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We interviewed Jack and Josh Ibbertson

Josh and Jack Ibbertson have been on our youth team for several years, and both have incredible tick lists to their names. Welcome Josh and Jack!

What was your first climbing experience? How old were you when you start and how old are you now?


Josh:  Both our parents are climbers , so we pretty much grew up playing at the bottom of crags. When we were little we’d sometimes have a go on easy routes, but mostly just enjoyed playing on rope swings (and still do!).

I started climbing regularly when I was eight doing some routes outside and also training at climbing walls too. I’m 15 now so have been climbing for about 7 years.

Jack: I started around the same time as Josh so I  was around six  and I enjoyed going regularly to climbing walls  where I bouldered and also did some toproping. I also bouldered outside a little as well. Now I’m 12 so I’ve been climbing a similar amount of time as Josh.

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Photo: Jack Ibbertson

Do you want to professionally devote yourself to climbing in the future, or do you see it as more of a hobby?

Josh: At the moment, we’re not really sure! Climbing is definitely more than a hobby to us. We certainly want to spend as much time climbing as we can so we’ll see how things go!

How much time do you dedicate to training and how do do you organise it? How do you balance training and school school work?

Josh: We try to do lots of short and focussed sessions, each session being very intensive but not lasting very long (30minutes for strength, 50 minutes for endurance, 10-15 minutes for conditioning). So in any one training day we’d spend a máximum of one and a half hours training which leaves loads of time to study. We’re both pretty conscientious with our studies.

We usually have 2 rest days each week. We like to climb outside as much as possible too.  We change our training depending on what our goals are, for example, we might train a lot less if we are currently attempting to climb hard routes outside.


Photo: Josh Ibbertson red pointing “Fish Eye” (8c) in Oliana, Spain Photographer: John Bunney

What routes have been most memorable so far? 

Jack: We both think that the Dent D’Orlu is one of the most memorable climbs we have done so far. This is a mountain with several very long multi pitch routes. We climbed the routes ‘Durandalle’ and ‘Les enfants de l’dalle’. They both had  26 pitches! It took us over 12 hours, not including hiking in and out in the dark. It was great multi pitch climbing with Jacob Cook and Bronwyn Hodgins who are both so enthusiastic and fun to climb with.  In theory all the pitches are easy climbing but such a big day on the mountain felt like a massive challenge.

Josh: Fish Eye at Oliana is one of the coolest and memorable routes that I’ve done so far. It’s really interesting, and continuous climbing for the full 50m of the crag. I was thirteen at the time and very short for my age, which meant the redpoint crux for me was less than a metre from the chains.  I think hard onsights are always really memorable for me because you have to get the moves right first time and you don’t know it’s in the bag until you’ve clipped the chains.

Jack: I think that one of my biggest challenges and one of my most memorable routes is definitely Bat Route, as it is an extrordinary classic with a nails crux at the start and a chance to fall right at the top. There was a really good bunch of people all working it at the same time which made it even more enjoyable. 

This winter I climbed my first hard boulder “The Exorcist” (V11). This was really challenging for me as it had some super long moves. It’s the first problem which I’ve spent multiple sessions on but it was worth it.

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Photo: Jack Ibbertson in “Bat Route” (8c) at Malham Cove, UK

What are your current climbing goals?

Jack: I would like to onsight/flash more 8a‘s as I think that flashing and onsighting are things I need to improve on.  I haven’t many particular routes in mind at the moment, I’m just trying to do lots of climbing. Routes which I find hard but I can get in a few tries are definitely the most fun.  I also want to do more long muti-pitch adventure routes, even if the climbing isn’t that hard.

Josh: My main sports climbing goals at the moment are to climb 9a and flash or onsight 8b. I’d like to climb all the big lines at the big crags! I’m also really keen to improve at trad and multi-pitch so that we can go and do some epic big walls in the US or Canada in the future.

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Photo: Jack Ibbertson

What's your favorite climbing style?

Josh: I really enjoy sport climbing, particulaly longer, more endurancy routes, but I do like pretty much any form of climbing, except soloing!

Jack: I enjoy most aspects of climbing. I mainly do sport climbing and this year I started doing more bouldering.  When I get the chance I love doing long multi-pitch routes too as they feel like a real adventure.

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Photo: Jack Ibbertson in his first 8a font in his life: “Exorcist"

What’s it like climbing together as brothers? Are you competitive with each other?

Jack: We actually get on really well! It’s great when we can work routes together as I can get the beta from Josh and he can put the draws in for me!

Josh: It’s a bit annoying when your little brother burns you off but luckily that doesn’t happen too often! No seriously, We’re both really chuffed for each other when we get our projects.

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Photo: Josh Ibbertson red pointing “Fish Eye” (8c) in Oliana, Spain
Photographer: John Bunney

To finish, which climbers do you consider a role models, and why?

Josh:  We have met so many climbers who we look up to, this is a difficult one!

Alex Barrows because he’s awesome at banangrams and a pretty handy climber too! He’s always super friendly and we’ve learned loads from him.

Jack: It’s always great fun climbing with Jacob Cook and Bronwyn Hodgins. They got us into multi-pitching and are always up for an adventure, so we went up some pretty cool routes with them.

Josh: Alex Megos, he’s always relaxed at the crag and just enjoying himself. Even when he’s trying super hard routes he doesn’t get stressed or seem to take it too seriously. He’s always fun to be around!

Jack: Steve Dunning for quietly putting up many of Yorkshires hardest Boulder problems which we hope to climb some day and setting up The Depot climbing walls which have heve been a huge help to us.

And there are many many more; James McHaffie, Steve McClure, Ben Moon, Adam Ondra…

Thank you so much for your time!