On top of climbing F8a+, flashing F8a and onsighting E5, Jonny has recently returned from a trip to the Dolomites where he climbed the 16 pitch Brandler Hasse (Approx E5) on the North Face of the Cima Grande.
His mum Lorraine commented:
"When he did the Brandler Hasse route it was an amazing experience for him. I think it was one of the hardest things he has ever done, but he learnt so much from it and gained so much experience.
Some of stories he tells me at times make me go Oh-My-God! I think I have just learnt not to ask him too much in case I have heart failure!"
In this mini interview, UKC Editor Jack Geldard finds out a little more about the strong Scotsman from Kilwinning.
Jack: Hey Jonny, good effort on the Brandler Hasse, and in all the competitions. Judging by your age, I guess you're still at school right?
Jonny: Yeah, I'm in my last year of school, studying at Kilwinning Academy doing highers and advanced highers.
Jack: So, how did you start climbing and have you been at it long?
Jonny: I've been climbing for about 5 years now, I started when I was 11. I went to a mate's birthday party at Glasgow climbing centre. My mum went on a belay course and I started going more regularly. After a year or so I started to train.
Jack: You seem to have come a long way pretty quickly. What would you say are your 'biggest ticks' so far in climbing?
Jonny: I've flashed a couple of F8a's and climbed F8a+. On trad I've onsighted a few E5's and led E6.
Jonny: Probably winning the BLCC in 2007, that's when I really started to train and improve quickly and started winning comps. Plus climbing my first F8a - Colour du Vent in Ceuse, that was an amazing feeling.
Jack: I bet! So what are your future ambitions, more sport and comps?
Jonny: Well, long-term to climb F8c or F8c+ and get amongst the senior comp scene. Short term-to climb F8b and improve on my European Ranking (4th)
Jack: Who inspires you and why?
Jonny: Allan Cassidy really inspires me as he is such a down-to-earth mate who has done some really impressive things and he pushes me to climb hard. He's a good example of an amazing climber whose ego hasn't taken over. Neil McGeachy is also very inspiring. He must be one of the best trad climbers in Scotland and has taught me a lot about trad and the ethics of it. He gives me a lot of confidence in myself and is also a very grounded person.
Jack: If you had to list your top 5 routes/climbing experiences, what would they be?
1. Brandler Hasse route on the Cima Grande, this was my first experience of long multi-pitch climbing in a really mountainous landscape.
2. Little Sister at Zillertal, Austria, this was my first 8a+ and an amazing route.
3. Yahoochie is an E6 on a hidden sea cliff on the coast of Aberdeen. This was my first E6 I climbed with Neil McGeachy. He basically said "it's not that bad, you've just got it in your head that E6 is dangerous and hard when it's really not that bad." So I just got on with it.
4. Les Colonettes is a F7c+ in Ceuse, it's a massive 25m tufa with a few moves on two finger pockets at the end - amazing!
5. Access Route at Auchinstarry, my first ever trad route and a classic of the crag. Very famous amongst the Glasgow and Edinburgh climbers.
Jack: And, if you could pick one route to do, a kind of 'ultimate route', what would it be?
Jonny: My ultimate route to do is a route in Rodellar that I tried last Easter. It's called Welcome to Tiawana. It's F8c and solid, it's like a V11 with a semi good rest, then a V9 on a really steep wall. This would be my main goal for years to come. The ultimate route that I have done is Little Sister (F8a+) simply because it's the hardest route I've done. It was on the granite cliffs at Zillertal, Austria, an amazing area with loads of rock.
Jack: Finally Jonny, I'm always interested in other people's take on climbing. What's your climbing philosophy?
Jonny: I think you should always climb for yourself, not to impress other people. You should embrace the lifestyle and live the dream. Basically just take it easy.
Jack: Nice one Jonny, thanks. Good luck on Welcome to Tiawana and try not to give your mum heart failure!!
Jonny received a Bursary from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) this year to help him compete in National and International competitions as well as go towards his trip to the Dolomites.
The MCofS Climbing & Mountaineering Bursary is a grant award through funding from sportscotland for sport development. It is administered by the MCofS Bursary Screening Committee. The range of activities eligible is very wide and includes expeditions, competitions, sport climbing, trad climbing and encouragement of young people. Deadline for applications for trips next year is February 2010.
- Full details can be found at: http://www.mcofs.org.uk/expedition-grants.asp