Professional Route Setter and climber
Thank you to Alex for letting us interview him during the Battle of Britain 2018 at the Depot in Manchester on 20th October.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a route setter so I put the holds on the wall. Create the climbs both for normal commercial route setting and then for competitions all through the UK
What was your first climbing experience?
When I was about 12 to 13, my Dad took me out climbing (back in the early 90s) and I got into it more consistently from about ’96 onwards, from the age of 16.
How did you know that climbing was your thing?
I just really liked it. I really liked the combination of the physical aspects of it combined with the problem solving. I also liked the fact that you could do it on your own but you could also have this thing of climbing with friends but you didn’t need to rely on them as such. With team sports I found it’s all at a set time, so you need everyone there to make it work. I could just go climb whenever.
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
Probably, in the UK I really like a place called Parisella’s Cave in North Wales which seems to be a bit of a love it or hate it venue. I really like it but a lot of people don’t like it so much. Once you go outside of the UK, I really like Fontainebleau; it’s probably my favourite place I’ve ever been to.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
Probably ‘The Wire’ in Parisella’s. I was pleased with that. It was the first thing I’ve properly projected. It took me quite a long time but it’s an interesting process to try a problem for that length of time and get frustrated, get close, have to go away, come back later and eventually do it. So the whole … it was a long process but the whole process was fun.
What are your ambitions?
[laughs] I don’t know. I think as I’ve got older, it’s not really … not so much for the grade or for a specific climb but I think mainly to keep enjoying climbing, to be able to keep climbing for a long time to keep going with it. And now, my kids starting to come climbing with me as well so, seeing them doing it. To just keep enjoying it I think. I think … yeah, to keep enjoying climbing for a long time.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
Boulder. Well … if I didn’t have kids, probably sport climbing but it’s a bit harder to work with a family, it’s a bit more time consuming and it’s a bit more antisocial. Overall, bouldering I really enjoy still. Have been doing that, it’s a bit more social and it’s works well with a family. Speed I think is great in a comp and works really well but it’s not, because I don’t compete, it’s not something I would ever do.
What are your most liked and hated healthy foods?
[laughs] Depends what you define as healthy. I pretty carnivorous so a good steak I think. Most hated, don’t know … something vegetarian.
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
I used to, when I was younger, do a lot of Judo and Jiu Jitsu and MMA sort of stuff so that’s what I’d probably be; fighting in some form or another but particularly the grappling sports like Judo and Jiu Jitsu I really liked.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
“The only substitute for power is more power” – Ben Moon