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British Rock Climbers

LAST UPDATED: 21st April 2024

When you think of rock climbing meccas, the sheer granite of Yosemite or the sun-soaked limestone cliffs of Margalef might spring to mind, leaving the humble British Isles somewhat in the climbing shade. 

After all, Britain isn’t exactly famed for its glorious weather or towering rock faces that climbers dream of. Instead, it offers unpredictable weather, gritty (and sketchy) trad routes, and a distinct lack of those glamorous, Instagram-worthy cliffs. But don’t be fooled by its understated climbing facade, The UK has forged some of the finest climbers on the planet.

In Britain, it’s not just about the climb; it’s about battling the elements, mastering the unpredictable, and making a cup of tea at the crag in gale-force winds. This is where character is built, along with a peculiarly British resilience and sense of humor. You don’t need perfect conditions to produce world-class talent; sometimes, a bit of rain and a stiff upper lip is all you need.

15 Famous British Rock Climbers

#1: Will Bosi

Known For: Bouldering

There is no doubt that Will Bosi is not only one of the best British rock climbers, but he is also one of the best boulderers in the world. He has climbed more confirmed V17 boulders than anyone else and it doesn’t seem like he’s stopping anytime soon.

Will Bosi ROTSW
Will making the second ascent of ROTSW V17 Photo by @tcpc5525
Biggest Achievement

His relentless efforts to bag as many hard boulders. But no seriously. Will Bosi sent his first V17 Alphane back in October 2022. But, it wasn’t until he made the first repeat of Burden of Dreams, the benchmark of V17 and the hardest boulder in the world first put up by Nalle Hukkataival. This ascent is what put Will Bosi on the map of hard crushers.

Bosi’s Kit BagBest ForPrice Main Selling Point
Climbing Shoes: Five Ten Hiangle
Bouldering$$Super aggressive, perfect for crushing V17 boulders 😉
Chalk: Friction Lab Bam BamBouldering$$Long-lasting grip

#2: Dave McLeod

Known For: Trad, Free Solo

Dave MacLeod is better known for putting up some of the hardest British trad. He has also done some rad free solo too. While much of his free soloing is done in his back garden, the beautiful Scottish Highlands, his most famous free solo is Darwin Dixit. At the time it was graded an 8c, making it the hardest free solo. He did this in preparation for his project up in Ben Nevis, Echo Wall.

Dave MacLeod on Darwins Dixit
Dave on the hardest free solo ever done at the time ©ClaireMacLeod
Biggest Achievement

Dave was the first person to climb E8, E9, E10 and E11 in Scotland, so he is quite the veteran as far as trad comes. It’s hard to pinpoint one exact achievement as he has done so much for the progression of British trad, but the first ascent of Rhapsody E11 and first ever E11 will go down in the history books. There is no doubt that Dave McLeod is one of the most respected British climbers out there.

#3: Pete Whittaker

Known For: Crack Climbing

This unassuming, goofy-looking guy who trains in a basement has become one of the best crack climbers. Alongside his climbing partner, Tom Randall, Pete has become a part of the infamous duo known as the “Wide Boyz.” Their fun adventures and hard ascents have pushed the limits of crack climbing.

Pete Whittaker crack climber
Pete wedging himself in a crack
Biggest Achievement

Pete has done some pretty cool things, like being one of the first climbers to rope solo Freerider on El Capitan in Yosemite. He also did that in just 20 hours and 6 minutes. Pretty rad.

But, for me, I think his most notable achievement is his ascent of Century Crack. Not because it was the hardest offwidth crack in America at the time, but because it cemented his reputation as a fantastic crack climber.

#4: Tom Randall

Known For: Crack Climbing

We couldn’t talk about Pete Whittaker without talking about his partner Tom Randall. Tom, alongside Peter and the WideBoyz put crack climbing on the map.

Tom Randall on the longest horizontal multi-pitch ever done
Tom Randall on the longest horizontal multi-pitch ever done
Biggest Achievement

One of Tom Randall’s most significant accomplishments, alongside Pete Whittaker, is the first ascent of “The Millennium Arch,” a fiercely challenging and overhanging offwidth crack, and of course, Century Crack. 

However, his achievements are not limited to just rock climbing. Tom is also quite the business man, with ventures such as Lattice Training, Climber’s Crag and a gym in Sheffield under his belt. 

#5: Jerry Moffatt

Known For: Sport Climbing and Bouldering

Jerry Moffatt is a legendary figure in the climbing world, celebrated for his pioneering contributions to sport climbing and bouldering during the 1980s and 1990s. 

Jerry Moffat climber
©Kurt Albert
Biggest Achievement

Among Jerry Moffatt’s numerous accomplishments, his first ascent of “Liquid Ambar,” an incredibly challenging sport climb in the UK, stands out as a monumental achievement. Rated at 8c (5.14b) and then upgraded to an 8c+, it was one of the hardest routes in the world at the time of its ascent in 1990. This climb, along with his competitive successes and influential role in the development of training techniques for climbers, cements Moffat’s legacy as one of the most influential climbers of his generation.

