Lakeland Activist Q&A: Jonathan Spooner

Jonathan Spooner, 26, Ambleside Local.

What’s your favourite Lake District Route and why?
One Step Beyond E4, Gouther Crag. It climbs an amazing hanging slab which gives you instant exposure as you traverse across and is situated in one of the quieter parts of the Lakes. Rumor has it that it never rains in Swindale too…

What does finding a true trad partner feel like?
Trust and motivation

What words or phrases do you most overuse when tradding in the Lakes?
“Where does the route go” “Bit awkward this”

What climbs keep you awake at night?
Anything in Hodge Close.

What’s your worst climbing habit?
Obsessively chalking all the time

What’s your most treasured piece of kit?
DMM Couloirs 8.0mm Great, light, dry treated ropes with a low impact force. Confidence inspiring.

Which notable climbers would you invite to your dream crag day out?
Pete Whillance for sure. Don’t see many guys cranking out 6b with a fag in their mouth!

What about the current state of climbing makes you unhappy?
People arguing on the Internet and not getting out to do it for themselves.

What’s the most important lesson trad has taught you?
To always try and push your boundaries

To what do you owe your climbing mentors?
At least a Beer…

What’s the worst climb you’ve ever done?
I don’t think I have one! Maybe I’m just good at forgetting all those type 2 fun experiences.

What single thing would improve the quality of your climbing?
Bigger Guns Obviously

If you could bring something of climbings past back to life, what would it be?
Don Whillans. I think the world could use someone with his bluntness.

Tell us a lake district secret?
It’s actually amazing here. We just keep the hard grading and choss rumors going so we have the crags to ourselves 😉

What does the future of climbing hold for you?
More chances to explore the world, climb great routes and share experiences with friends.

 

Lakeland Activist Q&A: Will Sim

Will Sim, A Cumbrian born Alpinist.

Name, Age, Main activity when not climbing;
Will Sim, 28, skiing, listening to blues music and thinking about climbing!

Your favourite Lake District Route and why?
“The Cumbrian”, beautiful place, amazing line and good name; I spent most of my childhood dreaming about it and when I finally got on it I fumbled the crux but just managed to scrape through!

What climbs keep you awake at night?
Ones without ledges big enough to lie down on!

What’s your worst climbing habit?
When I don’t wear a helmet.

What’s your most treasured piece of kit?
FRCC Scafell, Wasdale and Eskdale guidebook. The old edition. It was my Bible as a kid. “Only the best will succeed, whilst those who only think they are the best will receive good hospital treatment.” If you know what route that is the description of it’s your Bible also.

Which notable climbers would you invite to your dream crag day out?
Probably just my normal climbing partners, which is why they’re my normal climbing partners! Oh, and Joe Brown.

What about the current state of climbing makes you unhappy?
When I go to a climbing wall and they tell me I can’t belay right.

What’s the most important lesson trad has taught you?
That it’s not just about the moves. And that if you wanna get stronger you’d better go bouldering as well…

To what do you owe your climbing mentors?
The knowledge to get started and take it further.

What’s the worst climb you’ve ever done?
I’ve never done a bad climb.

What single thing would improve the quality of your climbing?
Reaching the “flow” state more often and climbing more with nice girls.

Tell us a Lake District secret?
There’s only one lake in the Lake District. Boring one I know! Ok, if there’s no lichen in your eyes when you reach the belay you picked a boring route.

If you could bring something of climbings past back to life, what would it be?
The largeness of the world; I expect not so long ago the world seemed physically bigger – harder to travel around, slower to travel around. Therefore bigger badder adventures were even bigger and even badder. But maybe I’m wrong? Not figured that one out yet.

 

Will new routing on St Bee’s and Eskdale

Lakeland Activist Q&A: Jerome Cooper

We talk to the climbers racking up in the valleys, roosting in the crags, and reliving their ascents in the pubs of the Lakes this summer.  Jerome Cooper, a climbing insomniac with a passion for Fallen Angels.

Name, Age, Main activity when not climbing;
Jerome Cooper, 30, when not climbing?!?

Your favourite Lake District Route and why?
Tough Question. It seems each time I head out to climb this changes. There are so many hidden Gems in the Lakes it difficult to pin a single route down. Fallen Angel E4 6a*** on Pavey Ark definitely left a lasting impression. It was one of my first E4’s and it didn’t go without a fight. It features a puzzling crux sequence followed by a spicy run out. What’s not to love!

What does finding a true trad partner feel like?
When you know, you know…..
I’ll happily climb with anyone who has a cheerful disposition and a sense of adventure.

What climbs keep you awake at night?
The one’s I haven’t done! Obviously this results in many sleepless nights!

What’s your worst climbing habit?
This one’s easy. I have tendency to pull on to routes prior to fully reading the route descriptions. The inevitable result being some fairly adventurous route finding dramas!

What’s your most treasured piece of kit?
This may seem odd, but it has to be my chalk bag belt. Out of all my gear it’s the single item that I have kept with me since I started climbing. It’s literally been with me on every route I’ve ever climbed.

Which notable climbers would you invite to your dream crag day out?
Gwen Moffat, Don Whillans, Andy Kirkpatrick, Dave Birkett

What about the current state of climbing makes you unhappy?
To be honest, there isn’t anything of importance about the current state of climbing that makes me unhappy. It’d be great to see more routes cleaned up though!

