12th Aug 2007

Question: As a professional sportswoman you obviously dedicate a great deal of time to training for both comps and hard ascents as well as just climbing in general. This obviously reduces that amount of time you have to spend on relationships, starting a family and the like. Was it a really hard decision to dedicate your life to climbing and how did you make it? Do you ever feel that it was a selfish decision that you took? Has anyone ever expressed that they feel that it is quite a personal and, sorry to use that word again, selfish lifestyle to pursue? If so, how does this affect you?

Answer: Quite a lot of questions going on here, which I will try and answer as succinctly as possible.

You are right, it does take a lot of time to achieve these things but it wasn’t a hard decision for me to make. Having never been psyched by a career and working my way up to a comfortable position, dedicating myself to climbing was an obvious choice. And I suppose looking back; I probably made a sub-conscious decision to remain single for quite a few years (after a fairly long term relationship came to an end) because life then became a lot simpler.

In terms of having a family, again, I was never really that keen.

In fact I remember at the age of about 11 or 12 in an R.E. class at school, the teacher asking if there was anyone who didn’t want to get married and before I could stop myself, my hand shot up. I remember being surprised that I was the only one. The reason I gave to the teacher was that I didn’t want to have to come home and cook tea for my husband and children!

Quite funny really looking back.

I guess the decisions I’ve made could’ve been looked on as selfish and certain family members have accused me of this over the years. But it’s about choices and we all have them and I made the right ones for me. I knew I didn’t want the house, the car and the 2.2 kids (and anyway there’s still a bit of time if I change my mind) so I followed my own path. And the way I look at it, when I look around me, although I don’t have the material positions of a lot of my peers, I am happy and I have thoroughly enjoyed my life up to this point- and you can’t say fairer than that!