/ Full time work, the killer in a climbers career
Just intrested in finding out what peoples approach (all walks of life) to finding out the best career option for climbing. Is it full time or part time work, outdoor instruction, bmguide or school teacher??
Any advise would be helpful in sustaining consistency of getting out and sessions at a wall or on a fingerboard whilst maximising rock time of course.
In my experience, the best way to carry on climbing is not to get a job in climbing.
If I've been working at a wall all day the last thing I want to do is stay later!
I think the best option is full time work which is flexible (perhaps being self employed), enabling you to go on trips for a few weeks at a time a few times a year or perhaps have a few months off at a time.
I'm not convinced by part time work. The days off might not coincide with when your climbing partners are available and/or when the weather is good. Also having just a few days off doesn't allow for longer trips to far away places in the UK or abroad.
Having a Mon - Fri job does make you keen to maximise your available time off - beware of the weekend warrior! It provides focus because you want to make the most of the days off, as opposed to random pottering around. Weekdays are then just indoor training days, unless you live somewhere within reasonable reach of evening cragging for the summer months (although training at the wall is probably better as far as getting stronger/fitter is concerned).
Look for work that let's you finish early. In theory I work 7 till 4 so I get a lot of evening time to myself. It also helps that my workshop and office is less than 5 minute's from my house so I can be home, showered and changed and out of the door by 1630.
Tony Mitchell put up True North at Kilnsey over 20 years ago. It’s 8c and hard. He worked full time and (I think) has a family.
if you can’t climb hard with a job I suspect you won’t climb much harder without one.
If you really want to just get outdoors, live in a good location, surrounded by like minded people folk, make the outdoors your career then look at the junior centre staff / night watch schemes at plas y brenin or glenmore lodge.
Yes, you'll still have admin and menial tasks to do in work time, but you'll never struggle for a climbing partner and have access to arguably the best instruction and coaching in the world.
Mick Fowler used to manage a regular 9-5 job and still get around quite a bit!
The key doesn't seem to be work situation or home life, it's the people around you. If you have a motivated group of friends, they'll motivate you. If you know your mates are hitting the wall to train, you'll be there. If they're planning to travel to a crag to escape the local weather you'll be in the car with them.
That's my experience anyway.
echoing what others have said, living near to a crag or some boulders is a massive bonus, and then being motivated to get out (other people who are motivated definitely help).
If you ask me what is make or break to get out climbing its to have realistic climbing goals and adjusting these year on year.
Same as others, living near climbing is the key I reckon.
I work as a climbing instructor, guide, coach and that gets me climbing a lot - but it's unlikely to be the sort of routes you'd be on in your own time. It's still absolutely awesome, I love being on the rock whatever I'm on. Yesterday for example I was working in the Pass and did Crackstone Rib, Skylon and Shadow Wall - quality day, but not the grades I'd be on on a day off.
It's only ever helped to increase my drive though. I never think, "oh I've been climbing all day for work, I don't want to go and do my own routes this evening", the opposite in fact.
Down the years the majority of my climbing partners have been teachers (like me), decent salary, early finishes and lots of holidays.
You need to be able to hack the job of course,
I have never used full time work as an excuse for not being a "better" climber.
> Any advise would be helpful
Priority IMHO is a career - for you, your family, your CV, your future welfare. Without that your climbing will be a waste of time particularly as you get older - something has to sustain life. Getting to the age of 40 or 50 having climbed all the time, not investing in a career etc is a big mistake. Work is part of the human condition, work to climb. Don't climb and ignore work.
That is a big question and i would suggest there is no simple answer or easy one size fits all path.So if you are looking for the holy grail...you will probably never find it..everybody is looking for it.
Put it this way I know quite a few climbers who have held full time well paid jobs who also have impressive tick lists which would be the envy of most.This includes regular trips to USA, etc etc.
It is more likely that something else will give,,,,like no family or steady "partner".
