Richard was an Extreme-grade rock-climber in his late teens and twenties. He completed on-sight traditional lead ascents of various single and multi-pitch routes as well as climbing a few routes solo and un-roped.
(Richard was never involved in the French-style sport climbing which uses bolted-on belay points – a climbing genre still quite alien to the UK when Richard began climbing in the early 1990s.)
At age sixteen Richard had a full-time office job (for three months) with the British Mountaineering Council, and Richard was a member of the Manchester-based Karabiner Mountaineering Club at that time.
Going into early adulthood, climbing was very significant in Richard’s physical and psychological development.
In June 2010, aged 33, Richard fell off a solo of Shepherd’s Crag and had a fifty-foot deck out.
Having wandered off the route Finale (HVS 5a), Richard’s strength gave out and down he went. Miraculously – thanks be to God – Richard survived the impact.
The Keswick MRT attended the accident and Richard was flown to hospital by Air Ambulance. Richard had many breaks, cuts and bruises – including spinal fractures and both legs broken. (He landed feet first.)
After surgery and many weeks in limb casts and a body brace, Richard began the long process of learning to walk again, eventually experiencing an almost full recovery of strength and function.