Joe and Sam Lawson, originally from Norfolk, have just joined the Snap UK Team. Despite being in their 20s, the Lawson brothers are a prolific duo, having done a wide variety of problems/routes in the UK and beyond. UK Brand Manager for SNAP Climbing and Beta Climbing Designs, Tim Hill caught up with the brothers to see how they're settling in to the team:
Joe and Sam welcome to the SNAP team! Where are you from and where did you start climbing?
Sam: Thanks Tim, I’m psyched to be on the team! I’m from Norwich in Norfolk and started climbing at the University of East Anglia Sports Park about eight or nine years ago. Joe already climbed, so I only really started because he did, but I’m really glad I did, I can’t imagine what I would be doing with my life if I didn’t climb.
Joe: Thanks Tim, very excited to be asked to be a part of the Snap/Beta Team. I am originally from York, but have lived the majority of my life in Norwich. I started climbing around 9 years ago at a small climbing wall in the local sports centre and my psyche for the sport just grew from then. It was very difficult staying motivated with a 3 hour drive to reach the nearest decent rock and limited indoor climbing facilities.
Your both now based in Sheffield, hows that working out?
Sam: It’s working out really well! I’ve only been here for just over a month but I already know it’s the place for me. Being surrounded by psyched climbers and people who are way stronger than me definitely inspires me to climb harder. It’s also nice to have a selection of indoor climbing walls to go to, as it gets me more psyched to train. But obviously the best bit is not having to drive three plus hours every time I want to climb outside.
Joe: Absolutely loving life in Sheffield, have been living here just over a year, it was definitely the right move for me and I wish I had made the move sooner. It's great being so close to the Peak and other climbing areas in the UK, also the choice of training facilities in Sheffield is second to none. I feel training at the School Room has enabled me to push through the plateau I had been stuck at whilst living in Norwich.
Whats been your main focuses over the last couple of years?
Sam: It’s always been about outdoor climbing for me, I enjoy comps every now and then, but I’d much rather a day out on the rock. The last couple of years has mainly been focused on trying to get as much outdoor bouldering as I can done. I think I speak for both of us when I say we really like UK rock, so that’s mainly where we’ve climbed.
Joe: For me I can say that my focus in climbing for the last few years has been outdoor bouldering oriented, I don't really like climbing indoors besides training and I have zero interest in comps. I have been exploring the many world class bouldering crags the UK has to offer and trying to climb as much as I can. I love climbing on UK rock as there is so much variation within a relatively small area, I don't think I will ever get bored climbing in the UK. Recently I have been mixing it up a little bit and dabbling in some sport climbing over the summer when it's been too hot for hard bouldering. Although with my lack of fitness I have had to stick to the shorter, more bouldery routes but thankfully the Peak has many to offer. I accidentally got really into sport climbing, so will definitely be carrying on with it through the winter when I can get away with it.
LawsonBetaProductions has become a pretty successful Vimeo channel amongst UK boulders. How did that come about?
Sam: I always really enjoyed watching climbing films, but in particular UK bouldering films (Winter Sessions was my favourite). It’s cool to watch the big American ones with people crushing 8Cs, but I always got more psyched by watching UK films where I might one day be able to go and try or do the problems in it. So probably about five or six years ago I attempted to make my own. They were pretty rubbish looking back at them now, but I enjoyed making them so kept it up.
Joe: It's hard to remember where it all began, I think we started to film ourselves punting about on infrequent Peak trips many years ago, with whatever cameras we could lay hands on. Sam then began to experiment with basic editing software (Windows Movie Maker) to see what he could do with the clips and it all developed from there. For me, filming myself bouldering was always just a means of keeping a personal record of my climbing and to show friends, its nice to know that other people (hopefully) enjoy the videos and can get (lank) beta from them.
Whats your climbing plans for the next few months?
Sam: I’ve only recently recovered from quite a bad finger injury, so I’m psyched to be able to pull hard and get strong over the next few months. I’m going to try and get outdoors whenever I can. It’s coming up to Grit season so I’m psyched to do some hard stuff, but also to tick off a load of the easier classics I’ve missed over the years.
Joe: At the moment I'm trying to rehab a finger injury that has been restricting my climbing for the past month or two. I am still getting out on rock but having to be selective with what I can get away. I am really enjoying the bouldering in Wales at the moment so will be continuing to head over there, especially with the imminent arrival of the new guide. I climbed a lot on Yorkshire grit last year and was blown away by the quality of the bouldering available out there, so I plan to start heading out there again on the weekends too. Closer to home I will carry on getting out on Peak lime after work for a long as the connies will allow.
(Sam and Joe Lawson join Mike Adams, Charlie Woodburn, Ollie Torr, Katie Mundy, Sam Hamer, and Ed Hamer on the SNAP Climbing UK team.)