I do come acrosss people in the outdoor instruction sector who become disllusioned with the low pay after a few years. Scraping round on not much money does not always appeal as you get out of your early 20's.
There is always a "price to pay" somewhere.
Find a career where you can work flexible hours. I work shorter days when the weather is good and longer days when it's raining. Personally I like my job and I feel it diversifies my life experiences to have a vocation that is completely different from climbing yet still interesting. I personally left the UK partly to get the work balance that I wanted. The UK works the longest hours in Europe. Living near crags definitely helps as previously mentioned.
> Just intrested in finding out what peoples approach (all walks of life) to finding out the best career option for climbing. Is it full time or part time work, outdoor instruction, bmguide or school teacher??
I used to work full time in a office job I didn't like, but was in Sheffield so I was close to crags and could get out after work and weekends. I've never been a driven climber focusing on performance, so I just plodded through the grades over the years.
I quit my job and was a student for 3 years - in that time I did get better, with more free time and long summers to spend on trips - I haven't climbed as well since. I was also pretty stress free and engaged in a course that I found fun and meaningful, which resolved the apathy/depression that obviously has a big effect on my climbing.
Since qualifying in my new job I had a couple of intense work years that set my climbing back a long way - so stressful full-time work with a lack of free time is definitely bad. Now I work 4 days with different days off each week, living close to crags, and with a pretty good network of partners (but not regular people who are always free on the same days). I don't get a huge amount of holiday though and it is very inflexible.
So, my set-up is good but not ideal. I really like having 3 days off a week, but I'm now just as keen on walking/scrambling/soloing/bouldering on days off rather than the faff of trad (which means finding partners and standing still most of the day, potentially getting frustrated failing on routes, blah blah). Being able to get away when the weather is good would be significantly better, and being able to have more longer trips - so I may move to self-employed (locum) work in future for this reason. I could then make money when the weather's bad and climb when the weather's good.
I think most important for me is to live somewhere where you're surrounded by great rock. I used to love soloing at Stanage after work, or doing my circuit of bouldering/highball/solos at Burbage on cool spring evenings. Now, I can go bouldering, soloing, sport climbing or scrambling up a mountain after work and it's a set-up I couldn't give up. If I wanted to spend that time training to improve climbing performance, I've got numerous excellent climbing walls around, including a massive centre locally (Kendal) but I'd much rather be out on the rock/hills.
So I reckon: move somewhere with great climbing and don't spend too much time at work. Do something flexible if you can, and don't do a job you hate because you'll probably get depressed. As for climbing jobs, the people I know who work specifically in the rock climbing industry (walls, gear companies, etc) tend to be very good climbers, but the outdoor instructors not so much - they tend to be more jacks of many trades, competent mountaineers, kayakers, skiers, etc but not highly focused climbers. The people I know who are very good climbers work in lots of different jobs, often full time (in theory rather than practice perhaps), but they all tend to be very flexible with working from home and flexi options.
I think there are two questions here for me. Am I looking to get stronger or more time on rock? If I just want consistent training time then any 9-5 job will do anywhere with a wall. Do your hours then head to the wall to train, knowing you have a structured schedule. The best thing to get out on rock is proximity to outdoor climbing. Moving to Sheffield means I can have after work sessions where previously I could only train inside.
My 2 climbing partners are a police man and a teacher, incredibly demanding jobs and they’re very hard to pin down but we manage decent trips together.
I run a printshop that prints shirts and merch mostly for climbing centres and brands and as such im very fortunate that as long as staff are in I can be relatively free any day of the week.
I would say I climb a lot more but grade wise we’re all on the same level.
Ive a friend who lives in a van and hardly works and he gets out once a month if he’s lucky and climbs at a fairly low grade.
So shows really it’s not the job but your own motivation as well as those around you.
It may seem a bit of a long time away if you're under 40, but bear in mind that if you plan things well (and have a bit of good fortune health-wise) a good chunk of your climbing "career" will be the first 10 to 15 years of retirement. At 68, I'm 8 years into retirement and still enjoying my climbing immensely, albeit now about a grade below my best.
