/ Pete Kirton dies RIP

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
stp - on 01 Nov 2017
Just heard that Pete Kirton, legendary climber-boulderer of the eighties, has died. From the sketchy, second hand, details I've heard he fell over walking home and banged his head. He was taken to hospital but died in intensive care.

For those who don't know of him he was an incredibly talented climber that climbed with Jerry Moffatt developing boulder problems in the early eighties at places like The Bowderstone in the Lakes and Tom's Roof at Stoney Middleton. This was at a time when bouldering as a sport was barely recognized amongst most climbers. He was a super nice guy that had a very laid back approach to climbing yet could casually pull off the hardest of moves.

The last I knew of him he was working as a psychiatric nurse, a job I hear he was really good at. I suspect his sharp mind and kind heart made especially well suited to that career.

RIP Pete.
Christheclimber on 01 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

This is very sad news, Pete was a great climber and a really good bloke. RIP Pete.
graeme jackson - on 02 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

Shit. this is really dreadful news. Normally these RIP threads have no effect but Pete was someone I climbed alongside in my formative years with the NMC. (I say alongside cos he was far better than i'll ever be). Despite him being in a league of his own, he was always very encouraging to us lesser mortals - at training sessions at cramlington's Concordia wall he'd get me to try out problems and moves I'd otherwise have thought impossible. he had a great sense of humour too, always ready to take the piss yet always self deprecating.
I have a vague recollection of a certain mr moffat failing a problem on the bowderstone that Pete then virtually ran up in a pair of willies - he really was that good.
I lost touch with Pete (and the rest of the NMC for that matter) when I left the North east in the mid eighties but I had heard he'd given up climbing to do some other sport (running maybe) that he was no doubt also superb at.

R.I.P. Pete.
tripehound - on 02 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

That is really sad news. Pete was a member of the Northumbrian MC years back. He spent an extended period staying at the Bowderstone as he and Gerry Moffat worked the problems on the Bowderstone. He was a great guy and no one could touch him bouldering.
RIP mate.
Pete O'Donovan - on 02 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

Very sad news. I remember Pete as being not only phenomenally strong (at a time when this kind of power strength wasn't very common) but also a genuinely nice guy.

R.I.P Pete Kirton.
Mark Leach - on 02 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

I climbed and went bouldering with Pete in the 80's I could not keep up with him, which was not a surprise considering his legendary strength and status . We tried the Crack on Frogatt me in lyrcra and Pete in twead jacket in a snow storm. We had so many laughs. He climbed a mantelshelf problem to the left of the Crack with ease, I could not get off the ground. I met Pete more recently whilst we were both taking our kids to junior school. We sat on a school bench in the playground watching the kids bouldering on the school bouldering wall having great fun we had so many laughs not at the kids but ourselves. Two old men watching the new generation having fun. No one knew we climbed or went bouldering nor did we care the kids were have great fun. I felt extremely privileged sitting next to a legend on that bench and having laughs as we talked about anything and everything.

RIP my friend. You will be missed.

Mark Leach
Mick Ward - on 02 Nov 2017
In reply to Mark Leach:

What a lovely, lovely post. You've done him proud.

I remember Noddy (Neil Molnar) telling me about Pete Kirton, back in the late 70s/early 80s. Initially I was dismissive. "Nobody could be that strong." "Well, he is," Noddy insisted. "He just is."

And, as became clear, "He just was..."

Yet, however much we revere strength, in the end it's more about how a person conducts themself. And everything I ever heard about Pete Kirton indicated that he was a very special person indeed, with an awful lot to give to the world.

May he rest in peace.

AP Melbourne on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to Mark Leach:

> RIP my friend. You will be missed.

Yeah, simply dreadful news isn't it.
Pete was not merely *a* laugh a minute but numerous laughs and having shared a house for a year and being shown his Bowderstone problems can verify he had incredible, un-trained, natural strength.
Condolences to family & loved ones and may he be at peace forever.
SteveSBlake - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

Like others of that era in the North East, I knew Pete back in the late 70s and we climbed a lot together for about eight months before I moved away. This was before he hit his best form which seemed to be honed by his battles with Bob Smith over a number of classic problems in the County. Even then his remarkable strength was self evident. Climbing at Bowden I watched him do the second ascent of Rising Damp; he bounded along the traverse and made it all look pathetically easy - and it isn't - indeed it rarely gets done today... All the more unusual as at that time he hadn't developed a head for heights! Later he was to establish Vienna, the ridiculous, direct dyno to the middle of the break. It's present condition is very unlike what Pete climbed, the current scooped footholds and finger jugs are a ladder compared with the singular small fingertip flake he lunged from...

He explained his natural strength as being the result of too much tree climbing as a child. There was a more too it than that I think, he was genetically blessed with a remarkable physique, 'an anatomy lesson for idiots'. I recall we used to go to the gym in Cramlington, this would have been in 1979. We would dismay the 'strong blokes' moving metal with our odd climbers antics, all topped by Pete casually pulling three one armers, left and right off the trot, he reckoned he'd always been able to do them!

