Dan’s a mad-keen climber, honing his skills across the climbing disciplines. With a (sandstone) 6a ticked off in just his second year of climbing, the only way is up for Dan!
Name: Dan Price
Years climbing: Two and a bit
How long have you been a member of TWMC? Coming up for two years
Favourite type of climbing (trad, sport, bouldering, top-roping, soloing)? Sport at the moment as it is how I was introduced to climbing but easing my way in to trad.
What got you into climbing? I was drinking with a group of friends who all climbed and they made me commit to trying it (after I sobered up) whilst I was under the influence. Once I got over the fear I really enjoyed myself and am now properly hooked.
Where was your first climbing experience? My first outdoor climbs were in the sport climbing quarries of South Wales, the Taff valley mainly. Long, nicely bolted, single pitches on good quality limestone.
What do you like most about the sport? I enjoy the challenges of pushing yourself. Either when pushing your endurance whilst fighting the forearm pump on sports climbs, testing your strength on boulder problems or realising just how much of a coward you really are when leading trad at Swanage with Brian.
Favourite spot to climb (locally)? I think Eridge is my favourite of the local crags, it is less busy than Bowles or Harrison’s and has some lovely climbs.
Top three local climbs? Good route poor line (5c) at Eridge has some lovely moves on it. Niblick (5b) at Harrison’s is long for sandstone and is quality for its entirety. Revelations (6a) at Eridge is definitely up there as well, it was my first 6a which wasn’t particularly soft for the grade.
Top climb ever? The most memorable climb so for is definitely Legend Direct off of Guillemot Ledge at Swanage with Brian Mead. The first pitch I seconded behind Brian up a very pumpy layback/bridgey dihedral affair. The second pitch was my first ever trad lead, despite being a LOT easier than the first pitch it was absolutely terrifying. I started confidently but just before the halfway mark a hand jam behind a flake resulted in a piece of rock the size of a mini-fridge hurtling down the cliff face and left me hanging from one hand. Just the introduction to trad I expected…..
The climb with the nicest moves and which I enjoyed most was probably Reptile Smile at Portland, it is just lovely and thoroughly deserves every single one of its guidebook stars. Even with the polish that would put a Harrison’s 5a to shame.
Favourite climbs/areas to climb (nationally/globally)? All my climbing so far has been in the UK, although a plan is afoot for a trip to Font in the autumn. I really enjoyed the climbing in South Wales and would say Dinas Rocks is probably up there with the best of it.
Favourite rock type to climb on? Limestone; members that exclusively climb sandstone will be very surprised to hear of these fabled holds called edges that you find on other rock types. They are positive and you can actually pull on them!
What do you like/dislike about Southern Sandstone? I guess the main positive of the SS is the fact that it is ten minutes from my front door. I also believe that it is really good training for ‘proper’ climbing and a lot more enjoyable than training indoors. My main dislike is the reliance of top-ropes for the majority of it. When you climb so frequently on one it is a bit of a shock when you travel further afield and get confronted with a bit of a runout.
Do you have any projects/plans for 2016? Yes, definitely. I want to be leading HVS trad by the end of the year. Also I would like to get to the top of some more SS 6a routes and at least one 6c boulder!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen at a crag (locally or elsewhere)? Climbing at Bull’s Hollow last year I topped out to be confronted with a lady in a red robe standing at the top. The robe was not closed and she was not wearing anything else. After a very embarrassing few seconds she noticed me and apparently it was a red riding hood themed ‘glamour shoot’.
Do you climb indoors? If so, where? Yes, whenever the weather is not good enough to get out. Mainly in Karma in Tunbridge Wells.
Favourite local venue for refreshments after climbing? The Huntsman in Eridge or the Boarshead in Crowborough.
How do you keep fit over the winter months? Mainly indoor bouldering but also with some mild running.
Any advice on avoiding injuries? Warm up! I have had two finger injuries both from not warming up properly. I also snapped the ligaments in my right ankle landing between two crash pads, so… land on the mat?!
Any shoe recommendations for climbing Southern Sandstone? Something soft, comfortable and not too expensive. I use an old pair of 5.10 pinks which are on their third resole. If trying something really hard (for me) I will switch to the slightly tighter and more aggressive Miura laces.
Favourite climber of all time? Probably Johnny Dawes, he seems to float up things other people can’t dream of and his balance and flexibility mean that he still climbs hard now he is old and fat. Also in the interviews I have seen with him he comes across as completely mental.
Any tips for anyone looking to get into climbing? Just do it, join a club and get out there.