Vanessa O’Malley: you ROCK!

girls+rock+climbing+clothinggirls+rock+climbing+clothing© Zdenek Strychek

Hi!  How’s your week at work going?  What’s the weather like outside?  Planning to get out there on the rock to crush it this weekend…?

Here’s a bit of inspiration for you – meet Vanessa O’Malley.  She’s on fire at the moment; mentally in the zone and busy dancing her way up some very tough sports routes…

Vanessa earns a living in the world of education.  She’s a Canadian, and is currently residing as an expat in Abu Dhabi.  It’s been a while in coming, but….Vanessa is BACK! “I have recently gotten back into climbing after a seven year hiatus. I climbed a lot as a teenager and into my early twenties but slowly got away from it as I became busier with work and studies.”

It was in high school that Vanessa experienced her first crush and embarked upon a long distance relationship that blossomed beautifully… “I had a few friends that were regulars at the climbing gym where I lived in Canada. I joined them one afternoon and was immediately hooked! We lived six hours from the closest crag making outdoor climbing only possible for brief periods in the summer. I climbed regularly at the climbing gym in preparation for these short summer climbing trips.

girls+rock+climbing+clothing© Zdenek Strychek

So, what did she fall in love with…? “I love the simplicity of climbing. There are very few sports that require you to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and venture into gorgeous, often remote mountainous landscapes with your friends. I am fascinated by the delicate balance of graceful, fluid motion and brute strength that seasoned climbers display; somehow making each move look utterly effortless. I also like that rock climbing has elements of both team and individual sport. You are surrounded by a great community of climbers who are there to support you and keep you safe but you progress and develop as a climber at your own pace. You set your own goals and compete only with yourself.”

With a high IQ, EQ, ability to self analyze and critique her own performance Vanessa recognizes the benefits that climbing can bring in other aspects of your life…“Rock climbing demands mental strength as well as physical. It pushes you beyond what you ever thought you could be capable of achieving. You often find yourself in “sticky” situations, clinging to tiny bits of rock hundreds of meters above the ground, sometimes confronted with extreme elements like wind, cold and heat. It really pushes you to keep calm and carry on… a philosophy that can be transferred to other areas of your life.”

girls+rock+climbing+clothing© Zdenek Strychek

Like the rest of us, Vanessa is a human being and has had her battles with this psychologically and physiologically demanding passion we all share…”I have finally begun to overcome some of the mental road blocks that have been preventing me from leading routes that are outside my comfort zone. I feel much more confident in my abilities as a climber now, both mentally and physically and it is beginning to show in my climbing. I sent a route that I had been working on last weekend! One move continually evaded me. The route shut me down physically and mentally until I watched a video of myself climbing it and was able to see my error on the difficult move. One TINY adjustment was the difference between success and failure! Realizing was actually strong enough to complete the route has boosted my confidence. I cannot wait to get on some new challenging routes this weekend!”

And guess what she did that weekend….?  She sent 2 x F7a’s at an awesome little crag called Tawaiyan in the UAE.  Congrats Vanessa…you ROCK! Do keep us all updated about your next success or climbing adventure!

What is the girlcrushrock you ROCK series?

We all love to keep up to date with the pro’s who are doing their thing to push this super-sport to new levels, they provide us with the motivation and inspiration to challenge ourselves further.  The truth is, however that the  girls who get to  live life as a full time climber, sponsored by the world’s best brands and traveling constantly to far flung corners of the earth on voyages of crag discovery are in the minority.

Most of us are managing full time jobs, or busy raising families, or even both! In addition to that women all over the world of all ages, shapes and sizes are climbing when we can (and it never feels like enough!) chasing the weather to get our weekend fix, rocking up to the local climbing gym with friends straight from the office, taking our little nippers for their climbing lesson after school….  Every second, of every day, everywhere there are ‘ordinary’ women doing ‘extra-ordinary’ things out there clipping bolts, plugging cams, stacking pads or crushing ice.

And that, is precisely what the girlcrushrock you ROCK series is all about.  We bring to you new friends to connect with, women you can relate to, girls you can share your climbing stories and experiences with.  Because each and every one of you out there rocks!

We’d love to include you in this series, if you are interested, please get in touch with us by emailing us at


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