Jerry Gore talks climbing

The inspirational climber shares some insight into his remarkable career – and the condition that changed his life.


Internationally acclaimed climber, Jerry Gore, is one of Britain's most prolific expendition leaders, Gore has excelled on rock, ice and high altitude peaks in a career spanning more four decades.

Diagnosed as a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic back in 2001, Gore continues to 'push his limits' in climbing and tirelessly raising money for a number of international diabetic charities. In 2012, Gore became the first Briton to complete three of the hardest routes in the Alps.

Here, he shares some of his amazing life experiences and his tips for the aspirational climber:

How did you first get into climbing?

"I crossed the Iceland Icecap in 1977 when I was 16 on a British Schools Exploring Society expedition. Then I summitted Mont Blanc at 17.

After leaving school I worked as the Mountain Co-ordinator for Alberta Province, the aim of which was to climb the 75 classic peaks of the Alberta Rockies."

Where has been the most enjoyable place you've explored?

"Baffin Island, Arctic Canada. It's one of the last unspoilt adventure playgrounds on the planet."

What's the biggest challenge you have had to overcome during your career?

"Getting struck directly by lightning after opening a new five-day Big Wall route with Warren Hollinger in The Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies."

What are the essential pieces of equipment that you never leave home without?


"My rock shoes! My shoe size is 9 but I take size 6.5 rock shoes and they fit like a glove."

What is your dream expedition?

"Riding a custom built Chopper motorcycle across the USA climbing at every classic crag and mountain venue en route from the East to the West coast, that would be awesome!"

Is there anything you know now that you wish you could tell your younger self?

"Yes, believe in your passion and don't be put off by folk who only put you down. If you want to achieve anything in climbing you will if you want to. Climbing is all about passion and belief. So often I have out climbed better, more talented, professional climbers simply because I wanted it more than they did. My skills are few but my passion is huge. That is what will get you up a blank rock face, survive a Himalayan storm and succeed on the last day of a six-week epic!"

How does it feel when you've completed a climb and made it to the summit?

"Better than the best sex but far more dirty! It feels like someone has lifted you up and placed you on a pedestal at the top of The World - you get such an all-encompassing body rush it just envelopes you and takes you far away from work, people and noise. Climbing demands so much of your body but replaces it with sensations that are far more acute - you feel totally fulfilled, utterly spent - weak like a rag doll - but you know you have gained a world of energy that will last well beyond closing time! Climbing can seem a bit of a daunting activity - the heights, the gear etc."

What would you advise to someone who's keen on getting started?

"Just do it! I started with literally my mum's washing line, a motorcycle and a willing partner. We drove up to The Peak District in mid-February and spent the whole weekend laying siege to a 14m-high piece of Gritstone. Epic fun!"

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into climbing who lives in London and doesn't have much chance of getting into the great outdoors?

"Join a local climbing club, climb regularly at an indoor wall, and go on every climbing meet you can."

Where are the best places for beginners to climb in the British Isles? And which are you favourites?

"If London based then definitely Tunbridge Wells. You can top rope anything safely and securely there and have a lot of fun. But learn the basics first by doing a course at Tunbridge or at your local indoor climbing wall."

Finally, any last words of wisdom for the climber within?

"Don't procrastinate. I have lost 14 friends over the years for a myriad of reasons, which has just taught me that life is very very short. Any one of us could die tomorrow for any number of reasons. Every second is precious so live like it is!"

Jerry Gore will be speaking at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show at London ExCeL, which takes place from February 11-14 2016: