The Climbing Gear Revolution: Saturday 9th March. Press Release

© Beacon Climbing

Tim Jepson, Peter Holden and DMM, in conjunction with Beacon Climbing Centre, present: The Climbing Gear Revolution – a celebration of the early development of climbing hardware and the important role that North Wales played in that development.

Hosted at Beacon Climbing Centre on Saturday 9th March 2019, this captivating, non-profit-making event documents the revolution in the development of climbing protection from the 1950s into the 1970s.

Items from the old equipment collection.

This is a rare opportunity to hear from two of the preeminent pioneers of climbing in Britain during that era, Martin Boysen and Pat Littlejohn, neither of whom have ever been part of the regular lecture circuit. The event will be of great interest to old and young climbers alike. It will be a trip down memory lane for the over 60s, and a journey into our rich climbing heritage for the younger audience.

Using photographic displays, a hands-on exhibition, destructive testing of old equipment, film clips and presentations by Martin Boysen, Pat Littlejohn, and DMM's Fred Hall, you will understand the incredible changes which took place over just two decades, from the use of rudimentary, home-manufactured gear to modern-day protection equipment.

Daytime Programme.

The equipment exhibition, the photographic display and the opportunity to destruction-test your old gear, will all be available free-of-charge from 2.00pm upstairs at Beacon Climbing Centre. The exhibition and display will include:

  • Harry Smith's (and others') collections of proto-type, home-made and early commercially manufactured 'nuts'.

  • Ice climbing equipment.

  • Belay devices.

  • Prussick devices.

  • Climbing photos from the era, depicting old equipment in use.

Evening Programme.

7:00 – 7:10 Introduction – Peter Holden.
7:10 – 7:45 Guest speaker – Martin Boysen, including film footage – Left Wall, Cromlech.
7:45 – 8:20 Guest speaker – Pat Littlejohn, including film footage – Moonraker, Berry Head.
8.20 – 8:40 Break for refreshments.
8:40 – 9.10 Guest speaker – Fred Hall of DMM.
9.10 – Open Forum for audience comments, questions and contributions.

Date: Saturday 9th March 2019
Venue: Beacon Climbing Centre, Cibyn Estate, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 2BD
Tickets: £4.00 per person (Free for U18s)


Martin Boysen Bio.

One of the most influential British rock climbers operating during the 1960s and one of the leading mountaineers of his generation. Martin made a huge contribution to British rock climbing, especially in North Wales, climbing some of the best new routes of the era including: Nexus on Dinas Mot, The Skull on Cyrn Las and the magisterial Capital Punishment on Ogwen's Suicide Wall.

For more than two decades, Martin was also one of Britain's leading mountaineers. A crucial member of Sir Chris Bonington's team that climbed the South Face of Annapurna in 1970, Martin was also part of Bonington's second summit team on the successful South West face of Everest expedition in 1975, and in 1976 he made the first ascent of Trango Tower with Joe Brown.

Martin will talk about his early rock-climbing days in the 'pre-nuts' era and his second aided ascent of Left Wall on Dinas Cromlech with protection from pebbles and pegs.

Pat Littlejohn Bio.

A well-known figure within the climbing and mountaineering community, Pat is one of the most prolific explorers in the history of British climbing, especially on sea-cliffs, having established numerous classic adventure climbs all over the UK during a climbing career which began in the 1960s.

Pat is also a highly accomplished alpinist who applied the high free-climbing standards of 1970s Britain to the toughest alpine walls, achieving many successes in the 70s and 80s, before moving into the world of super alpinism and becoming Director of the International School of Mountaineering in Switzerland; a position he held for 30 years. Pat is a Patron of the BMC and was awarded the OBE in 2007 for his services to mountaineering.

In his talk, Pat will reflect on how 'The Gear Revolution' has influenced his experience of rock-climbing over the years, using clips from the film 'Moonraker' to illustrate some of those changes.

Fred Hall Bio.

Fred Hall  © Beacon Climbing

Fred Hall is a grandmaster of climbing gear design and production. One of the founders of DMM, a safety at height equipment manufacturer based in Llanberis, he is still at the heart of the company's product design and manufacturing methodology.

Fred made his first piece of climbing gear in 1972 while working as an apprentice at an engineering firm. In 1978, he began work at Clog in charge of the tool room. Since founding DMM in 1981, he has been at the vanguard of establishing the company's reputation as leaders in the production of very light forged carabiners. It took two weeks for DMM to put together their first 200 carabiners but they now make over a million a year.

Based in Llanberis, the company has grown from three men and a dog to just over 200 employees; exporting to fifty countries. Fred's know-how lies behind several innovative firsts, such as: the compound tapered nut (Wallnuts, 1984), an ice-axe with a fully bent shaft (Predator, 1990) and the iconic sport climbing captive carabiner (Mamba, 1994).

He has been a member of CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) since it started in earnest in 1987 and sits on the UIAA Safety Commission.

Fred's talk will focus on climbing equipment: today and yesterday.

For more information visit

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5 Feb, 2019

Can this be filmed? I would love watch it.


5 Feb, 2019

Where is the bio of Pete ?

One of my early inspirational characters.

Hardly needs gear though , usually soloing:-)

6 Feb, 2019

Looks like an odd way to thread that hex

6 Feb, 2019

Is that a hex, or a piece off of an austin anglia?

7 Feb, 2019

Couldn't be from a 60s UK car, it would have rusted away years ago.

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