Born in Sheffield and brought up on the Peak gritstone crags by his dad, Pete acquired the technical skills required for hard climbing at an early age. As he grew older he also had the benefit of gritstone masters, such as John Allen, as mentors both on the crag and down the pub afterwards. He soon showed great promise and developed his remarkable climbing style.
"In the early days I climbed mostly on the grit with my dad and Graham Parkes, who both encouraged me to progress and gave me lifts out to the crag (and bought me beers afterwards)!” says Pete. “Later John Allen took me under his wing and we did first ascents from his back log of last great lines on the eastern edges. This was a brilliant apprenticeship."
A traumatic car accident as a teenager left Pete with restricted movement in his wrist and arm but this appears to have had little effect on his climbing, which has consisted of incredibly hard sport and bouldering achievements, as well as stout trad climbing ticks. Pete climbs quickly and uses his feet in extraordinarily inventive ways. One of his nicknames (he has many) is ‘Golden Heels’; this moniker was inspired by his astonishing ability to heel hook anything that comes in his path as he glides up routes.
After serving an extensive gritstone apprenticeship, which included ticking almost every climb on Curbar during guidebook research work, Pete moved to Llanberis in 1999 to study physical oceanography and mathematics at Bangor University.
Throughout his undergraduate degree and then his Ph.D., Pete became heavily involved in North Wales’ trad scene, onsighting many of the classic test pieces, such as Zero (E7 6b) on Suicide Wall in Cwm Idwal and Rumblefish (E7 6c) on Dinas Cromlech. He continued to journey over to the Pennine grit and fulfilled a number of life-long ambitions, including flashing End of the Affair (E8 6b) at Curbar and making a ground-up ascent of Master’s Edge (E7 6b) at Millstone; this latter achievement kick-starting a drive in Pete to get stronger and try hard.