17 episodes

Factor Two is a climbing podcast with impact, brought to you by Wil Treasure and UKClimbing.com.

It brings you the best climbing stories straight from the people at their heart - and the best climbing stories are always about a little bit more than just climbing.

Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/factortwopod

Factor Two Wil Treasure | UKClimbing

    • Wilderness
    • 4.7, 32 Ratings

Factor Two is a climbing podcast with impact, brought to you by Wil Treasure and UKClimbing.com.

It brings you the best climbing stories straight from the people at their heart - and the best climbing stories are always about a little bit more than just climbing.

Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/factortwopod

    Deep Play - Neil Gresham

    Deep Play - Neil Gresham

    "I climb better when I'm scared."
    I've heard this quite a few times. I even thought it was true about myself for a while in my earlier climbing career, but it surely can't be true?
    After speaking with Hazel Findlay about maintaining the bubble of a flow state in the last episode, there was one part of her account which reminded me of something else. Something different.
    Hazel's story was about maintaining concentration and avoiding falling back into a distracted mind while climbing at her limit. Magic Line has spaced and difficult to place gear, but the physical danger was a small part of the equation. The distractions were the same social and performance anxieties that most of us deal with, coupled with an added expectation as a professional climber.
    When Hazel hit the rest just before the final boulder problem on Magic Line she burst out of her bubble of concentration and had to fight hard to rebuild it to finish the route. It reminded me of something. After flicking through some old magazines and guidebooks it dawned on me - Neil Gresham's account of climbing the Indian Face in 1994.
    Neil had described how his body was being torn apart by his mind on the final moves to the finishing jug. Anchored to that jug he had felt a wash of regret and joy at being alive. Unlike Hazel he had been completely distracted by a genuine fear of his impending death. He'd ridden it right to the edge on one of the most dangerous routes in the country.
    Despite this experience he went on to attempt Meshuga at Black Rocks a few years later - taking a bad fall on the unprotected section of the route and tumbling through the boulders below, sustaining a head injury that took him the best part of a year to recover from. He returned in 1999 and made the second ascent of the route.
    This decade of risk taking culminated in the second ascent of Equilibrium at Burbage South. He put everything he had learned into this route, physically and mentally, and when it was done he decided that was enough. He didn't want to risk his life for these routes again.
    On the Indian Face Neil described how close he came to falling off the crux, high on the face above questionable protection, certain that he would die. What was it that kept him on?
    With the tension building his calves were shaking, his tips were sweaty and his mind was wandering. He says he thought he was off, but something screamed inside him and kept him on the rock.
    Is there something primal that drives the urge to survive strongly enough that you can keep it together when it really matters? What was it that Neil had experienced in extremis on the Indian Face? And why would he put himself in that position again?
    In this episode I try to answer these questions by following Neil through the 3 ascents and understanding what's really going on in his mind, with help from clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Williams.
    Factor Two is brought to you by Wil Treasure and UKClimbing.com
    Neil Gresham offers training and coaching services at NeilGresham.com.
    Dr Rebecca Williams is a psychological coach for climbers and a consultant clinical psychologist. You can find more information on her website at smartclimbing.co.uk.
    You can follow Factor Two on Facebook.
    Wil Treasure on Twitter - @treasurewild
    Music credits: All music in this episode comes from Blue Dot Sessions.

    • 41 min
    Walking the Magic Line

    Walking the Magic Line

    Flow is a concept that can divide in climbing. For Dave Thomas it was the joyous experience that removed him from other problems in life. For Mina Leslie-Wujastyk it was a performance tool. Mina told me that a lot of her understanding of flow had come from conversations with Hazel Findlay and it had helped her to develop a different mindset both on and off the rock.
    Off the back of these interviews I wanted to know more, both to understand flow as a scientific concept and as a more ethereal tool for self fulfillment. That journey took me down some interesting paths in climbing, from the writings of George Mallory to US legend Doug Robinson, to an understanding of how flow can improve our physical performance or our wellbeing.
    Through conversations with Hazel Findlay and Dr Rebecca Williams I've explored the strange places that a flow state might take us, how better to experience one and the apparent contradiction at the heart of it all.
    There are many inspirations for this episode. Obviously previous interviewees Dave Thomas and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, as well as current. Robert Macfarlane's Mountains of the Mind provided some of the additional thoughts and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's excellent book Flow.
    Factor Two is brought to you by Wil Treasure and UKClimbing.com
    Music credits:
    Compassion Lee Rosevere
    Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
    Other music licensed from Blue Dot Sessions (www.sessions.blue)

