April has started off with us welcoming a new ambassador into the Hangar 18 team...
It is always a little weird talking about yourself, but here goes. I am a rock climber, I have indulged in this crazy passion for all things vertical since 1995 when I packed my bags and moved to university in Bangor, North Wales for the sole purpose of climbing. Living in Snowdonia ever since, I now work in the industry around the sport that consumes me.
Don’t be under any illusion that I am a top level climber, i am not. I prefer to see myself as what might be called a ‘lifer’ having over twenty years experience in rock climbing. In that time I have onsighted E6, bouldered V9, climbed all over the world and made some first ascents on remote big walls in Canada and Alaska. My work now includes coaching people to climb, instructing them in navigation and mountaineering skills as well as trying to capture the lifestyle in words and pictures. I guess I am the stereotypical jack of all trades master at none.
This year I turn 40, so I am no spring chicken and definitely feel like the top of the hill is in sight. In order to combat this and rather than getting divorced or a sports car, my midlife crisis has revolved around taking a year off my normal 9 to 5 and instead I am focused on producing a series of words pictures and videos of my journey round the world in 40 climbs.
Hangar 18 have been really supportive and got onboard at the start of this project by providing me with some of their excellent gear and helping me share the mini-series I am creating with you their customers. My initial leg to south america where I managed to get a few great routes in the bag, I then had my camera and computer stolen and was forced to cut the trip short. On my return Hangar 18 asked whether I would be an ambassador for them.
It seems like a great opportunity for me to work with them and help to promote not only there existing equipment but give them feedback on how it works in my world. In doing so I hope that together we can produce some really great kit for not only climbing but a multitude of outdoor pastimes.
To give you an idea of the type of testing I am doing, today I put on a fresh pair of Bouldering Pants and then grovelled my way up the first ever recorded boulder problem in Fontainebleau. It was a challenging proposition giving it was first climbed in 1908 and looked like it had subsequently never seen another ascent. Despite being ground, wedged and forced into the coarse sandstone off-width crack the only damage is that the pants are now streaked in the green and brown slime of the lichen.
Over the next couple of weeks I am hoping to give the gear a good run for its money in and around this majestic forest before I head to Spain for some work teaching sports climbing and who knows maybe I’ll climb a F8a? If you want to follow my movements then Hangar 18 are sharing my adventures as I film and edit them on my travels.
My favourite piece of ORR H18 kit so far is their down jacket, I love that it is reversible and I am most often seen in the red in the Hills and Black around town. As it really stands out against most rock and then I can blend in when on the high street. I took it with me a couple of weeks back when I soloed Napes Needle the first real rock climb in the UK if not the world. Despite being light weight it managed to stand up to the brutal nature of Patagonia as well.