Shauna Coxsey stole the spotlight earlier this year at the Bouldering World Cup Series with her poise, confidence, and all-around grit and determination. She became the first Brit to win the series, and has a promising future ahead of her with the inclusion of climbing in the 2020 Olympics. We were honored to chat with her, not only because of her recent accomplishments, but her continued dedication to empowering women by founding the Women’s Climbing Symposium at the age of 18 (!!), which has taken off in popularity since 2011. Read on to hear some exciting news on who will be featured at this year’s WCS!
CXC: What is the future of comp climbing?
CXC: Congrats on your recent World Cup win! With the series behind you, what are your goals for the fall?
SC: Thank you! I still have one more round of the World Cup circuit to go and then the World Championships in September. I would really like to spend some time rock climbing in the autumn and over the winter, but I will have to see what my coach has planned.
CXC: What is the story behind the UK Women’s Climbing Symposium? What inspired you to start it and how has it grown since you established it?
SC: I started the Women’s Climbing Symposium with a friend 6 years ago after coaching a women’s class at The Climbing Hangar in Liverpool. The WCS has grown and transformed over the years and it is now a key event in the UK climbing calendar. It has sold out every single year and people travel from all over Europe to attend the event. Last year a total of 350 people were there on the day and the headline speakers, Catherine Destivelle, Caroline Ciavaldini and Rachel Atherton, covered a range of topics and did a wonderful job of connecting with our audience and inspiring them to achieve their goals. This year we have some exciting things lined up and we are heading to one of the biggest, newest gyms in the UK so it’s going to be a bigger and better event than ever. I can’t wait. I love it! We work so hard on the event and I love being there on the day. I always leave with new knowledge, new inspiration and new friends, too.
CXC: Have your priorities in climbing changed over the years?
SC: Of course. I think it would be crazy to expect your priorities not to change as you get older. For me climbing is still my passion but it is my job too! I love climbing and never fail to have fun doing it, but I have had to learn how to be an athlete, to train on the days when all I want to do is go hang out in the sunshine or go rock climbing, to put in that extra session when I feel tired and sore.
CXC: It seems that you’ve been relatively injury free, do you have any tips?
SC: I have definitely had my fair share of injuries. I don’t think that you could look at any podium, in any sport, and find someone who hasn’t suffered from injury. Injuries are inevitable if you want to find your limits. However, I do think injuries are incredibly useful. Despite being frustrating, an injury can often provide a refreshing outlook and an opportunity for a new perspective. It is something which I think is often hard to find, but incredibly important.
CXC: Who are your girl climbing crushes these days?
SC: My good friend Gracie Martin just joined Leah Crane and myself training in Liverpool with our coach Mark Glennie. Gracie works harder than anyone I’ve ever met. Her determination is totally inspiring and to top it off she’s a really nice person too! Gracie recently made finals at the British Championships and I couldn’t be more psyched for her. I can’t wait to see what she achieves!
CXC: It seems that you and Leah Crane climb and train together quite often! How do you ladies inspire each other? What have been your favorite shared climbing moments?
SC: I’m not sure how Leah puts up with me. She’s the best. I honestly think she knows me better than myself sometimes. I feel lucky to get to train with her so much. I’m not a fan of training on my own. I guess I like to have someone suffering alongside me. It’s not all about the hard work though. Lots of our training is on the wall and I love it. Climbing with Leah is never dull. We make boulders up for each other and stupid challenges every session. And then there’s our adventure into Acroyoga. We got pretty psyched on that for a while and it’s definitely been a bonding experience.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! This year, the Women’s Climbing Symposium will take place on October 8th, 2016 at Depot Climbing in Manchester, UK, and will be headlined by Lisa Rand. For tickets and more information, check out their website.