Coaches Blog: Academy session with James Pearson & Caroline Ciavaldini!

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What we learnt in a day…

Article written by Tom Vaessen, RCC Manager and Coach. Photos by Tom Vaessen and Will Hatt.


A very happy, tiered team…

Friday evening our coaching account received an exciting email confirming guest appearances from world class climbers James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini. The plan, to work with the coaching team and give our academy members a coaching session they’ll never forget! Emails were sent, academy members replied and the date was set!

At 11am Sunday morning Head Coach Will Hatt and myself were joined by the academy members, all eager eyed and ready to meet their guest coaches where we started things off with a meet and greet.

JP CC AcademyJames started by explaining how his climbing career began. Living in the peaks as a young boy, walking past the crags on a daily basis, James always had an interest in climbing. It wasn’t until he was 16 that his climbing life began and he turned his hand to trad and bouldering. Now these once viewed classic lines would become his training ground. Over the years James continued to develop his outdoor climbing using venues such as our very own Manchester Climbing Centre. Today he is now classed as one of the UK’s best climbers with ticks including routes such as the infamous Rhapsody E11.


Caroline’s background was a little different. As a young girl growing up in France, she was given the opportunity to not only climb on a daily basis, but also encouraged to compete and train. With more of a training focus, she continued to develop these skills into her adult life were she has completed such feats as climbing 8c (Fish Eye in Catalonia) and even finding a bit of time for the odd trad route with James, E9!!!

Although they have different backgrounds, they both agreed that to succeed you have to train smart, you must listen to your body, set goals, the wilder the better, but more importantly enjoy your climbing, judge your climbing on your performance, not others, and don’t be afraid to be critical, even from the smallest mistakes. At the end of the day, that’s how we learn! With the all the above, the academy was in for a treat!

Right enough talk, now time to climb… The next 4 hours, minus lunchtime, included route reading, body positioning and awareness, foot placement, problem solving and the obvious, ‘the importance of breathing’! During this time the two climbers showed why they are at the peak of their sport, just to confirm that’s James and Caroline, not Will and myself 🙂

Projects got sent, tips got given and the academy members got a thorough workout, oh and James and Caroline crushed it, including the first ascents of a few blocs!


James Pearson Saveliy

Signed Mags

Before leaving, James and Caroline signed a few pics (check out the mezzanine for a closer look at the below), including academy member Saveliy’s chalk bag, promising to return and check up on the teams progress.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to James and Caroline for an amazing day and to John Dunne for organising such a great event.

If you’re interested in any of the above topics or want any info on how training or coaching can improve your climbing speak to Will, Tom or any of the coaching team or email us at