Phil Davidson

Pex hill resident and prolific North Wales activist in the 70s and 80s.

Phil sadly passed away from cancer on 15th February 2021.

Obituary by Mike Owen.

Urban legend (round Pex Hill at the time [early 1980s]) had it that after pulling through the crux of Right Wall, he called across to the photographer and asked him if he had enough shots, or did he need him to down climb it and do it the crux again! [1]

As somebody from Warrington he was an inspiration and legend. Never forgot the time I saw him turn up at Pex on his motorbike. Then reverse soloed Dateline in his leather jacket with his helmet hanging for in his arms. I could swear he was wearing trainers. [2]

Though our favourite stomping grounds often overlapped I only met Phil a handful of times. The first time, appropriately, was at Pex. The quarry was empty and I was committed about two thirds the way up Hart's Arete. Phil appears and I ask if the top is ok. "Aye" Phil mutters, and walks off. Of course, the top of Hart's is the only place at Pex where the top slopes. Next time we met he'd forgotten his earlier sandbagging of me and accused me of playing the same trick on him in the Peak (I don't know who had, but it wasn't me). He was the ultimate competitor, though one that I know had many deeply loyal friends. [Andy Popp, 3]

Phil used to claim to Joe [Healey] he didn’t train. Joe told me about calling round for him to go climbing one day. His mum answered, said he was training with weights in his bedroom, told Joe he was always training! [4]

UKClimbing logbook

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/phil_davidson_rip-731360?v=1#x9407295

[2] https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/phil_davidson_rip-731360?v=1#x9407396

[3] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,31125.msg629980.html#msg629980

[4] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,31125.msg629981.html#msg629981


Media

Right Wall (E5)
Added at 10:02 on 17 February 2021
A Midsummer Night's Dream (E6)
Added at 17:03 on 20 March 2021

Ascents

17 recorded ascents.

This timeline is missing some ascents where the date of the ascent is unknown. Use the other tabs to view these ascents.
Year Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
1977 Right Wall E5 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1977 (approx)

Fourth ascent, aged just 17! [1]

[1] The Power of Climbing (1991) by David Jones, page 39

1978
1979
1980
1981
1982 Linden E6 (Solo Onsight) 01 Jan 1982 (approx)

Nah don't agree with being pumpy or desperate!! Soloed this onsight in 1982 no big cigar but it hadn't even been led then!! [1]

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/curbar_edge-21/linden-11110

The Bells! The Bells! E7 (Lead Did not finish) 01 Jan 1982 (approx)

Attempted second ascent.

Backed off from peg due to wind...and possible death. [1]

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/gogarth_north_stack_and_main_cliff-598/the_bells_the_bells-4312

The Cad E6 (Lead Onsight) 02 May 1982
Sardine 7b+ (Lead Onsight) 15 Aug 1982

An early repeat.

This was done on-sight. Ron [Fawcett] was filmed doing this route and it was aired on TV the day before. As soon as the programme had finished the phone rang and Mike [Owen] knew that it would be Phil before he picked the phone up, asking him to go to Raven's Tor the day after! Mike held his ropes and actually got dragged up it, as he hadn't been climbing for two weeks. [1]

[1] Email conversation with Elaine Owen, 29th November 2021.

Right Wall E5 (Solo) 20 Aug 1982

This solo ascent was a repeat. Phil first onsighted the route in 1977 giving the route it's fourth ascent.

Death Wish E7 (Lead Onsight) 19 Sep 1982

Second ascent. One of the first E7 onsights in the UK and exactly two years after the first ascent.

Phil did this on-sight exactly two years after the first ascent. It was the same day that Gommy [Pete Gomersall] put up The Great White. There was no peg to clip as the route to the right, Stairway to Heaven, didn't exist. Gommy held his ropes. I even have a black and white photo of Phil on that ascent. [1]

[1] Email conversation with Elaine Owen, 29th November 2021.

1983
1984 Tequila Mockingbird 7c+ (Lead) 01 Jan 1984 (approx)

Second go in front of a young Ben Moon.

Obscene Gesture 7c (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1984 (approx)
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017 My Piano E8 (Lead) 01 Nov 2017
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
Tequila Mockingbird 7c+ (Lead) 01 Jan 1984 (approx)

Second go in front of a young Ben Moon.

Hitchhike the Plane 7c+ (Lead)

An early repeat.

Obscene Gesture 7c (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1984 (approx)
Chasin' the Train 7c (Lead)

An early repeat at the start of the 1980s.

Indecent Exposure 7c (Lead Onsight)

The first onsight of the route [1].

[1] The Power of Climbing (1991) by David Jones, page 40

Sardine 7b+ (Lead Onsight) 15 Aug 1982

An early repeat.

This was done on-sight. Ron [Fawcett] was filmed doing this route and it was aired on TV the day before. As soon as the programme had finished the phone rang and Mike [Owen] knew that it would be Phil before he picked the phone up, asking him to go to Raven's Tor the day after! Mike held his ropes and actually got dragged up it, as he hadn't been climbing for two weeks. [1]

[1] Email conversation with Elaine Owen, 29th November 2021.

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
My Piano E8 (Lead) 01 Nov 2017
The Bells! The Bells! E7 (Lead Did not finish) 01 Jan 1982 (approx)

Attempted second ascent.

Backed off from peg due to wind...and possible death. [1]

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/gogarth_north_stack_and_main_cliff-598/the_bells_the_bells-4312

Death Wish E7 (Lead Onsight) 19 Sep 1982

Second ascent. One of the first E7 onsights in the UK and exactly two years after the first ascent.

Phil did this on-sight exactly two years after the first ascent. It was the same day that Gommy [Pete Gomersall] put up The Great White. There was no peg to clip as the route to the right, Stairway to Heaven, didn't exist. Gommy held his ropes. I even have a black and white photo of Phil on that ascent. [1]

[1] Email conversation with Elaine Owen, 29th November 2021.

Linden E6 (Solo Onsight) 01 Jan 1982 (approx)

Nah don't agree with being pumpy or desperate!! Soloed this onsight in 1982 no big cigar but it hadn't even been led then!! [1]

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/curbar_edge-21/linden-11110

The Cad E6 (Lead Onsight) 02 May 1982
Cave Route Right Hand (Pre 2018) E6 (Lead Onsight)

Early 1980s.

Lord of the Flies E6 (Lead Onsight)

Third ascent. [1]

[1] The Power of Climbing (1991) by David Jones, page 39

A Midsummer Night's Dream E6 (Lead)

First ascent of all three pitches in one day.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=115864769870409&set=a.115862679870618

Right Wall E5 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1977 (approx)

Fourth ascent, aged just 17! [1]

[1] The Power of Climbing (1991) by David Jones, page 39

Right Wall E5 (Solo) 20 Aug 1982

This solo ascent was a repeat. Phil first onsighted the route in 1977 giving the route it's fourth ascent.

Cockblock E5 (Solo)
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date