Without a doubt he’s a climber’s climber, a climbing legend and a pioneer with true grit.
He rampaged around the country doing first ascents of classic routes like Linden, Caveman and Ludwig – all E6 – and then turned to winter mountaineering doing Shield Direct – the first route to be given VI (now VII, 7). The chalk cliffs of Dover amused him but the Himalaya provided a play-ground that he excelled at. The first ascent of Gave Ding in 2016 secured him his third Piolet d’Or.
I first met him in the Peak District in the mid 70’s. Around that time I photographed him spread-eagled on blank rock attempting an unclimbed direct finish to Jermyn Street at Millstone. It’s still unclimbed today by the way. He was probing the envelope – something which he’s done on numerous occasions throughout his climbing career, a career that spans more than four decades.
He’s a reluctant ‘hero’ but, without a doubt, he’s a climber’s climber, a climbing legend and a pioneer. I had the privilege of listening to some of his exploits at Kendal in November 2016 and have interviewing him recently. That interview will be in the next edition of CLIMBER.
He, is Mick Fowler…