Trying to make a living as a full time climber is a full time job in itself. Even if you are at the top of the game in the UK you have to scrape by and make lots of sacrifices for your passion. A £2k a year rock shoe contract is hard to come by and understandably you have to work hard for it: attend trade shows, give product feedback, clinics, present slide shows, make sure you get your image in the climbing media, as well as actually going climbing. Top North Face athletes earn a decent salary and get paid for trips, but good contracts are the exception rather than the rule.
Getting sponsored by someone like Audi, as Leo Houlding is, is only possible if you can make it into the mainstream media, usually by jumping off things and rubbing shoulders with Jeremy Clarkson.
Last month Steve McClure, who had just climbed Overshadow 9a+ at Malham Cove had to give up paying work as a route setter to train and to complete his route, (see an earlier news report here), and was busy as well writing his training column in Climb magazine and being employed as a climbing coach.
Good news then that along with his Scarpa, Black Diamond and Mountain Equipment contracts, Dave Macleod has just secured a deal with Gore-Tex, www.gore-tex.co.uk
Dave Macleod writes at his blog:
Good news this month is that I have a new sponsor! Gore-Tex will be supporting my climbing and I'll be working with them promoting their new fabrics and testing. This will make such a big difference for me. Over the past year my weekly hours in front of the computer working have varied between 35 and 60 hours except when I'm away on trips. A fair chunk of that time has been spent working for fairly 'safe' sources of income.
Get more insight into what this means for Dave and his climbing at davemacleod.blogspot.com