So a few hints on planning ahead (only some of which I did myself, and acknowledging that I have been more than averagely fortunate in the options available to me):
If you can (very much more difficult today I know), choose a job/career that will allow you to plan to retire early with an adequate pension. If the job doesn't provide a good pension (I was lucky), then start early trying to build up a private one.
To make the pension go further, buy into the housing market early if you can, so that you can live mortgage/rent free in retirement. And have no more than 2 children (I have none) early enough so you are not supporting them financially in your retirement.
Find a spouse/partner who is also into climbing, or who will have other interests in retirement that will allow you to head off climbing regularly. (Or stay single of course).
Think about where/how you would like to live in retirement. Do you want to move to live near good climbing (which might mean moving away from friends) or stay where you've lived for your career (which in my case - Ipswich - is a very long way from climbing but with good climbing friends around). Two climbing couples I know have taken the campervan option in retirement and now live, week to week, exactly where they choose to climb - I quite envy them.
Alternatively of course, take no notice of any of the above and concentrate on maximising your opportunities for climbing right now...……..
Full time work doesn’t necessarily mean working 9-5. I work shifts including 1/3 weekends and nights. I do 12hrs over a 35hr week which works out at less than 3 days a week (on average). Plus leave. I don’t climb too much right now but if I wanted to I could be a super wad
> Mick Fowler used to manage a regular 9-5 job and still get around quite a bit!
Given that he was pretty senior at the Treasury, I suspect it was a bit more than a 9-5 job.
> Alternatively of course, take no notice of any of the above and concentrate on maximising your opportunities for climbing right now...……..
I think there's a fine balance to be had. Saving up experiences for retirement to me is a dangerous game. Some of us won't make it to retirement age or will have injuries that will be make climbing less than ideal. I try to spread my life investments between now and the future as best possible, else I think I risk potentially living in regret that I never did things at a younger age when I had an opportunity.
> I think there's a fine balance to be had. Saving up experiences for retirement to me is a dangerous game. Some of us won't make it to retirement age or will have injuries that will be make climbing less than ideal. I try to spread my life investments between now and the future as best possible, else I think I risk potentially living in regret that I never did things at a younger age when I had an opportunity.
I agree. I'm determined to enjoy my time in my 40s rather than sacrifice it to work so that I can have more money when I've got less energy. I've made sure that I've got sufficient income in retirement, but I'm not putting energy now into squirrelling away as much I can now to delay gratification. I'm not getting younger or stronger, and I could just get cancer and die anyway. I think there's an optimal balance between living for now and living for later, and for me it doesn't involve working full-time for the next 20 years and retiring with a big house!
Is saving up “experiences” a thing? I don’t think I could fit everything I want to do with my life in my lifetime even if I could retire now. Let alone saving most of it for retirement. Live for today I say!
Statistically though the chances of you living to that age and beyond are far greater than the chance of something going wrong and your life being cut short.So it is debateable whether there is an optimal balance.
So food for thought.
Personally I'd deliberately save nothing for retirement, I'd be quite happy to repeat the best bits, health allowing, in my 60s and 70s.
I could write down two lifetimes worth of activities. The problem I have is deciding year from year which outdoor sport to focus more on. I'll run out of time long before I finish any outdoor bucket list.
It's a digression, statistically we live longer, but that doesn't mean you might have the health to get out climbing, only that modern medicine etc is keeping you alive.
