Every year the time comes around for the organisation and plans for the Women’s Climbing Symposium to begin again. Every year it takes more work that we anticipate, more late nights writing emails, more early mornings sorting advertisement and more long days spent planning the content. And every year I have left the event with an overwhelming sense of joy, pride, satisfaction and (of course) relief. This year was different. But only in the sense that all of these feelings were multiplied!
Our objectives for the event are to connect, inspire and develop. Why? What’s the point you may ask… Climbing is a sport that’s growing at a rapid rate and with that comes the development of our sport. This development will naturally be both positive and negative. Climbing is a massively male dominated sport and a few years back I was oblivious to most of the negative experiences that women in climbing faced. Climbing is not just my hobby, its’s my lifestyle and has been since I was four years old. Simply through ignorance I never realised that there were so many physical and mental barriers, both big and small, for some women because they were not present in my own climbing experiences.
I have now spent a lot of time coaching female climbers, I now have lots of female climbing friends and I am now able to acknowledge their personal experiences in the sport. To run an event such as this we have to make massive generalisations. Women ‘generally’ feel they need to improve on their dynamic ability, women ‘generally’ want to know more about how to train, women ‘generally’ worry about what to eat, women ‘generally’ don’t like slopers, etc, etc.
We wanted to create a day that not only had something for everyone but that had lots of things for everyone there. So this year we had more going on than ever before. And I guess our generalisations must have been along the right lines considering every workshop and every talk was packed!
I climb with women a lot now, my local wall The Climbing Hangar is often close to having as many women in as men, but when the 180 women arrived at The Arch on the morning of November 2nd I was once again overwhelmed.
The Arch Climbing wall were our hosts and principle sponsor of our 2013 event. They could not have been more helpful and their staff could not be more friendly. Having a good relationship with them ensured this event was the incredible success that it was. A massive thank you must go out to Emila and Fred who answered every question that we had, met every single request that we made and let us fill their wall with women for the day!
I am so pleased with the content we managed to provided on the day. Opening with the inspiring, 73 year old, Angela Soper. With over 50 years climbing experience she had so much knowledge on the development of climbing and more specifically women in climbing. Angela is a wonderful lady full of enthusiasm. She even came to ask me some questions on dynamic climbing “you are never too old to learn” “I might be older but I can still do everything I used to be able to do. It will just take me a longer to recover.” She is a massive idol for me!
All of our talks by Angela, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Ella Kirkpatrick left the audience full of motivation and ready to push their climbing. Unfortunately I missed the other talks as I was working with Leah Crane on the dynamic climbing workshop but I heard nothing but good things about them… A massive thank you has to go out to Eva Lopez who travelled from Spain to give her talk on ‘Key Performance Indicators for Female Training’. Not forgetting Emma Flaherty who gave a talk titled ‘Amateur Adventures’ and left every single person listening filled with psyche and motivation for getting out and making their dreams come true! Also Rebecca Dent (nutritionist), Anna Rigge (physiotherapist) for their talks and Carlie Speller for teaching the yoga classes.
Thank you so much to every individual who came on the day, every participant, every coach, every speaker and all of the arch staff.
I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to be part of the organisation with one of my best friends Stephanie Meysner. And I look forward to the future of WCS.
MORE PICTURES HERE!!!
BMC REPORT HERE
UKC REPORT HERE
Eva Lopez Blog HERE
Crux Crush Report HERE