It's not every day that you find yourself in-between Wainman's pinnacle and Lund's Tower in Yorkshire - but that's exactly the spot where we sip our flasks of tea on a clear and chilly summers morning. We're here with talented young climber, Jim Pope, to watch him scale a cliff face, and to put a few questions to him about his avocation - not to mention field-testing the Morar Beacon.
As Jim prepares his equipment for the climb, we find a moment or two to ask him a few questions about this incredible passion of his.
Why did you start climbing? What or who attracted you to the sport?
I started climbing with my dad in the Lake District - he would take me out climbing on the cliffs around Eskdale and I soon became hooked. Growing up in London I always loved visiting the Lake District as it meant I could be outside and ultimately, be climbing.
What has been your most memorable climbing trip, and why?
My most memorable trip was in 2018 when I went climbing in Chile - we camped and climbed in the Andes for a week. I had really good company out there and the climbing was world class, that combined with the stunning location made it a trip to remember.
How much time do you dedicate to climbing?
I train 6 days a week for around 3 hours a day, and I’ve been doing that for the last 8 years more or less. So quite a lot!
Why is climbing important to you, and why do you like it?
For me, my whole life is centred around climbing, its my hobby, my job, my social life, it's everything really. I like the challenge of it, and that I can find a different challenge every time I go climbing in a new location, and you have the whole world to explore.
Besides physical fitness, how does climbing benefit you?
Climbing provides a great mental challenge which I think is really useful. When you're stressed from work or whatever’s going on in your life, it's a great way to switch off as you have to fully concentrate on what you're doing.
Alex Honnold recently raised awareness of climbing with his incredible documentary, Free Solo, showcasing his dream to scale Yosemite's 3200-foot El Capitan without a rope. What's your take on free soloing?
I think it's fine if you're comfortable with it, I don’t think it's something to promote or make common, it is dangerous so climbers should only do it if they’re confident in their own ability and are doing it for the right reasons. If you’re climbing really well it can be easy to get carried away, but it is a great feeling when you're climbing perfectly, because you just don't make a mistake.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into climbing?
There are hundreds of walls across the UK now and nearly every big city has one. These are great places to learn the basics, and once you feel more comfortable climbing, finding someone at the wall who is able to take you climbing outside is a good next step.
A massive thank you to Jim Pope for his time, and for also putting the Morar Beacon through its paces. If you would like to ask Jim any questions about climbing, or if you're interested in taking up climbing yourself, hopefully some of the links below will help.
Jim Pope's Instagram - www.instagram.com/jimpopeonarope
Jim Pope's YouTube channel - www.youtube.com
UK Climbing - www.ukclimbing.com
GB Climbing - www.gbclimbing.uk
Association of British Climbing Walls - www.abcwalls.co.uk
The British Mountaineering Council - www.thebmc.co.uk