The first of a series of interviews with people involved with the South African National Climbing Federation.
Hold old are you and how long have you been climbing for?
I have been climbing since I was 8 years old and have just turned 12.
So for the past 4 years I’ve loved every moment of experiencing rock and indoor climbing.
How did you get into climbing?
I was not particularly interested in the main stream sports on offer and a student at St Peters (Tristan Swart), invited me to come and watch climbing at the School climbing Gym. I was hooked….
What do you enjoy most about climbing?
I love the way I feel – ‘like I am on top of the world’ when I climb. I prefer outdoor climbing and nothing gives me a greater thrill than being able to onsight a new route.
My first experience on rock was in Nov 2011 with Roland Magg who, bolted a new route at Swinburne and let me have the First Ascent. I named the route ‘Jade’s Two Step’. I am was super chuffed with this that our team climb it every time we do The Rory Memorial Challenge.
Do you still top rope or are you leading?
Part of our school training programme was to go to Streubens Valley once a term to experience outdoor climbing and learn how to climb outdoor safely. In grade 3, four St Peters climbers were selected to climb at The Rory Memorial Challenge, of which I was the youngest. As lead climbing was a pre-requisite we learned to lead climb (I was 9 years old at the time) and have been lead climbing since then.
What is the hardest grade you have climbed to date on top rope indoors and what did you enjoy the most about the route/problem?
The hardest indoor grade I have climbed on top rope to date is a Grade 22, in Offenburg in Germany, Dec 2013. I enjoyed the crimps and the experience of climbing in a new location.
What is the hardest grade you have climbed to date on lead indoors and what did you enjoy the most about the route/problem?
The hardest grade I have climbed on lead, indoors, is a Grade 20. I particularly enjoyed the challenge of my endurance that was required to complete this climb successfully. I was also really happy to get through the overhang without falling off.
What is the hardest grade you have climbed to date on top rope outdoors and what did you enjoy the most about the route/problem?
The highest grade on top rope, outdoors was a 6b+ which I climbed In May 2012, at Chosspile, Lord of the rings – A shortcut to Mushrooms (10 yrs old). Andrew Pedley mentored me on this trip. I remember getting stuck at the crux and then figuring out a way through the crux.
What is the hardest grade you have climbed to date on lead outdoors and what did you enjoy the most about the route/problem?
The hardest grade to date on lead was on 9 March this year also at Chosspile by the Harry Potter Crag, where I flashed Moaning Murtle, 6c+. Brian Weaver mentored me on this outing. I was super impressed with myself afterwards. I loved the big Jugs that were on this route.
Trad Climbing: I joined the MCSA for a meet and climbed with Roland Magg. This was my first trad climbing outing in the Magaliesberg and we went to Boulderkloof at the end of 2013.
It was amazing and I got to join two other climbers, it was quite scary being on a multi pitch climb but I was happy to be there and proud of myself afterwards.
For which climbing club do you climb?
I climb for St Peters Prep School.
Which province do you climb for?
I am hoping to qualify for the Gauteng National Team on 1 Aug this year.
What local, provincial and national competitions have you taken part in and how did you do?
I was too young before this year to qualify for the Gauteng national team, but have been climbing in the Gauteng Nationals since I was 8 years old.
- 2011 – First in U11 Category Gauteng Nationals (8 yrs old)
- 2012 and 2013 came 2nd in the U11 Category
- 2014 – Shortlisted for the A league finals taking part on 1 Sept 2014.
I have also been climbing in The Rory Memorial Challenge since 2012 where I came first in the U13 Category (I was 9 years old at the time).
In 2013 and 2014 I again placed first in the Under 13 catergory.
Have you competed in any international competitions? If so which ones and how did you do?
I am too young to have qualified for any international competitions, but my biggest ambition is to represent South Africa internationally.
Who is your climbing coach?
My climbing coach is Dr Pieter Engelbrecht. He has his own climbing Gym and coaches the St Peters Climbing team. I am also very lucky to have two amazing mentors in Brian Weaver and Andrew Pedley, both of whom have invested time in training me when it comes to outdoor climbing.
What do you like the most about your climbing coach?
Pieter has an amazing way of pushing you to your limits and encourages me to keep trying to beat my best.
How often do you train?
I train twice a week for 2 hours with Pieter and I try to climb outdoors whenever the opportunity arises.
What is your favourite piece of climbing gear?
My ‘Gregory‘ is my favourite item in my gear.
What is your favourite snack while climbing?
My favourite snack when climbing is a good trail mix of dried fruit and nuts.
Do you follow a strict training and dieting regimen?
I try to, but am not always very good at being strict about it.
How do you parents feel about your climbing?
My mom is my greatest supporter, and my parents are very proud of me. They think it is brilliant that I am so passionate about a sport. My moms biggest hope is that I have found a sport that I can take well into my adult years and love it for the outdoors experiences it opens up to me.
What are your goals and dreams for your climbing career?
My goal is to be one of the best climbers in the world. I want to use climbing as a tool to travel and experience the world.
Who is your climbing hero?
My climbing hero is Brian Weaver.