Twid is the sort of climber who manages to be both utterly hardcore and exceptionally prolific at the same time. His track record is astonishing not only for the extreme standards achieved but also the range and diversity of his climbing.
He grew up in Wallasey five minutes from the legendary Merseyside sandstone bouldering crag, The Breck. Relentless sessions of fierce, fingery bouldering gave him a solid base of steely crimping strength; a very useful asset for what was to come.
And what did come next was a dramatic rush through the established classics in his adopted home of North Wales. The big numbers soon started to fall; by the time he was 20 he had climbed many E6's and then the following year he hit E7. Twid subsequently built up an impressive list of E7 ascents (which to date stands at over 70!) a few of which he managed to onsight and many of which were first ascents.
Twid was particularly active at Gogarth, producing, over a 20 year period, a staggering amount of new lines. Such is the breadth of hard climbing done here it's hard to pick one outstanding route without immediately thinking of another. Perhaps his best efforts were Vital Statistixs, an unrepeated 4 pitch E8 on Castell Helen and an impressive ground up repeat of Hardback Thesaurus E7/8 6b in Wen Zawn.
It wasn't all confined to North Wales though; Twid has roamed far and wide in his search for challenging rock climbs. A trip to Mingulay in the Hebrides was a typical outing - in the space of a week over 20 new routes were climbed, including the stunning Perfect Monsters, an E7 on Dun Mingulay.
And then there is sport climbing - this has never been Twid's main focus but he has still ticked numerous F8as. As for winter climbing, again he has an impressive level of experience with over 20 seasons in Scotland under his belt, plus first ascents, such as Scrabble VIII 7 on Stob Coire nan Lochan in Glen Coe. He also has extensive experience of the alpine icefalls and has climbed up to WI 7.
Twid's alpine and big wall achievements are if anything even more impressive. He has established over 20 major new lines in the greater ranges and has climbed some of the hardest mixed and rock routes in the Alps. Highlights include the first ascents of Supa Dupa Couloir VI ED4 in Alaska (Piolet D'Or nominee), The Good the Bad and the Ugly A3+ E3 on the South Tower of Paine in Patagonia, Endless Day VI A3+ on Baffin Island and Grains of Time, a 16 pitch E3 on Suro Tondo in Mali. He has accrued more than 100 mountain bivi nights living on portaledges, many with his wife Louise!
Recent adventures include the first ascent of an 8 pitch F7b+ on the big limestone walls of Taghia, in Morocco (read more about Fat Guides here), and a 1000m new route on the right hand-side of the west face of Triple Middle Peak in the remote Kitchatna Spires in Alaska (read more about Hard Arteries A3, Scottish 5, free V here).
Twid qualified as a mountain guide in 1993 and for many years worked as a senior instructor and head of rock climbing at Plas y Brenin, the National Mountain Centre in Capel Curig. He then set up his own guiding company and home became Villar in Switzerland where he now lives with his wife Louise and daughter. For more details on his guiding business check out his website: The Mountain Guiding Company.
"Pull hard and live dangerously!"
Mike 'Twid' Turner IFMGA Mountain Guide, MIC. UK mobile: +44(0)7906 196692 Swiss: +41799588412 E-mail: www.themountainguidingcompany.co.uk
Photo: © Turner Collection