Climbing Centre Assistant Manager & Route Setter
Thank you to Ollie for letting us interview him at Boulder Shack.
Who you are and what do you do?
My name is Ollie Wragg. I’m the Assistant Manager and Head Setter at Boulder Shack. I am a climbing coach and freelance setter in my spare time, I mainly set around the south of the UK.
What was your first climbing experience?
I went out with scouts to Burbage, I was about 10. Fell off top-roping, skinned the back of my hand and vowed never to climb again and then started again properly when I went to Uni in North Wales.
How did you know that climbing was your thing?
I just did it a lot, basically. Just really enjoyed being outdoors. Up in North Wales in the slate quarries and up in the mountains on big mountain days. All my mates around that time were climbing a lot, it’s just what we did really. It was never, this is my thing, it’s just what we did.
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
My favourite outdoor climb is in Craig Bwlch y Moch (Tremadog) in North Wales, near Port Madoc. Its called Merlin Direct and I think comes in at HVS or something like that. It’s a great crag, usually good weather,really great views sat on the top looking out. Just really pleasant climbing.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
My proudest moment has been organising and leading the setting team for the first boulder only round of the YCS in our region. It was a great opportunity to put into practice all the skills I’ve learned along the way (mainly from Andy Perrin). Being joined by Gaz Parry and Tommy Matthews was great support with the amount of competition climbing they share.
What are your ambitions?
I’m getting a bit old and a bit broken so climbing ambitions are out the window, so my ambitions are more setting wise. To get a bit more comp experience, keep developing that side of my climbing now.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
Boulder. 100%. I’ve got no endurance. I’ve not really done a huge amount of sport climbing outdoors because we just went out doing big mountain days and trad or bouldering. But I was a gymnast growing up so bouldering sort of suits me quite well with the power and flexibility. So bouldering for sure.
What are your most liked and hated healthy foods?
Beetroot. Yeah beetroot, I like it because it’s really healthy. I believe there’s lots of antioxidants and stuff like that in it. But beetroot juice is absolutely rank. But it’s really good for you so I drink it despite it not being that great and you kind of just chug it and it’s alright.
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
I’d have to pick gymnastics, but that’d probably because I’ve been doing it for so long I can still walk in the gym and not look like a total punter. But if I had to pick a new sport, it’d be surfing. I did a bit towards the end of my Uni life with a good mate called OD, I’d like to do more of that.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
So, in a previous life I was part of Occupational Health where I ran a ‘Health and Wellbeing Programme’ for East Kent NHS. As a result mental health is a really important to me. I came across a company called ‘Action for Happiness’ who released a series of posters, one of which has stuck with me. It’s super simple and just says “if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it”. I’ve definitely reminded myself of that a couple of times since.
For more information about Ollie you can follow him on Instagram at olliewragg_climbing
Interviewed for us by Leigh _leigh.climbs_