When the boys were a little older, family holidays were adventurous and always involved climbing. Some of Eadan’s fondest memories of climbing are from these early years with his family, and it was here that he was introduced to developing climbs.
“Some of my earlier achievements would be with the family, going to the Summer Isles off the west coast, near where we live,” says Eadan. “We would canoe out, spend a week on these remote islands and set up trad first ascents every day”.
This first taste of new development was essential to Eadan and his brothers who, growing up in Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands, were forced to be creative with their climbing. With no climbing wall and few other young climbers nearby, the Cunningham brothers spent their after-school hours roaming the surrounding hills, finding, cleaning and developing new boulders to climb and train on. This enthusiasm has continued, with Eadan constantly seeking out new problems no matter where he is.
“The most fun I ever have climbing is finding new stuff, “ says Eadan. “Cleaning it and realising it goes then working it and doing it.”
At 16 Eadan ticked his first “up there” boulder problems, Anatomist and Sassy’s Man, both 7C+ boulders at Torridon in the Highlands. He also made numerous hard first ascents, including the highball Rain Dodger (7A+ or E5 6b) at Ardmair Crag and TPQCD (7B) at Stac Pollaidh.
Upon finishing school in 2018, Eadan bought a small van and set off around Europe for eight months. During this trip he climbed his first 8A boulder, Schlonziges Wiener Schmankerl, in Chironico, Switzerland, along with numerous other classics, like Pamplemouse (7C) in Brione, Switzerland, and Angst im Nacken (7C) in Zillertal, Austria.