Thoughts on climbing ‘babes’

Some time ago I wrote an article about the issues associated with media representation of female athletes. It was based on my MA research, and the positive response was overwhelming. Many agreed that women, especially in free-spirit, lifestyle sports such as climbing, MTB, or surfing, are hungry for content that will not represent them as sexual objects, or mere side-kicks to men. It also seemed obvious that that female athletes and participants want to be recognised for their achievements, not […]

Is climbing a sport?

A journalist asked this question on social media lately, and it was passed on to me, in an apparent hope that I would provide suitable support for a positive answer. I think I only said something like, is he for real? And now I’m quite pleased with the ambiguity of my reaction. The whole hullabaloo with The Dawn Wall didn’t stir any deeper thoughts in me either, maybe apart from great appreciation for this little article: Two idiots climb big thing […]

Snakes and Ladders and Tunnels

The first time I heard about Snakes and Ladders was about two years ago. All of my male friends went for a stag do to Wales, and I wasn’t allowed to join for the fear that my idea of fun would be different to theirs. (They ended up cycling in the rain naked, with an inflatable sheep gaffer taped to the groom’s back, so maybe they were right…) The weather for their trip was bad, and they ended up doing […]

MA in Anthropology: writing a thesis about climbing

A guest-post written for OWA can be read here. When the time came to choose my MA dissertation’s topic, I was terrified. The plan was to write about something at least remotely connected to my bachelor’s course, but it just wasn’t exciting any more. I watched the eyes of my peers glow as they talked about their topics and I wanted to feel what they felt. I wanted to write about something that continuously drives and inspires me. Climbing. Now, […]

Eva Lopez Interview

TRAINING, FUTURE 9a PLANS AND WOMEN’S CLIMBING Eva is a climbing coach and a scholar researching training methods at a PhD level. She’s forty-two and in October last year she climbed her first 8c+, Potemkin, in the Spanish region of Cuenca. She bolted the route a few years back but didn’t manage the first ascent. Now she’s in her best shape and searching for a new challenge. In November I had the pleasure of meeting Eva during Women’s Climbing Symposium […]

Artists, punks and climbers: Dr Julie Angel interview

If you’re interested in parkour and watch a shed load of vids, you’ve probably heard about Julie Angel. If you’re into social sciences and lifestyle sports theory, you’ve also probably heard about Julie Angel. She works closely with Parkour Generations and holds a PhD in parkour film. Her latest series of short documentaries focuses on a new urban phenomenon: buildering. (Bouldering on buildings – clever, right?) And while some crazy guys were already doing it more than 60 years ago […]

Parkour – the first impression

It’s almost nine in Pimlico, Central London. I’m standing on a bench, not more than two feet of the ground. The next bench in front of me seems to be at least a mile away. Eyeing its edge I’m wondering if in the faint light of the street lamps I won’t just smash my shins on it. That would be rather painful. Behind me I can hear the coach’s voice giving instructions to other women. One of them came here […]

We all get scared from time to time… Or, do we?

Do you know the moment in Honnold 3.0 when Alex almost slips before clipping in? Just watching it, I could feel my blood run cold. And do you know how sometimes just before taking a fall your brain ‘forgets’ there is a rope or a pad to catch you? And later it can take a good couple of minutes to recover?  Well, clearly Alex Honnold doesn’t get this feeling. Plus in his case there would be no rope to catch […]