OUR CLIMBING EXPERTS ARE IN-STORE AWAITING YOUR QUESTIONS
Our expert climbers are passionate about their sport, and spend most of their spare time planning and executing routes across the UK and beyond. So whether you're a novice who needs advice about essential climbing kit for beginners, or an experienced winter climber who needs specialist technical equipment, they're in store and ready to help. Find your nearest climbing expert from the list below.
Andi Bundai - Store Manager
Andi started climbing as a child in Urkut - a large gorge in her home country of Hungary - before having a break for a few years and starting again in earnest around 2 years ago.
She visits local climbing spots like the Avon and Cheddar Gorges as often as possible, but also loves the fact that the The Climbing Academy is based in Bristol, where she goes twice a week to scale the indoor walls.
Portland by Weymouth. “Portland just really has everything as well as being one of the prettiest sights in the South-West.”
Store: GLASGOW BRAEHEAD - TREK
Craig started climbing 9 years ago at an indoor wall and instantly fell in love with the sport. He was soon getting all of his own kit and climbing outside which took it to a whole new level. Craig climbs regularly all over the UK and has ventured abroad. His love of climbing has grown to all aspects of the sport including trad climbing, ice/mixed climbing and bouldering.
Craig is a massive supported of Climbers Against Cancer (CAC) - so much so his car is branded up and people take pictures of it and try to spot it all over the climbing scene.
Craig’s goals for the next year are to obtain his S.P.A award, go back to Fontainebleau and ice fall climbing in Norway.
Fontainebleu, France. "I've just recently spent some time bouldering at Fontainebleu, and the routes there are incredible!"
Mark started climbing over 8 years ago and loves bouldering, although he also enjoys sport and trad climbing from time to time. He tries to get out on a climb, either indoors or outdoors depending on the weather, at least 2 or 3 times per week.
Most of the climbing Mark has done has been in the UK, either in Wales or the Peak District, or the indoor climbing centres in Manchester such as Rockover and Manchester Climbing Wall.
Dali’s Hole in Llanberis. “This place is climbing Mecca. The scenery is absolutely stunning, and everywhere you look you can climb.”
Climbing & Mountaineering Expert
Store: MANCHESTER 130 DEANSGATE
From bouldering, through sport and trad up to the Alps and Scottish winter – Andy does it all. Spending most of his weekends clambering around the Lake District, Andy became keen in walking and camping as well.
A Zugspitze and Grossglockner summiter and Peak District grit regular, Andy is planning big; currently training to get his form up for his planned trip to Australia.
Borrowdale, The Lake District: "Multi-pitch routes over there are just second to none and isolated enough for you to focus on climbing alone".
Brian Molyneux - Store Manager
Climbing and Mountaineering Expert
Brian has extensive knowledge of all types of climbing, from bouldering to winter mountaineering. His passion for the sport has taken him to some of the world’s best and most notorious climbing spots; he’s made films on the North Face of the Matterhorn and the Eiger in winter, and his first Alpine climb was in Italy on the Cima Grande, widely known to be one of the hardest routes in the country.
Some of Brian’s most adventurous and favourite climbs were in South America, exploring extreme parts of Patagonia.
Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia. “This place is incredible; the climbs are amazing and feature some of the hardest routes in the world. It’s fairly remote but the scenery is second to none and you might not see another person for days on end.”
Peter Darch - Store Manager
Store: COVENT GARDEN
Peter first tried rock climbing at the age of 15 on a visit to the Plas y Brenin activity centre in Wales, and having enjoyed the experience then went on to join the climbing club at his school in the Manchester suburb of Hyde. As his interest in the sport grew, Peter made good use of a local quarry within cycling distance of home, before moving on to more adventurous trips across the UK.
More recently, he’s climbed routes of varying difficulty in the French and Swiss mountains, Norway and even Morocco, but when he isn’t ice climbing in the Alps, Peter travels across the UK to find new routes, his most recent discovery being the granite cliffs of Cornwall.
The Roaches, Staffordshire. “The Roaches is full of classic climbs, there’s plenty of bouldering in the forest and the more you look the more hidden climbs you come across. See if you can find the bizarre house in the rock face.”
Store: MANCHESTER 130 DEANSGATE
Despite a fear of heights, Andy is a highly experienced and knowledgeable climber. After taking it up in sixth form, he quickly progressed through from bouldering to trad and eventually winter climbing in Scotland.
His love of climbing has taken him across Europe, bouldering amongst the legendary crags of Fontainbleu, and this summer he'll be climbing in the Alps.
Cairngorms. "My favourite climbing spot has to be the Cairngorms. I really feel the cold and wear about seven layers, but Coire an t-Sneachda is amazing - I've been three times this year already!"
Climbing Expert/Trekking Expert
Store: ST. PAUL'S
Jose has only been in England for a short time, and has yet to explore the famous British countryside, but if you’re planning a trip to Spain, and in particular Andalucia, then you should make it a priority to come and talk to him. Brought up in a small village near Seville, the mountains were never far away, which led Jose to try out mountain biking at an early age and abseiling at the age of 13.
