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Phil Davidson (Read 2131 times)

andy popp

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Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 03:43:42 pm
Phil Davidson died in hospice care yesterday morning. He will need very little introduction to most of us here, being a powerful and distinctive presence in British climbing since the 1970s, probably the strongest in an incredibly strong generation of young Merseysiders from that era.

I never actually knew him well but was FB friends and was aware that after one of his periodic retirements he'd been climbing incredibly well again over the last fews. What I had no idea of was that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2018.

Though our favourite stomping grounds often overlapped I only met Phil a handful of times. The first time, appropriately, was at Pex. The quarry was empty and I was committed about two thirds the way up Hart's Arete. Phil appears and I ask if the top is ok. "Aye" Phil mutters, and walks off. Of course, the top of Hart's is the only place at Pex where the top slopes. Next time we met he'd forgotten his earlier sandbagging of me and accused me of playing the same trick on him in the Peak (I don't know who had, but it wasn't me). He was the ultimate competitor, though one that I know had many deeply loyal friends.

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#1 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 03:52:51 pm
Thanks Andy. RIP Phil. He and Joe climbing at Pex opened my eyes to what was possible, he was a truly awesome climber. His harder routes at Pex still rarely see ascents. Linden onsight solo, cruising Right Wall solo in Yosemite whites for that poster.
Saxophonist and paddler too. And like you say, ultra competitive.

Phil used to claim to Joe he didnít train. Joe told me about calling round for him to go climbing one day. His mum answered, said he was training with weights in his bedroom, told Joe he was always training!
Great climber :bow:

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#2 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 04:04:26 pm
Very sad news. I always enjoyed time spent climbing with him. He was fun, self depreciating and utterly supportive at the crag. Admittedly I only got to know him in recent years, when he started climbing again. So impressive that he returned to relatively hard climbing, later in life and after such a long time away from the sport.
I feel really sad.

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#3 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 04:16:10 pm
Just seen this on the Friends of Pex page. Deeply talented climber and inspirational to see his appetite for rock on E6 and 7s in recent years. I bumped into him in the woods on Helsby a couple of years ago and it slowly dawned on me that the gnarly old man in front was the same character as the bleached blond legend of Pex from the 80s, as hungry as ever for experience. I have two aural memories of Pex from that time - one a whipcrack of someone's tendon going on yet another nasty pocket or crimp. The other the most enormous burp as Phil arrived in leathers and descended Dateline. RIP.

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#4 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 04:21:18 pm
RIP Phil. Met him at Frogsmouth last year, a real character, passionate and foul-mouthed, we had good chat all day. He talked a bit about his cancer and knew he hadn't got long left and was making the most out of it. Glad he's enshrined in the colour text in the Cheshire Sandstone guide.

Will Hunt

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#5 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 04:21:34 pm
Pex Hill. After school and at the weekends. 2006-2007. A short period of time but one of complete obsession and very formative. I would listen, enraptured, to tales of Phil and his mates. The motorbikes, the solos, the competitiveness. It had a huge impact on what I perceived climbing to be and really drew me in.
Very, very sad news.


From the Climbing Rumours thread:
When I was a wide-eyed youth cutting my teeth at Pex Hill, I lived on this stuff. It was my window into what climbing could be.

Phil Davidson, arriving at the top of the crag on his motorbike, giving the engine a good rev to let the assorted characters and hangers-on know that the King had arrived. Soloing down Dateline (oft-wet E3) in his biker boots. Pop the rock shoes on. Solo up The Knife (E4/5) and down Black Magic (E5/6).

Giving himself arthritis by doing 1000 pull ups a day in the shop at Ellis Brighams in Liverpool.

BenF

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#6 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 04:57:09 pm
Glad he's enshrined in the colour text in the Cheshire Sandstone guide.

And what a rant it is. Pure Phil.

grimer

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#7 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 05:00:50 pm
Before lockdown we had agreed to do a Jam Crack podcast together. Covid interrupted that. Only lately it occurred to me I should get him on Zoom soon.

Was sad to read the news of his passing.

BenF

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#8 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 05:06:04 pm
Before lockdown we had agreed to do a Jam Crack podcast together. Covid interrupted that.

Now thats a shame, would have been a corker

grimer

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#9 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 06:18:01 pm
aye

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#10 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 06:43:27 pm
Do one with Joe H, he knew Phil well.

Will Hunt

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#11 Re: Phil Davidson
February 16, 2021, 08:00:57 pm
Do one with Joe H, he knew Phil well.

There is a Joe Healey one. Can't remember what might have been said about Phil though.

http://www.niallgrimes.com/jam-crack-climbing-podcast/jcpc-027-joe-healey

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#12 Re: Phil Davidson
February 17, 2021, 09:01:11 am
Suggested Andy Pollitt do one of those great little ukc interviews with him. Now both gone.

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#13 Re: Phil Davidson
February 17, 2021, 12:35:21 pm
RIP phil, met him during the cheshire guide work and enjoyed chatting about kayaking; I didn't mention climbing, it felt a bit like asking lou reed if he had played his guitar much lately!

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#14 Re: Phil Davidson
February 19, 2021, 07:11:03 pm
This is sad news.
I'm not sure how the current situation adds poignancy - and to the fact that there is a world out there beyond Covid, where things will have changed, and people will have left; loss seems to have to wait a bit longer than it would do normally.

The two classic photos, of Phil soloing Right Wall, and Joe on Citadel were always a source of great inspiration.

Mr JR, had you mentioned he wasn't very well? I can't remember. It's good to hear he'd been climbing well again. We talk about chance a lot in what we do on the rock, maybe forgetting for a while just how chancy life is.


 

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