Allcord's Ambassadors: Ako Shillitoe and Graeme Read

In January we published a request from Allcord Ltd who were looking for two 'climbing ambassadors'. Climbers were asked to submit their climbing CV to Kieron MacKenzie and Andy Moir at Allcord.

The deal comprises the supply of climbing hardware, rope and rock shoes for a rolling 12 month period, in return for a monthly update with images on climbing activity and some product feedback and evaluation. The climbing brands Newcastle-based Allcord Limited distribute include C.A.M.P & Cassin climbing hardware, Tendon climbing ropes and Climb X rock shoes.

Andy Moir said: "Thanks to all applicants for their interest in becoming a 'climbing ambassador' for Allcord Limited and the brands we represent. It was a tough decision trying to get it down to the final two but we are pleased to announce that Ako Shillitoe and Graeme Read will be joining our growing team of activists for the 2011 season."

Full details about Ako and Graeme below.

You can follow their season as it unfolds on Allcord's new website due to go live later this month –


Ako Shillitoe
© AS

Nationality: Japanese (UK Resident)
Occupation: The Depot Climbing Centre Instructor
Climbing For: 9 years
Hardest Climb: RP F8a / OS F7b+
Hardest Boulder: 7b (Font)
Favourite Climbing style: Limestone Sports Route

Favourite Route!: The Ashes (Kilnsey, Limestone, Sport, 7c+)

The first time I attempted this route it felt impossible! The moves were amazing, other people suggested beta but I couldn't reach the holds their way. I had to work out my own sequence; putting in intermediate moves and pulling on holds everyone else misses out. It felt so hard, but each time I tried on the sharp end I made more progress! I loved finding out moves which nobody else does. I loved the process of figuring out the route the 'AKO-WAY'! The top is really run out and I kept taking huge whippers... I knew I just had to keep in the zone and hold it together...I felt nervous, but was excited about sending the route...all my concentration...all my passion...success!!!

Best Bouldering Send! Hyperplomb (Apremont, Font, Sandstone, 7a)

It's a highball problem; you climb up a wall to the crux top move which is a mantel on slopers. I tried it a few times; getting to the top and feeling scared, I didn't want to commit to the final move. At that moment it started to rain! I knew this was it I had one chance to suck it up and send the problem! I set off... pulling quickly through the bottom part of the problem...I was then at the crux...right hand was on an undercut...left on sloper...this was it...right foot up and go! Go! Go!...I'd done it! The rain fell and I didn't care! I'd done it! I loved this problem because it was my first Font 7a and I committed when it mattered, sending an amazing problem in marginal conditions.

Most Fabulous Trip!

It's so hard to pick my favourite trip! I have climbed in so many amazing places all round the world. For me the best trips are about who you are with and how you feel; not just about sending hard projects! I love meeting climbers from all over the world; inspiring me to try harder, train more and believe that anything is possible. I love seeing the beauty and nature of different countries, eating food and experiencing cultures. Travelling and climbing all over the globe; it is freedom in the purest sense and makes me feel alive! On my best trips it is the simplicity of life; sleep, eat and climb, all my worries fade away; my focus is just about moving on rock.


Graeme Read
© GR

Years climbing: 10
Best trad onsight: E5
Best trad headpoint: E7
Best sport grade: F7c
Best bouldering grade: Font 7b


On sight trad climbing appeals to me more than any other discipline of climbing. Not only is this the best style of ascent, but for me the most rewarding. Highlights include on sights of big British mountain routes such as Shere Khan (E5) on Scafell, The Cumbrian (E5) on Esk Buttress and Supernatural (E5) on Great Gable. I particularly enjoy taking on routes away from the crowds, on big remote crags, whether that be in England, Scotland or Wales. Other notable routes on a personal level include Freak Out (E4) on Aonach Dubh, Lost Horizons (E4) on Scafell, Steeple (E2) on Shelter Stone Crag and Empire of the Sun (E4) in Glen Clova. Other less inaccessible highlights for me include Right Wall (E5) on Dinas Cromlech, Flaky Wall (E4) at High Tor and Central Wall (E5) at Blue Scar in Yorkshire.

I am just as happy climbing easier classics in slimy, wet conditions, just as long as I am out on the rock! I also enjoy outcrop routes, particularly in my home stomping ground of Northumberland, and have had the privilege over the last few years of cleaning up and climbing neglected classics on under-rated crags such as Ravensheugh and Sandy Crag. At the former I have added several new routes of my own, including The Apprentice (E4 6b), Hang em' High (E5 6a), Borstal Breakout (E5 6c) and my personal favourite the Direct Finish to Childhood's End (E6 6c). Last year I became engrossed in developing a new crag in Northumberland, Lower Tosson, with Simon Litchfield. We added over 40 new routes and boulder problems from VD to E6 and Font 6a to 7a. I also added a new route to the remote Bizzle Burn high in the Cheviot Hills, The Flying Fortress (E6). Other notable ascents in Northumberland for me include the headpoint and second ascent of Andy Earl's Crocodile Arete (E7) at Ravensheugh and Master Blaster Arete (E7) at Rothley.

The climbing brands Allcord Limited distribute include C.A.M.P & Cassin climbing hardware, Tendon climbing ropes and Climb X rock shoes.

You may also remember that ran the Allcord Logo Photo Competition.

The winners were Stuart M and his image of David Barrons cutting loose on Aegialis at Kalymnos, and Catherine Speakman and her image of walkers at sunset on Sidhean Mor - below.

The New Allcord Logo, 144 kb

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