The John Allen interview – Crags 8, 1977
- Monday 25th May 2020
Legendary climber, John Allen, who died recently in a climbing accident (news here), was interviewed by Geoff Birtles in December 1976. It was just before John emigrated to New Zealand. It was featured in Crags issue 8 and Geoff has kindly allowed Climber to reproduce it.
In his introduction, Geoff wrote, ‘He is now 18 years old although there was a time when he seemed to be 14 forever. They were the days when rumours flew around of a child star who would be better than any before.
In some respects, he lived up to them. He was a trained thoroughbred in PAS, the product of attention of the kind more commonly associated with organised sport. He may go down in climbing history as a shooting star that soon disappeared over the horizon, rather like John Streetly. On the other hand, he may return to continue the exciting development that is bound now to spread from the outcrops to the mountain crags.
In this brief chat, before he left, he questions today's attitudes and recognises the missing touch of romanticism that inspired an older generation of climbers.
Routes like Profit of Doom, Hairless Heart, London Wall and Old Friends will remain as his own lasting contribution to the new era.
He went the way of many a young man. Well, just what does make a young man pull up his roots — a young woman?’
You can read the interview in full by clicking here.