Steve Ashton

Started climbing at Wilton Quarries and on Yorkshire grit (the trauma persists), and naively went to the Dolomites aged 17. Had many epics, but climbed some mid-grade belters in the Pala Group - Castiglioni/Detassis on Rifugio, Scarf Ridge etc. Subsequently tried our luck around Chamonix, Écrins, Zermatt etc, but too cowardly to become a proper alpinist. Ditto Greater Ranges. Spent 20 years in North Wales, climbing, writing, and helping bring up two fabulous daughters. Took to winter climbing when good kit became available and, thus secured, did the Ben Nevis classics – Zero, Pointfive, Observatory & Tower ridges, North-east Buttress etc.

In tandem with writing a High magazine column for a pittance, I had a cushy number as adventure sports writer for Country Living. Gliding, sand yachting, skiing, dinghy sailing – whatever I fancied. Snowmobiling in Michigan? Off you go, my man, and here’s a thousand quid. Enabled me to do some great, far-flung climbs under the same remit – Old Man of Stoer, Devil’s Slide, Cuillin Ridge etc. Daft. Increasingly struggled to justify these jaunts alongside features on Agas and gingham curtains, so turned to acting and playwrighting. Had a great 10 years, but too old for all that now so set up Blue Lizard Books as an outlet for guidebooks, humour and fiction. Climbing is in the past, but great memories linger.

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Best Climbing Experience
Leading Pincushion at Tremadog as my first HVS. That cracked slab, overhung and undercut, will be my first request on arrival in Heaven. (Probably go to Hell, though, and get given The Mincer.)

Favourite Climbing-Related Discussion Topic
The niceties of climbing Widdop Ordinary. Not come up yet, though.

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