Four Reasons Why The Women’s Climbing Symposium Rocked

As the chalk dust settles on another Women’s Climbing Symposium, here are four ways in which this epic event more than delivered on its aims to connect, develop and inspire.

And will actually help us GetOutside.


There were fewer women than usual at the UK’s crags last Saturday. That’s because more than 300 of them had crowded into Bloc Climbing in Bristol. From the roads in, to the cafe, to the loos, you were suddenly surrounded by women of all ages, of all ability, who had a passion to climb. The person you’re swapping beta with might be a Himalayan first summiter or a new-to-climbing 60+-year old. It was devoid of status – an ego-free delight.

Which meant climbing legend Lynn Hill, famous for the first free ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, just happened to be having a little play on a boulder set just behind you …

Yes, that’s Lynn Hill

“You can do YOUR best. You can find a way … I realized I now felt comfortable being outside my comfort zone” Lynn Hill


We worked on our technique in sessions led by world-class climbers. Dynos, footwork, movement, steep climbing and endurance were delivered by people like organiser and Bouldering World Champion Shauna Coxsey, and her climbing partner, Leah Crane.

Shauna & Leah’s Dyno Workshop


We also learned about the BMC’s campaigns, considered careers in the adventure sector with the RAB Panel and puzzled at the way women in the outdoors are represented, with Anna Paxton and Women in Adventure (it’s running a significant survey, complete it here).

“You are all better than you think you are. You can all do more than you think. Enjoy getting shot down, because that means you’re trying” Footwork Workshop Coach, Esther Foster


We crowded onto chairs lined up on wobbly bouldering mats to hear memorable speakers. The iconic Lynn Hill (catchphrase: “it goes boys”) was captivating and received a standing ovation. We were mesmerized by Anoushé Husain, para-climber, cancer survivor and ambassador for Limb Power, a disabled sports and arts foundation. Then came inspiring skeleton bobsleigh World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Shelley Rudman, trad specialist Sam Leary and mistress of the head game, Emma Wood.


“It was just me and the wall. That feeling of finding myself for those precious few seconds” Anoushé Husain


All over the country women are still talking about this event. Feeds are still fizzing with it. At my climbing wall men are frankly envious and women are still marveling (“I LEARNT DYNOS WITH LYNN HILL!”). We’re swapping tips on technique, mastering the head game, and recommended reads. And we’re still psyched from a day when all around us were hundreds of people just like us. When we learnt new skills, got chatting, got inspired.

If this has got you itching to get out on the rock, check out the Ordnance Survey’s GetOutside Climbing guides.

The country’s crags await …








Published by Belinda Dixon

I'm a travel & adventure writer (Lonely Planet), broadcaster (BBC Radio Devon & BBC Guernsey) and the British Exploring Society's media Leader on its 2016 Himalaya expedition. I write a blog that aims to inspire adventures; deliver inspiring training and record and edit powerful oral history archives.

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