Chris Hamper, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015, shares the story of what he thought would be his last-ever outing on rock with friends...
'Jess met me on top and the emotions finally caught up with me. I cried. The effort, the kindness of my friends, memories and future prospects hit me all together. The problem was one move, but that move moved me. I have no idea what I said, but I babbled for a while. The grade was not important, I didn't want to know. Later I found out it was 5+. Did it matter? Yes, of course it did. How embarrassing.'
Brilliant. And heartbreaking. In equal measure.
I read Chris's autobiography online not too long back, and his writing is always disarmingly honest and unfailingly amusing.
You might have to write slowly, Chris, but it reads beautifully. Outstanding.
THis is almost unbearable to read. Chris Hamper is a monumental character. I hope if I have anthing like this I bear it with the same fortitude. Respect!
“it's best to play to your strengths and my strength is my strength.”
and writing…really enjoyed this.
Lost for words, but got to say something to highlight how moving that was.
Great writing and an inspiring attitude.
Also you are still climbing harder than most people of your, and my, age are.
Lovely short read with classic climbs familiar to all. In a somewhat similiar vein but much longer read is Landlines by Raynor Winn, about a couple (he has a form of Parkinsons, CBD) who decide to walk the Cape Wrath Trail. A wonderful read and a twist at the end.
Glad I'm not the only one who thinks crack gloves are cheating I was amazed when I tried them at how much easier the climbing is even though I've always loved a handjam I even jammed Brook's Layback because I'm rubbish at laybacking
You used to be one of the heroes of my youth, Chris (we´re a year apart). Now you´re an even bigger hero of my old age
Really enjoyed this article Chris. Thank you. I hope you can keep climbing. Please keep writing!
A poignant read, I remember you and your mates as the upcoming hotshots that were setting new standards and burning all us old guys off, that would be 40+ years ago!! Take care and keep at it as long as you can do/want to,
It was Stanage again on Saturday. This time with a rope. We used to just call it climbing, now it's called trad. I refuse to use that term. I also refuse to say "send" and "gaston" and try not to do fist bumps. I don't think Parcour is bouldering and have never done a double dyno...
Lovely piece. Thanks for that! I'm also of an age that makes it hard to use the term trad or send. I even have trouble thinking of bouldering as anything other than `messing about' or `warming up'. Best of luck in the future. I look forward to seeing more articles.