Inspirational Figures – Males

Along with my Inspirational Females article, looking at some of the climbing women that get me psyched, here i’ll have a look at some of the guys that do likewise.

Yes, part of this article is by way of balance and equality but it’s more than that. I’ve drawn an awful lot of inspiration from many female climbers so why can’t women admire the achievements of guys too? Moreover, at the end of the day, these are just people; exceptional people, in one form or another but people nonetheless.

So here we are. Six male climbers who get me psyched, drive me to pull on and bear down.

Tommy Caldwell

Yes, Tommy can boulder, and harder than me, that’s for sure! but it wasn’t his bouldering that inspired me. In fact it wasn’t his climbing at all.

Tommy’s recent ascent of the Dawn Wall made headline news all over the world and i, much as many others, watched the film in awe. However, as much as the climbing was amazing, it was a little bit of Googling that made me realise how Tommy can keep me going. At the time Tommy made his first ascent, he was 34.

As someone possibly now on the downward slope of the curve of ability, to know that i am now the same age he was became a pertinent reminder that i’m not done yet. The fact he can do this with two young kids is even better.

Tim Peck

Tim is an old friend of mine; we actually first met at the Pacman Boulders shortly before he started working with me at Joe Brown’s. He left to work for the Indy around the same time i moved to the Brenin and often gets mentioned on ChezdelaBloc.

I’ve commented before that there was a time when Tim, Andy (another Joe Brown’s boulderer) and myself were commenting on who would tick 8a first. It turned out to be Tim, who stepped up his game substantially and achieved sponsorship with Mad Rock among others. He’s now climbed several, Andy has at least one and i’m still waiting.

It’s not just the ability to really knuckle down and actually get the big grades that i admire. Tim  has an encyclopedic knowledge of boulders in the area and is often a great person to chat to about various projects, lines or even approaches. His list of injuries has meant he has a fantastic knowledge of the body and helps me with aches and pains often. He’s even got himself a stack of first ascents around here, including an area just down the road from my own.

He’s travelled the world too, including last summer’s tour of the States and documents it all with a fantastic array of videos on his Vimeo account. Check it out.

In terms of attributes for a role model, Tim is right up there. The fact i can call him my friend is a huge plus.

Walker Kearney

I can’t remember what drew me to Kearney; i vaguely remember him distributing some Project Hangboards some years ago and messaging him through Instagram. His feed quickly grabbed me as it is very impressive.

Turns out Kearney Journey is an apt title: an American, living and boudlering hard in Devon for a while, he’s now putting up first ascents somewhere in Sweden. I’ve spoken to him a few times but we’ve never met. Hopefully one day.

That’s not even the inspriational bit for me; it’s the fact that he’s a parent. When Em was pregnant with Rosie, i was a bit nervous that with even the best intentions, my climbing days may be over. Seeing Walker get out regularly, stay strong and still be a parent helped me to realise it is possible.

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I found this boulder surfing Googlemaps and while I generally try not to get my hopes up from digital discoveries it did seem like an ideal place to “ground truth” with the family. If I was lucky the boulder would have some worthy climbing but worst case scenario I play in the water with the kids. Fortunately I lucked out and last summer while the kiddos fished for crabs I flailed on this sweet arete. I didn’t manage to send that warm summer day but last weekend I ran out for a rematch. Pretty sweet problem and not a bad setting. Also, I’m currently all about the victory floss when topping out new boulders. #rockclimbing #bouldering #tjörn #teamevolv #swedishbouldering #floss

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James Taylor

Best friend to my brother-in-law and good friend of mine, James is one of the nicest guys i know. He’s also an absolute beast and stinging envy of his incredible ability aside, watching the stuff James gets up to ignites the fire inside me to get that little bit better.

I spotted the photo below on his feed a few weeks back and my eyes widened quite a bit. V12?! When did he get so strong! I remember climbing at Rhiw Goch with JT a few years ago and we were working on the same problems. Now, i’m sure he would flash my projects.

Honest, principled and generally a warming guy, JT has most recently been to Brazil to be part of the crew of the Brit Rock film.

Greg Chapman

Author and founder of Lakesbloc and soon-to-be author of the Lakes Bouldering Guide, Greg has almost single-handedly championed bouldering in the Lake District. He doesn’t only visit the big obvious spots, Greg champions the off-piste crags too,  including around Carnforth and into the Bowland forest.

Greg has been the stalwart of the North West bouldering scene for years and is still going strong and the major figure in the area. I’ve not had the pleasure but given the new guide is due any day now, there’s a strong chance i’ll be making more visits to the world of Wordsworth in the coming years and might run into him. I hope i do, i’d love to shake his hand.

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Eat your heart out Bishop. One of my absolute faves, The Arete at the immense Gillercombe boulders. This and dozens of equally good climbs feature in the new guidebook, which will be available to pre-order from this Friday. Stay tuned. As well as tons of classy climbs, the book is also jam packed with inspiring images, such as this wonderful shot courtesy of @peter_hobbit_wilkinson. Bring it. ———— #rockclimbing #climbing #bouldering #lakedistrict #lakedistrictuk #newbook #lakesbouldering #instaclimb #outdoorliving #guidebook #boulderinglife #scarpa_uk #bishop #climbingday #borrowdale #landscape #timetoclimb #climbing_worldwide #climbingphotography #doyouclimb #outdoors #cumbria

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Udo Neumann

Udo is a legend in the climbing coaching scene and rightly so. I had the pleasure of not only meeting him but hearing him deliver a lecture and the keynote speech at the BMC Coaching Symposium in 2016 and even discussing some things with him after the session.

He was incredibly humble, given his high esteem, and listened to me intently as i suggested swimming might be a suitable cross-training way of working on some of his principles. He’s well known as the German national team coach with some real leftfield thinking – highlighted beautifully in the popular video on YouTube from 2014.

As a coach, he’s really made me think and once our new wall opens at Plas y Brenin, i’m hoping to take a lot of his ideas and put them into practice.

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