Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Features

Jerry Moffatt: The Winning Mind

PRINT FEATURE: One of climbing's all-time greats, Jerry Moffatt, digs into the mindset required for success in comps and on the rock.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
Fall Sale
$1.52 / week*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Gaia GPS premium with thousands of maps and global trail recommendations.
  • Try out best-in-class gear and apparel for free before you buy
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

I started climbing in 1978 while attending St. David’s College in Llandudno, North Wales. I was 15 years old. We had a climbing club and would go out Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. If the weather was good we would make it to Llanberis Pass in Snowdonia or local cliffs such as the limestone of Craig y Forwyn.

I fell in love with the freedom climbing gave—the danger, the adrenaline and the physical side of trying to achieve something new. I also liked the fact there was no finish line, no score at the end of the game. It was as if you could never lose. Climbing at its essence is an individual sport, there’s no crowd to cheer—it’s just you up there in your own private battle.

Within a year I was a climbing junkie and absolutely hooked. I spent all my break time finding traverses on the limestone walls of the school buildings, imagining I was out on the cliffs. I aspired to be like the famous climbers I had seen in the magazines, people like Mark Hudon, Max Jones, John Gill, Ray Jardine, John Bachar and Ron Kauk. Sometimes I would wear a headband and baggy white trousers like the Yosemite Stonemasters. A poster of Bachar in white painter’s pants on Midnight Lightning is seared into my memory.

I wasn’t a great climber. I could climb 5.8 and had seconded a couple of 5.9s. Most notable was my lead of Ivy Sepulchre (5.9), my first HVS (hard very severe). Ron Fawcett, an early British rock star and another of my heroes, was on the crack that day filming a new route he had done, the ultra-classic Lord of the Flies (E6 6a/5.12a R). As he left the crag he turned and looked at me leading the route. I was so excited—Ron had seen me climb. The next time I did Ivy Sepulchre was four years later when I down-soloed it after I had soloed up Right Wall (E5 6a /5.11+).