Jude Spancken

Jude Spancken© Spancken Collection

Jude discovered climbing in 1994 on the sea cliffs of Swanage during a school exchange year to the UK from her native Germany. A college course at Aberystwyth cemented the connection with North Wales, which became her base for the following decade.

The mix of traditional, sport and bouldering in the area suited Jude well. In particular she excelled at onsight trad climbing, steadily working her way up through the grades and notching up numerous E5 and E6 ascents along the way, including Lord of the Flies E6 6a on Dinas Cromlech and The Cad E6 6a at Gogarth.

Sea cliff climbing has always held a big allure for Jude; she has ticked many classics at Pembroke such as Head Hunter E5 6a in Huntsman’s Leap and Barbarella E5 6a on Trevallen. On the island of Lundy she climbed Antiworlds E5 6a in Deep Zawn, and on the wonderfully isolated Isle of Pabbay in the Hebrides Jude notched up a number of new routes.

Deep water soloing has also featured strongly in Jude’s climbing. Notable ascents include The Vanishing E5 6a and Swordfish Trombones E5 6b at Swanage.

On the sport climbing front she has redpointed some very classic F8as. Serpentine on the beautiful Taipan Wall in Australia was a real highlight. Closer to home Statement of Youth on Lower Pen Trwyn stands out. More recently she has pushed her grade with an ascent of La Ligne Noir F8a+ at Bionassy in France.

Jude is very much an all rounder and it wasn’t long before she was drawn towards tackling bigger routes in adventurous locations. On The Barron in Southern Greenland she made the first ascent of The Pink Power Tower, a 7 pitch E5 6a. Nowadays she splits her time between North Wales and Chamonix where she has climbed classic routes such as L’Echo des Alpages, an 11 pitch F7a+ on the immaculate granite of the Grand Capuccin.

Jude has travelled widely in pursuit of the perfect climb, with trips across the world to Thailand, Morocco, and Squamish in Canada. Bouldering has also featured heavily, with memorable trips to Bishop in the US and of course to Fontainbleau.

She is a talented photographer who often has her work published in the outdoor press. Check out her website www.judithspancken.co.uk for a selection of her delightful and dramatic images.

Jude Spancken© Spancken Collection

Andrew Wilochowski introduced me to climbing when I came to the UK from Germany for an exchange year. He was a chemistry teacher at the school and he ran the climbing club. He introduced me and other students to climbing in a most beautiful, traditional and adventurous way. In my first year of climbing I was leading routes on Lundy, climbing chalk cliffs in Dover and doing winter routes in Scotland. It was a definite cross road in my life. After the year I decided to move to the UK and ever since, climbing has played a very important role in my life.