What’s the most important lesson trad has taught you?
Always bring that extra slingdraw…… you will need it.
More seriously though, it’d be learning to trust my own judgments. Knowing when it’s safe to go, or when it’s better to save a route for another day.

To what do you owe your climbing mentors?
So much! They’ve been a constant influence on me since I started climbing and I still feed off their love of the sport! Sometimes it helps to be pushed!

What’s the worst climb you’ve ever done?
Whatever it was it must’ve been wiped from my memory. I’d be almost certain it wasn’t in the Lakes though.

What single thing would improve the quality of your climbing?
Being Ron Fawcett.

Tell us a lake district secret?
Never! Go find your own! The more you explore, the more you know!

If you could bring something of climbings past back to life, what would it be?
It would’ve been amazing to witness some of the first ascents of some classic routes. I wouldn’t exactly be envious of some of the Lakeland pioneers options for protection though!

What does the future of climbing hold for you?
A lifetimes worth of adventure, exploration, opportunity and growth.
Starred routes, scary routes, easy routes and everything in-between!

 

Lakeland Activist Q&A: Katy Forrester

Katy Forrester, Super proficient Lakeland all rounder; she ticks trad, boulder, ice, sport and fell routes.

Name, Age, Main activity when not climbing;
Katy Forrester, n+1, being a mum.

Your favourite lake District Route and why?
Blencathra Fell race route. I always have a good time when running it!

What does finding a true trad partner feel like?
Better than sex.

What climbs keep you awake at night?
None of my own…but my daughter Ada can climb out of or over many things so I am always listening out for the sound of her escaping.

What’s your worst climbing habit?
Lacking confidence and not going for it!

What’s your most treasured piece of kit?
My NavLab (Navigation Labrador) who is my shadow and constant companion. Has only put me in the wrong valley once.

Which notable climbers would you invite to your dream crag day out?
My chiropractor friend Matt. We can talk baby daughters and he can make my back straight again!

What’s the most important lesson trad has taught you?
Something good is coming up if you can hold on long enough.

To what do you owe your climbing mentors?
They are my landlords, Ada’s GuideParents and I currently have their Gable guidebook. They also leant me my first rack and I know where their spare key is. I owe them loads! Plus they know all the good fell running trods.

What’s the worst climb you’ve ever done?
Can’t remember. The slog up the hill to some winter climbs might win.

What single thing would improve the quality of your climbing?
More time and good weather

Tell us a lake district secret?
Penrith makes the best fudge.

If you could bring something of climbings past back to life, what would it be?
Not sure. Life moves on

What does the future of climbing hold for you?
Hopefully lots more climbing and running. And really dry summers please!

Lakeland Activist Q&A: Oli Grounsell

We talk to the climbers racking up in the valleys, roosting in the crags, and reliving their ascents in the pubs of the Lakes this summer.  This week we have Oli Grounsell, Young Gun, Worldwide monkey and Lake District ‘Novice.’

 

Name, Age, Main activity when not climbing;

Oli Grounsell, 23, erm?

 

Your favourite lake District Route and why?

I won’t lie I’ve not climbed in the Lakes as much as I would have liked. Done quite a few good routes for sure but the obvious ‘best’ would have to be Birketts Nowt Burra Fleetin Thing (E8 6c) on Cam Crag. Ended up at Cam Crag on a late September weekend with the Lakes very own Caff a few years ago. The weather was perfect and walking in in the morning I just knew we would have a good day. The arete is in a spectacular position, kind of like the Lakes own Divided Years. We had a few burns from the ground getting higher and higher. Obviously Caff cracked it first and then I followed suit.

 

What does finding a true trad partner feel like?

Ask Nathan Lee, he’d be able to wax lyrical about climbing with me.

 

What climbs keep you awake at night?

I’m pretty good at sleeping. At the moment I’m not too sure, I got very close on Bat Route recently and would really like to finish that off in the autumn. Such good climbing in an amazing setting. Hard to complain about UK sport climbing when climbing routes like that.

 

What’s your worst climbing habit?

The grass is greener on the other side. I.e always thinking I could be doing something better.

 

What’s your most treasured piece of kit?

My friends ex girlfriends beanie. Great colours.

 

Which notable climbers would you invite to your dream crag day out?

I’d rather go climbing with my mates.

 

What about the current state of climbing makes you unhappy?

Whenever I go to a crag and I feel the presence of climbers is too notable.

 

What’s the most important lesson trad has taught you?

Never underestimate the rock.

 

To what do you owe your climbing mentors?

One of my earliest climbing mentors was Jon Cowley, I was about 12 and doing lots of climbing indoors. He took me an my friend Finn out at the weekends and introduced us to trad climbing in the Peak. He made sure we were safe and I think instilled lots of really good practices which will stay with me forever. He really did open up a new world to me at a young age so I have lots to thank him for.

 

What’s the worst climb you’ve ever done?

It’s all money in the bank isn’t it?

 

What single thing would improve the quality of your climbing?

More climbing!

 

Tell us a Lake District secret?

I can’t. They’ll hurt me.

 

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

Socially acceptable to be on the dole.

 

What does the future of climbing hold for you?

Last year I did quite a few big walls in Mexico, I really enjoyed this style of climbing and the time spent with a good friend(s). I think also because you are so tired the post climbing satisfaction in this style is really high, with the high lasting for quite a few days. In my general climbing, this multi day satisfaction is something I find harder and harder to find, even on routes I would consider an achievement.

 

Imagine Copyright: Eleanor Rigby