Women's Climbing Symposium 5th Nov 2011- review.

7th Nov 2011

The Climbing Hangar

Saturday was quite a momentous day, in that it was the first Women’s Climbing Symposium to be held in the UK. Shauna Coxsey and Ged MacDomhnaill from the newly opened Climbing Hangar in Liverpool did a great job of organising a fascinating and enjoyable day, with around 100 women from all over the country attending!

There was a varied itinerary from 10am-8pm, such as a coaching carousel taken by 9 of the UK’s top female climbers, a talk from Vikki Cassel on the psychology behind Self-Efficacy and how we can change our behaviours to improve performance and enjoyment. A video entitled ‘The Gender Project’ that was an interesting and funny look at male/female couples (friends and relationships) in climbing and other items.

I was coaching the straight arm and twisting techniques station (one of five different coaching stations). And the way it worked, we had 25 mins to put across the basic principles to about 10 people at a time. I found it quite interesting as I don’t usually teach in this format (smaller numbers for longer), so it was challenging for me to change my approach and condense my teaching. The key thing is that many women already climb like this but I think the underlying reasoning is maybe not understood. So it seemed important to get this across so that people know when and where to apply these techniques. It was fairly manic, as some of the groups contained more than 15 but it was fun and people seemed to enjoy it and hopefully learnt some things too.

As it was the first time this event has happened, it was a case of trying things out and seeing how it went but there certainly weren’t any disasters. The main thing that happened was that it overran a little but I don’t think this was a major problem.

There was an interesting panel question and answer session with the nine leading women, which was kicked off with the question: “Do women have to become like men to get good”. An interesting question but there were soon many others put to the floor and the discussion went for a fair while. When you think about it, you don’t often get the chance to ask your burning question to 9 of the top female climbers around. I enjoy this type of thing and found our differing answers and opinions fascinating and definitely could have got a lot deeper into it.

But we were already behind and there was still plenty more to pack in.

Hopefully, everybody went away with some useful tools to help their climbing but also a feeling of inspiration. Because I for one was inspired by the whole day, for many reasons.

I think the main ones were:

  1. It was fantastic to have so many women in one place and see the diversity we have around the country.
  2. I was also very impressed by the levels and fitness of some women and just how motivated they were. You just don’t get an idea of how many women are out there climbing until you take part in a ‘snap shot’ such as this symposium.
  3. There was a general buzz and feeling of positivity and it felt great to be part of. There was certainly no ‘man-bashing’, there didn’t seem to be much negativity at all, more self analysing rather than comparing ourselves to men.

So to round off, it was great to see so many people there and hope to see lots of new ones next year. Congrats and thanks go to all who helped organise and contribute to the day, especially:

Ged MacDomhnaill (Organiser)

Shauna Coxsey (Organiser and coach)

Kitty Wallace

Diane Merrick

Katherine Schirrmacher

Audrey Seguy

Alex Puccio (US)

Emma Twyford

Mina Leslie-Wujastyk

who gave their coaching services for free.

 

The Climbing Hangar would like to make this day a regular event in the climbing year and hopefully make it bigger and better (although I think that would be quite tricky!). Which I think would be fab and give more women an opportunity to meet up, so when the time comes next year make sure you sign up and come and enjoy a great day with women of all ages and abilities.