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British all-rounder Neil Gresham has been a La Sportiva ambassador since 1989. His philosophy in climbing is always to believe that our best experiences are still to come and to stay open-minded to new possibilities. In the UK he made the third ascent of Indian Face E9 6c in 1995 when it was regarded as one of the hardest traditional routes in the world. He has put up new routes in Britain in different styles such as Fearless E9 6c (trad), Sabotage 8c+ (sport) and Olympiad 8b (DWS). Neil is well known for his pioneering first ascents all over the world in countries such as Brazil, Mongolia, Cuba, Vietnam, China, Iceland, Kalymnos, Oman, Norway and Nepal. He has also been at the forefront of coaching and writes regular training articles for UKC.com and Rock & Ice magazine.
1) Who is your favorite climbing partner and why?
For trad, Charlie Woodburn, for sport, Andy Coish, for ice, Mark Garthwaite and for DWS, Mike Robertson. I love the attitude these guys have towards these various disciplines.
2) Which is the first La Sportiva shoes/boot you used?
The Marriacher in 1984, because I loved the purple & yellow colour and it was worn by Didier Raboutou.
3) What is your favorite climbing/mountaineering book?
Extreme Rock by Bernard Newman and Ken Wilson. I love the high focus on history and I worry that this is slowly being lost in climbing,
4) What is the mountain you would like to see at least one time in your life?
I’m not so interested in mountains but would love to go ice climbing in Japan and China.
5) Do you take part to a charity or cultural project?
I am a trustee of the Rachel Farmer Trust, a charity that provides opportunities for underprivileged children to take part in the outdoor activities.
- 1995 Indian Face E9 6c, UK – 3rd ascent (in La Sportiva Kendos)
- 2001 Equilibrium E10 7a, UK – 2nd ascent (in La Sportiva Katana Velcro)
- 2012 Olympiad 8b (DWS) UK – 1st ascent (in La Sportiva Speedster)
- 2016 Sabotage 8c+, UK – 1st ascent (in La Sportiva Genius)
- 2018 Fearless E9 6c, UK – 1st ascent (in La Sportiva Genius)