Women's Climbing Symposium 2012

5th Nov 2012

climbing symp

After getting back from Spain last Tuesday, I had a few days to put the finishing touches to my talk for the Women’s Climbing Symposium at The Climbing Hangar Liverpool. As it turned out I spent quite a long time on it and rewrote it about three times! For some reason I found it a tricky talk to put together. The remit was to speak about the psychological impact of injury from my personal perspective. And although I have a wealth of injuries to talk about (unfortunately), I realised that my memory was failing me and I couldn’t remember too much about my experiences; obviously apart from this year with my broken leg and shoulder op. So in the end I decided to talk about what I’ve observed about different factors that effect how you mentally deal with injury, such as:

Your personality

Your age

The duration and type of injury

And your motivation levels

with I think age being quite key to the impact an injury can have. I also spoke in detail about what had been going on over the last few years with my shoulder leading up to very recently with my return to climbing with the Catalunya trips.

It seemed to go down well and I got a lot of interesting feedback from people, somebody even told me that they had been brought to tears! I think that was probably at the bit when I explained how Kodo had died and what an incredibly difficult time it had been for me. I wasn’t actually crying myself but my vocal chords seemed to go a bit wobbly and my words were coming out a bit funny for some reason (!), I blame it on my lingering chest infection.

Anyway, the day seemed to be another great success with about 135 women attending. Along with coaching from a whole host of top female climbers, there were some very interesting talks from a British Team nutritionist, a bio mechanist from LJMU, Shauna Coxsey and David Simmonite. And also Fran Brown –World Para-climbing Champion- was there giving her story. It was fascinating to hear her background and the lead up to her achieving such a ground-breaking victory. Although, I was a little dismayed when I realised I had to speak straight after her. I think most people in the room felt humbled after hearing Fran speak and learning of what she has been through to get where she is now. That for me to then stand up and talk about ‘…finger injuries I have overcome’, somehow seemed a little facile…but it was fine.

Having been out of climbing for so long, it was actually really nice be amongst so many psyched people and see the enthusiasm for climbing that is out there. You just don’t realise how many keen women exist until you see a group like this in one room, it’s really overwhelming, in a nice way.

While I was away, apparently there was some sort of furore on the forums about the logo for the symposium. I’m definitely going to check it out and see what was going on. It seems strange to me that people can get so het about things that don’t really matter. But I will see what the fuss was all about for myself.

Anyway, the symposium looks set to be here for the duration and hopefully mutate into something that can move around the country inspiring people on a more local level.


Thank you to Shauna and Steph for putting in all their hard work to achieve another outstanding day.