Alongside Ben Moon, Moffatt played a huge role in the progression of training for climbing, having pioneered the use of a campus board in the UK.

#6: Ben Moon

Known For: Sport Climbing

Ben Moon is a pivotal figure in the evolution of sport climbing, having pushed the limits of the sport during the 1980s and 1990s. Together with Jerry Moffatt, they raked havoc bagging hard ascents after hard ascents.

Jerry Moffatt and Ben Moon training
Ben Moon and Jerry Moffatt training in Jerry’s cellar ©Moffat Collection
Biggest Achievement

One of Ben Moon’s most notable climbing achievements is the first ascent of “Hubble” in 1990, located at Raven Tor in the Peak District, UK. Graded at 8c+ (5.14c), Hubble was a groundbreaking route that set new standards for sport climbing in the world.

Ever heard of the MoonBoard? Yep, that’s Ben Moon. Not only did he break barriers in climbing, he, alongside Jerry played a pivotal role in how we train as climbers today. The MoonBoard was the first training board which Moon first started training on in the School Room.

#7: Hazel Findlay

Known For: Trad, Big Wall

When it comes to female rock climbers, Hazel Findlay is the baddest of them all. As the first British woman to climb the grades of E9 and E10, Findlay has shattered barriers and set new benchmarks for climbers worldwide. Her climbing style is characterized by a fearless approach to tackling some of the most challenging and technically demanding routes, combined with a profound mental toughness and strategic mindset. Findlay’s contributions to climbing extend beyond her personal achievements, as she is also a respected coach, specializing in mental training for climbers.

Hazel Findlay climber
Biggest Achievement

Among Hazel Findlay’s numerous impressive ascents, her first female ascent of “Magic Line” in Yosemite National Park stands out as a monumental achievement. Rated 5.14c (E10) on the trad climbing scale, “Magic Line” is a highly technical and physically demanding route known for its thin cracks and delicate placements. She also takes huge pride in her online course Strong Mind Climbing, where she teaches climbers how to be mentally strong, with a particular focus on fear of falling. 

Hazel’s Kit BagBest ForPrice Main Selling Point
Climbing Shoes: La Sportiva Skwama
All rounder$$Jack of all trades
Harness: Black Diamond SolutionSport Climbing$$Lightweight, durable
Chalk Bag: Black DiamondBouldering, sport$Small, easy to carry

#8: Shauna Coxsey

Known For: Competition Climbing

Shauna Coxsey is one of the UK’s most celebrated climbers, known for her remarkable achievements in bouldering and competition climbing. Coxsey’s career is distinguished by her success in the IFSC Climbing World Cup series, where she has consistently performed at the top level. Her dedication and achievements have not only earned her numerous accolades but have also played a significant role in promoting climbing, particularly among women and young athletes in the UK and around the world.

Shauna Coxsey climbing
Shauna Coxey performs at the IFSC Climbing World Cup 2016 in Innsbruck, Austria Elias Holzknecht / Red Bull Content Pool // SI201607050051
Biggest Achievement

Shauna Coxsey’s most significant achievement is her two-time win of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup overall title in 2016 and 2017. She was also selected to represent Great Britain in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, climbing’s debut in the Olympic Games. Aside from competition climbing, she became the third female climber to top out a V14 boulder with New Baseline.

Shauna’s Kit BagBest ForPrice Main Selling Point
Climbing Shoes: Mad Rock Drone LV
Bouldering$$Great for indoor bouldering
Crash Pad: Organic Crash PadsBouldering$$$Made from upcycled materials
Chalk: Friction Lab Gorilla GlueEvery climbing trip$$Non-toxic, silica-free and pigment-free chalk

#9: Toby Roberts

Known For: Competition Climbing

Toby Roberts might be the new kid on the block, but he is here to stay. He quickly raised the ranks as the best British competition climber, having earned himself a few podium wins at the IFSC Championships and World Cups. At just 18 years old, Toby’s name is rapidly becoming synonymous with the future of competitive climbing. I mean, have you seen his slab game over on his Instagram?

Toby Roberts on bouldering wall climbing
Biggest Achievements

At such a young age, Toby has already achieved what we would only dream of in a lifetime. He became the youngest Brit to climb an 8a with Raindogs, youngest to climb 9a with Rainshadow and youngest to climb 9a/+ with his ascent of Batman. If that wasn’t enough, he has qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics. I am so excited to see what else Toby can do, ‘cause I bet his best is yet to come!

