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At the moment 17 year old Calum is finishing school before taking a year out to go and explore the Dolomites, Alps and Yosemite. He then plans to study History at university and to then work towards achieving his aim of becoming a mountain guide. Calum started climbing about 4 years ago after being introduced to the sport by his parents as a natural progression to the mountaineering and scrambling he'd already been doing around his Bethesda home.
His first climb was Ordinary Route on the Idwal slabs but he says he can't really remember it, but he must have enjoyed it though! Although he was only 13 he improved really quickly through climbing on the slate all the time which really suited his 'weak arms and strong fingers'. He says, "It also taught me how to remain relatively calm in dangerous positions which stood me in good stead for the future." Calum went from his first lead to his first E5 on-sight lead in the space of just 3 months but soon found his development slowing down.
Calum Muskett. Photo: Ryan Perry
Equip UK, Jun 2011
© Ryan Perry
Calum says: "It took me about 8 months to diversify which made me a much better climber in the long term and I began to improve again as a result. Because of this I climbed in loads of different areas across Britain and started climbing with more people that I met along the way."
Calum's first experience of Alpine and winter climbing came when he was 15 and was fortunate enough to have 'good weather and good partners'. He found ice climbing fairly straightforward:
"One big hold and exciting positions, I thought it was amazing though and leading the Devil's Appendix on a minimal rack with old school tools a week after my first winter route is an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life!"
Calum also says that Alpinism 'is amazing and I'm probably most enthusiastic about big alpine rock routes in the sun'.
A memorable experience for Calum was climbing on the Grand Capucin in the Alps. "It was my first alpine route and over-ambitious in a realistic kind of way. We ended up starting on the wrong face following a topo line and after flailing around, getting lost and taking a whipper we managed to traverse across to a route called Gulliver's Travels. We got within about 3 pitches from the top when we had to retreat after my friend, Francis, stubbed his toe whilst holding my fall.....sorry!"
When he's not Climbing Calum is quite a keen runner and dabbles in all sorts of sports like biking and kayaking. He also enjoys playing the piano. Calum trains mainly through climbing and keeping fit from running and cycling. He says he struggles with powerful moves so has also started to boulder a bit more.
Calum classes his proudest moment in climbing as leading 'The Cad' at Gogarth on-sight when he was 14. "I couldn't really believe what I'd just done. It's always a great feeling when a plan works out like that."
Calum is new to the Rab brand but already has favourite bits of kit.
"The 'Xenon' jacket is ridiculously light and really warm, ideal for multi pitch climbing where you've got to compromise weight with warmth on the belay ledges. I've also found the 'easy rider pants' to be great. Comfortable, light and quick drying after heavy rain."
We look forward to watching Calum's progress and value his input on products from Rab.
Gear News and Outdoor Industry News at UKC and UKH presents climbing, walking and mountaineering equipment and stories that will be of interest to UKClimbing.com's readers. They are not gear reviews and are provided by companies that advertise with UKClimbing Limited. Please feel free to comment about the stories and products on the associated thread.