Saturday, November 15, 2008

It’s all About Me

I have been rock climbing now for nearly 13 years, I started when I was 13 down at Hangdog Climbing Gym in Wollongong with school sport. I did not pick a new sport after that for the rest of my high school years! I worked and hung out at the “Dog” all the time until I was about 24. I went climbing at Nowra most weekends and I started competition climbing about a month or so after starting. I loved comps, and still do! During this time at Hangdog I was lucky enough to be coached and mentored, by Rob LeBretonPaul Westwood and Rod and Sue Young. They not only helped my climbing but also helped shape who I am today. 

I competed in as many comps as I could, all around Australia for the next 5 years. I went overseas when I was 16 and 17 to compete in the USA. On my second visit I won my age category in the Touchstone International Juniors in San Francisco. I went to the Asian X games when I was 18 and placed second in bouldering and fourth in speed. Back here in Oz, I was winning the Opens at 16 and was Australian Female Champ for 4 years. I also did a lot of speed climbing and won that for a few years in a row.

As well as comps I climbed lots outdoors, my hardest redpoint was Vehicle of Hate 28 at Thompson Point Nowra In 2001 I hurt my right shoulder in the last bouldering comp for the year. Not realising how bad I had damaged it, I took time off hoping it would get better, but it never did. The lesson here; get injuries checked by someone who knows! (When I hurt my other shoulder recently, I saw Julian Saunders as soon as I could and as a result was climbing again within 2 weeks!)

Not realising the injury was not going to get better, I saved up and went to Europe. I camped around Spain and France climbing at all the cool crags. The climbing was great, but I was frustrated by not being able to push myself and the ongoing pain in my shoulder. I ran out of money and went to London, the big smoke to work. I got work straight away at Snow & Rock and made lots of new friends that were also from Oz. I lived and worked there for 8 months and then came home.   

In 2006, I had finally had a shoulder reconstruction and began the rehabilitation process. That same year I married Rob LeBreton. My shoulder has taken about 2 years to get strong again, and we have both started competing again the last 2 years.  I was second in the Oceania and National Lead competitions this year and second in the Bouldering Nationals and the NSW Bouldering Series. This year Rob and I have been climbing down at Nowra all winter. I did a new route at the Grotto in the Hood area called Funky Gripsta 27, a 3 star classic. We have a blog with lots of info on what’s happening at Nowra.

I have been working at The Climbing Centre now for a year and a half where a take the kids coaching and work with school sports, also I do all the route-setting. I have been route setting since I was about 15.

That’s a rough history of me, hope you enjoyed it and watch out for some to more come!

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