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

Unlock this article and more benefits with 25% off.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

25% Off Outside+.
$4.99/month $3.75/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. 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+).