• What I've Learned: Sonnie Trotter
  • What I've Learned: Mark Udall
  • Reinhold Messner: What I've Learned
  • Listening for the Echo: The Klem Loskot Profile
  • Layton Kor Dies
  • Climbers We Lost In 2012
  • Life on Hold: The Ian Powell Story
  • Rope Jumping with Dan Osman
  • Mike Foley: Never Enough
  • Hayden Kennedy: Superballistic
  • Naomi Guy: What I've Learned
  • Dave Macleod: What I've Learned
  • Thomas Bubendorfer: Eiger Legend Back in the Game
  • Q&A: V15 Maestro Nacho Sanchez Unleashed
  • Francesca Metcalf: Meant to Compete
  • Maurice Herzog Dies
  • Kurt Albert: Free Wheel
  • Mason Earle: Crack Ropegun
  • Mayan Smith-Gobat: Climber for all Seasons
  • John Long: What I've Learned
  • Nik Berry: Obsessive Crusher
  • TNB: Tony Scott, Climber, Movie Maker, Lived and Died Large
  • Who's Next?
  • Todd Skinner: The Renegade
  • Tom Patey: The Tiger of Yesterday
  • Patxi Usobiaga: The Bionic Man
  • Michael Reardon
  • Max Turgeon and Louis-Philippe Ménard: Alpinists and Ice Climbers
  • Kurt Albert: The Climber Who Invented Redpointing
  • Josh Wharton: The Alpinist
  • John Rosholt: Climber and Gambler Disappears in Las Vegas
  • The Stonemasters Climb at Pirates Cove
  • John Bachar's Last Interview
  • John Bachar Remembers Michael Reardon
  • John Bachar by Henry Barber
  • John Bachar Remembered by Duane Raleigh
  • John Bachar by Doug Robinson
  • John Bachar and the Bachar-Yerian First Ascent
  • Colin Kirkus: Climbing's Greatest Unknown
  • Alex Puccio
  • John Long: A Man for All Seasons
  • Galen Rowell: The Vertical World
  • The Prophet
  • The Guy Whose Nuts Revolutionized Climbing: R.P.
  • Randy Leavitt
  • Brian Kim Spotlight
  • Rob Raker
  • Ueli Steck
  • Kemple and Lindner Almost Free El Nino
  • Crack Attack
  • Climbing World Mourns Todd Skinner
  • Ammon McKneely
  • A Tour of Magic and Mystery
  • Tanja Grmovsek
  • Rob Miller
  • Climber Hugh Herr Honored by Esquire Magazine
  • Climber Eric Brand Dies
  • Chuck Fryberger, Climber and Filmmaker
  • Chris Schulte Profile
  • Beth Rodden
  • Joe Kinder
  • Hazel Findlay
  • To the BASE Layer
  • Pete Ward
  • Mad Max
  • Chris Boskoff
  • Bradford Washburn
  • Revenge of the Nerd
  • Chris Lindner
  • Renan Ozturk
  • One-Track Mind
  • Tim Clifford: Escaping the Quantum Hole
  • Traveling Light
  • Colette McInerney
  • The Banner Years
  • Pakistan: The Big and Free
  • MAD DASH
  • Kris Hampton
  • KEEPING THE FAITH
  • Jules Cho
  • Extreme Eleven and Beyond
  • Bob Bates, 96, Takes His Final Journey
  • Jody Hansen
  • Home Girl
  • An Encounter with Fred
  • The Average Hero Sir Edmund Hillary, 88
  • More Than One Trick
  • Dave Graham
  • Red River Sugar Mama
  • Phillip Schaal
  • An Advanced Beginner
  • The Last Samurai:
  • THE BERMANATOR
  • Sonnie in Scotland
  • Offwidth Hombre
  • Moonlight Solo-Nata
  • Jasmin Caton
  • Crag Clown
  • Unlikely Candidate
  • Lone Star
  • The Calculator: Alex Kordick
  • Rise of the Machines
  • Dave Waggoner 1955-2009
  • Blood Spider
  • The Original Desert Rat: Kyle Copeland | 51
  • J-Star
  • Italian Legend: Lino lacedelli | 83
  • Cold Justice Paul Cormier
  • The Suffer King
  • The Need for Speed
  • Nick Martino Gives All
  • G-Money
  • Climbing Out of Academic Trouble
  • Charles Houston, 96
  • Bobby Model, 36
  • "Open Bivy" Willy
  • To the Rescue
  • The Genius
  • The Gamer
  • Shock Rock
  • Ryan Triplett | 31
  • John Bachar and the Cosmic Surfboard
  • Hand Crafted
  • Return of the Verm
  • Amped
  • Regime Change
  • Man vs. Snake
  • Living Legend
  • Layton Kor honored by AAC
  • Cold Justice
  • Cowboy Anguish
  • The Rock Jester
  • Mixed Rehab
  • Laura Fletcher
  • Bill Stall
  • Benjamin Strohmeier
  • Joe Six-Pack
  • Freedom Path
  • Manboy
  • Up and Down
  • The Duelist
  • A for Achiever
  • Paul A. Duval
  • Kelly S. Bell
  • Close But No Cigar
  •  
    Video Spotlight
    Smitten: Punks in the Gym (5.13d/...
    Smitten: Punks in the Gym (5.13d/...

