/ Oldest Old Timer?

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I bumped into Brian Evans yesterday in the French Jura. I haven't seen him for 15+ years (he used to part of Cicerone). He was climbing with his wife, Aileen and let slip he had been climbing for 61 years. A recent knee replacement had given him a new lease of life.

Makes my 46 years look a bit feeble, can anyone top it?


Chris
Chris the Tall - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
You tend to find plenty of coffin-dodgers at the Edge on Friday lunchtimes - average age must be high 70s

Worst thing is they all climb harder than me !
james.slater - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: Fred Beckey surely?
Trangia - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

53 years here, so a long way to go.
Lankyman - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: Brian is a true legend (I hope he won't mind me saying that!). When I was very wet behind the ears we used to gather at their house to go caving. I recall one day he produced a photo album with lots of B&W pics of him and his climbing buddies from the '50s/60s. It was just some old blokes I'd vaguely heard of - Joe Brown, Allan Austin, Dennis Gray and probably many more.
nbonnett - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Martyn Boysen and Alan Hubbard are in the old crocks club for sure -:)
Greenbanks - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
can't beat the old RB Evans' crag diagrams in the Cicercone guides - one A.H. greenbank was author of one or more I believe

Bumped into a (now deceased) Sid Cross soloing Troutdale Pinnacle on one occasion shortly before his death. He must have been late 70's I think
Rob Exile Ward on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to nbonnett: Funnily enough a few years ago now we saw what seemed like quite an elderly bloke, with a walking stick, limping his way to Cloggy, which seemed optimistic to say the least. Then he put down his stick, tied on the sharp end and pi$$ed up Jelly Roll.

It was Boysen.
Rog Wilko on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: I've climbed a bit with Brian over the years (same club) and it's always been a case of struggling to the crag (knees, back, etc.) but then when he gets on the rock it's a bit like a chrysalis turning into a butterfly.
I had to change my views on what I would do as I got older. I imagined climbing would tail off and we'd do more walking. But I've formed the view that you're much more likely to carry on climbing than you are to continue walking into old age. Access to bolted climbing (smaller rucsacs!) in warm sunny places and climbing walls to keep you going in the cooler part of the year have transformed the old gits prospects. What we need is cable cars up to Scafell etc.
Graeme Hammond - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Someone told me they had met a guide! aged 96 comming up the breithorn in zermatt, bet he had a few years under his belt.
jimtitt - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
Spent a week cragging with Rustie Baillie last year, walking poles and lighweight gear seems to help but we kept the walk-ins down to an hour and a half out of consideration for my own lack of fitness/bad knee/laziness.
dave wark - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: Kids kids kids.......one of the guys i climb with is 78 and last year on Kalymnos even he was blown away to see the picture of Claude and Yves Remys dad in the guide book still kicking and going well.
johncoxmysteriously - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Bet he (Boysen) makes his second carry the walking stick up for the way down.

Sure he's not the oldest, but here's Rab Carrington still putting up new E4s.

http://news.v12outdoor.com/2013/09/03/5575/

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

And, even more impressive in its way, here's Joe Brown still chopping bolts!

http://news.v12outdoor.com/2012/07/06/oe-brown-removes-bolts-from-retro-bolted-line-in-dinorwig-quar...

jcm
Milesy - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I met a guy celebrating his 90th with his similar aged wife at the summit of Stob coire nan Lochan in Glen Coe. I was well impressed.
In reply to all:

For sure there are plenty of wrinklies still at it. I didn't title the thread too well, I was after anyone who could best Brian's Distinguished Service Record of 61 years.

I think Dave Gregory has been at it 64 years (started 1949 iirc), but can't check at the mo.


Chris

jon on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

You and me are just youngsters Chris - you 46 me 50. But my first new route, Yellow Brick Road in Pembroke just celebrated its 40th birthday on the 21st August!
In reply to jon:
>
> You and me are just youngsters Chris - you 46 me 50. But my first new route, Yellow Brick Road in Pembroke just celebrated its 40th birthday on the 21st August!

I hope there are a few more left in the tank!


Chris

;-)
Jim Nevill - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
I haven't even been going quite fifty years yet, but to stray a bit off topic, reading the respondents, it might seem that the long servers in our community are mainly operating at the higher grades (not me though!). I wonder, if this is so, why? Might it be something to do with the resolve needed to climb a long time matches the resolve to climb hard? Even further off the point, I reckon it's a great sport for us old 'uns, being so democratic and inspirational: it keeps us out of the OAP ghetto.
Rog Wilko on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to Jim Nevill:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
> Even further off the point, I reckon it's a great sport for us old 'uns, being so democratic and inspirational: it keeps us out of the OAP ghetto.

Further to that, Jim, I wonder if there is any other sport/physical activity in which there are so many older participants? Sometimes seems we're in the majority. I'm sure if it's the same elsewhere, though; it's over a decade ago since we were walking along the foot of the crag at Mt Piddington in the Blue Mts looking for our route when some friendly young bloods asked if we "were going for a nice walk?" Didn't cross they're minds we might be climbing!
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GridNorth - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to Rog Wilko: I'm coming up to my 50 year anniversary of climbing next year. I'm still climbing E2/3 the same as I was in the 60's but sports climbing, especially indoors, really trashes my fingers and so limits me significantly.
Rick Graham on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to Rog Wilko:
> (In reply to Jim Nevill)
> [...]
>
> Further to that, Jim, I wonder if there is any other sport/physical activity in which there are so many older participants?

Someone at work is a road biking coach.
He says age is not a barrier in that sport and several mid seventies are still doing very respectable time trials.
Guess its quite gentle on the body until you fall off, a bit like rock climbing.
Rick Graham on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

Too much handcream or limestone.

Eastern Grit next weekend?

Or " On the Moors " if we get a heatwave and fancy a spanking?

Rick
rgold - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I hit 56 years of climbing this July.

At my last physical, it was confirmed that I am two inches shorter than I was in my forties. I've thought for a while that the difficulties I've had with long reaches on certain routes were because of a decline in strength, but now it seems that in addition to that decline, I just plain can't reach as far.
HB1 - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: a pal of mine (aged 70) was climbing with his grandchildren on Windgather the other day. His granddaughter took great delight apparently in telling everyone "that's my granddad - he's been climbing for 55 years"
MischaHY - on 07 Sep 2013
I have to say, I think it's great that there are so many older climbers. I would think it's strongly linked to the fact that climbing stresses the muscles and keeps you flexible really well without being a high impact sport, much like cycling. I know of a man who rides off road in the peaks who is 80+, and he absolutely shreds downhill and goes up climbs like a man possessed, it's a fantastic sight to see.
Iain Peters - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Rog Wilko) I'm coming up to my 50 year anniversary of climbing next year. I'm still climbing E2/3 the same as I was in the 60's but sports climbing, especially indoors, really trashes my fingers and so limits me significantly.

Just over 60 years for me, and can still operate in the E grades (preferably with the sun on my back!), but agree totally about climbing walls and fingers, and having a dodgy meccano ankle from various mishaps whilst climbing, I tend to stay away from highball/bad landing bouldering.

I remember the late Mike Banks, who climbed the Old Man of Hoy at a very advanced age, saying that he would know the time had come to give up would be when he looked up at a crag and not feel any desire to climb it. Sadly Alzheimers took that decision away from him prematurely.
mbh - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Iain Peters:

When out running I often pass a man - Reg - who must be in his late eighties, who knew Zeke Deacon, Mike Banks and co from their days together as the fine body of men in the CCAW back in the 50s. He walks 6-8 miles every day, in all weathers, without a stick.
Iain Peters - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to mbh:

I grew up in a climbing sense with these guys: they were an inspiration; in fact I joined the RM Reserve, St Ives detachment in the mid 60s when many of them were still very active on (and off!) the crags.
mbh - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Iain Peters:

Reg, Sergeant Reg Savill, is the oldest person to have walked John o'Groats to Land's End, when he was 74, and is now actually only a youthful 85 or so.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/sunrise/reg_landsend.shtml

jcw on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to HB1: I climb with Alec McDonald in the Aiguilles Rouges who is 83 and I think started in the 1940s. He does all the leading ( French 5c) . Also in the team is another man who turns 80 this month, plus me 80 next February, over 240 for the team of three. I was a late starter, in 1962 but can still notch up 50 years of Alpine climbing if you count the Dolomites.
Mick Ward - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to Iain Peters:

> Sadly Alzheimers took that decision away from him prematurely.

I didn't know that; I'm sorry. Met him once, just briefly, seemed a really good guy. Loved 'Commando Climber' - was inspirational in 1967. Did loads of fingertip press-ups, back then. Showed him my knackered fingers. "It was your book!" He guffawed, said to refer any complaints to John Barry's dad, a fellow bootneck of that time.

> ...saying that he would know the time had come to give up would be when he looked up at a crag and not feel any desire to climb it.

Wise words. Sometimes, after 47 years, on days out with the young guns, just belaying them on wildly overhanging stuff hurts my body. But I still want to tie on and give it what (little) I've still got.

Mick (60)
Juicefree - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: I'd never reveal a ladies age, but Angela Soper must be over 30 now?
Dave Musgrove - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Juicefree:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs) I'd never reveal a ladies age, but Angela Soper must be over 30 now?

And she was out doing first ascents on The Stony Banks above Gordale just this week. She's as keen as ever.

Al Randall on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Juicefree: I did Praying Mantis with Angela. I'll not say when, it was a long time ago and she was Angela Faller at the time. Wasn't there a picture of her on the cover of Rockfax doing Kipling Groove? I've only run into her a couple of times since. On one occassion she was just leaving Kalymnos as I arrived and before that she emerged at the ledge at the top of a 6c just as I finished the abseil on Via Ubsa on the Penon.
lummox - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Juicefree: always great to see Angela floating up stuff at Almscliffe. This thread is very humbling and inspiring - all these old boys and girls getting out for more years than I've been alive !
Postmanpat on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to Juicefree) I did Praying Mantis with Angela. I'll not say when, it was a long time ago and she was Angela Faller at the time. Wasn't there a picture of her on the cover of Rockfax doing Kipling Groove?
>
Rocksport?! You're going senile:-)
Not on the cover but inside. I happened to come across it whilst sorting my attic yesterday. Shall I post it?

