Settle in with a cup of tea/coffee/Clif bar and read some stories by fellow climbers to start the conversation, normalising all types of bodies in this community we love. If you feel inspired to share your own, scroll down to the ‘Share your story button’ at the bottom of this page!
You don’t have to be always psyched, to be a climber.
*Trigger warning:; mental health*
For decades, I have struggled with mental and physical health issues. Every day I walk a fine line balancing chronic fatigue, IBS, and anxiety with the call of the outdoors and adventure. Climbing is a defining part of who I am, but some days it doesn’t resonate with my body. There are times where I need to top-rope my project, or back down from an adventurous multi, because there is so much going on in my mind and body that I have no space to push beyond the basics. Days where I am a teary mess just at the thought of walking up the scree slope to the crag. But there are also days where climbing frees my mind and proves to me that my body is capable and strong. Those are the days I live for. Not being psyched for climbing today, on this climb, doesn’t mean climbing isn’t an integral part of who you are.
Hazel Findlay’s story
You don’t have to be tall to be a climber.
A lot of new climbers who are short might feel intimidated when they go to the climbing gym and they can’t reach the first holds, or between the holds. When I started climbing I must have been about 4ft. Sometimes climbing is harder if you’re small and sometimes it’s easier, but with the right attitude it can always be fun! It’s fun to be creative with different ways of getting between the holds and doing things differently. Sometimes it’s frustrating but when you work out your own method it’s very satisfying.I’m 5ft2 (157cm) and I’ve climbed 8c+ (34).Welcome to climbing whatever shape or size you are!
You don’t have to be light to be a climber.
I weigh 90kg. I’ve always had a heavy frame/build. Even at the peak of my athletic and competitive climbing ability, I weighed 10-20kg more than my climbing friends. Recently I’ve learned to love my body for what it does and to ignore the scale. This body is strong. It climbs trad, it mountaineers, it boulders, it grew a baby, and it takes me to amazing places, climbing all over the world. You don’t have to be light to be a climber.
You don’t have to have strong legs to be a climber.
I have cerebral palsy. I was told when I was small that I’d be lucky to walk or talk, let alone participate in any sports. I was happy with that, made peace with it even, until I found climbing. On the wall, my physical differences mean I climb differently to everybody else but the beauty is, no two people climb the same regardless of physical ability. So what if I mostly use my hulk-like upper body strength to problem solve up the wall? So do other people! Just because it’s often the only practical option I have, doesn’t mean it’s not a good solution. This body might be a little wobbly from the waist down, but it’s still strong, it still climbs and it keeps surprising me every damn day.