Hazel Findlay

1. First female British climber to climb E9, how did you prepare for this send?

I didn’t do any preparation at all. At that time I was in my final year of university and didn’t have time for training. Luckily this route is more of a mental struggle than physically taxing. You just need basic finger strength, fitness, and good slab technique. To prepare mentally I visualised doing the moves, placing the gear and climbing to the top without drama.

2. What is your favourite style of climbing?

I think I’d have to say big wall free climbing on granite, either long day routes, or multiple day routes. I love the movement of granite and the architecture of the rock. I have to say though, that really I love all types of climbing from bouldering to alpine.

3. Is it possible to train your mental game as you do physically?

It’s certainly possible to train your mental game as much as your physical game. Professionals in most sports will put as much energy in to their mental training as they will physical. We’re a bit behind the times in climbing (especially when we consider the fact that climbing is a particularly mind- based sport). It’s harder to train the mental side and progression is less clear, however there are so many gains to be made when you start putting in the energy and often people realise that their mental game is their biggest limiting factor hindering performance.

4. Is a climbing mental barrier just a fear of falling?

Not at all. Fear of falling is a huge limiting factor for climbers, from bouldering to trad climbing, especially sport climbing. However, there are other big issues facing climbers mentally, to name a few: fear of failure, fear of what other people think, fear of heights, fear of exposure, fear of injury.

5. How do you approach tackling a mental barrier to climbing?

I have two methods. One is to minimise the thing that is distracting you. For example if it’s fear of falling, then you can minimise this by doing (proper) fall practice. If it’s fear of failure you can minimise this by reconsidering what failure means to you. The second method is to train your mind to be focused despite distractions such as these. This method involves focusing techniques and takes a lot of practice. Many of these techniques I have learnt from sport psychology and mindfulness. With these techniques instead of being limited by a potential distraction you can remain focused on the climbing.

6. Do you have any projects in the pipeline?

At the moment I’m a little free from personal climbing projects. I want to focus a lot of energy on my coaching and enjoy climbing injury free! But maybe I should find one..

7. What does your training consist of?

Right now I’m just going climbing with a bit of random training. On the mind side of things I doing a lot of flow state training with The Flow Centre, this is super interesting. As for physical training I’m mostly just going bouldering outdoors with a bit of fitness training/finger boarding in the wall. I don’t have any structured training on the go right now.

8. Do you think an E10 is possible for you?

Maybe, depends on the route. If I’m honest I’ve never really been inspired to climb harder grades. I just want to grow as a climber and to be challenged, if that takes me to E10 then great, but if it doesn’t then I don’t mind. My ambitions lie more with big adventures and going to remote places I haven’t been to before. And now, also the coaching and teaching.

Hazel Findlay Workshop is now sold out!

30th September 2017 @Blocfit studio and Reach climbing wall.

Hazel will combine a technique masterclass with an indepth look at dealing with climbing barriers and headgames whether that is a fear of falling on lead or judgement by your climbing peers.

There will be 2 workshops running at 3 hours each, the first is at 10am and is solely for women. The second at 2pm is a mixed workshop, both are aimed at climbers regularly climbing 6a and above.