Rope Access can be good. You can have long holidays at any time of year (though the summer is often when a lot of work is so you may end up doing yourself out of money)
Sometimes you can be near good climbing and often work with climbers who are keen to get out after work. Or you’ll probably be near a wall.
it has worked well for me the past two years. Probably worked about 6 months of each year, managed to save enough to go away on my time off, been able to get out at the weekends and have the odd mid week days off if jobs are patchy.
on the flip side it can be boring/knackering work, miles away from any climbing, anti-socia hours (nights/weekends). It’s nit worked out so well for me this year. My long trip at the beginning of the year fell through and I ended up spending the time converting a new van. I then ended up on a job installing lights down in London on bridges over the Thames. Not so bad because there are loads of good walls but we were aid climbing around the soffit of the bridge which was fun but really tiring. Add in having slightly less weekend flexibility due to my girlfriend working at the weekend and a bit of bad weather and I don’t feel like I’m going so well.
another difficult things is if you pick up an injury it can be desperate as if you take time off you don’t get paid but if you work you make it worse.
its definitely not a golden ticket but it can work pretty well.
It probably depends whether you want to climb a lot or climb at your limit.
Not having a job would be great if you want to climb all the time and do easier stuff or long but fairly easy routes (assuming you can fund it). If you want to climb at your limit you'll need to rest lots so you might as fell have a job and earn money while resting. I find recovery time is more of a limit to climbing harder than anything else. It might be quicker if I was still in my 20s but at mid 30s I find after a really hard session I have to take at least one rest day, sometimes two, before I can pull hard again. Even by hitting different muscle groups on consecutive days to allow more days on training I still only need a 1-2 hrs max each day to train. Why not have a job for all that resting? That way you can fund fun stuff and support a family if you want too as well. I'd have thought any job that allows flexibility would be suitable.
> Statistically though the chances of you living to that age and beyond are far greater than the chance of something going wrong and your life being cut short.So it is debateable whether there is an optimal balance.
I'm not really that worried about an early death since there's nothing terribly ominous in the family and I live a healthy lifestyle. But turning 40 and starting to get injuries and random health complaints I've never had before, getting shitter at climbing, the reflection in the mirror looking increasingly tired and less athletic, and everything else that sketches out the inexorable pathway to the grave before me makes me want to make sure I don't sacrifice too much of what I have left in order to have more money later when carting 100m ab ropes across Hebridean islands to climb multipitch E-grade routes is no longer on the cards. I'm not that certain I'll want to do some of the adventurous climbing I do now when I'm 50, let alone 60 or 70. It's hard work!
I think I'll be happy to spend my retirement pottering up VSs in the Lakes, Peak and Pembroke, staying in hostels or a van. I don't need to save up for a world tour in 5* luxury, it's just not my bag.
In your late 70's 80's I agree. But until then the world is your oyster.
If you keep fit etc, you should be able to keep going and most active/motivated people are doing this.
True, if you want to stay active as a pensioner, financial security helps, but I would say look after those joints! Do those warm ups and cool down which don't feel necessary in your 20s. Avoid potentially damaging finger strength training routines, carry lightest bag you can to preserve the knees.
It changes, and it helps to have the dosh to adapt.
There are now alot of climber in their 60's ticking away in the week enjoying themselves and going on trips all over the place. You probably just do not see them because they are not part of your group or they avoid the weekends and get out when its quieter.
I met a guy who had a totally different approach, he'd a work a well paid, but super boring-job for 12 months then spend the next 12-18 months dirtbagging, living off few quid a day till the money ran out, then repeat.
He was lucky in that the boring job he did (something to do with studying gasses escaping from mines) was widely available and lucrative.
TL:DR - Sniff mining gasses for a year then go climb!
Did he have a”partner”......sounds like no.
A life like that can be pretty soulless. Only a few can do it.
No, he had no partner, in the climbing or romantic sense.
To be honest it sounded like he pretty much blew in the wind, had no home, partner, much in the way of possessions.
Can't say that would work for me either!
I have not read all the replies so someone may already have said it, but it depends what you want from your climbing career. If you want to push your own ability and earn money from something non climbing related, then live as close to the biggest wall you can and be fairly close to crags as well. Find a load of partners through walls and clubs and within a year you will have improved. Go from there. Possibly hire a coach etc.
