UKC's very own Advertising Manager, Rob Greenwood, is included in the list of names to be awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen this year, for Services to Climbing, namely for initiating the #RespecttheRock campaign.
The announcement has come as a pleasant surprise to the UKC team, who are delighted that Her Majesty acknowledges the importance of climbing ethics.
Rob's selfless pursuit of banishing legacy tickmarks, protecting the softest rock surfaces and ensuring good relations between climbers and landowners are recognised with this award.
In his first #RespecttheRock article, Rob outlined his philosophy as follows:
'Coming from a trad/mountaineering background has provided a deep understanding of an ethic that should stand true amongst all disciplines of 'the sport': leave it as you found it. In fact, these days I'd go a little further - leave things better than you find it: pick up litter, brush off those tick marks, and have a general tidy-up before you leave.'
Additional wisdom from his seminal article includes:
'Whilst a little chalk could be considered beautiful to a climber, a lot of chalk is beautiful to no one.'
'You wouldn't leave a turd in the loo for your mates and expect them to thank you for it. Brush 'em and flush 'em kids. Brush 'em and Flush 'em.'
and most crucially, a piece of advice that is relevant to many life situations:
'If in doubt, walk away...'
James McHaffie - Cumbria's leading trad climber - nominated Mr Greenwood for the MBE. "I believe Rob Greenwood is deserving of an MBE for this outrageously hapless campaign he set up about respecting the rock. I mean Jesus. We've got serious environmental issues coming up via climate change right now, like f*cking serious issues. These involve big changes in weather pattern distribution, increased number and ferocity of floods, storms, sea level rises.
You've got stuff like this and you've got this nobber at UKC flapping on about climbing a bit of damp rock. Has he ever been to the Lakes? The rock there never dries out…..never."
A member of the Clean Hand Gang - a group of South West climbers who famously rejected the use of chalk in the 70s - welcomed Rob's award. Maggie Nesium told UKC: 'Rob is a champion of chalk ethics. No onsight should ever be compromised by white trails of chalk.'
Reacting to the news, Rob commented: 'I'm delighted that the Palace has recognised my efforts, but I'm not sure I'll be wearing the medal at the crag - I wouldn't want to damage the rock during a beach-whale top-out. I have, however, started a training programme to perfect my curtsey for the big day.'
Renowned for his unkempt mop of hair and questionable dress sense, Rob has promised us that he will be scrubbing up nicely for the Queen's presentation in May. Asked what he will be wearing, he told us 'A two-tone mustard piece with a baseball cap to tame the hair.'
The response of Rob's partner Penny was... mixed. "If this gives him the validation he wants to continue climbing at the crag long past dark, then I'm a bloody Republican."
The UKC team reckon MBE is really short for 'Most Bloody Enthusiastic'...