Meet the Team
Jason has a wealth of experience in both the climbing scene and the outdoor business.
His climbing career began in the early Eighties on the gritstone edges and quarries of Yorkshire, working his way up to the ‘Big Three’ limestone crags of Malham, Kilnsey and Goredale – all of which proved a great training ground for the exploding sport climbing scene. In the mid-Eighties he spent long periods in the south of France, making early ascents of famous test pieces such as Chouca, La Mission and Total Transfer, and culminating in an ascent of The Spectre – one of the first 8b+ successes by a British climber.
After an elbow injury forced a change of activity, he took up mountain-bike racing and surfing, but retained his connection with climbing by working at Outside in Hathersage, and then being part of the team which opened the UK’s first indoor lead climbing wall at The Foundry in Sheffield. A return to climbing saw him immersed in the UK’s re-invented bouldering scene, at the same time as gaining a degree in Business Management and eventually joining First Ascent as their equipment sales manager.
‘Fast forward’ to 2017, and with experience of working with several of the UK’s leading outdoor companies under his belt, Jason is back at First Ascent – now leading from the front as co-owner with his wife Cath.
‘It’s tremendous to be back here at First Ascent. I’ve always loved the outdoors, and having good equipment to explore it with has always been a priority for me. We’re privileged to have some really superb brand partners to work with, and I’m excited for the future of First Ascent.
‘I just hope there’ll be some time to actually go climbing and biking and surfing…!’
A keen Peak District walker and cyclist, Cath’s experience as an industry accountant makes her a vital part of First Ascent’s admin team. She’s spent many years accompanying husband and First Ascent co-owner Jason to climbing crags throughout the UK, and has been known to indulge in a spot of body-boarding while he’s out surfing. With a keen eye for design, she also plays an important part in First Ascent’s marketing, promotion and website.
A keen cyclist and runner, Andy’s never happier than when the temperature drops to near freezing. He’s a past winner of the 1,000-mile Iditasport winter bike race in Alaska, and has also completed the 430-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra running event in Canada. He lives in Matlock at the top of a painfully steep hill, and is currently training for an attempt on the Bob Graham Round, a circuit of 42 Lake District peaks in under 24 hours. His role as First Ascent’s website and marketing co-ordinator is shared with his ‘other’ job of photographer to the European Athletic Association.
A keen wildlife photographer, Nick came into the outdoor industry some 20 years ago as a keen climber and mountaineer. Over the years he has been lucky enough to work with some of the industry’s premier brands, both on the manufacturing and distribution sides of the business. A keen cyclist and runner, he’s still as passionate as ever about the outdoors – but is now more likely to be found stalking wildlife with his camera than scaring himself witless on Stanage!