If you want to instruct and also get better, then by far the best thing to do is treat climbing like an actual job. Be immersed in the sector at least 8 hours a day. Taking the extra hour after a shift at the wall to get some personal climbing done is going to build up over a year to make you a much fitter climber. The difficult decision is when and where to climb - if you want outdoor variety then you are going to have to really sieze a day off, head out the evening before, come back early doors the morning after. It depends how much you value the activity and what your aims are. You can do more climbing with any of the options you outlined yourself.
Personally, I currently work freelance and manage a decent amount of climbing in spare time.
Good luck finding the balance!
I might be lacking imagination, but I can't imagine how you could do something as expensive as climbing without having a job.
I had a couple of 6 month periods on the dole and didn't have spare cash for anything, let alone days out, travel and climbing gear. I have, however always had a house a car and a close family so never really put climbing first, or been any good at it.
A five day week obviously cuts down on your time but I've found that the main limitations on not particularly work related. Money, partners, family, weather, life generally are all one big factor in which climbing fits in somewhere.
Slightly alternative plan.
Find a job that you can carry on doing part time into retirement. This means you won't need that lump sum of money to retire on as you can get by with working a bit longer but part time.
Definitely move to a place with crags and facilities on the doorstep. We moved to Ballachulish where house prices were about half of the rest of the country with twice the space and views.
Forget foreign holidays and spend your spare time locally - amazing how much money you've engineered a self employed job then you can be flexible with the weather.
Dave Macleod has written about this in his youtube vlogs. Adapting your life to your passion seems to only way to get away with this unless you have a job that you can only do half time.
As Davd MacLeod says though, you might ask your boss for unpaid/flexible time - many companies would be happy with this flexing.
I know a guy like this.
Left for Aus when he was 17 and lived in the outback maintaining irrigation systems or something, lived on food dropped from a plane, completely isolated for the most part. He then jacked it in and travelled his way home for 18 months following a stint in NZ driving heavy mining equipment. He got back and worked 14hr shifts spreading human waste on the land in southern England, whilst living in a transit van in a field - for years. Recently jacked that in and has now bought a massive caravan and is living like a gypsy in Cananda. In between all this he has travelled to 60 odd countries. His life really amazes me, never stops, is either working till exhaustion or getting lost in the jungles of Borneo or something equally exotic.
He has a wife which he met in Australia and a young son, and is rather well off financially.
Doesn't answer your question but there are alternatives to the "average" way of life.
This used to be the default career for climbers Chris.
Things have changed quite significantly. I left teachingafter 20 years for an engineering job and have not looked back. I climb loads more.
The key to climbing mid week is either live close to work, or be prepared to head straight from work i.e skip dinner. Skipping dinner becomes less feasible if you have a non-climbing partner and / or kids.
Obviously if you want to climb outside midweek you'll be moving somewhere that this is possible (if you haven't already)
I realised I was writing this post at 11 o'clock and was pretty tired, so, forgive my spelling mistakes. I also realise now I should've given some context to o this post, else the simple reply is just to tell me to get a life of some sorts. Reading some of the comments with regards to some of your lives is very inspiring.
I've recently taken a job in the outdoor industry, post graduation. Perks: a good decent salary in terms of my previous jobs and the industry itself. Cons: everything that outdoor learning jobs have in terms of hours, location, stres etc etc. I went to uni in Bangor, and where I am now is less acssesable and inspiring climbing; routes, boulders, sport etc... which is jointly driving me a little nuts. For the last month and a bit. I've been driving back weekends and some week day evenings to North Wales to climb.
Qualifications I've got: Bsc in sport science, ML, working towards the now MCI training (doing that hopefully in October) and the long term plan is to aim towards BMG. My previous work has been in climbing gyms and other LEA centres. However, I finished an apprenticeship in the outdoors and remember feeling no love for outdoor instructing. Flashing back to now I feel I've jumped back in the same boat thinking it will be different with a compelte different company... it is somewhat though, but still those quirky sections.