Al Randall on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Oops, freudian slip. Yes I'm probably suffering a a mild attack of dementia, it's common amongst us pensioners you know. Never mind at least I got the important bits right.
SteveRi - on 11 Sep 2013
I'm an imposter on this thread but two other sports where oldies refuse to give up are cyclocross and fell running - I was beaten by a 70+ year old recently (mind you it was Mick Ives, multiple world champion) and there are numerous V60s and a V70 entered in the 3 Peaks at the end of the month. Running I know a lot of brilliantly fast pensioners. Swines!
Hat Dude on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveRi:

There are some fit old b***ers around aren't there!

In all of the runs or sportives I've done; I finish proportionately lower in my age group than overall (hope that makes sense)

I suppose I should still be a bit proud of that

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hdog76 - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Dave Gregory was my form tutor at school and taught us physics on a number of occaisions throughout school.

Bumbped into him climing at Leeds wall a few years ago he was still going for it.
kedvenc72 - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: I know Bob Dearman. Hes's 72 (I think) and still climbs around 3 times a week (probably harder than I do as well sometimes). It's nice being referred to as 'youth' in your 40s.
mbh - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to kedvenc72:

I am 50 and I often get referred to as "young man", sometimes by people who I know are younger than me.
johncook - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to hdog76: Bumped into him at Yarncliffe Quarry about 6 weeks ago and STILL going strong.
ian caton on 11 Sep 2013
I asked Pete Greenwood how old he was having just seen him solo Thin red line at Heptonstall with a weight belt. "68"
Mick Ward - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to ian caton:

Good to know Pete's still going strong. Only 68? A mere youth...

Mick

P.S. Seem to remember TRL as distinctly uphill, even without a weight belt.
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to ian caton:

Must have been a while ago; PG would surely be a fair bit older than that now - why, he's older than Dennis Gray!

Good to hear he got back into it, though - he famously gave up at one time, though I think I did hear something about him starting again.

jcm
ian caton on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

2 yrs ago ish.
stewieatb on 11 Sep 2013
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to ian caton:

Must be a different Pete G; for one thing the famous one would have been 79 two years ago, and for another he was dead.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/apr/20/peter-greenwood-obituary

jcm
Oceanwall - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
Over 50 years of climbing under my belt and lead a soft touch but scary E2 last week.
Mick Ward - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

John, it is another Pete G. Met him at the Kebs once, then again in Tenerife. Big muscles. Heavily into training. Really good guy. Used to drink with Whillans in Lancs.

I think his son (and grandson?) might also have been called Pete. We called them Big Pete, Little Pete and Littler Pete.

Mick
999thAndy on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Mick Ward: would he have been doing laps at Greetland quarry in the early 80s? He fits the description of a bloke I used to chat to around then.
Me and my mates used to refer to him as "heavy duty", as we never knew his name!
mattsccm - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
Anyone know if John Brailsford is still climbing? First met him when I went to Bangor Normal College 30 years ago about now. He seemed ancient then but I guess he wasn't . Scared me to death at times as well.
Greenbanks - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Wouldn't PR Littlejohn be still knocking them out at mid-60's

Oh, and is Brian Blessed dead (yet)?
wilkesley - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

When I lived in the Peak, I sometimes went climbing with Pat Peace from Grindleford, who was probably in his late sixties in the early 1980's. I remember him getting benighted on top of Pillar Rock with several other people about 1990, when he must have been in his mid seventies. They all managed to self rescue the next morning. I don't know if he ever gave up climbing, but he died a couple of years ago in his mid nineties.
Jonny2vests - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to vertigo714:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs) Fred Beckey surely?

Yep. Ninety this year, still climbing, started in the 30s(!), invented dirtbag.

The End.

Mick Ward - on 12 Sep 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:

> would he have been doing laps at Greetland quarry in the early 80s? He fits the description of a bloke I used to chat to around then.
> Me and my mates used to refer to him as "heavy duty"...

Well, I only met him at the Bridestones and Tenerife. But I would think it highly likely. My guess is that Pete had pumped some serious iron. There used to be (and I'm sure, still is) an amazing work ethic in hard core bodybuilding gyms. To somebody with that background, a crag is practically a rest environment!

Mick
rgold - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

>[Fred Becky turned] Ninety this year, still climbing, started in the 30s(!), invented dirtbag.
>
> The End.

Outdoor Retailer lifetime achievement award video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FohbUlpnBvY

PATTISON Bill - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: 80 in Febuary still climbing at least 2 days a week 6a/b at the wall.Off to Costa Del Sol tomorrow for a months warm rock Couldnt live without it.My mother was 110 when she passed away so I hopefully have a few years left.
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Jonny2vests - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to rgold:

Nice vid. Heard him talk a few months back, although a little deaf, his mind is super sharp for 90. For an hour and a half, he gave us a whirlwind selection of moments, machine gun delivery. Some of his throw away sentences alone would have been major lifetime achievements to most mortals.

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