Will Gadd’s life on the mountains

WILL GADD has spent much of his life hiking, climbing and caving. In this exclusive interview we asked him about some of his biggest achievements as well as what ambitions he has for the future.


Will Gadd - Action


WILL GADD was brought up on the mountains. From an early age he was hiking, climbing and caving with members of his family and now states how these activities are ‘in his blood’.


Although also having a passion for kayaking and paragliding, for which he once held the world distance record, it is still as a climber that Will is most well known.


His accomplishments have included winning the Canadian National Sport-Climbing Championships four times, winning three gold medals at the X Games and the Ice Climbing World Cup and earlier this year he became the first person to scale the ice-covered rock wall next to the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls.


Could you tell us about your time growing up and how you were influenced into the world of outdoor adventure and extreme sports?


My parents are mountain people, so before I could walk I was out in the mountains. I also played all the normal Canadian school sports, but mountains are just in my blood. I’ve lived in a lot of places, but always in the mountains.


WIll Gadd - Lifestyle


What sports have you competed in and what have been some of your biggest successes?


I won the Canadian National Sport Climbing Championships a few times, placed well in some sport climbing world cups, plus won the X Games and the Ice Climbing World Cup, and won the biggest competition in North America last year, Ouray.

Kayaking I never competed seriously, too busy running new rivers maybe, but I did well enough at the Junior kayaking Championships to finish in the top three or something, I forget. But always getting out in the mountains!


At 25 you flew a paraglider. What was that feeling like and did you go on to pursue the sport?


Wonderful, that was the end of competitive sport climbing for me, flying was a lot more fun and very much free. As a competitive sport climber you have to spend a lot of time in the climbing gym, which is great and I still love climbing in gyms, but flying a glider high above the mountain is just pure freedom.

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In terms of climbing what have been some of your biggest achievements and what mountains have proved to be the toughest challenges?


Staying alive, and keeping my team safe are my two biggest accomplishments in the mountains. I have done many hard new routes around the world, but really it’s about staying alive, having fun, and enjoying good challenges for me. I don’t think too much about the past, the future is much more interesting.


Could you tell us more about your role as a teacher and coach and what message and values do you try to instil in those who come to you for help?


Knowledge is the most important thing in the mountains. How they work with the sun, wind, snow, rain, and how to move well in them as you choose. My goal for my guiding clients is to show them wonderful places in a relatively safe way. For my performance clients it’s more about teaching them to go farther in their own mountain lives. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to really help people, and I so I also do a lot of teaching at festivals and events all over the world, as well as writing and speaking.

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Now a father yourself, have you introduced your children into any of your outdoor passions?


Absolutely! I don’t push my kids toward the mountains, but we go hiking, a little climbing, canoe trips, camping, biking, just getting out. They love being outside!

You’ve been fairly active in film and TV in the past. Could you tell us some more about what you’ve been up to in front of and behind the camera?


Top secret! I enjoy making films and TV programs, so we have a new series coming out on some really amazing places in the worlds including Greenland and Antarctica, should be really cool!

Will Gadd - Lifestyle


Have you set yourself any challenges for the coming year and do you still get the same buzz from adventure as you did when you first began?


Yes, I want to climb some big rock and ice walls this year, and I’m maybe now more motivated than ever because I have less time in life than I used to. I live a really full life, no complaints at all, and that makes using what time I have for climbing taste even sweeter!

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