    The Need for Speed

    02-Feb-2010
    By

    Keith's-Corner-183 The peaceful silence of Lion’s Head was broken as Greg Williamson shouted, “Rope!” He dropped a line from the cliff top and zipped down it.

    “I only have 20 minutes,” explained Williamson, an architect who was here on a break between meetings. “Thought I’d get a few pitches in.”

    To access this limestone sport-climbing area outside of Ontario, climbers must rap in and then climb out. As a result, locals often toprope self-belay, running laps on their favorite climbs. Williamson lapped five routes, packed up and left.

    Motivated is too small an adjective to fit Williamson, a guy who once rope-soloed 60 routes as difficult as 5.12+ in a day at this Canadian crag. Before he was an architect and a mega endurance climber, Williamson was a competitive body builder, a super-bike moto-racer and a street brawler. A friend once observed, “He’s basically five dudes in one.”

    “From an early age,” says Williamson, now 35, “I had two weight-training partners who taught me how to push myself every single day. It’s something that has helped tremendously in climbing, business and life in general.“

    At age 20, while competitive power lifting, Williamson sustained a major pectoral injury, which eventually brought all his then 230 bulky pounds to rock climbing. Instantly taken, Williamson had to adapt to the pace of this sport, a big change from 80-foot jumps on a dirt bike and bee-lining a street bike down roads at speeds of 180 mph.

    “That’s 180 mph in a straight line,” says Williamson. “However, it’s far more exciting to throw the bike into a corner at the track at 150 mph.”

    At one point, street brawling provided Williamson the rush he craved. He remembers one particular night at a bar when he and two friends got scrappy with some other guys. The bouncers threw them all out, and the other gang confronted Williamson and his friends in a nearby parking lot.

    “What ensued was straight out of an old Western movie,” says Williamson. “Bottles were smashed over our heads, and someone bit off the entire top half of my friend’s ear! Right as we were starting to get the upper hand, the police showed up and we all got thrown in jail for the night. Every weekend when we were 19 we lived out stories that we will remember for a lifetime.”

    For Williamson, who has owned his own architectural design firm for the last 10 years and is married with two daughters, those savage days are long gone. You’d be hard pressed to meet a nicer and more encouraging person.

    Williamson has opened his home to Toronto climbers and friends. Nightly campfires always seem to result in Williamson recounting another high-speed story, or lighting off a wax bomb. At home, he has channeled that energy and motion into his family life. “Already the bond I have developed with my 6-year-old from climbing with her and striving toward similar goals has been great. Climbing is something you can actually do with your kids, instead of just standing back watching.”

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello