Sometimes, when you really think that there is no hope, one more try can get you to the top. Climbing has taught me that, and I think it’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far. I’ve been ready to give up a few times on tough routes, and then found some strength from somewhere to keep going. Only a few weeks ago I led a route on Cubic block at Brimham in bare feet. (I keep outgrowing my rock boots!) I found it really hard and started crying when I couldn’t find any more gear places and I was above my last piece.
I had a choice. Stay there and fall off, try to climb down or pluck up the nerves to do one more hard move to a ledge. I went for the ledge and then the top. I laid on top for ages and was so tired and happy that I forgot to make a belay. Dad said he nearly started crying when he saw my face look back down over the edge. I won’t forget how I felt that day.
The really cool thing is, climbing always has another lesson for you and it’s great fun making progress in your own way. I wish that school could be more outdoors- based, it would make my life easier and definitely more enjoyable. Being outdoors helps me to think big, much bigger than I ever could when I’m in a classroom, sitting still, feeling like I’m missing out on an adventure.
Talking of thinking big, a massive dream of mine is to climb El Cap, after watching the incredible Ella Kirkatrick do this on TV. I’d love to go for it at some point in the next few years.. In fact we’re trying to make our own portaledges at the moment.”