    • 32 min
    The Moment You Doubt - Ben Bransby

    The Moment You Doubt - Ben Bransby

    Many of the stories in Factor Two feature the same scenario - What next? You always imagine ticking the big goal might be enough, but it rarely is.
    For Ben Bransby and Jvan Tresch it seemed obvious what was next. Patagonia has long been the most difficult and revered home to big walls in the world. Notorious weather systems, complex peaks, difficult routes and tricky conditions create a mix where simply completing anything in a season is an achievement.
    In their first season in 2003 they managed just that. On route, accompanied by Adam Long. In fact, they were probably the only team to top out on anything in Patagonia that season. While in El Chalten they bumped into Bean Bowers, a familiar face, who was impressed by their efforts and invited them to team up and attempt the coveted Torre Traverse the following season. Bad weather meant they never made it onto the traverse, a route later climbed by Rolando Garibotti and Colin Haley.
    Frustrated with the poor weather Bean left for a week to head to the coast. His departure was timed with a week of good weather and Jvan and Ben were able to take advantage of the window with the first free ascent of the Fonrouge Route on Aguja Poincenot, as well as a new route on Aguja Saint Exupery.
    After celebrating in El Chalten the hungover pair were woken early in the morning by Bean's return. The three set off on an extraordinary 56 hour push on Fitzroy, making the second ascent of the Slovak Route.
    I spoke before about how Patch Hammond, Leo Houlding and Ben's stories are coming of age tales. Between his ascent of Freerider in 1998 and his Patagonia seasons Ben had a real coming of age moment. On an expedition in Greenland in 2000 his father was killed abseiling down a peak. Ben was just 20. He was halfway up a route on the Thumbnail when the news was broken to him, having just completed the first ascent of a new E6 with a team including Gaz Parry and Ian Parnell. Ben had to break the news to his mother over the phone.
    Here Ben tells the story of his Patagonian adventures, coloured by a mature view on his relationship with his parents and how they have informed the love he has for climbing.
    Find Factor Two on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/factortwopod/
    Twitter - @treasurewild
    Music credits:
    Dark Fog Kevin McLeod Incompetech.com
    Odyssey Kevin McLeod Incompetech.com
    Techno My EchoOo KiDNN
    Global Warming Kai Engel
    Deadpanned Jahzzar
    Asylum Mystery Mammal
    Timeless Lee Rosevere
    Denouement Kai Engel
    Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 39 min
    Freebird - Ben Bransby

    Freebird - Ben Bransby

    After hearing from Leo Houlding and Patch Hammond about their legendary Yosemite season in 1998 there was one obvious gap in our story - Ben Bransby.
    Before attempting Freerider with Patch, Ben had made an ascent of the Salathe Wall with Mark Reeves. It was his first taste of big wall climbing and gave him the confidence that he could get himself out of trouble if needed. The climbing world might have been astonished at his and Patch's efforts on Freerider - remember at this time that there were only 2 free routes on El Capitan - but for Ben it felt like unfinished business. After getting gripped on the Monster Offwidth and succeeding on the Enduro Corner and the Boulder Problem he and Patch ended up jumarring the Huber brothers' fixed ropes to finish the route.
    A few years later he returned to the valley with the goal of doing Freerider "properly". In doing so the seed was planted for a one day ascent with Swiss climber Jvan Tresch. A few teams had done this previously, including the Hubers, who overtook Patch and Ben in 1998. Their ascent was almost curtailed by the wrong kind of commitment. They were arrested and jailed in Yosemite after being caught shoplifting kneepads to try to protect themselves in the Monster Offwidth. After being bailed out on a Friday evening they were due in court on Monday and could end up being thrown out of the valley. In the early hours of the Saturday morning the pair set off on what would prove to be the biggest, hardest day of cragging they'd ever had. Being committed on El Capitan like it was just another day at the crag was a dream come true, and one that Ben holds up as his proudest climbing achievement.
    As with Patch and Leo, this is very much a coming of age story. It's clear that with each ascent Ben was looking to the next adventure already, banking the experience for future use. But this story is an echo of previous tales in Factor Two in many more ways. If you've listened to our episode Nine and a Half Hours with Duncan Critchley you'll see what I mean - A one day ascent of El Capitan with a Swiss climber? The reverberations from Duncan's Nose In A Day back in 1984 are a little spooky, right down to the words they use. That's what I love about these stories, climbing is such a shared experience. Getting a little glimpse into that shared mindset is something relatable at any level.
    Music credits:
    Stiller Tag Philip Weigl
    Free Tone Textures Small Colin
    Aftermath Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)
    I Am Running Down the Hallway of Viewmont Elementary Chris Zabriskie
    Plantation Audionautix.com
    Subdivision of the Masses Philip Weigl
    Brooks Kai Engel Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 32 min
    Living in the Shadows - Franco Cookson

