I started my journey by walking into the far side of Stanage edge at 3.30 am. I listened to the sounds overhead of a curlew doing battle with some crows. The sheep seemed surprised to see a human up and about so early that for once they stopped and took a little look in my direction.
It is a peaceful morning, the early dew glistens across the deep spread of bracken. The air has that deep moorlands smell that only those familiar will know. It's the 8th of July and this is the day I have chosen to climb for 24 hours across Stanage Edge to raise money for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
I cannot stress how much nature means to me how much it has given me over time, it has been my salvation and relaxation, a peaceful place far from the madness that modern living is turning out to be.
Climbing is where I feel comfortable, I work as a self employed gardener and it isn't always easy with the changing seasons, life is not an easy ride. Yet I wanted to give back, and this is the best way I could think of. I wanted to turn my love for climbing into something positive and something of value, so setting this challenge was a way for me to push myself further than before and hopefully support the nature that I love that is all around me when I climb.
Those are the reasons behind my climb, and when I finally got on the wall, this is what happened.
I started early Thursday the 8th July and finished early on Friday. From 3.30am to 3.30 am the following morning. I managed to climb the whole length of Stanage Edge and I continued down to Burbage Edge.
I did 513 individual solo routes, what this means is I climbed without any ropes or any protection from falling. A style of climbing which is only undertaken by those confident in their ability. I also completed 84 highball boulder problems.
On top of this, I changed it up and completed 20 repeat routes, where I changed either the stars of the finish of the problem and also 18 routes in reverse, where I started at the top of the wall and down climbed.
In all that's 616 individual climbs.
The hight comparison is around 4692 metres (at my lowest estimation). For reference, that is around twice the height of El Capitan in Yosemite, a famous big wall projected by many of the worlds best climbers.
After the climb I felt exhausted, but the adrenaline didn't fade until well into Saturday evening. The only question I ask myself now is what shall I do for nature next year?
Although this is a climbing story, the full story has actually less to do with climbing but so much more to do with being fully and intensely immersed with nature for one full rotation of the earth. Being awake whilst the sun rises and the sun sets, listening to the wildlife and experiencing the world change throughout the day was a magical experience, that every one should have if possible once in their life. Climbing was just an excuse to do this.
Make time to head out into nature and become a part of it, you will not regret it.
Editors note: What Richard achieved is an amazing feat of endurance, skill and ability. The majority of climbers who climb at Stanage Edge would use Trad climbing gear, their ropes, cams & nuts for protection whereas Richard did it all with just a chalk bag, phenomenal.
Yet climbing without a rope can be dangerous and should not be tried by anyone at home.