GB Climbing Team Member, International Competition Climber, Former British Bouldering Champion and Route Setter
Thank you to Matt, 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 Matt Cousins. I’m 29 now, I’ve been climbing since I was 11 years old.
What was your first climbing experience?
I started climbing when I went to secondary school, we had just a small bouldering wall and there was a group of us. We had a good teacher who was kind of like our coach as well and he took us on trips all over the country, outside, doing a lot of trad stuff. Then he got us involved in competitions. When I left school I had a break and then carried on.
How did you know that climbing was your thing?
I guess I just really enjoyed it. It’s that classic thing when you’re a kid, I was always a bit crazy, climbing trees, making jumps on bikes, that kind of stuff. Then when I found climbing I got to use that energy and channel it into something. Yeah I just enjoyed it. I liked the friendship group I had that we were climbing with. I just enjoyed it, [it was] just fun.
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
I would have to say I love the peaks, I love the Peak District. That’s kind of where my first outdoor trip [was]. I lived down in Kent so we went to the Southern sandstone, that was my first outdoor place and I really love that, I go back still – go back and redo all the classics. I do really love the peak district. If I had to pick one it would probably be Gaia at Black Rocks. Yeah, that would be my favourite one.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
I think winning the national championships, the BBC’s [British Bouldering Championships] in 2016. That was a real big moment for me. There was a lot of stuff going on at that time, I got dropped from the British team that year and I didn’t really feel like it was justified and I felt I had a point to prove. You know, when you get told that you’re not really good at something, it gave me a lot of motivation to prove other people wrong. And I guess I questioned myself, whether I was good enough. But to win that competition, that was like a really special moment.
What are your ambitions?
Ambitions, wow. I think now I’m putting a lot of focus into the international comps. I’m kind of getting older in a competition sense. I’m only 29 but I mean I guess I’ve got people like Dave [Barrans] to still look up to, he’s 30’s, like 37 maybe so you know anything is still possible. But I feel like I’m at a good age where I feel like I’ve done enough nationally to kind of prove myself. so I feel like I want to put a proper block of training together to have a real good effort at the international competitions. Do the whole season. I think that’s my main aim right now.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
Yeah, boulder. Boulder, all day. Boulder because I think, it’s not that it’s more interesting. I think lead and speed, to a certain extent, is really interesting but I think you can just get crazy moves. Especially in an international sense it doesn’t really matter if you fall off, you can have multiple goes. Whereas in lead you’ve got one go, speed if you fall off, you’re done. Yeah, you get a bit more experimental stuff.
What are your most liked and hated healthy foods? I guess I like a lot of fruit. I have a lot of fruit. I have porridge and I have a lot of fruit in that, berries and stuff. I fruit healthy now, I don’t know. I hate mushrooms and avocado, they’re like my two things.
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
I don’t know. Maybe like an e-sport, I quite like FIFA, playing on the X-box. That’s my rest day thing. I don’t want to do anything, I just want to sit and completely recover, so I just play a lot of FIFA. You know, I’m not that good but maybe if I put a lot of time into it, I’d be great. So maybe that. Is that a sport? I’ll take it.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
If I see something that I really like, wherever, I’ll screenshot it or write it down, I’ll just put it in my notes file on my phone and I’ll go back to it and look at it. So if I ever question something or feel like I need some inspiration, I’ll look at that. So there’s a guy called Wim Hof, he’s called Iceman Hof, he does a lot of crazy stuff with ice baths and swimming in the Arctic.
“Your fitness is 100% mental, your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t push it.”
I think that’s pretty good and that explains a lot. If you’re not mentally in the right place, you’ll never be able to do anything.
For more information about Matt check out his Instagram