Nick Rice, Expert in crag angles and probability of dry rock equations.


Name, Age, Main activity when not climbing;
Nick Rice. 56. Physics teacher.

Your favourite lake District Route and why?
I was born in Liverpool and my first climbing experiences were in the days before we had ready access to transport so consisted of visits to Pex Hill, Helsby, Frodsham and, if we were lucky, Wilton. One day somebody gave me a lift to The Lakes for the weekend and we did a bunch of routes around Wasdale. One of these was Tophet Wall. I couldn’t believe how brilliant it was and was completely hooked from then on. I’ve done many fantastic routes since but that one still stands out as unforgettable. I feel very fortunate to now live 30 minutes drive from Wasdale.

What words or phrases do you most overuse when tradding in the Lakes?
I’m just going to back up that last runner with another one six inches above it. Gosh, look at that view. We need to get a move on, it looks like it might rain soon.

What climbs keep you awake at night?

What’s your worst climbing habit?
Constantly getting lost as a result of not reading the guidebook instructions when descending from a route.

What’s your most treasured piece of kit?
The last piece I placed.

Which notable climbers would you invite to your dream crag day out?
Tom Randall, he could help me with offwidths. Hazel Findley, she could provide some much needed mental coaching.

What about the current state of climbing makes you unhappy?
Nothing, I think climbing is in a pretty healthy state.

What’s the most important lesson trad has taught you?
Sometimes you can only rely on yourself.

To what do you owe your climbing mentors?
They literally taught me the ropes. I’m lucky to have started at a time when it was normal to learn by simply going out with somebody with a bit more experience.

What’s the worst climb you’ve ever done?
I’m always happy to just be out. Having said that I can’t ever remember really enjoying The Breck, a sandstone venue near Liverpool.

What’s your trad outfit of choice?
Lightweight trousers. T-shirt. Lightweight windproof jacket attached to my harness. Helmet. Although round here I quite often end up wearing a lot more than this.

What single thing would improve the quality of your climbing?
Bravery. Having the confidence to lead at the same level I can boulder.

If you could bring something of climbings past back to life, what would it be?
Less polish.

Tell us a lake district secret?
The walk in to Scafell isn’t actually that far.

What does the future of climbing hold for you?
I’m too old to be chasing grades so I just want to continue to get out for as long as I possibly can.

Photo: I haven’t actually got a recent picture of me climbing so here’s a selfie of me relaxing after soloing Needle Ridge and about to climb Westmoreland Crags to the top of Gable. 250m climbing after work, what could be better.

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