Ultimately, I feel the career path I have taken is going to change my huge passion for climbing (and all the things so great about it i.e. pushing my limit and myself) either by putting myself in an area with less of it and or making me less motivated (note this hasn't yet, just a fear) There is also the possibility of injury at work and doing too much full time work in said new job hinders performance long term by taking you out of a sport. Maybe, I'm answering my own questions at this point. I feel like working in this current sector of the outdoors is not for me perhaps... Other areas such as coaching for adults in performance, guiding and teaching might be more up my street... rather than dealing with young persons. The alternative, is I guess learn to do a trade which is then further qualifications and more time out. This would also put all the years currently at a waste to get me to this point. Or, stick at this year job and go from there after. Thoughts?
I've also been climbing since I was 14 now 26, if that helps.
what does your partner say ?
When your hobby becomes your job, you need another hobby.
This happened to me as a young man, loved amateur entertainment as a hobby, got drawn in, started making money, ended up resenting it.
I made the decision not to do that with climbing and have avoided any qualifications and offers of outdoor work.
> When your hobby becomes your job, you need another hobby.
Maybe for you...
> When your hobby becomes your job, you need another hobby.
How does that argument work? What if, for example, your hobby is making movies on a little Super-8 movie camera and you eventually become a film director? Why on earth would you want 'another hobby'??
Later addition: I remember after struggling for about 3 years to get a union ticket, when I eventually got a job as an editor for an Egyptian TV commercials director, and he paid with a huge wodge of banknotes in an envelope (more than he'd said he'd pay me), I felt rather chuffed, actually.
> This happened to me as a young man, loved amateur entertainment as a hobby, got drawn in, started making money, ended up resenting it.
You haven't explained your resentment at all. You seem to be arguing that the creative work was great while you were skint but once it started earning you money you began to resent it. Weird to an extreme, frankly.
> I made the decision not to do that with climbing and have avoided any qualifications and offers of outdoor work.
The vast majority of climbers in this country - probably about 95% - do it as a leisure activity without wanting to turn it into a career. For most mortals it works best as an adjunct to 'ordinary life'. Not that life is ever ordinary.
As long as you are based nearish to some climbing, have access to a wall and dont have to travel away for extended periods, I suspect most jobs can be compatible with a very successful climbing career if you are sufficiently motivated.
The thing that personally I find much more challenging to balance is the reponsibilities and time constraints that come with having small children, especially now we have 2- (who are both delightful). I've been fortunate to still keep climbing quite a bit, (although not nearly as much as I used to) despite having children and a busy job (average 50-60 hrs/week), but plenty of friends have found this a real challenge. Having local crags and a fingerboard at home has been really beneficial to me in this respect. Working shifts has also for me facilitated quite a lot of my sessions over the last few years.
I know this doesnt answer your question but I dont think its full time work that kills climbing careers!
What's a partner? Seriously though, haven't met any woman who's worth spending 3 nights under fly with
An alternative viewpoint.
Forget about climbing, for the purposes of the current discussion. As other posters have remarked, it will always be your passion, but it doesn't need to be your work.
What will really drive and inspire you as a paid job? If you can find such a thing, it will change your life.
At your age, I was floundering around with a few education tickets and no idea, and ended up in a completely different industry with no relevant training (IT). It's that feeling that people actually want to pay you for doing it that you're seeking. I love my job, and will find it hard to give up, even though I know I'll be able to get out more, which will be great.
It's really hard to say something useful about what to do at this point, except this: focus on the other stuff, the leisure time will take care of itself.
Paul William's, perhaps beacuse alpine and high altitude climbing suits a 9-5 hour job. Its different when your dicplines involve anaerobic energy and complexities in movement for example.
Well put. Just have to find a better way to do things. Smarter even!
I've worked part-time, temporary contracts and full-time. Phew! Who'd do it? It's fucking awful! The only answer is: Abolish work! What a general waste of our lives it is...
