An Interview with Nathan Phillips: From Lockdowns to Salt Lake City


From the challenges of training during lockdowns and restrictions, to taking to the mats at the World Cup in Salt Lake City 2021 – what’s it like? We asked Nathan Phillips.


Meet Nathan Phillips – White Spider Sponsored Athlete

Nathan Phillips is an international competition climber who has been proudly sponsored by White Spider since 2016. Nathan is a familiar face at our Birthday Party Competitions, regularly puts up some mega blocs with the route setting team, and is an all-round great guy who has been an honour to sponsor for his talent and dedication to the sport.

Climbing since he was 6, and competing from the age of 7, his focus turned to bouldering in his mid-teens. This turned out to be a great decision, when in 2013, he became the first ever GB climber to win gold in international event at the European Youth Cup. 

Now a member of the Team GB bouldering team, Nathan competes all around the world and in World Cup events. This season, he competed in the Salt Lake City World Cup – his first comp since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. We asked Nathan some questions about the World Cup and the recent challenges he’s had to face due to the pandemic: 


You’ve just got back from the Salt Lake City World Cup, what was it like competing again after such a long time without competitions?

N – “It felt amazing to finally travel out of the UK again and compete on the world stage after so long. CWIF was the last competition that I did in March 2020. White Spider’s support is something that I really appreciate. Without the funding they provide, I wouldn’t be able to make it to a full season of competitions.”  

How did you find training throughout the restrictions and what did you find helped motivate you most?  

N – “After CWIF I felt in great shape and was looking forward to the upcoming World Cup season that unfortunately never happened. Feeling in good form but having no way of showing it was incredibly frustrating. Maintaining a high level for the whole lockdown period would be an impossible feat, so I knew I had to accept the fact I’d need to start over again closer to the restart of everything. I did bits and bobs in lockdown, some conditioning and finger boarding at home and we also built a training board in our cellar to keep us busy. This was all just to tick over until we could get back to the real training when we were allowed out. Motivation was obviously a hard thing to come by in lockdown and a strange thing for me that helped was playing video games with the boys. Even though we couldn’t hang out in person we could still chat and have a laugh which helped distract from the empty time in the day.” 

How was the world cup for you, how did you feel climbing and what did you enjoy most about competing?   

N – “The World Cups themselves went good and bad. It took the first 2 boulders in the first comp to get back into game mode. After that I felt like I was switched on and could execute. In both comps I climbed well but small margins kept me from progressing to the next round. 1 move in both cases. So a little frustrating being so close but I still loved being able to do it again.” 

How was Salt Lake City and what did you get up to while you weren’t competing?   

N – “Salt Lake City was pretty cool. We actually managed to have a few days climbing outside in the nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon which has some really nice proud granite boulders. We did explore a little bit of the city but other than training and climbing outside most of the time was spent chilling with the team at our house. We played a lot of badminton and frisbee.” 

What did you learn or take away from the events?    

N – “I learnt a few things in these events which are hard to explain in writing but I know I’ll go into the next competition a smarter climber and change some subtle things in my game plan.” 

What’s next for you, what are you training for?   

N – I took a small break from training for a couple weeks before getting focused again to prepare for the selection event in August which will decide the team for World Champs and the latter World Cups. I’ll be competing in the British Bouldering Championships 10th-11th June in Sheffield – where I’ll bring White Spider climbers the latest with an Instagram Takeover.

Catch Nathan’s Instagram takeover at @whitespiderclimbing!

We’re super excited to see how Nathan does in the World Championships Qualifiers – watch this space for updates on how he gets on!  

If you have any questions for Nathan, let us know and we can keep them in mind for next time!  

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Alternative Spider Climbing Locations

Alternative Spider Climbing Locations

Alternative Spider Climbing Locations

Alternative Spider Climbing Locations

Alternative Spider Climbing Locations