I was climbing the 30 Wall the other day on a high-gravity day. I was flailing; failing hard. You know those days when you can’t seem to get your footwork quite right? When the skin on your finger-tips is shredded down paper thin and your arms are pumped after a few attempts? One of those days.
Where are you from and how did you end up at Brooklyn Boulders?
I’m originally from England. I moved around the UK a lot, but grew up mainly in Chippenham. I studied fine art at University in Wales, was a woodsman for three years and then lived in London for five years. I started at Brooklyn Boulders as a volunteer in 2010, and then started working at the front desk. At that point, I’d be climbing here for over a year, and it was amazing to work within such a great community. I naturally gravitate towards teaching people, so I love my job.
How long have you been climbing for?
A friend of mine took a local learn the ropes class in London, and realized he needed someone to belay him. I went and was hooked immediately. I started to climb three times a week – which has been consistent for the past seven years. When I got to BKB, I started focusing more on bouldering.
What’s your climbing philosophy?
I love the process of figuring it all out. Whether that’s how to ascend a particular problem or how to train better – it all starts to feel like one big fun experiment. I enjoy training hard and becoming stronger, but I’m more interested in being a good climber than a strong climber. Form and technique is essential. Trying is always good too – even if you’re failing, you’re trying, which is good. Recognizing and identifying a weakness is good: it’s room for improvement.
Climbing is great because it’s not something I’ll ever completely master; there’s always something different. It’s open-ended and will always present new challenges.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I know how excited I was when I started climbing – I enjoy seeing that fresh enthusiasm. When you first start climbing, you get that rapid progression of learning new skills and techniques – it’s great to help them develop a greater understanding of how their moving and the techniques.
It’s problem solving. How to address an individual’s strengths, weaknesses. It’s that feeling of triumph – it doesn’t matter if you’re climbing V0, V1, V4, V10s – it’s watching that individual accomplishment that makes it all worth it.