Young People's Sport Panel member, Hannah, is part of the GB Climbing programme. The sport recently made its debut at the Olympic Games, bringing climbing to a new audience. Here Hannah discusses her journey through the sport, and why climbing is the perfect activity if you're looking to try something new!
I started climbing at the age of eleven. My younger brother had been going to sessions at our local wall for a few months and I became curious. I have always been competitive and, whilst I wasn’t particularly good when I started, I found it a very challenging and rewarding sport.
A new platform
Even back when I first started climbing, people were talking about climbing being a part of the Olympics. At the time it was very much still an idea but I remember being on a climbing holiday in Austria during the summer of 2016 when it was announced that climbing will be a part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Ever since then there has been this new energy in the climbing community and the sport has continued to go from strength to strength.
The 2020 Olympics were unfortunately postponed last year and we were unsure that climbing would be able to make its debut. Luckily, the postponed event took place this summer and climbing finally took its place on the big stage! As one of the new sports, it was interesting to see how people, who don’t know much about climbing, reacted to its introduction. I have had a few new climbers come up to me at the climbing centre and ask about the Olympics and everyone seems very curious which is super exciting!
Climbing becoming an Olympic sport will bring so many benefits to the community. It will mean more people trying our sport which will mean that the climbing walls will have more money to spend on improving and expanding the facilities that we have.
There will also be more exposure for the varying forms of climbing. The Olympics only shows a very small number of the ways that you can climb, “climbing” is actually a huge umbrella term for multiple different forms of the sport. The three forms featured in the Olympics are speed climbing, indoor bouldering and indoor lead climbing but there are many others such as top-roping, ice climbing, traditional climbing and the outdoor forms of lead climbing and bouldering – the opportunities are endless!
Get into climbing
Climbing is a great sport to try out for many reasons. It is really easy to go climbing recreationally; there are climbing centres all over the country and you can climb with friends, by yourself or book into a group instructed session.
It is a super sociable sport and you can take it at your own pace.
There is no expectation to get to the top and you can stop or continue as you feel comfortable.
The climbing community is a very welcoming one and there is a huge sense of camaraderie in climbing centres so there will always be someone willing to help you out. Climbing is very open to everyone – there are no limits when it comes to size or age. Scotland also has a very strong Para climbing scene which allows for everyone to take part in our sport!
There are also some incredible health benefits that climbing provides. Physically, it uses every muscle in your body and is really thought provoking, you have to work out the best way for you to climb. Socially, you will meet lots of new people from the vibrant community climbing can offer. Many friends that I have are people I met at the climbing wall. Climbing is also known to have mental health benefits. It can be a good distraction or mood booster during a bad day and is recommended by doctors as a way of helping depression.
Climbing is a hugely rewarding experience and gives you a sense of fulfilment and achievement which can boost confidence and self-esteem.
I have found it to be an amazing way to escape from studying, drama or general stress.
If you are keen to get involved, please don’t hesitate! Climb Scotland has a very useful ‘Where to go’ page on their website where you can find your nearest climbing wall (there are more than 20 across Scotland!). You can also find out more about outdoor climbing on the Mountaineering Scotland website. Happy Climbing!
As part of the #FeelYourPersonalBest campaign, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and sportscotland are encouraging everyone to get active and #TrySomethingNew to support their mental wellbeing. If you're looking to try something new or need tips to get started, you can find out more on our #TrySomethingNew page.
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