Women’s Climbing News – Autumn 2019

Hello and welcome to the very first edition of Women’s Climbing News! 

Anna Wells – photo jonathan_redmond_climbing

In this blog I hope to share incredible stories of women crushing, projecting and sending. 

Keeping you updated on all the incredible achievements and providing a platform for more women’s narratives to be heard. Women are being featured increasingly on mainstream climbing news platforms such as ukc, climbing daily, and on climbing brands, but some stories continue to be lost, and some incredible climbers are not getting the following or support they deserve. 

This short news update won’t capture all the news from everywhere, but aims to get 5 highlights to showcase inspiring achievements within the women’s climbing world. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed making it, and have a month full of climbing sends. 

Top news stories from Autumn 2019

This Autumn has seen limits pushed, grades smashed and records broken. From our youngest climber in this months update Rose Merrett who is only 10 years old. To the incredible power of Matilda Soderlund. The women in the following update have been, sending hard, crushing grades and setting new routes all over the world. 

News Story Number One –  At 10 years old Rose Merrett climbs 8a

Rose on El Guardia

I’m not sure what you were doing aged 10 but I definitely wasn’t sending hard routes. Rose is. At the start of october Rose clipped the chains on El Guardia after trying it on several previous trips. On her Instagram post about the route she said “I was shaking so much near the chains. I thought I would fall off. Now I understand top out fever” I think we all feel you there Rose.


News Story Number Two – Hazel Findley hits a new pb boulder grade 

Whilst she’s not smashing crack climbs, inspiring women all over the world or leading confidence training sessions. Hazel Findley has spent the winter in wales getting strong and training hard. As a skilled trad climber Hazel is more likely to be found at the crag then climbing boulders, but has been using them to test her strength and measure improvements. This story isn’t about being the best in the world but the best you can be, and she steps up with a new pb and 7c+ boulder. Currently out projecting a route with Madeleine Cope in Yosemite, we’re stoked to see what Hazel’s up to next.

News Story Number Three – We have a new female UK pb – Emma Twyford has Big Bang in the bag ! 

We have a new female pb out there! Emma Twyford has clipped the chains on Big Bang (9a) at Lower Pen Trwyn in Wales, becoming the first British woman to climb 9a. The route was established by Neil Carson in 1996, and Emma’s is only the third ascent ever made. You can read more about her battles with the route in an article she has written here or watch her film about the project “the Big Bang” at Kendal film festival

Emma Twyford – Photo Credit Marc Langley

News Story Number Four – Matilda Soderland – a whole host of new sends! 

Matilda Soderland – Photo Samy Dahlman

Matilda spent October in Frankenjura and has ticked off The Elder Statesman 9a, completing her long term goal of climbing a 9a… Send!! The Elder Statesman is the direct version of The Last Rites (8c+) which she also climbed, with a boulder at the start adding to the grade.Matilda also clipped the chains on Superskunk (8c) during her three week trip. After a few days off she shared her thoughts saying “It’s extremely satisfying when training really pays off, but more importantly, to enjoy the process and have fun along the way. I know its cheesy!” 

Chao-Quinlan in Kalymnos, Greece. Photo: Scott Hailstone.

News Story Number Five – Lillian Chao-Quinlan – 50 5.13’s before 50 

Along working as president of sportrock climbing centres Chao-Quinlan has completed her long term goal to Climb 50 5.13’s (8+ equivalent) before she turns 50, despite overcoming injury. This news story is particularly inspiring as Chao-Quinlan didn’t start climbing until she was 30 and has climbed the 50 routes since then, as well as 436 5.12’s and a whole host of other routes. You can read more about her incredible story here.  

What you might not know… 

In this section of the blog I write about a news story you probably know about , and share 3 facts that you might not have known. 

This months story is : Aries Susanti Rahayu 

If you haven’t heard the name, you might have heard the story…. “Gone in seven seconds, Spider Woman breaks women’s climbing record”. This month we look at Aries Susanti Rahayu who broke the women’s speed climbing record at the IFSC Xiamen World Cup, with a time of 6.995. She won gold, breaking the previous speed record of 7.101, and smashing the 7 second barrier.  

I didn’t know much about Aries before she broke the record, and after hours of hunting and reading the same news article again and again it seems like the internet didn’t either. Unless you wanted to know that she was married, a very useful fact. I did keep looking, and I have found out some pretty cool stuff about the medal holder: 

Fact 1:

Alongside the new record for 2019 Aries also had incredible achievements in the 2017 and 2018 seasons clocking 4 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and a bronze medal from 2017-2019. 

Fact 2: 

Aries Susanti Rahayu was the only Indonesean athlete to make Forbes Asia’s “30 under 30” list of influential young people in 2019. She was selected out of 2000 potential influential figures from 23 different countries, and now features on the list alongside tennis player Naomi Osaka and professional surfer Ishita Malaviya.

Fact 3 :

Originally from the Grobogan regency in Central Java, Aries Susanti Rahayu was first introduced to climbing in 2007 by a school teacher. She took part in her first national competition just one year later, in 2008, where she won silver and was then invited to join a national training camp run by the Indonesian Rock Climbing Federation. 

Let us know what you think!

This is the first ever edition of women’s climbing news and I want to make it as good as it can be! Please send in your thoughts, share any awesome news stories, and let us know what you think we should include next time!

Happy Climbing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s