Leo Houlding

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  • Leo Houlding
  • Went to a talk by him last night – incredible! If you haven’t heard of him or his climbing expeditions in Antarctica and the Amazon check him out. His stories and Alastair Lee’s photography/filming are defo worth a look.




    bit of a hero of mine… my son is named after him.

    thoroughly nice chap to boot.

    Yeah it was as much his enthusiasm and attitude as the expeditions themselves that made it a fun talk.

    Young girl in front of me had sent him a letter explaining that a school teacher of hers had asked her to write about an inspirational figure, the teacher unaware of Houlding had suggested Gary Barlow instead!!


    Seen him at the outdoor show a couple of times. Damn good speaker.

    Premier Icon GavinB

    Very engaging and amusing guy to listen to. The passion for what he does comes pouring out.

    I remember listening to him a couple of times at the KMFF. First time was the night that his ‘race’ with Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear was about to be aired (and he showed the unedited version), the second was when he was getting more and more into BASE jumping, and showed a slightly unusual way of leaving the Hilton Tower in Manchester…brilliant!


    Big thumbs up for him from me.

    Seen him a few times at talks and in the street as he just lives up the road from me. He has a very relaxed, sweary talking style which comes across like he’s talking to a mate which is really refreshing. He does talks at my sons school too and does a fair bit for charity so he’s a bit of a local hero.

    Irritatingly my wife fancies him but can’t blame her really..


    Big fan. I remember when he first appeared on the scene as a climber and he was entertaining then. He’s matured really well as an mountaineer/adventurer and speaker but I haven’t seem him for a while so should probably dig out a tour schedule. Like Buxton on Sunday night 😮

    I was at a bouldering comp in the Foundry when I thought I was quite strong and Johnny Dawes was spotting a young lad, who despite being about 14, cruised everything.

    Turns out it was Leo. Really nice guy, gone on to a phenomenal career, I’d love to hear one of his talks.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Gutted to have missed this. Annoyingly, Dave MacLeod was speaking on the other side of town and I’d already got tickets when the Houlding thing was announced.

    Dave Mac was very entertaining too, but unabashedly keeps his climbing closer to home. First ever Alps trip this summer – drove straight to one of the hardest route in the Alps, repeated Ueli Steck’s seven year project to connect the steepest line on the North Face of the Eiger.

    A little less razzle-dazzle than Houlding, but still very inspirational. Take away message: so many little things have to come together to succeed on a project at your limits; internal and external, mental and physical, you can’t force them together, all you can do is to keep showing up, so that when everything’s perfect, you’re there and trying.


    I saw him in a film about a month ago where he was climbing inside the Arctic (I think) Circle – came across as a thoroughly likeable bloke, possibly a bit irritating with his constant upbeat chit-chat but someone you’d warm to no matter what & someone, more importantly, you’d want with you in a difficult situation.

    Brilliant piece by him in issue 0 of Alpinist magazine about how and why he broke his foot/talus down in Patagonia, (he reversed the crux having pulled on some insitu gear then felt guilty, and fell doing it free).

    Seems to have a really inspiring attitude.


    Many years ago I was climbing at The Roaches and this gang of rather cool looking kids were sitting about and going off for the odd wander on the rocks. One guy soloed an HVS and like all great climbers just seemed to flow up the rock, calm as you like. Quite awesome to watch.
    We had no idea who we were watching at the time.
    The Monday night I was watching a climbing documentary with Leo on it and the penny dropped who’d we’d been watching. In a class of his own.
    The Base Jumping thing with Top Gear was great

    That may have been the doc – ‘My right foot’? – a program on channel 4 I think, was the first thing I saw on him on TV, mostly on El Cap and Cerro Torre. 2003-ish I think.

    nedrapier – good message that. Went to a good talk by Simon Yates a few years back – he finished with this Eric Shipton quote:

    There are few treasures of more lasting worth than the experience of a way of life that is in itself wholly satisfying. Such, after all, are the only possessions of which no fate, no cosmic catastrophe can deprive us;
    nothing can alter the fact if for one moment in eternity we have really lived.

    … deep, but true insn’t it!

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