You mention a trade. That could work well. A friend is a kitchen fitter, working 5 days a week but relatively flexible with time off as far as I can tell, particularly in winter as it’s the low season for house building (so great if you’re into winter climbing and skiing). He’s one of the keenest and best climbers I know.
I can imagine that working in an outdoors centre for kids can get pretty depressing...
Thanks for your judgement...
The resentment came from having to do it rather than choosing to do it.
Climbing/the outdoors is a selfish pastime (the decision maker in chief has decreed, so I won't argue). I am selfish about my climbing. To protect my enjoyment, and for a long list of other reasons, I choose not to work in the outdoor industry.
My job is enjoyable but I wouldn't want to take it home with me. Actually, I would get arrested if I tried!
I was not expecting that as an answer!
Wider issues here.
Perhaps,dare I suggest, that your chosen path upto now may not be attractive to others?
My own analogy on this subject draws on comparisons with acting/drama etc. A hell of alot of young people want to go into it and find it enjoyable and there is a big pot of gold for a very small number. The hard reality is that for most they end up struggling to find a job that pays well etc etc , and alot give up and go down a different path. Some quicker than most. They still love it but its clicked that its not a future for them. Sounds like you may have hit the same point.
Work out what other skills you have- are you practical etc etc- and change your path. I reckon deep down you mayknow this and just need confirmation that its time to bail out.
I do not pretend that this is easy.
10 years on the Dole worked for me... 1980's Maggie Thatcher climbing grant
For what it's worth I found I really struggled to do any structured climbing/training when doing instructing work because it was freelancing and I had no set hours and was all over the place. Fixed centre work is marginally better but still basically hard work because you work long hours and often on your feet all day and are knackered afterwards. I still managed to train during this period but was very determined and soon got tired of having to force myself to the gym.
When I moved to Germany I got a part time office job with an outdoor shop and it's been by far the best employment I've had for getting out climbing and training consistently. Set hours that are reasonably flexible, a decent amount of holiday (6 weeks in the year) and discount on kit meant I've saved my money and time for trips. The only complaint is that the really local climbing (30-60mins) isn't that good and I have to drive 1.5-2+hrs to get to some really decent crags i.e. Donautal or better Frankenjura. This may seem like a small amount to some but is still a limiting factor in getting to a project regardless.
As it stands I'm still not 100% on the long term plan but know I want it to be something that has a fixed base, is a reasonably flexible and ideally well paid enough that it doesn't have to be done full time to provide a reasonable quality of life. The nice thing about having climbing as a lifestyle is that you don't necessarily need loads of money, just enough to climb, have gear and eat well etc. I'm lucky to have a partner who shares this lifestyle and thereby we subsidise each other somewhat.
> Just intrested in finding out what peoples approach (all walks of life) to finding out the best career option for climbing....
Here's my wisdom (ha-ha-ha), personal thoughts/ experiences only:
*get an education if possible and also a job you enjoy
*get a pension scheme
*get a job with plenty of time off
*living as near as possible to good climbing helps
*whatever you do, don't become a school teacher just so you can climb more. Teaching is a calling which is definitely not for everyone (it's for some but not others)
*you might go off climbing, and stop, when you're 30 / 40 / 50. That happening when you're 50 might not good for some people if you have no money, career, house, pension: it might be a bit late to start acquiring those
*views on life and climbing tend to change for some people if/ when you have kids, spouse, house, mortgage. One's spouse might be a bit less enthusiastic about climbing than you, and/or maybe not, and/or some may not care or mind about that
*injuries, illness, falls can change your views and plans as you get older, especially when you reach about 60
Because a hobby is something you do in your spare time, so if you end up doing that for a living then technically it’s no longer a hobby and you’ll need a new one.
My hobby was screen-printing shirts and graphic design. It’s now my full time career and while I still enjoy it and miss it when I’m on holiday, it is hands down the last thing I would want to be doing in my spare time.