Toby’s Kit BagBest ForPrice Main Selling Point
Climbing Shoes: Five Ten Hiangle Pro
Bouldering$$For very precise foot placements
Harness: Petzl SittaSport Climbing$$Lightweight
Chalk Bag: Petzl SakaBouldering, sport$Small, zip for extra storage

#10: Neil Gresham

Known For: Sport, Trad

Neil Gresham is a highly respected figure in the British climbing community, known for his versatility across various climbing disciplines, including sport climbing, trad climbing, ice climbing, and deep-water soloing. Gresham’s career spans several decades, during which he has not only achieved significant personal climbing milestones but has also contributed extensively to the development of climbing through coaching, writing, and filmmaking. His deep understanding of climbing techniques and training has made him one of the UK’s leading climbing coaches, helping to develop the next generation of climbers.

climber Neil Gresham on the first ascent of Lexicon trad climb
Neil Gresham on the FA of Lexicon © Alastair Lee/Posing Productions

Biggest Achievement

One of Neil Gresham’s most notable achievements is the first ascent of “Lexicon“. In addition to his climbing achievements, Gresham has made significant contributions to climbing literature and training methodologies. He has authored numerous articles and guides that have become essential reading for climbers seeking to improve their skills and understanding of the sport. Gresham’s holistic approach to climbing, emphasizing the importance of mental, physical, and technical aspects, has influenced countless climbers worldwide.

#11: Steve McClure

Known For: Trad, Sport Climbing 

Steve McClure is a legendary figure in British climbing, renowned not only for his groundbreaking achievements in sport climbing but also for his significant contributions to trad climbing. As a climbing veteran, McClure has established and ascended some of the most challenging routes in the UK and around the world. 

Steve McLure climber on trad route Lexicon
Steve on the second ascent of Lexicon ©Neil Gresham
Biggest Achievements

Steve McLure recently climbed his 1000th 8a route and if that isn’t a life achievement then I don’t know what is. A standout moment in his trad climbing career is the second ascent of “Lexicon” at Pavey Ark, graded an E11. “Lexicon” is recognized as one of the hardest trad routes in the UK and has only been repeated by an elite few.

#12: James Pearson

Known For: Trad Climbing

Pearson has made a name for himself by tackling some of the most challenging and daring routes around the globe. His approach to climbing combines a bold and adventurous spirit with a high level of technical skill, allowing him to push the limits of trad climbing and highball bouldering. Pearson’s career is marked by a series of significant first ascents and repeats of extremely difficult routes.

climber James Pearson

Biggest Achievement

Among James Pearson’s numerous accomplishments, his first ascent of “The Walk of Life” in Devon, UK, stands out as a monumental achievement. Initially graded E12, this route was one of the hardest trad climbs in the world at the time of its ascent. 

More recently, he made the first ascent of Bon Voyage, a route which he also graded an E12.

#13: Aidan Roberts

Known For: Bouldering

Aidan Roberts is a crusher when it comes to outdoor climbing and has quickly established himself as one of the top boulderers in the UK and internationally. His climbing style is characterized by incredible strength, precision, and ability to suck in his body really close to the wall.

Aidan Roberts climber on Burden of Dreams boulder
Aidan Roberts trying Burden of Dreams
Biggest Achievement

One of his biggest climbing achievements is being one of the elite few to have climbed a V17 boulder. Two years ago, Aidan made the second ascent of Alphane.

#14: Lucy Creamer

Known For: Every climbing discipline

Lucy Creamer is a distinguished figure in British climbing, celebrated for her versatility and achievements across a broad spectrum of climbing disciplines, including competition climbing, traditional climbing, sport climbing, alpine climbing, and ice & mixed climbing. 

female rock climber Lucy Creamer
Biggest Achievements

Lucy Creamer has an impressive record in competition climbing, having won the British Leading Champion title multiple times (1997/98, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007), the British Bouldering Champion in 2001, and the British Masters Champion in 1998. Her international competition success includes qualifying through to the final round and achieving 9th place in 2003, along with a 2nd place finish at the Ouray International Ice Festival. She’s also made significant contributions to the climbing world through her first ascents and major climbs. Notably, she completed the first ascent of “Mighty Aphrodite” M9 in Ouray, Colorado. Another major ascent includes the Hasse-Brandler route, UIAA VIII, a 500m climb on Cima Grande in the Dolomites, Italy.

#15: Molly Thompson-Smith

Know for: Competition Climbing

Molly is a prominent British rock climber who has made significant strides in competition climbing.

British competition rock climber Molly Thompson-Smith
Biggest Achievement

Molly is best known for snagging the UK national competition lead climbing title five times over. Not just a national treasure, she also shone brightly on the international stage, bagging a medal at the 2017 IFSC Climbing World Cup in Lead. Now, she’s got her sights set on the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, aiming to climb her way to even more glory.



Meet Angel, a former desk-jockey turned global wanderer. After catching a severe case of the climbing (and travel) bug, she's now a world traveller, living the dirtbag dream. Highballs? Too mainstream for her taste. She's all about the thrills of lowballs, where the real action happens. Nowadays, you'll find her in Thailand, either precariously balanced on a granite slab or trading stories with Nemo and his buddies underwater!

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