This autumn I’ll be co-hosting a retreat with the inspirational Esther Foster – we’ll be creating a very special offering and one that’s very close to my heart as it combines two of the things I love the most – climbing and yoga. I’m also excited to be collaborating with Esther, who is not only a talented climber but a highly intuitive coach. For those of you who don’t know her, here are some of the things she’s shared with me recently about herself:
- I started climbing age 14 at Awesome Walls Liverpool, and was immediately drawn in to the sense of challenge, creativity and community. It was the first time I had experienced a place where age, gender, appearance and background seemed irrelevant, and I loved the physical movement and problem solving aspect of climbing. I dipped in to the competition scene at the Youth Climbing Series and really enjoyed it, but quickly turned 16 and wasn’t quite ready for competing against adults yet!
- I was lucky to meet some really encouraging older climbers at the climbing wall, who introduced me to trad climbing and bouldering outdoors, and gave their time building up my experience and confidence.
- I spent my early twenties mainly trad climbing in the Lake District while I studied, with happy memories at crags such as Gimmer and Dow. I started exploring the sport climbing in Yorkshire at Malham Cove, and realised that with a bit of work I could progress a lot through the sport grades.
- My career choice was initially made simply because I wanted to climb a lot, live in an outdoorsy place, and not have an office job! But as my work has evolved over the years, it has been very rewarding and I love what I do! I am constantly learning, helping others to develop, and spending time in amazing places.
- Over the last ten years, I have happy memories of multipitch climbing in the Alps, bouldering in Switzerland, and sport climbing in Spain and Kalymnos. I really love pushing myself and progressing, but also like that each climbing discipline has its own appeal for me, whether thats the views, the long journey and the time with friends, the intensity of trying really hard on something, or the pure fun of creative and gymnastic moves.
- My favourite climbs this year have been Right Wall on Dinas Cromlech, Boy Racer at Raven Thresthwaite, and the boulder problems L’Apparramarra and Kukri.
Whilst I’m busy introducing, I’ve realised that I’m not very good at introducing myself so here are a few things about me that you may not know!
- It was my Dad who inspired me – at thirteen I begged him to let me start climbing so I’d at least be able to climb the In-Pin – which I did for the first time this year!!!
- My earliest climbing memories are of seeping, scruffy quarries but soon I discovered the sea-cliffs of Aberdour and to this day sea cliffs hold a special place in my heart; exciting, atmospheric and often more than a little intimidating. Gogarth, Chair Ladder, Pembroke and the Toix cliffs on the Costa Blanca have all provided memorable days out.
- After graduating as a Fashion Designer, by some happy accident I ended up at Glenmore Lodge, on their Trainee Instructor Scheme. I never went back to the world of couture, instead it was next stop Chile and adventures that weren’t in the plan!
- I’m a trad climber at heart and especially love more remote mountain routes – Esk Buttress is my all-time favourite crag in the Lake District, partly because it feels so remote and the views are incredible. Cloggy is also a cool place, oh and I likely won’t ever forget a scary traverse on Central Buttress, Scafell.
- In the past couple of decades, I’ve put the most energy into Alpine climbing and mountaineering. My first Alpine rock route was the Aiguille Dibona – I led a nervous friend up the Soreiller route and felt mighty proud of myself afterwards. I’m also proud of ascents of the Bockmattliturm, the Vinci route on the Cengalo and the committing south face of the Tellistock
- My most recent “top days out” cragging include Nimrod on Dow, Woolly Jumper at Bowfell and Razor Crack at Neckband
Would you like to hang out with Esther and me this November, along with a group of like-minded folk? You can find all the details about or forthcoming Lake District Retreat here.