10 thoughts from Will Gadd

The additional item for climbing at a comp - pen and scorecard. From the Wall competition yesterday.

The additional item for climbing at a comp - pen and scorecard. From the Wall competition yesterday.

I’m 48. I just had the best 12 months of my athletic career. Crazed months of travel, flying, climbing, kids, speaking, guiding, writing, repeat with more events and less time than I wanted. Demands are ever-growing, time constant, things give, but I still improved as an athlete. I was late a lot this year, dropped work assignments, barely met others, but in the end another year has gone by and I’m proud of a few things I did as an athlete, and need to do way better at others. I wrote the below to remind myself that for the next year I’ll be an athlete. I fail regularly at each point below, that’s why I’m writing them down. To kick myself in the ass, remind myself of what is truly important athletically for the next 12 months. I hope you find some of this useful. Your comments drive what I write here, please comment if you’ve got something to say.

A must-read from Will Gadd.


I was at the ClimbersAgainstCancer charity competition at The Wall yesterday. One thing I've come away with from it: a) I'm really not bothered by how I rank overall, it really isn't something I aspire to to 'rank' - I can't really explain it but it's never something that I've ever really cared about (going as far back to my days as a child playing soccer), and b) there's also a lot I can learn by watching other climbers in the competitions - their ability on certain moves, their mindset. So I'm going to focus on getting better at the things I personally enjoy, but not get sucked into the hole of improving at competition climbing - taking the bits and pieces I want to benefit myself (that's point 8 on his list).

The other reason for taking part? The sheer fun of the social gathering - hanging out with friends, cheering each other on, drinking coffee over breaks (you can see how seriously I take the comps ;), and the banter. A few people seem to leave at the end of a competition saying they did terribly or comparing themselves to others (I admit I actually did for about a minute until the above ideas came back into mindset but what's the point - you left knowing you did the best you possibly could so who cares?!).

We're pretty lucky right now, another brilliant event has been added to the Irish climbing calendar with this event in place now - fair dues to Kate for coming up with the idea of giving money to charity at the same time as a competition (by all accounts, it made a very respectable amount of cash for CAC). When's the next event?

Neal McQuaid