In 2011 Nick made the first ascent of Frumious Bandersnatch (E7 6c) at Rhoscolyn and then managed to repeat Stevie Haston’s notorious Melody, a heart-stoppingly serious HXS/E9 at Craig Dorys. Nick revisted his taste for Dorys choss in 2018 and made his own serious additions to the sea cliff: Pushing for Rail (E8 6b), which climbs the steep wall immediately left of Melody, and The Zither Player (E7 6a), which climbs a steep wall and shallow arête. He also made the second ascent of another Haston line, Requiem for a Vampire (E8 6b).
Nick is no slouch when it comes to winter climbing, either. In 2006 he made the first ascents of Cracking Up (IX 9) and Traversty (VIII 8) on Clogwyn Du, while north of the border he made the first ascent of Avenging Angel (VII 8) on Ben Nevis. In the strong 2012 and 2013 winter seasons he made quite an impact both in Wales and in Scotland, with a string of first ascents and hard repeats.
A partnership with Guy Robertson proved particularly fruitful. Highlights for this formidable team included the first ascent of Godzilla (IX 8) on Beinn Bhan in 2011 and in 2013 the second ascent of Mort (IX 9) (with a third team member, Greg Boswell) and first ascent of Nevermore (X 10), both on Lochnager. In February 2014 Nick climbed Crème de Violette (IX 9) on Beinn Eighe with Tim Neill and described it as “one of the most sustained and fulfilling outings ever.”
Nick has also spent a lot of time playing on steep icefalls around the world, ticking off numerous WI6 routes, such as Sea of Vapours in the Bow Valley, Canada, and Dame du Lac near Morzine, France. In early 2013 he climbed a slew of impressive thin ice routes in New Hampshire and a trip to the Canadian Rockies with Greg Boswell at the end of the year saw Nick climb some excellent mixed routes, including the thin, trad-protected crack, Victoria’s Secret Deviation (M7++), Rocket Man VI M7+ WI5+), Man Yoga (M8) and The Maul (M7).
Yet it is on the bigger routes in the high alpine that Nick has really shown his class. His alpine record is exceptional, particularly in the Chamonix valley where he made the first ascent of Border Line (ED3, VII 8) on the Sans Nom and the first free ascent of Omega (ED3, VIII 8) on the Petites Jorasses, as well as a whole host of repeats, such as Beyond Good and Evil (ED3) on the north face of the Pelerin.
Nick has been on over two dozen expeditions to places as far flung as Peru, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Tibet and Alaska, bagging first ascents, including Fear and Loathing (ED3 VII 6+ A2) on the southeast face of Jirishanca and Central Buttress Direct (ED2 VII 7) on Quitaraju, both in Peru, and in a five-day alpine-style push the ED+ Central Spur of Chang Himal in Nepal. His first ascent of the North Buttress of Nyainqentangla South East (7046m) in Tibet (ED+ 1600m) with Paul Ramsden, which the duo climbed over seven days in October 2016, was honoured with a prestigious Piolet D’Or in 2017.
In 2012 he made a rare repeat—only the sixth ascent ever— of the technical and committing Slovak Direct (WI6 M6+ A2) on Denali, Alaska, with Andy Houseman in an 84-hour push in challenging weather conditions.