Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ed Drummond.....every exit is an entrance to somewhere

Legendary English climber, Ed Ward-Drummond appears to be in the final stages of gastrointestinal cancer which combined with the Parkinsons condition he has lived with for the last few years, has finally broken the physical prowess of this unique force of nature .  Now living in the US, Ed appears to have fallen victim to that country’s archaic health system. A system which has left him financially unable to pay his health bills in these difficult twilight months.

Now,Ed’s daughter Fiume-  who is Ed’s primary carer- has launched a financial appeal supported by the BMC to find the extra funds to cover his long-term nursing care which the US Medicare system will not cover.

A Midlander from The Black Country, Ed began his climbing career on the neighbouring Shropshire crags. Places like The Wrekin and Pontsbury Hill where he took his first major ground-fall from near the top of the 120’cliff. An experience which he recalls grounded him in the dark reality of climbing at your limit where the slightest misjudgement can snuff out a life. Not deterred though, Ed went on to create classic routes like The Long Hope in Scotland, a Dream of White Horses in Wales and a solo ascent of a difficult new route on Norway’s Troll Wall. Just a few routes amongst Ed’s impressive back catalogue.

However, climbing was but one string to his well thumbed bow. Philosophy, politics, poetry and performance art were very much part and parcel of who Ed was and he regularly carried out protest ascents in support of environmental and political causes. Including a well publicized ascent of Nelson’s Column in London, in support of the Anti-Apartheid movement. A stunt which saw him arrested and led away on national TV News.

In the late 80’s, following the success of Live Aid, Ed started ‘Climb for the World’. A registered charity set up to raise funds for third world causes. However, the charity founded and left him financially ruined. During this difficult period, his marriage failed and componding his woes, he tragically lost a child. It was during this dark period in his life that he moved to America and settled in San Francisco.

Despite living in the States,he regularly returns to the UK and acted as an advisor to Hot Aches in their making of The Long Hope. Dave Macleod's free ascent of Ed's outrageously long and exposed route on St John's Head.


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