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Ron Fawcett - Rock Athlete

Winner - Boardman Tasker Prize 2010

Paperback (264pp)
  • Paperback £12.99
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WINNER - The Boardman Tasker Prize 2010

Shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Book Festival 2010

Ron Fawcett is a natural-born climber. In 1969, while still at school in his native Yorkshire, he tied into a climbing rope for the first time and was instantly hooked. From that moment on, it seemed nothing else in his life mattered nearly as much as his next vertical fix.
Ten years later, Fawcett was the most famous rock climber in Britain and among the best in the world, part of a new wave whose dedication to training transformed the sport, pushing standards further and faster than ever before – or since. His legacy of new climbs ranks him alongside the very best in the history of the sport.
He was also the first to style himself a professional rock climber, starring in the landmark television documentary Rock Athlete, and appearing on the covers of magazines around the world. But far from enjoying the fame, Fawcett found the pressures of the limelight too much to bear, and at the end of the 1980s he faded from view.
Now, for the first time, he tells his extraordinary story, of how his love of nature and the outdoors developed into a passion for climbing that took him to the top – and almost consumed him.

Excerpt from the adjudication speech by Ian Smith, chair of the Boardman Tasker judges for 2010:

'The story of the life of a genuine legend of British climbing, Ron Fawcett, Rock Athlete by Ron Fawcett with Ed Douglas. This is an engaging portrait of an unassuming yet quite remarkable climber told with humility and frankness. Beginning in the small Yorkshire village of Embsay the book catalogues how Fawcett’s talent and drive took him all over the world, repeating the hardest routes wherever he went and pioneering exceptional climbs at home and abroad. As well as climbing Fawcett was also a pioneer in dealing with the commercial pressures and opportunities that were coming into climbing in the 70s and his experiences are honestly explored. Also, Fawcett is not shy of dealing with issues in his personal life and his candour is to be commended. Praise must also be given to Ed Douglas who, presumably, while shaping and forming this book allowed Fawcett’s own voice and mannerisms to still shine through. At the conclusion of this book Fawcett emerges as a shy, unassuming and thoroughly likeable person as well as an undoubted climbing legend."

Also available as an ebook:

Kindle (Amazon U.K. site)
Kindle (Amazon U.S. site)


Ron Fawcett is a British rock climbing legend. As one of a number of leading climbers in the 1970s, Ron was in no small part responsible for rock climbing’s evolution from amateur pursuit, to professional endeavour. His drive, and physical and mental ability, gave him an edge with which to forge new ground. Climbs such as Lord of the Flies and Strawberries were at the forefront of world climbing at the time, and are still considered formidable challenges over 30 years later. Arguably the first to translate his talent into a career, Fawcett attracted sponsorship deals and starred in a number of TV shows and specialist films, including the cult classic Rock Athlete, by filmmaker Sid Perou, and Dead Men’s Tales by Leo Dickinson. Ron lives in the Peak District with his two daughters.

  • Title: Rock Athlete
  • Sub-title:
  • Author: Ron Fawcett (with Ed Douglas)
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-906148-30-0
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication date: 01 August 2011
  • Edition: First
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 264 pages, black and white text with colour plates
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Weight: 470g
  • Retail price: £12.99

Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 978-1-906148-39-3
  • Publication date: 01 October 20111
  • Price: £12.99

'A frank and engaging portrait of an unassuming yet remarkable climber; an inspirational subject and a story shot through with honesty and integrity.'
Boardman Tasker Prize 2010

'A gentle and warm read that comes across like listening to someone reminiscing over a pint in front of a roaring pub fire. Quite rightly, Rock Athlete was the winner of the 2010 Boardman Tasker Award.'
Simon Yates, Alpine Journal

'Muted in tone, the book is a rich pleasure: utterly real and worthy.'
Alison Osius, Rock & Ice Magazine

'I don't like this book, I love it. I read it twice in a day, and was still reading bits of it out aloud to myself that night.'
Stevie Haston,

'A fitting celebration of a climbing life well spent, of a decent ordinary man who just happened to be an extraordinary climber.'
John Horscroft, Climber Magazine

'For climbers younger than me this book is essential reading; Ron is a connection to the recent past that's so close in time but so distant in terms of climbing culture, attitudes, practices and ethics. He's a living embodiment of the idea that climbing is the best training for climbing.'
Neil Pearsons, Climb Magazine

'A great read.'
Neil Parker, The Climber, New Zealand

'By far and away the most engaging autobiography I have ever read – brilliant!'

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