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Interviews

  • Alex Mason is a climber based in North Wales with a knack for finding quality new routes. Most recently, he forced a way through one of the steeper sections of Gogarth's Main Cliff to add Democide (E8/9). After being part of Bangor University's infamous climbing club (the 'BUMS') in 2010, he now works at the Beacon climbing wall, and splits his time between climbing and his family.

  • Angus Kille has climbed an alarming number of hard, bold trad routes in the U.K. - and 8c sport routes to boot. He's based in Llanberis, North Wales, but has just spent three months in Spain, climbing and coaching in the sunshine. Find out what makes Angus tick through big leads and the headspace required.

  • Calum Muskett started climbing aged 13 in his local area of North Wales. He made quick work of many classic trad routes throughout the grades, and has since established a few new routes of his own. Calum famously onsighted The Cad (E6 6a) aged 14, which is good going! Ever energetic, he's training to become a British Mountain Guide, is finishing a Master's Degree at Bangor University, and takes an active role in issues close to home.

  • David Mason and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk are a couple based in Sheffield, but they've travelled and climbed extensively around the world. Together, they've climbed some impressive - and hard - problems and routes. From flashing Gaia (E8 6c) to Mecca Extension (8c), and from Font to Waterfall Boven, they've certainly been busy. Enjoy the interview.

  • Ed Booth is one of the Shropshire-based climbers who'll turn up at a crag with a friendly 'hello,' climb your brilliant routes, and disappear off again with a cheery wave. He's climbed extensively throughout the UK, but started at his local crag (Nesscliffe) under the watchful eye of Nick Dixon. Understandably, Ed took the local ethics of headpointing and ticked many hard routes around the country, but he's also onsighted to a high level. Now working as a fireman and with a family, Ed's still psyched to drive to Wales or Yorkshire for the day. Ed's brother, Adam, is also a keen climber...

  • Emma Twyford is one of the leading figures in the UK climbing scene. She's consistently been climbing in interesting places, on hard routes of all styles, and also manages to route-set as well. Chalkbloc caught up with Emma as she prepares to battle with The Big Bang (9a) again - and potentially become the first British woman to climb the grade. Good luck!

  • Ethan Walker has an impressive tick-list of sport and trad routes from around the world. Chalkbloc caught up with Ethan to hear his thoughts on how climbing in the UK compares with the rest of the world...

  • Holly Rees has quietly been crushing for several years, but recently made headlines when she climbed Mecca (8b+ at Raven Tor, in the Peak District). ChalkBloc caught up with Holly to find out more.

  • It's not an exaggeration to say James McHaffie ('Caff') is one of the most accomplished climbers in the UK. With a dark wit and a keen eye, he's consistently been operating at a high standard across many disciplines - from bold trad to hard sport, from big walls to new boulders. Just read his highlights in the seventh question... In recent years, Caff has become more involved in the BMC Youth Meets and has helped young climbers to learn the skills of the trade. Chalkbloc asked Caff a few questions before the techno party started.

  • Louise is only 15 years old, but she's already competing internationally with the GB Youth Climbing Team. A part of the generation of youngsters benefitting from training specific coaching and training, it'll be great to see what the future brings.

  • Maddy Cope has climbed extensively in the UK, in both sport and trad. She's now cranking out impressive grades (just climbing her second E9 (Prinzip Hoffnung) and her second 8c recently), but still enjoys the simplicity of movement, and the mental aspect of climbing. She was based in Bristol for a while, and has climbed many of the classics in Pembroke.
    Tom managed to catch up with her just before her ascent of Prinzip Hoffnung (F8b+/E9/10) 

  • Robbie Phillips applied years of training to climbing big walls in the United States, Chile and Madagascar. He's also climbed a number of multi-pitch routes in the Alps, including Paciencia (8a, Eiger), Project Fear (8c, Cima Grande) and End of Silence (8b+, Berchtesgaden). In between climbing trips, he works as a coach and gives presentations and is based in Scotland.

  • Simon Verspeak is based in North Wales, and runs an outdoor instructing company called Oranje Bergsport (the name is homage to his Dutch ancestry and means Orange Mountaineering). Simon holds the Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC), the highest level of climbing/mountaineering qualification in the UK. Find out what it's like to be an outdoor instructor both in the UK and abroad, and to work on the local Mountain Rescue Team.

  • Stefan Morris is a Pembroke-based climber with a passion for photography. He's climbed extensively, visiting Greenland, Yosemite and Norway in search of high-quality granite. Stefan consistently produces interesting and honest climbing photos. He'll often publish an edited, enhanced photo alongside the original, illustrating an open approach. Climbing photos are rarely perfect to compose (poor lighting conditions, for example), so it's great to see Stefan's psyche for both climbing and photography. 

  • Steve McClure should need little introduction. A legend in British climbing, he's established cutting-edge sport routes in the UK, onsighted E8 trad routes, been part of the legendary Petzl Roc Trips, and been cranking since the 80's... all while being part of a family and supposedly 'not strong!' It's all in Steve's book, Beyond Limits.

  • Uisdean Hawthorn has an ever-expanding portfolio of photographs taken from wild alpine routes around the world. CHALKbloc sits down for an interview...

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