Tyler is the reigning British national bouldering champion, conqueror of numerous v14 and v15 first ascents around the world, not to mention an aspiring sports medicine physician. Climbing has played an integral part in his life, and he knows better than most that to get ahead in sport, like in life, you have to put in the work. We recently took to the walls with Tyler to hear what it takes to be one of the best climbers in the world.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from London and lived there until University, but have continued to go back regularly over the years. I also spent a lot of time in the US as a kid as both of my parents are American.
Q: How did you begin climbing?
A: My father was into alpine mountaineering and had spent some time climbing mountains in the Alps. It obviously rains a lot in the UK, and while we loved spending time outdoors, the indoor climbing gym was an attractive option, and way to spend the time. I remember going for the first time on a horribly wet Saturday, I was five and my brother was seven, and the rest was history really.
Q: What has climbing taught you about life?
A: I have been climbing for 20 years now and it continues to inform who I am, and the way I live. It has bestowed upon me a great amount of discipline, dedication and determination that I not only employ when I am climbing, but to every goal I set out to achieve. Beyond a committed work-ethic built on perseverance and tenacity, it continues to teach me new ways of framing problems and challenges, and creating solutions. It has awarded me with the endless desire to be the most efficient and effective problem solver I can be, and this capacity transfers over to all aspects of my life.
Q: What makes a great climber?
A: To be a great climber, you need physical strength and power, coupled with a solid foundation of technique. It is also essential to understand how to analyze and understand the language of the rock or climb - and have an awareness of how to position your body in space, to move between them most efficiently. This process of interpretation can take a long time to hone, but is one of the most satisfying aspects of the sport, and really speaks to the mental part of climbing. It is an activity that necessitates physical attributes but also a disciplined and well rounded mental approach. Beyond this, all climbers must learn how to confront, and overcome failure, because at the most fundamental level, it is an activity defined by falling off, and trying to get back up again.
Q: What keeps you striving towards success?
A: My definition of success is constantly evolving, and getting redefined which I suppose makes the search for it an endless pursuit. Whether I am working in preparation for a rock-climbing trip, or training for a series of competition, I come to see success not in the goals themselves and results, but the preparation for them. I was blessed, and cursed as a perfectionist, so it is basically impossible to ever feel fully satisfied, but ultimately so long as I feel like I am improving, in some way, shape or form, it is fuel enough to keep the fire burning.
Q: What are your favorite types of climbs?
A: I appreciate and enjoy all disciplines of climbing, but I have spent the most time and have the closest personal relationship with hard bouldering - shorter, more intense climbs that demand perfect execution and a resilient mental game. If I were to articulate my favorite type of movement, I would talk about the kind of climbing that requires the precise combination of subtle body position and tension, technique and delicate power to make it to the top. That is, climbs that cannot be overcome by brute force and lack of technical mastery.
Tyler was generous enough to share a week of his training schedule from this past January. Try and keep up, if you can…
Bouldering 2 hr
Power Endurance circuit climbing 1 hr
Core 45 minutes
Bouldering 2.5 hr
Campus training (climbing with no feet) 45 min
Gymnastic rings 1 hr Rowing Machine 45 min
40 mile bike ride
Rope climb 2.5 hrs
Weights 1.5 hrs
8-9 mile run Bouldering with weight vest 1 hr
Power Endurance bouldering 45 min
Campus training 45 min
Gymnastic rings with weight vest
Swim 1 hr
Bouldering 2 hrs
Power Endurance circuit climbing 1 hr
50mi bike ride
Weighted pull ups on bar - 10x12 reps with 20lbs
Swim 1hr Climb outside in the Headlands
Gymnastic rings 1hr