Will Nicholls

  • I started climbing after a friend introduced me to it as a teenager. I then attended a weekend climbing course at Plas y Brenin with another friend and loved it. Our instructor’s parting words, ‘you know just enough to go and really hurt yourselves – be careful,’ were spot on. We were keen and thought we were cool, as we didn’t know anyone else who climbed. We also imagined our climbing would make us irresistible to the girls at school. It didn’t!
  • Soon enough we’d passed our driving tests – that’s when things really kicked off. We’d mainly head to Eryri (Snowdonia) or the Peak District and take a long time to climb a single route, but it didn’t matter – we felt like a ball. I joined a local mountaineering club and had my first taste of winter climbing. I was so green I even took my crampons to the bottom of the route, still in their box, with no idea how to attach them to my boots. Someone kindly showed me, and then we climbed Parsley Fern Gully and finished the day by topping out on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). It felt amazing. I was buzzing when I related my weekend adventure to my friends at college the next day.
  • My parents were supportive of me doing whatever I wanted in the future, as long as I grafted for my A Levels. By then, I knew I wanted to work in the outdoors – I’d been inspired by the instructors I’d met while learning to ski and at Plas y Brenin. I remember going through the Plas y Brenin brochure, highlighting all the courses I’d need to attend to get to the last stage in the qualification range, the MIC (now Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor). I steadily ticked my way through the qualifications; it took me ten years to go from attending my Mountain Leader training during the Easter holidays to passing my MIC assessment. I loved the process and all the brilliant trips and experiences I’ve had from climbing and skiing.
  • I’m really wimpy with cold water, so you’ll never see me in a kayak!


  • My motivations for climbing and skiing vary depending on the day and who I’m with. If I feel I’m climbing well and confidently, I enjoy the challenge of a tricky route. Equally, if I’m not in the right mindset to climb something hard, I acknowledge it and choose a different crag or route, where the enjoyment comes more from the situation and company than the difficulty. I think this is what I like most about climbing and skiing, there’s always something to do, and it (almost!) always feels great.


  • I’m more environmentally aware and conscious than I used to be. My focus has shifted from overseas trips to the UK or European destinations which can be reached on public transport. There’s so much to go at! I spent a week climbing in north Cornwall and Devon the other summer. I seconded a pitch that I think is probably the best climbing I’ve ever experienced, called Darkinbad The Brightdayler. Pat Littlejohn made the first ascent. We were blown away by the quality and quantity of his routes in that region – thanks, Pat! I would love to go back and lead it at some point – I’d say that’s my main climbing goal.
  • Skiing-wise, the Castle gullies on Ben Nevis and the Holzer Couloir in the Dolomites are top of the list. I’d also like to go ski touring again; it’s been too long since our last epic!
  • I’m really looking forward to introducing our son to adventures in the outdoors.