Climber, Safety Professional

and Author of

How Hard Can It Be?


Nick Wharton started climbing in 1979 whilst at school in Lancaster since when he has developed a characteristically bold approach to Trad climbing all around the UK and abroad but predominantly in the Lake District. Along the way he delved into many other adventure sports as well as road biking. After university and then Sandhurst he spent time in the Army before settling in Kendal on the edge of the Lake District National Park. He qualified as an Environmental Health Officer then took his H&S skills into industry and then consultancy. He is married to Karen and has one daughter, Flora.

Fun & Games

Nick has been climbing for the past 40 years since starting when at school in Lancaster. He has climbed all over the UK and in many other countries around the world. He has also spent a lot of time recently riding his road bike and competing in time trials.

Other activities over the yeras have included ski mountaineering, mountain biking, caving, skydiving, kayaking and fell running. Nick completed the Bob Graham Round in 2003 in a time of 21 hours 4 minutes.

Read about all these adventures in his new book: How Hard Can It Be? Published in April 2021.

Nick has long been recognised as having a bold approach to his Trad climbing. He has been involved in Lake District guidebook writing for the FRCC. 


After a biology degree at York University, Nick went to Sandhurst then into the Queens' Lancashire Regiment (subsequently amalgamated into the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment). On Leaving the army he moved to the Lakes and worked in Management Training briefly before returning to study for a master's degree in Environmental Health at Birmingham University. This led to a role as an EHO with South Lakeland District Council before heading into industry as HSE Manager with Crown Wallcoverings. When that closed he moved into Consultancy with JOMC, which later became Tribe Culture Change, specialising in Safety Culture and Behavioural Safety. Read the blog articles on this subject.


James McHaffie

UK's Best  all-round climber

"No doubt, one of the UK's boldest climbers of the last 30-40 years"

Stuart Wood

Long-time, Lakes climbing partner

"The thing that stands out about climbing with Nick is the attitude that anything is achievable. Nobody else has the same drive to try and perform like him. He has 100 per cent commitment, and he expects it from you as well – no excuses."

Phil Baines

University climbing partner

"Clearly, he wasn’t fazed. We were doing this regardless. This was typical Nick, focussed on the objective, competitive as hell!"

Steve Scott

Long-time Lakes climbing partner

"... he climbed with utter determination and total confidence. And that’s how he approaches everything"