Women's Climbing Symposium 2016

Depot Climbing Manchester

This year’s Women’s Climbing Symposium was bigger than ever, with over 400 women and girls taking part in practical workshops and listening to inspirational speakers in Europe’s biggest indoor bouldering venue. The symposium, now in its sixth year, was excellently organised by Shauna Coxsey, Emma Flaherty and Rebecca Ting (alongside a team of enthusiastic volunteers) ‘to positively impact people's climbing with activities that connect, develop and inspire.’ It certainly fulfilled this mission and Mountain Training was delighted to be a part of the day for a second year in a row.

Katherine Schirrmacher coaching at WCS16

We were very well represented by coaches and speakers with eight of the 18 coaches and three of the eight focus speakers holding at least one Mountain Training qualification.

Mountaineering Instructor Sam Leary’s ‘Trad Top Tips’ talk was a whistle stop tour through the technical, tactical, physical and psychological elements at play when trad climbing. It was full of useful nuggets designed to help avoid the ‘Elivis leg’ which has blighted many a trad climber and everyone took something away from her animated and interactive session.

Libby Peter’s focus talk on working and playing in the mountains was very well received with listeners keen to know more about her journey through various qualifications and climbing experiences. Her passion for the mountains began at a young age when she fell in love with wild places and it was great to find out how that has steered her life through to becoming a British Mountain Guide and beyond. (We’re currently very lucky to have her working at Mountain Training on a part time basis.)

Sam Learys trad tips at WCS16

Mountaineering Instructor Siobhan Miller’s talk on injury prevention was holistic in its approach as she described the role breathing plays in muscle use as well as the connectedness of all the muscles in our bodies. Body awareness is such a key component of climbing and it was good to be reminded that looking in(side our bodies) is equally as important as looking for the next hold.

The coaching sessions on offer covered a range of techniques including footwork, power endurance and tackling slopers (among others), as well as specialist subjects such as crack climbing and yoga for climbers. As always, from such a talented bunch of coaches, the sessions were engaging and packed with development tips that gave everyone something to take away.

The symposium is becoming a broad church for anything and everything to do with developing climbers (indoors and out) and it’s always very motivating to be surrounded by so many other people who want to be better. It’s this focus which ensures its success and people finish the day full of new ideas and plans for the future. This year’s theme was goal setting and the final task of the day was to write down your goal(s) for the near future which we’ll be reminded of in six months’ time. Shauna’s headline talk credited her success to her belief and desire, alongside the support she receives from her coaching team, friends and family. Here’s hoping we all have the belief and desire to achieve our goals. Either way, we’ll be at the symposium again next year wanting more!

Steep climbing at WCS16 Crack climbing at WCS16

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