Iceman Harry aims to be king of the mountain

Harry Holmes
Harry Holmes

A former Bridlington footballer and badminton player is hitting the heights in a completely different sport - ice climbing.

Former Bridlington footballer and badminton player is hitting the heights in a completely different sport - ice climbing.

The 23-year-old has already represented Britain and is preparing for forthcoming World Cup events around Europe later this year.

He has just retunred from a competition in South Korea, and so far this season he has recorded second place in the British Series and third in an Open Dutch event.

Holmes said: “Ice climbing in a general sense is climbing up ice using axes for your hands and crampons on your feet.

“Competition ice climbing is slightly different as it usually takes place on man-made structures with axes used on bolted-on holds and feet kicking into wooden panels. This style of ice climbing is known as dry tooling, as there is no ice required.

“I started while at university. A friend of mine invited me a long to complete in the Scottish dry tooling series about five years ago and it really went from there.”

The former Driffield School pupil graduated from the University of Edinburgh in the summer and has taken a year out to concentrate on climbing. During his school days, he played football for Bridlington Town’s youth team and badminton for the High Fliers club, before choosing something a lot less mainstream.

Predictably for such a niche sport, training facilities are hard to find so Holmes took matters into his own hands

He said: “I train mostly on a wall I built in a shed at my house in Nafferton. I also train outdoors on dedicated dry tooling crags and ice climb in Scotland in winter.

“The thrill of ice climbing for me comes in the whole experience. I really enjoy the style of climbing which involves balancing your crampons and axes on small edges and twisting them into cracks.

“The places you get to visit are amazing and you get to see mountains in a totally different way to most people.

“Ice climbing can be quite dangerous but these risks can be managed through experience and safety equipment. It is still much more dangerous to drive to the crag than it is to go climbing.

“The thrill of competition climbing is a bit different. You get to see nice things but it is more about the them off competing for your country against the best athletes in the world. Competition climbing is very safe.”

Later this year, he will be competing at the Ice orld cuCps in Switzerland, Italy, France and Russia as well as trying to get out climbing in the Scottish mountains

“Over the next year I want to try and push myself and the rest of the British team further, in the hope on building on results for next year’s competitions,” Holmes added.

People can follow him on Twitter @climberharry, or read his blog at

He is sponsored by DMM Climbing and, while Driffield MKM supplied wood to build his climbing wall. Any other businesses wanting to sponsor Holmes, can contact him via Twitter.