Climbing legend and Ellis Brigham athlete Hazel Findlay talks to WF about conquering cliff faces and believing in yourself
From the sea cliffs of Wales to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Hazel Findlay’s passion for climbing has taken her all over the world. She tells us how self-belief can spur you on to do almost anything you can imagine – even paragliding!
How did you get into climbing?
I started out with my dad on the sea cliffs in Pembroke when I was seven. I was lucky to start so early because climbing has really made me who I am.
What is it that you love about the sport?
I love how it takes you to amazing corners of the world that you wouldn’t get to otherwise. I also love the feeling of moving over rock and the mental battles associated with climbing.
What’s the toughest thing about climbing?
The toughest thing about climbing is believing that you can do something. It always feels really easy to walk away from a rock climb if you think it’s going to be hard, but it’s massively rewarding when you don’t walk away and you give it a go, even if you fail.
You’ve climbed in lots of amazing places. Where’s your favourite place to climb?
I really love the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The people are amazing and the scenery is something special – it’s very impressive and rugged, but also very peaceful.
Who or what inspires you?
All the climbers who love the sport and keep getting out every day despite injury, weather, work or life problems.
Have you always been active?
Yes, I’ve always been active and if I’m not climbing for whatever reason, I’ll be running or doing yoga or something. We are supposed to be active and I think a lot of the problems with the modern human are tied up in the fact that most of us live hugely underactive lives.
What other sports do you enjoy other than climbing?
Yoga, running and I’ve just taken up paragliding.
What’s the best way for our readers to get into climbing?
Take a course where you will learn all the relevant safety skills you need to know to get out and about on your own. Climbing walls are great, but lots of people get stuck in them and find it hard to venture out – so if you can, start outside.
What’s your biggest goal? I don’t really have a biggest goal or dream, but since I’ve just recently started paragliding, one dream I have is to do some flying/climbing combined adventures. I think that would be really great.