Studying physical education became a big part of Jose's like, and he went on from secondary school to do a PE degree, then a Masters in outdoor sports. The countryside and mountains in Sierra Nevada offered huge varieties of terrain, where Jose soon became an expert climber, and found a natural playground that allowed to him practice his favourite sport – canyoning. He is currently keen to go to Chamonix to explore the French Alps, but as he points out every outdoor activity can be practiced within Andalucia, and all within a 3 hour drive of each other.
Picos de Europa, and Madeira, Spain. For climbing, Naranjo de Bulnes, in Picos de Europa, Asturias. This is a huge limestone peak in the Spanish National Park that has amazing climbing routes on the West and North faces. For canyoning, it has to be Madeira Island, off the coast of Portugal. Simply the best canyoning in Europe.
Store: THE NORTH FACE SHEFFIELD
Neil started climbing at the age of 7, over 20 years ago, thanks to a cousin who invited him along on a climbing trip after he saw him attempt to scale - and promptly fall out of - a tree. The cousin has a lot to answer for, because Neil is possibly one of the most fanatical climbers we've got amongst our climbing experts.
His first ever trip was to local crags in Wharnecliff, and from there he progressed to trying out routes in Wales, the Lake District, and then after a few years’ practice moved on to ice climbing in the Glencoe mountain range, Scotland. At age 17 Neil spent a summer climbing in Chamonix, so if you’re thinking of a trip to the Alps to try out some routes, talk to Neil.
These days, he trains at least 6 days a week, mainly in The Foundry, but still frequently visits Snowdonia, Great Orm, and he is always aiming to try out new routes in Wharnecliff. He is also planning a trip to the Greek island of Kalymnos next year, for some fairer weather climbing, which will coincide with The North Face festival.
Llanberis pass, Wales. Neil is always looking for interesting rock faces will lots of diversity, and his favourite place to climb in the UK is Llanberis pass in Wales. "There's just loads to do, all sorts of different styles from multi pitch Trad, to bouldering next to the road, and the scenery is amazing." One of his ambitions is to go climbing on the granite of the Australian Grampians, near Melbourne, for the reasons above.
Walking & Climbing Expert
Store: MILTON KEYNES TREK
With a 4 year degree in Adventure Education and all the training needed for her summer Mountain Leader certification, Jade Dicerbo is more than qualified as a walking and climbing expert.
Jade has only a few more days needed to log for both her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and her ML assessment, so has all the experience you could wish for when seeking advice for mountain gear.
Jade truly understands the value of a well-fitted walking boot after a mishap on her Duke of Edinburgh expedition: "I once lost a walking boot in a bog and had to walk to the next campsite with one shoe on! My Top tip? Make sure you get your boots fitted properly!"
Wales, UK. "I love going on expeditions around the UK especially Scotland. It's so, so beautiful and has so many great areas to explore. Wales is also a personal favourite, having completed ML training in Snowdonia, I’ll always enjoy trekking around there. "
Climbing & Mountaineering Expert
Mountaineering and climbing expert Rhys tries to get out to the walls two to three times a week, and into the mountains at least twice a month. Well-versed in all aspects of the sport including indoor, trad, sport, bouldering, dry-tooling and winter climbing, it's safe to say Rhys is a font of knowledge when it comes to heading upwards.
Rhys's climbing has had its highs and lows. He has completed a Three Peaks Challenge in full winter conditions; fallen on a pitch on Ben Nevis's Douglas Boulder (and gone on to finish the route in the dark) but on other climbs has known when to turn back, having had to abandon an attempt on Thunderbolt in Glencoe.
Scottish Highlands and Snowdonia."I love Glencoe and Torridon, but the Glyders and Carneddau are my favourites closer to home. Pete's Eats in Llanberis is a great place after a long day in the hills - it does awesome food and hot chocolate!
Store: COVENT GARDEN
Nacho began ice climbing when he joined Ellis Brigham's Covent Garden shop over five years ago. Immediately realising he had found his niche, he became an ice wall instructor and now manages our London Vertical Chill indoor ice wall.
Nacho loves his job, and the opportunity it gives him to train his skills and technique on the ice: "Most people go ice climbing once or twice a year, I do it two or three times a month plus at least one trip a year somewhere outdoors. That has allowed me to improve and polish my technique quite fast. It also gives me access to quite a wide range of gear that I can test and try."
He also relishes the chance he gets to learn from some of the world's top athletes: "Meeting good ice climbers in the ice wall and learning from their experience also helped me, but I learned the most when I had ice climbing training classes with top worldwide climbers Tim Emmett and Dave Mcleod."
The Alps. "My favourite destination for ice climbing is the Alps. Lovely food, French or Italian depending on which side you are on and it's not overly cold, so the ice is soft and nice to climb."