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James was born in England and is a traditional British climber, born and raised in the Peak District. At the age of 19 he was one of the bright talents of British climbing, and since that time, and his affinity with the rock and love of traveling has taken him all over the world, establishing and repeating some of the hardest trad climbs. His wife and fellow athlete Caroline Ciavaldin gave birth to their first son in December 2018, and his dreams for the future are to reach unknown peaks and push towards the boundaries of traditional climbing, as well as sharing his passion for the outdoors with his son.
1) Who is your favorite climbing partner and why?
That one is easy, I married her! Caroline Ciavaldini.
2) Which is the first La Sportiva shoes/boot you used?
Katana and Testarossa. After climbing with another brands shoes for all my climbing life, I was surprised to find shoes that actually seemed to fit around all of the contours of my feet.
3) What is your favorite climbing/mountaineering book?
I love to read any of the old anthologys of climbing epics. Reeding about some of the multi day or high altitude bivys helps put into perspective the problems that most regular climbers like me face. Sore skin and bad conditions suddenly don't seem so bad!
4) What is the mountain you would like to see at least one time in your life?
I'd love to see K2 one time in my life. I used to want to climb it, but as I get older, and especially after becoming a father, I struggle to justify all the objective dangers out of my control.
5) Do you take part to a charity or cultural project?
Caro and I run a small charity called S.P.O.T, which aims to help climbers from any country, and any background have access to climbing equipment and information. So far we've run programs in the Philippines and South Africa.
6) What's in the air?
Figuring out how to make this life work with a little baby, and continue to travel and search for new trad routes that push myself to new levels.
- 2003-2009 Bouldering and Trad climbing. Routes like Equilibrium and The Walk of Life stand out as important milestones for various reasons, and I have fond memories of many bouldering trips to Switzerland and the USA, where I flashed a few hard blocs, up to fb8B
- 2010-2012 2. Discovering sport climbing with Caroline between 2010 and 2012, finding out a little about training, and putting it to good use with Escalatamasters, f9a
- 2012 3. Multipitch and alpine sport, in Italy, France, and further afield. Meeting Pietro Dal Pra and repeating one of his routes, Aria, was a great moment.
- 2013-2017 Getting back into Trad climbing. Repeating routes like Muy Caliente (e10), and establishing some of my own, including Le Voyage (E10), and Power Ranger (5.14 R)
- 2019 Becoming a father, the greatest adventure so far, and making our first trips together as a family.