British Mountaineering Council (BMC) President and enthusiastic outdoor rock climber
Thank you to Lynn for letting us interview her at the 2019 Open Youth Bouldering Championships held at Rock Over Climbing in Manchester.
Who you are and what do you do?
My name is Lynn Robinson and I’m the president of the British Mountaineering Council, the BMC.
What was your first climbing experience?
Gosh, I started climbing, maybe about 30 years ago. I used to love hill walking and then started scrambling, doing harder and harder scrambles and thought crikey I’d better learn to use a rope here. I was a student at the time so I joined my university climbing club, Nottingham Trent University. So my first climb was on Froggatt Edge in the Peak District.
How did you know that climbing was your thing?
I think after I’d done harder and harder climbs. I started climbing with my husband and we still climb together now. Every single holiday is a climbing or mountaineering holiday. It’s just made me who I am – I just absolutely love it.
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
That’s a tough one because it all depends – there are lots of stand-out memories that I’ve got. Traversing The Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye in 22 hours was amazing. Also for our 25th wedding anniversary we climbed El Capitan and that took us 12 unforgettable days.
I also remember onsight leading various slab routes at my limit in the US; especially ‘Noriega Does Panama’ in Joshua Tree National Park, as my husband really struggled to follow it. Also I clearly remember a great day on Curbar Edge in Derbyshire, onsight leading my first HVS and then immediately afterwards, the climb next to it, my first onsight Extreme.
My favourite fun day out in the mountains is starting at Pen Y Pass in Snowdonia and walking up and climbing ‘Slanting Buttress’ on Lliwedd, then going up to the top of Snowdon and scrambling down Crib Goch: a brilliant day out. The climb is a 9 pitch ‘Diff’ that I’ve led ‘moving together alpine style’ with limited protection, I’ve also taken beginners up pitching every pitch and also accompanying other climbers on their first multi-pitch leading.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
Proudest moment, probably doing The Cuillin Ridge traverse. We deliberately didn’t recce it beforehand and the climbing and navigation for us was quite tricky for a lightweight one day attempt. You often can’t use a compass because the rock is magnetic. Starting off at 2am in the morning we just did it in 22 hours. We did it close to the longest day so we didn’t have to use a headtorch, but just moving together. When I was feeling tired, my husband helped, when he was feeling tired I helped him: we were just a brilliant team! A wonderful, wonderful day. Near perfect weather as well.
What are your ambitions?
I’ve been climbing for a long time now so I’d say my ambition actually is just to continue for as long as I can. There are lots of amazing role models in their 70’s still enjoying climbing; some climbing fairly hard. I enjoy climbing, outdoors and indoors, mountaineering and hill walking. I’m walking across Scotland this May, doing the TGO Challenge. It’s their 40th anniversary and the BMC’s 75th anniversary so I’m really looking forward to that.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
I’ve never done Speed climbing. For me, when I started climbing there were only a few old style indoor climbing walls, so mainly I climbed outside. I would still say I’m an outdoor ‘trad’ climber in my heart of hearts, but I love bouldering, especially the social aspect of this indoors. It’s great training, and really friendly, and you push yourself mentally and physically as much or as little as you like.
As an athlete you are expected to eat lots of healthy food. What are your most liked and hated healthy foods?
[Laughs] I probably wouldn’t class myself in the category of athlete so my most loved food, is probably regarded as really unhealthy: cauliflower cheese. It’s my absolute favourite, and obviously the cauliflower bit is healthy! My most hated, gosh! I don’t like Marmite!
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
That’s really, hard. When I was at school I used to love cross country running and I loved hockey, but then I discovered climbing and mountaineering. I have to say I can’t imagine doing anything else, just the places it’s taken me around the world. It’s just absolutely phenomenal and it’s just really enhanced my life and I just love it.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
“It goes, boys!”
Do you know who said that? [Maya, “No”] Lynn Hill, she was the person ever in the entire world, not first woman, the first person to free climb ‘The Nose’ on El Capitan. That’s my most inspiring quote.
Lynn was interviewed for us by Maya.