Exasperated at their five year old’s obsession with scaling everything, Hamish Mcarthur’s parents fibbed about his age to get him into the local climbing gym. They were looking for a safe outlet, not a career path, but he didn’t outgrow his love for climbing, not even when he sprouted at into his 6 foot (181cm) form. “I love climbing for the fact that you don’t have to be a specific body type,” he says. “Climbing is about being able to use your body effectively, in a style that suits you. So there’s a lot of problem solving.” From regional contests to national contests, Hamish swiftly became known as the wunderkind to watch, even being drafted into international youth competitions as the youngest member of Team Great Britain at the age of 12. But the performance pressure of being the prodigy to beat imposed an uninvited ceiling on his abilities – after years of winning everything he entered, Hamish suddenly found himself on the international youth World Cup circuit, unable to punch through beyond 4th spot. “I couldn’t figure out how to break through and win, to stop climbing defensively to not fall, rather than to get to the top.” Then, COVID-19 stopped everything. For a year of lockdown, there were no competitions. There was no external pressure. There was no point in climbing, unless he wanted to. Graduated high school, with no exams, school work, or distractions, nineteen-year-old Hamish began just climbing for himself. “It feels crazy. It doesn’t feel like anything has changed in me, but so much has changed, from just having this time away from competitions.” He emerged from pandemic lockdown in September 2021 into his final Junior World Championships, having never had the chance to compete in a Boulder World Cup, Hamish won both the bouldering and lead climbing events. He followed by podiuming at the Senior World Championships just a few weeks later. He now has his sights set on winning gold medals for climbing at the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Hamish brushes up on existential philosophy in his downtime from a 6-session-a-week training regimen, to keep his life perspective in check, and relaxes by cooking, playing chess, and skateboarding.
- 2021 Junior World Champion, Bouldering (IFSC Youth World Championships)
- 2021 Junior World Champion, Lead Climbing (IFSC Youth World Championships)
- 2021 3rd, Men’s Lead (IFSC Senior World Championship)
- 2021 8b boulder flash
- 2019 2 x 9a route