Inspirational climber Caitlin Connor receives prestigious Youth Mountain Culture Award

Fort William Mountain Festival are proud to announce Caitlin Connor from Cambuslang as the 10th recipient of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture, sponsored by UHI North, West and Hebrides.

At 20, Caitlin is a dynamic force in the climbing world. Her accolades as a member of the GB Ice Climbing Team in both the Junior and Senior teams, a Scottish ice climbing champion, co-founder of The Scottish Dry-Tooling Club, charity ambassador and fundraiser, and all-around adventure seeker highlight her exceptional contributions to mountain culture.

Caitlin’s prowess spans various climbing disciplines, excelling in ice climbing, dry-tooling, and hard sport climbing. Notably, she became the youngest UK female climber to conquer M10 and M10+ graded routes at just 17 years old.

Her climbing journey began with remarkable achievements at a young age, scaling challenging routes like 'Persistence of Vision' (7a+) at 13 and 'Hamish Teddy's Excellent Adventure' (7b+) at 14. Her passion for Scottish Winter and Alpine Climbing led her to conquer classics like 'Aladdin's Mirror Direct' (IV 4), 'Curved Ridge' (II/III 3), 'Doctors Dilemma' (IV 4), and 'Steall Falls' (III).

As a dedicated member of the GB Ice Climbing Team, Caitlin competes globally, having showcased her talent in the Under 19 (Youth) category and Adult European and World tours. She is very proud to have been selected for the GB team to compete in the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup 2024.

Her commitment extends beyond personal achievements; Caitlin co-founded The Scottish Dry-Tooling Club, based at the Glasgow Climbing Centre, to nurture new climbers in an inclusive environment, while also offering a safe and supportive training facility for seasoned UK climbers, and serving as its Vice Chair and Head Coach.

"I am honoured to receive the Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture," Caitlin said. "My role in coaching and mentoring younger climbers is vital to me. Through The Scottish Dry-Tooling Club, we provide support and opportunities, fostering a thriving climbing community."

Caitlin’s philanthropic endeavours are equally inspiring. She's been an unwavering ambassador for Urban Uprising since 2015, using her climbs to fundraise for disadvantaged youth.  Both of Caitlin's parents are Military Veterans along with others in her family. Her dedication to causes like PoppyScotland are evident through fundraising climbs in the Alps and a solo parachute jump (aged 16), reflects her commitment to giving back.

Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive, UHI North, West and Hebrides, said: “UHI North, West and Hebrides continue to be privileged to sponsor The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture.  As this year’s worthy recipient, Caitlin Connor clearly displays not only the resilience and determination needed to compete in this challenging mountain sport, but also the passion and drive for excellence that success at the highest level requires.   We were also most impressed to see the range of activities and responsibilities she has undertaken to not only nurture new talent – even at her own very young age – but also to support so many other causes with her fundraising and ambassadorial roles.   These qualities are what we strive to instil in all our students at the School of Adventure Studies here in Fort William.  We offer our heartiest congratulations to Caitlin and wish her every success in the future.”

Reflecting on her win, Caitlin shared her excitement for the ongoing ice climbing season. "I am on my fifth year of competition ice climbing and am optimistic about my performance. Making finals in both rounds of the Continental Cup this season has been a highlight. I aim to continue improving my overall ranking."