He was fun, with a sharp with that sometimes got him into trouble, was very self deprecating and a talented writer; his 'Working Class' is a classic piece of writing, it's a shame he didn't do more.

The last time I spoke with Pete was to get his permission to use Working Class' in the current bouldering guide, and I'd only just texted him to arrange a meeting in the new year to interview him for an anniversary book the
NMC are producing with Mark Savage. Photos of Pete are few and far between so if any friends reading this have any that they can let us use then please get in touch with me.

Most people would be unaware of it, but bouldering in the UK owes a lot to Peter, it would be fitting to do him justice. So if you have any material we can use, please get in touch with me.

RIP Pete.

Lemony - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to SteveSBlake:
> He was fun, with a sharp with that sometimes got him into trouble, was very self deprecating and a talented writer; his 'Working Class' is a classic piece of writing, it's a shame he didn't do more.

Available here:

Agreed, one of the best descriptions of bouldering I've read.
L Pete Kirton Fan - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

Pete's funeral will be held at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium, South Sheffield. Thursday November 9th at 3.30 p.m....As Pete was a true legend there will be many folk there as can get to celebrate the man and his life...not only his climbing pals but all who knew such a unique, endlessly funny, caring person. He was way way ahead of his time in bouldering and as always so self-deprecating he not once sought any recognition for the pioneering of his craft. I could go on and on with so many stories...So...I guess we will have such a good sesh on the day so Pete would be proud.
Ian W - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to Pete Kirton Fan:

Also, I've been asked to post that drinkies are to be taken at the Stag on Psalter Lane afterwards. All welcome. I knew him only very vaguely, but its clear he is a real loss to many, many people. I hope there will be many geordie accents at the funeral.

L John Spowage - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

As a long time friend of Pete's it's lovely to hear so many warm recollections of him. His four daughters will miss him terribly. If any of you can make it to Pete's funeral next week I'd be very glad to meet you and have a drink in his memory. Steve, I'd be very happy to meet with you and share my memories of Pete.
Best regards, John.
L Pete Kirton Fan - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to John Spowage:

Hi John, it's Iain Murdoch . I posted earlier as Pete Kirton Fan to let folk know bout the funeral arrangements..What a shock ! Seen much more of him lately aswell. It still hasn't sunk in. I'll definitely catch up with you next Thursday. I guess there's going to be a lot of people wishing to pay their respects ...and what lovely words about Pete on this message board....it reflects the personality of the man..
For now I am trying to think of how to contact all the people who knew him..It may take a long time !
So until next Thursday take care and best wishes..
paul mitchell - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

It's true.... the good die young.
Bulls Crack - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

Very sad news. A really nice bloke. Remember him encouraging me on the traverse in Jesmond Dean many years ago back in 1981/2
Glenn Sutcliffe - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:
I was 17 just starting to get into climbing and went to Bowden Doors by myself to solo some easy routes. Bumped into this bloke scratching around in some low down cave. Got chatting to him and spent an hour or so bouldering with him.
I had come from a background of gymnastics and was utterly astounded at the ability and sheer strength of this guy, I seem to remember basically a crucifix move on the underside of the roof and then removing his feet and rotating about 120 degrees to a toe hook by his other hand. Have a go he said, even being held in place I couldn’t stay on the rock.
I wrongly assumed everyone who climbed must be like this, little did I know this was not the case and this guy was pretty special.
I’ve had thousands of days out climbing since but still remember how blown away by what I was watching. RIP Pete
Post edited at 17:05
stp - on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to John Spowage:

Cheers John and I will definitely be there.
Rick Graham on 04 Nov 2017
In reply to SteveSBlake:

> NMC are producing with Mark Savage. Photos of Pete are few and far between so if any friends reading this have any that they can let us use then please get in touch with me.

Only met Pete a few times in the mid eighties.
Reading through all these posts just reminds me fondly of how humble, enthusiastic and all round nice guy he was,, and strong!
RIP Pete.

Regarding photos, the only ones I can recall are in the Borrowdale guide of Pete belaying Chris Gore on Footless Crow, and one of Pete leading Fine Time in the Langdale guide. Both photos taken by Al Phizacklea, he may have more.

On here, there is only one photo of "Pete Kirton" but that is the other PK from Manchester.
AP Melbourne on 05 Nov 2017
In reply to smeaters:

Lovely post smeaters and Pete will be smiling broadly at that!
Its nice to see you're still around, man.
AP Melbourne on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to AP Melbourne:

Where did smeaters' post go????
L Tiamurphy123 - on 08 Nov 2017
In reply to SteveSBlake:

Hi Steve. My name is Tia and I am one of Petes daughters. Firstly I just want to say on behalf of my family how touching this thread is, and how lovely it has been to read all the memories and stories of Pete. We also have many photos of him climbing over the years which we are more than happy to send you if you are still wanting some photos for the anniversary book. Do get in contact to arrange us sending them over. Kind regards, Tia

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.