Two months ago, after the well known and sponsored climber Rich Simpson had published a blog about some of his recent alpine successes, UKC contacted Rich directly to request more information from him regarding the details of these recent routes, as well as his hardest sport ascents and his running.
Rich had publicly claimed astonishing achievements in all three sports, from F9a sport-climbing ascents to a sub 4min mile and more recently a hard Dolomite speed-solo.
Rich was aware that people were doubting his claims, so we asked him six questions to help clear those doubts. These were:
- Alpine N Faces – Which ones? Which Routes? When?
- Pan Aroma, Dolomites - Who belayed?
- Fish - Marmolada - Who climbed it with you?
- 4 min mile – Where and when?
- 2.5 hour Marathon - Where and when?
- Who were your belayers for Action Directe, Liquid Ambar, Hubble and A Muerte?
Rich politely refused to comment on any of his ascents or sporting activities and requested that we do not contact him again. We are still happy to receive any information from Rich.
Around the same time two of Rich's main sponsors - Scarpa and Wild Country had asked for similar information.
Wild Country have now issued the following statement to UKC:
"Earlier this year there was a forum thread on UKC which seemed to provide some evidence that disputed Rich Simpson's running claims - and alluded to problems with other claims Rich Simpson had made regarding his climbing. Wild Country, concerned about its reputation and also in consideration of concerns over the history of the sport, felt it prudent to ask Rich Simpson to provide evidence for some of his ascents in the shape of naming his belayers for several routes - routes which were reported and claims that were repeated on Wild Country's website as Rich Simpson was a Wild Country sponsored climber.
However, Rich Simpson refused to supply any information that could verify his ascents, even when repeatedly asked directly by Wild Country, thus Wild Country decided to terminate his sponsorship and remove any information regarding Rich Simpson from its website until such time as evidence is provided."
We have also received a statement from Scarpa:
"When we saw the threads on various web sites raising doubts about Rich Simpson's ascents, we asked him to make a statement on UKC in order to protect his reputation and that of Scarpa and the Mountain Boot Company. Rich Simpson refused to make a statement and then, under his own instigation, immediately tended his resignation as a sponsored athlete. We accepted this resignation."
Since that time there have been extensive forum threads on several websites discussing the possibility that Simpson's claims may be bogus. UKC has now closed the recent thread discussing this issue.
UKC has now removed all news items and article references from our website regarding Rich Simpson's climbing achievements. These have not been deleted however, and we would be happy to republish these news articles if proof of these ascents comes to light.
Our general policy is to have faith in reported climbs and climbers and to not seek 'proof' of ascents. However if world class performances have been claimed, especially from a fully sponsored and well known athlete who is publishing these achievements on his sponsor's websites, we would expect some cooperation from that athlete if basic details are requested.