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Gwen Lancashire

Gwen Lancashire

Gwen Lancashire holds quite a reputation among Blue Mountain's climbers as being understated and bold. She is known for quietly going about her business and ticking off some of the country's hard test pieces, including bold trad routes, without any of the fanfare which predominates nowadays. As you will read below, variety in climbing, different styles of routes and different destinations is what seems to keep her fire burning for more. You certainly can't pin her down to one type of climbing in one location. From the 15m long intense off-width of Fight Club (30) in Tarana, to the Salathe Wall on El Capitan, Scottish sea cliffs to multi-pitches in Morocco and the Bugaboos, Gwen is up for anything.

The following is a short autobiography from Gwen -

I was born and raised in the UK to two climbers and so I grew up with climbing being a major part of my life. All our school holidays revolved around climbing, spending Easters in the south of France and summers on the West Coast of Scotland. This was a great foundation, however I really developed my own desire for climbing myself from the age of 13. I struggled to find partners being a very self-conscious and shy teenager and by that time my parents had started to lose interest in climbing and were busy with their jobs. I spent a lot of time soloing on the eastern gritstone edges of the Peak District and getting out with my parent's friends who gave me trad climbing foundations.

I went to Bangor University which is where I studied Environmental Science and also met people of a similar age who helped me to push past the trad ethic instilled in me of ‘don’t climb things you might fall off’. My time in North Wales was the first time I was able to fully fill my climbing cup and I started to make some (very slow) progress in my climbing. Consequently, most of the climbing I have done in the UK has been in North Wales, which is a great spot due to its amazing range of rock types in close proximity to one another.

I travelled solo to the USA and Canada in 2015 after saving up money working as a research assistant at the university for a year. I was slightly daunted and felt very out of place, rocking up to camp 4 in Yosemite with a roll-a-long suitcase (decided this was the best way to travel when you don’t have a car). Had a few funny experiences with some ‘interesting’ people but got to climb some classic routes and even got to meet some British friends-of-friends to go up Salathe wall with.


After climbing in Canada, I travelled to Australia to meet up with some friends and we spent two and half months in Arapiles and the Grampians before migrating south to the cooler climate in Tassie. After my friends left, I found work building trails on Tasmania’s South Coast track. I bounced around a bit travelling back to the states, UK then back to Tassie before making the decision to move to the Blue Mountains at the end of 2017, where I have lived and climbed ever since.

My most memorable climbing experiences have been crack climbing in Li Ming (China), multi-pitch sport climbing in Taghia (Morocco), trad climbing on the sea-cliffs of Pabbay and Mingulay (Scotland), climbing the Becky-Chouinard in the Bugaboos (Canada), aid/freeing Salathe Wall on El Cap (USA), onsight/flashing Moonlight Buttress in Zion (USA), freeing Ozymandias original in a day (Mt Buffalo, Australia) and redpointing Fight Club at Tarana (Australia).

Last year, I got the opportunity to help coach at a RAWQ crack climbing workshop where I was privileged to teach and assist twenty women climbers with their crack climbing technique. This was a really rewarding experience and so good to watch people learn a new skill.

We are looking forward to partnering with Gwen for the next awesome chapter of her story!