    Living in the Shadows - Franco Cookson

    Internet forums wouldn’t be the same without their villains and heroes, would they? Franco Cookson appeared on the UKC forums back in February 2008. He began posting prolifically from the off and rarely stopped to consider the responses from others. In those early days, he was the classic antagonist, cocksure and loudmouthed, but also somewhat detached from the climbing scene at large. He was also only 16 at the time, but in many ways his obsession with the North Yorks Moors and new routing means that he is operating in his own scene.
    Franco’s early climbing career played out in an unusually public manner through the forums. A couple of months after his first post he went on a winter trip to Ben Nevis with friends Ian Jackson and Dave Warburton. It proved to be an eventful trip, with Franco being avalanched, an ascent of Point 5 gully and Dave being dropped a full rope length when Ian’s belay ripped on an attempt at a variation to Smith’s Route. Mike “Twid” Turner rescued Ian that day and wrote a short piece for UKClimbing detailing the incident and some lessons which could be learned from it.
    Ian was a couple of years older than Franco and had become something of a mentor to him, introducing him to the wider climbing world. Twid’s advice was considered and didn’t name names. Franco responded angrily to the perceived criticism. He hadn’t been on the mountain that day, but felt that facts were wrong and showed no inhibition in attacking people who thought otherwise. Ian responded calmly, correcting a couple of misconceptions and thanking Twid for helping him out.
    Just four months later Ian was killed in an accident while threading a lower off on a sport route in Chamonix. He was just 19 and made one of those mistakes that we’re all aware of, but that can be made so quickly and catastrophically.
    Franco was in the Alps with a young team at the time. Losing his friend and mentor has had an understandably profound effect on him, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect. Rather than turning away from climbing he plunged headlong, often literally, into seeking out dangerous and difficult first ascents. His internet persona may have calmed down, but his appetite for unusual routes and not playing the game the way that’s expected hasn’t changed at all.
    Factor Two is brought to you by Wil Treasure and UKClimbing.com
    Music credits:
    Featherlight (remix - Vocals by Heather Feather) Lee Rosevere A Bicycle Ride Through The Nation's Capitol (Lokin' Out) Honey Trappists Sad Marimba Planet Lee Rosevere Waiting for the Moment Lee Rosevere Muted Space Tajirius Blur the World Tajirius Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 30 min
    No More Heroes? - Patch Hammond

    No More Heroes? - Patch Hammond

    Patch Hammond has remained a bit of an enigma in the climbing world. If you flick through the magazines from the late 1990s you’ll see a scruffy youth with an impressive climbing CV – onsighting E6 and E7 in North Wales and climbing with the likes of Tim Emmett, Neil Gresham and Leo Houlding.
    In the last episode we heard from Leo about their ascent of El Niño on El Capitan – Leo’s first big wall. Patch and Leo had travelled to Yosemite together, but while Leo was socialising at Camp Four and becoming part of the Yosemite scene it was Patch who was heading off trying to get better at the style of climbing there.
    Patch met Ben Bransby for the first time in the valley. Encouraged by the Huber brothers the two of them set out to repeat Free Rider – the same route featured in Free Solo with Alex Honnold. They set off from the base of the wall to attempt it ground up, with no experience and borrowed gear and made an impressive effort. They didn’t quite manage to free climb the route, but put in what was at the time the most impressive British attempt on El Capitan.
    Under the wing of the Hubers, Patch talked Leo into attempting El Niño, telling him that he’d already done a 5.13a pitch and was convinced Leo would stand a chance of onsighting 5.13b. Plus the route would suit them – no crack climbing on this one, slabs and adventure climbing exactly like they’d been training on in the slate quarries and at Gogarth.
    Patch’s memories of those years climbing revolve around the community he became a part of, and the mentors who guided him. He still seems in awe of the fact that he could be a part of this scene where everyone was a hero to him. He didn’t seem to realise that maybe he was one of them too.
    Factor Two is brought to you by Wil Treasure and UKClimbing.com
    Music credits:
    Plantation Audionautix.com
    Stiller Tag Philip Weigl
    Aftermath Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)
    Solo Acoustic Blues Audionautix.com
    Autumn Sunset Audionautix.com
    Subdivision of the Masses Philip Weigl
    Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

Hugweez ,

immaculate

The fabric of climbing culture is constructed by the interwoven stories which captuer a sense of truth we can all relate to. Wil Treasure captuers and crafts the very esesece of why I (and possibly others) chose to climb. This is as good as it gets. Enjoy.

felixottey ,

Really brilliant!

This was such a great listen! Keep them coming guys :-)

Robert Lovell ,

Gripping stuff

A wonderful insight into the situation and minds of two rock climbing masters, and some interesting history to boot. Caff's account had my palms sweating, I could picture myself there with him. Looking forward to the next instalment.

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