Leo Houlding on Reality TV - Still the Real Deal?by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Aug/2008
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"Leo Houlding is an unstoppable force in the hard-core arena of extreme sports" sprays the opening line of the 'Take Me To The Edge' trailer. The TV show, fronted by Houlding is "a British reality series investigating global rites of passage while pushing the limits of human endurance" and is going live this weekend.
As he moves in to mainstream television and perhaps more cheesy extreme sports roles, it's easy to forget that Leo Houlding is still one of Britain's top trad climbers.
Johnny Dawes put it eloquently: "People forget because he's pretty, but actually Leo Houlding is a f**king good climber."
As well as mainstream reality TV, Leo will be making an appearance in the slightly lower-budget, but infinitely higher-credibility climbing film 'On Sight' - I asked film-maker Alastair Lee what he got up to:
"I filmed Leo for one day - it was a real rush as he was off to Yosemite the next morning. Anyway, the weather was bad so we just went down to Froggatt and Leo soloed Downhill Racer (E4) a few times, followed by an on-sight solo of Valkyrie, the classic HVS. He then soloed Narcissus (E6) about five times. The weather suddenly picked up and even though he'd been out all day and was clearly tired, he was up for something a bit harder. He had to cancel his evening arrangements and quickly get a belayer, but I could tell he was really keen.
He ended up climbing Balance It Is - E7 6c. People talk about his natural ability, but I was really struck by his fearlessness and commitment. He was going up or he was coming off! The top out wasn't pretty, but it was a really inspirational bit of climbing, it was proper climbing - sketchy!"
Leo is well known for his Yosemite climbing exploits, with his recent effort linking El Cap and Half Dome in a day being reported on the UKC News page in July of this year. He is still out there on the crags, climbing well and cutting the mustard. His career as a professional extreme sports athlete is just the icing on the cake of his no-nonsense climbing background.
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Watch a trailer of the new series: Take Me To The Edge