James Pearson almost needs no introduction. He is one of the foremost trad climbing experts in the world, with a tick list that is both broad and intense. He has established and repeated many of the world’s hardest trad climbing – including The Tribe, which right now may be the hardest trad route in the world.

Growing up in the Derbyshire countryside, James didn’t get off to a super early climbing start, but once he did get going he started making a quick impact on the scene. He made a very early repeat of one of gritstone’s only E10s (Equilibrium) at Burbage, he then (amongst others) went on to establish the FA of The Groove at Cratcliffe and the stunning Walk of Life on the Devon seacliffs.

Since then, he has travelled the world climbing many hard (and dangerous) routes and has a unique insight into what it takes to do this consistently and progressively. Even now as a father, husband and professional career athlete, he continues to push the boundaries on both the risk and difficulty element. A truly rare blend.

This interview with Tom Randall and James Pearson delves into what his experiences have been, how he’s taken his own journey and what has made the key differences in performance for him.

Photo credit for thumbnail: Raph Foureau