter with invisibility, you’d rather you hadn’t.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings? None