The City Bloc team is made up of passionate and experienced climbers who have travelled all around the world and have been at the forefront of the climbing scene for the last 4 decades.  There’s not much that has happened in the climbing world that we don't know about. 



Meet our Managing Director


Ben Meeks

A former member of the British Competition Climbing team, Ben is a well known outdoor bouldering activist climbing at a high standard in the UK and overseas. He was also responsible for developing parts of Ilkley Rocky Valley, gaining first ascents up to the grade of V11.

Ben is a qualified national route setter and is highly regarded for his wall management and route setting skills. Ben has been route-setting since 2004 and has set for national standard competitions since 2006. As chief route setter at City Bloc, Ben puts his extensive experience to good use, creating dynamic, gymnastic and technical problems for you to solve.

As Head Coach Ben teaches climbing skills to all abilities, from beginners wanting to learn the basics, through to national standard competition climbers on the Great British Team. He has also been responsible for coaching Yorkshire based children for climbing competitions and has successfully coached children into many podium positions. 

Meet our team members

Jake Fretwell

Starting climbing at the age of 6, has allowed Jake to climb at different crags all around the UK & Europe. He also spent 3 months travelling around Argentina climbing some of the best rock that South America has to offer. Since he started climbing his aim was always to become a climbing instructor and he achieved this as soon as he left education and has been happy doing so ever since.

Favourite Climb: “Dry Whit in a Wet Country”
Current Project: Hunters Roof

Freya Thomas

Freya started indoor climbing in 2016 after being introduced to the sport by her brother. She has since started to explore outdoor bouldering on the Yorkshire gritstone and tries to get out whenever she has free time. Freya is also a freelance Yoga teacher here in Leeds and runs our yoga for climbers class on Wednesday evenings. Having trained as a dancer and practiced yoga for a number of years, flexibility plays a huge role in her climbing technique!

Dan Weatherall

Dan’s been rocking it since he was 11, had a pause in the middle after a gnarly back injury, but undeterred he loves to shred at Brimham.

Leader of our kids clubs and coach on our Getting To Grips sessions You’ll find Dan curly haired and smiley faced every weekend down at City Bloc.



Tom Pepper

Introduced to climbing in his younger years by his dad back home in Wales. Tom started regularly climbing in 2016 when he came to Leeds and quickly caught the bug. Since then he has developed a love hate relationship with gritstone and is always pushing himself on harder routes. If he's not getting thrown off some rocks in Yorkshire, he'll be at home in the mountains of Snowdonia.

Malcolm Haslam

Malcolm started climbing in the early 1970s. He could be seen anywhere from the Lancashire quarries, Yorkshire grit, Lake District, snowy mountaineering, buildings, bridges, walls, anywhere you could throw some shapes. Limestone, gritstone, mountain crags, outcrops, sea cliffs, boulders, anything as long as it's made from rock. Climbing's brilliant.

Special places. Hoghton Quarry, Malham Right Wing, The Glen. He is inspired by everyone around him. Malcolm offers free coaching and guidance down at City Bloc on Monday evenings at 18:00.


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Scott Heleniak

Having developed a love for climbing while at University, studying Graphic Design in Bournemouth in 2011. Scott's first point of call when moving back up North was City Bloc. Now, Scott has become our in-house Graphic Designer as well as helping out around the centre on a regular basis. When away from Bloc, Scott is seeking out any opportunity to climb in the Lakes, Wales, Yorkshire, Peaks or Scotland. Besides this, Scott runs an Outdoor Industry focused Graphic Design studio called Bomber, which also hosts adventure sport photography and video services.

Alfie Wyman

Started climbing at the ripe old age of 21 and quickly fell in love with the problem solving and physicality of bouldering. Always looking to get shutdown by great problems and to fly off the walls in style.

Almost as bald as Ben himself. “You’re never too short for a problem… unless you’re me of course.”



Djevdet ‘Jev’ Ahmet

Climbing for 11 years, Jev found his love for the sport while studying for a degree in chemistry in Bradford. Primarily a boulderer, Jev can normally be found training indoors but occasionally ventures out to the local crags in Yorkshire. Jev has had numerous trips to Fontainebleau and spent a month in Rocklands (South Africa), he is eager to return.

Notable Climbs: A question of balance (7b), Poison Dwarf (7b), Kangaroo City (7b/+), Panic RoomDirect (7b)

Jev has a long standing battle with The Keel at Almscliffe.

Ayesha Khan

Imported from the west coast of Canada, Ayesha comes with a wealth of coaching, setting, and climbing experience. Unfortunately this extensive experience has not helped her whatsoever on the gritstone... but she'll keep working on it. Ayesha mainly sticks to small blocs and has bouldered up to 7c+, but dabbles in a bit of sport climbing as well.



Matty Owens

I was introduced to climbing by friend back in 2016 and I've never looked back. Climbing for me is something more than just a sport, it's a way for me to throw away life’s issues and be part of something bigger. I spend most of my time indoors training so when I go outdoors I can crush the projects I have lined up for the year. 

Hardest climb: Crusis (7b) 

Favourite Crags: Caley & Fontainebleau 

Current project: Secret Seventh (7b+)

Sam Hunter

More info about Sam, coming soon



Josie Roberts

I initially started climbing with my dad when he rediscovered his love for the sport and as I’ve grown into it I’ve found a passion for it myself. I’m looking forward to continuing climbing in Manchester when I move there for University in September.

Meet our Directors

Martin Smith

Martin is a former member of the British Bouldering Team and his best result was finishing 2nd overall in the 2005/06 British Bouldering Championships. Martin is currently sponsored by Scarpa and is a member of their elite climbing team and is one of the few climbers in the country to have climbed the coveted grade of 8B. 

Rachel Seymour

Rachel - climber of over 20 years, started competing regionally at age 12, and has been winner of various British national competition rounds. Representing Great Britain as part of the British Competition Climbing Team for 6 years, competing throughout Europe. Rachel is also a keen outdoor boulderer who has climbed at the highest female UK standards outdoors.

Tom Sugden

Tom has been climbing for over 20 years, gathering a vast experience of indoor and outdoor climbing development. Tom has worked as a climbing instructor for a number of years within different outdoor pursuits centres and indoor climbing walls. Bouldering at the highest standard Tom represented Great Britain as part of the British Competition Climbing Team from 2001- 2007 competing both nationally and internationally across Europe. Tom has also climbed at the highest UK standards outdoors in the UK and overseas.