Running and Retching

womens+rock+climbing+clothingwomens+rock+climbing+clothing© Eileen Muir

Whooop! The public holiday for Eid here in Dubai meant both the Thursday and Sunday off work.  Perfect I thought  –  4 straight days of doing what I love, camping and climbing, with a 10km run thrown into the mix for extra fun.  I was psyched.  After work on Wednesday, 4 of us plus the dog headed out to Ras Al Khaimah.  For 1 of the girls – Charlotte who was visiting us from the UK, it was to be her first time climbing on real rock and her first time camping in the UAE.

The traffic was awful, it took us ages to get out of the city, but we got there eventually, although finding the campsite (a.k.a – a lesser rockier patch than normal) that was secluded behind one of the many mountains, and that we’d only visited once or twice before in the pitch black, wasn’t as easy as we’d hoped.  After a few u-turns and reverses, we found it, set up camp, lit the fire, cooked some food and chilled our boots!  Well, 3 of us did – to say that Charlotte was a little freaked out by the deadly silence, the harsh terrain and the lack of civilization was an understatement! Continue reading


TEAMgirlcrushrock Athlete Bio: Hannah Beresford


You’ve been climbing for a long time. How did it all begin for you?

I went to Legoland when I was about ten and had to be pretty much dragged away from the climbing tower there so my mum sent me to our local bouldering wall. I’m lucky really because I grew up on a fairly remote farm but the local village had a council run wall called Upper Limits. It was very basic but I loved  the place and I was always there when from then on.  I ended up coaching the kids team there of whom some were very successful in competitions at national level.  We’d also go to train at Sheffield or Manchester and on rock when the weather was nice. Upper Limits has now been moved and they’re trying to shut it down.
Continue reading

TEAMgirlcrushrock Athlete Bio: Jitka Kochanek

© Lara Masselos

Tell us what climbing means to you?

As I write this section I am on a massive climbing high from getting on the hardest route I’ve ever tried two days ago (a particularly hard, bouldery, overhanging, beautiful 7b/+) so my feelings below are a summary of this experience.

Climbing is many things to me. It is about the challenge, overcoming hard moves by working out a sequence that works for my short body. It is about the days when I am ‘in the zone’ and move freely and gracefully over the rock. It is about getting strong, feeling strong and encouraging other girls around me to realize their own full potential. It is about the adventure, overcoming fear and sharing a truly unique experience with awesome, interesting people in many beautiful locations. My heroes in climbing are usually women – Lynn Hill, of course, since she is the same height as me but was the first woman to climb 8b and 8b+, and freed The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite. My local heroes are the strong women who climb hard but are humble and always willing to give beta, advice and encouragement (Vicky Moses, Lara Masselos, Lindsay Raynor, Izzie, Nova, Susy-G). Continue reading

TEAMgirlcrushrock Athlete Bio: Samantha Cole

womens+rock+climbing+cothing© Jeff Cole

Tell us what climbing means to you?

While lying on a bamboo rug in an upstairs apartment in Kutching, Malaysia, I had a tattoo slowly engraved into the back of my neck with two bamboo sticks and a needle. The center is an eggplant flower. The artist who put this on me was Iban and in his tribe it means patience. The words surrounding the flower say ‘climb higher’ in Arabic representing an area that I was fortunate enough to enjoy many climbs in. Climbing has taught me patience, focus, and has allowed me to be happy in the simple moments of just touching the rock. Continue reading

Up and Running


Running has never really interested me before.  It’s always been a means to an end, to get a ball of some description into, or over a net of another description.

Years ago, when my friend tried to talk me into joining her running club, I humored her “sure I’ll give it a try” I said, but what I was really saying was “I have no intention of running with you, I think you’re weird, runners are weird, I don’t understand you, all of you – thanks, but a big fat no thanks!”

My only experience to draw from, of running an official 10km race back in 2008 had yielded 2 of the biggest blisters I’d ever seen, let alone grown myself – hence, I didn’t do running.  Here’s some of the things you may have heard me say from time to time throughout my life until very recently:

  1. I hate running
  2. It’s boring
  3. It’s bad for your joints
  4. I’ve got the wrong body shape
  5. I’ve got flat feet

Fast forward to 2012 where climbing had become a part of my life. Continue reading