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We interviewed Paul Ramsden

Author: Nov 12, 2018. Paul Ramsden

Good morning Paul, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.

You have now been on the BOREAL team for a few months, how did this come about? Do you like being a BOREAL athlete?

On my last expedition I was climbing with Nick Bullock who is a Boreal athlete, by chance my favourite expedition boots were Boreal’s and this lead to a conversation with Boreal to where we are now. 

We are very proud to be a family company, and believe our brand ambassadors are part of our extended “family”. Is this something you can identify with?

Yes, my wife is the fifth generation to work in her family wine business so family business have always been really important to me and my family. We try really hard to support small and family business whenever we can.


Your expeditions require you to use some pretty specialized footwear. What is your favourite model, and why?

My favour expedition boot is definitely the Boreal Siula. Traditionally expedition boots are divided into boots suitable for 6000m trekking peaks and ones suitable for 8000m commercial expositions. If you climb technical routes on 6-7000m peaks there isn’t actually that many suitable boots available. However, I think the Siula is the perfect balance of warm and weight for Himalayan alpine style climbing. They are also really comfortable.

We’d like to know more about your background. When did you know you'd be a professional climber? What was your first expedition?

I am definitely not a ‘professional’ climber, I have a regular job and climb very much in my spare time. To be completely honest I get very little spare time to go climbing. I did consider a career as a mountain guide when I was younger, but I realised that I don't really have the patience required to introduce beginners to the mountains.  

My first expedition was to a Peak called Nilkantha in the Indian Himalaya in 1990, it was a complete disaster and I swore I would never go on an expedition again!

Every profession has its advantages and disadvantages. What do you like the most about being a climber? And what do you like the least?

Personally, climbing gives me a feeling of adventure that very hard to achieve is a world where everything is mapped, and the internet is available almost everywhere. To find adventure on land these days you need to step out on to the vertical or I suppose head underground.

The worst part of climbing is the almost never-ending cycle of failure. Whether it be due to weather, poor conditions, poor timing, fitness or psychology. You need to be very persistent or just a bit stupid.

During your climbing career, you have faced plenty of challenges.  In your opinion, which has been the hardest, and why?

My greatest difficulty is finding the time to go climbing. With a family and career, it's a pretty difficult balancing act, one that I don't always get right. Expedition climbing is very hard on my family, but I think they appreciate that it’s something I need to do.



How do you prepare for your expeditions? Do you have any unusual “rituals” or activities you need to perform before setting off?

Personally, I like to be as organised as possible before an expedition. I have a keen interested in equipment, definitely a bit of a gear freak, so I like to make sure my equipment is absolutely perfect before I set of. It really helps me to stay focussed and feel more relaxed on the mountain.

How would your climbing partners describe you?

Hard for me to answer but hopefully: reliable, focused, sometimes entertaining and perhaps a bit grumpy!

 We are interested in knowing if you have any specific goals in mind. What's your next challenge?

There is an almost never-ending list of goals in mind. As I get older they might get a bit lower and easier but there will always be something to climb. I am away with Nick Bullock this autumn to the Sichuan region of China. As to specific objectives I like to keep this secret until I get back. I am a bit superstitious that way.

Finally, do you have any funny / personal / wierd / interesting stories from any of your expeditions that you would be willing to share?

On my last expedition to Tibet with Nick the locals warned us that the valley we intended to climb in was infested with bears. This made Nick very concerned, which is understandable given his fight with a bear in Canada the year before. For most of the trip he was very conscious about slight noises outside the tent in base camp, which I think affected his sleep. Later in the trip a Yak herder visited our camp and explained that the animals were not bears but rather lions! This made both of us even more confused and worried. Fortunately, we survived the trip unmolested by lions. Once of the mountain we discovered that they were referring to the Snow Lion, the mystical beast of Tibet, which is believed to attack unsuspecting travellers on glaciers and the high country of Tibet. The locals clearly believed in it but we had spent over a month worrying about a mystical beast!

Thank you for your time!