The whims and motivations of climbers really are another world to the person in the street. Understanding them is crossing a threshold; it requires a certain suspension of disbelief to start to see the world of risk, adventure, suffering and more in a different light.
Those thresholds exist within climbing too. One of them is understanding the obsessive new-router. I think we can all appreciate the buzz of discovering something no-one else has done. We could probably imagine cleaning something, maybe even drilling some bolts, although I bet few of us have actually done it. Even fewer can really get inside the mindset of the truly obsessed. That person who will plough time and money that could be used on trips and climbing into finding, cleaning and climbing new routes.
Pete Oxley is one of these people, and what fascinates Wil Treasure about him, and others who were new routing at the same time, is the sheer volume of routes he was putting up - more than 800 new routes, many in Dorset, but also in Avon and Cheddar, the Peak District and south and west Wales. His output is probably only surpassed by Gary Gibson, Martin Crocker and Pat Littlejohn.
Good to see this and am so looking forward to listening to it. Pete's lonely orgy of labour transformed Dorset climbing from a sleepy backwater to what it is today. We will always be in his debt.
I look forward to listening to this - I bet it will be up to Wil's normal impressively high standards. Just one little thing about the intro text; when prolific new routers are mentioned among us in the more southern parts of the British Isles, the Scots seemed to get forgotten. I suspect that Andy Nisbet's and quite possibly Gary Latter's names should be up there with Gibson, Crocker, Littlejohn and Oxley.
This is of course a good point. I am repeating the previous emphasis from "Who's Who in British Climbing" here.
Massive thanks for this, as someone who’s climbed in Portland a whole bunch I’ve always viewed Pete as a legend!
sure that Andy had >1000 new routes although I don't know what percentage were winter or summer
Thank you Pete, from everyone who loves climbing in Dorset.
Thanks for this, a great listen. And thank you Pete for so many wonderful routes.
When it comes to obsessive new routing Barry Clarke takes some beating. He has 52 new routes in the Culm and Baggy guide, all climbed solo some opening up new areas. I believe that he has climbed over 4000 new routes mainly solo, usually short and up to HVS.
> sure that Andy had >1000 new routes although I don't know what percentage were winter or summer
I believe there's an article on here about Mr Nisbet which puts the winter routes alone at over 1000! Truly remarkable. So I imagine you could easily double that for the summer lines.
Amazing, especially when you consider how remote and involved many of them must have been. It would be an interesting episode to chart some of those ascents with his partners.
> When it comes to obsessive new routing Barry Clarke takes some beating. He has 52 new routes in the Culm and Baggy guide, all climbed solo some opening up new areas. I believe that he has climbed over 4000 new routes mainly solo, usually short and up to HVS.
Yes. I remember him sweeping through Yorkshire limestone and the Lakes 20 years ago. He got some stick off locals for many of his offerings being short and relatively inconsequential.
Really enjoyed this one, a great insight into Pete's character, his motivations and the creative process he went through.