Mick took early retirement in 2015 from his position as Corporate Director for the Environment at Preston City Council and now lives on the Llyen Peninsular in North Wales, where he has turned his sport climbing prowess to trad climbing, making some early repeats of top-end routes like Bam Bam (E8 6b), Requiem for a Vampire (E8 6b) and Pushing for Rail (E8 6b) at Craig Dorys. In 2018 Mick made some of his own impressive(ly scary) contributions to the infamously chossy crag: The Mudshark (E8 6b) and Destiny (E7 6b). The Mudshark in particular stands out for Mick as having both personal significance and as a significant contribution to the notorious crag:
“When I first stood at the foot of the mighty Stigmata Buttress I could never imagine climbing any route up such outrageous territory, let alone a new route!” says Mick. “[Mudshark] starts up Rust Never Sleeps—a serious E6 in its own right—then from the relative sanctuary of the base of its groove the climb breaks out onto the left arête and follows this in its entirety to the top. The first part of the arête is steep and powerful and protected by only a pair of stacked pegs (30mm long) in a thin, dusty seam and a single wire that is really tough to place. From then on fingery, tenuous climbing on very snappy holds may lead you to the top!”
Mick certainly shows no sign of slowing down and is still living up to his Perfect Man status, showing up the young guns on testpiece eighth-grade routes like Master Plan (8a+) at Pen Trywn, Central Pillar (8a) at Castell y Gwynt and Marihuana (8a) in Siurana.
“Whether sport, bouldering or trad, it’s all about the next route or problem,” says Mick. “I am, or have become, very systematic in my approach to all aspects of the sport, whether that be technique, training, eating, resting or redpointing.”
“I think my attitude towards climbing has developed over time rather than changed,” he explains. “What started out as a nice thing to do for a day at the weekend has now become a way of life.”