Gordon, you often trundle this one out ("this" being your wincing response to points such as "When your hobby becomes your job, you need another hobby").
Have you never considered, each time you trundle it out and read peoples' responses, that not everyone is of the exact same mindset? I worked out at 16 that following a career based around studies of literature would run a decent risk of my stopping enjoying literature, so I chose science/engineering.
> Wise words.
11 thumbs down, must be doing something wrong haha
It's DEFINITELY not school teacher.
I climb (outdoors) lots more now...
Living somewhere decent for climbing is the key priority. I’ve been a Uni academic for years which gives me the flexibility to work from home when I want to. So for that combo, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bangor, Exeter etc fit the bill nicely.
I've found being a teacher pretty good for climbing. Less so since havig a baby, but previously we would go away every Easter, Summer, and October half term. Always having a trip coming up to train for was great. In addition, I found getting out at 3.0 at least one day a week, and catching up with work later, was a great option. When I went down to 4 days a week, life was pretty sweet. Work was definitely not the thing holding back my climbing.
The only slight downside is that a lot of really good areas are too hot in the long summer holidays, but always managed to find plenty of good lesser known spots.
I'm a freelance Lighting Designer/technician, predominantly for corporate events these days. Working in corporate means I'm usually working on single events of 1-5 days rather than touring, seldom work weekends and get a lot of time to myself. The downside is that the work is mildly seasonal, and spring and autumn up to Christmas are insanely busy (but very lucrative).
On my average day rate, if I worked every single day of the year I'd earn a smidge over £90000, which is obviously both infeasible and undesirable. However, it does mean that in an average year turning over about half of that I have about half the year off overall. The other upside is that is requires very little work outside of being on-site. There's rarely any significant planning, paperwork or homework to be done before turning up on-site.
Sadly, it's a very niche industry and very difficult to establish yourself.
Many of the greatest things in life are very difficult and involve lots of hard work and determination. Like climbing (I mean, of course, great, challenging routes: not 'what's really easy for its grade, with lots of protection, close to the road?' ... which some people now seem to think it's all about.)
Do what I did. Buy a house just outside Fontainebleau and get the wife to bag a good job in Paris. Then spend your days climbing or fishing and living off her income, and just accept that every day you will be asked "when you are getting a job"?
I think you should stick the next 9/12 months out if you can (get super strong on the fingerboard!), because you will have a solid wage over winter which can be hard if you’re a freelancer. It will also give you time to work out what to do next, plus your getting some training and quals from it.
if you weren’t thinking of doing a winter ski season then a winter in wales can be hard without a solid job.
Being an outdoor instructor might not necessarily be the psyche killer, it could be working with kids all the time? In which case train up, get your mia, coaching or whatever, become your own boss and then you are free to do what you want (no more one potatoes two potatoes three potatoes :P...)
being an outdoor instructor definitely hasn’t slowed us down, maybe the opposite? I like working outside, keeps me physically fit, even though not climbing fit. But once work is finished, drive as fast as we can to tremadog and get a route done (ice cream on the way!)
Best response yet lol
"What's a partner? Seriously though, haven't met any woman who's worth spending 3 nights under fly with"
The fact you have the nerve to post this.... there is a reason you haven't met that woman, she saw you coming mate.
> Do what I did. Buy a house just outside Fontainebleau and get the wife to bag a good job in Paris. Then spend your days climbing or fishing and living off her income, and just accept that every day you will be asked "when you are getting a job"?
This is one of the best posts I've ever read on UKC. Especially as a response to "I've never met a woman worth spending 3 nights under fly with...". Brilliant.
I think unfortunately he picked his words rather badly, I know Ben and he is a lovely guy ! Another case of how writing something on the internet can be read in a different way to how it should be.
Our Friday Night Vido this week follows the climbing of Mickey Schaefer, put together from ten years of archive footage from Mickey's climbs. These days, Mickey is known as 'the guy who can't watch' from Free Solo, but his climbing career extends further...