Origin Interview with Hazel Findlay
Despite being such an accomplished climber, Hazel remains incredibly humble as she quietly moves about crushing her climbing goals. She was gracious enough to talk with us at Origin. Read on to learn more about Hazel and check out the interview:
Widely regarded to be one of the most accomplished climbers in the world, Hazel Findlay has done more at her young age than most people do in a lifetime. Hazel has been climbing for 20 of her 26 years, learning to climb from her father on the sea cliffs in Pembrokshire in the Southwest of Wales.
FROM BRITISH JUNIOR CHAMP TO FIRST ASCENTS
Hazel dabbled in comp climbing at a young age and was the British Junior Champion six times, but at 16 she decided to focus on climbing rock. She has since free climbed El Capitan in Yosemite, the first British woman to do so. She also has numerous first female ascents including:
- Once Upon a Time in the South West (E9 6c) at Dyer's Lookout in Devon
- She was the first person to free-climb Adder Crack (5.13a), in Squamish, British Columbia
- Air Sweden (5.13b R) in Indian Creek, Utah, in April 2010
- 69 (5.13b/c) in Squamish, later in 2010
- San Simeon (E8) in Pembrokeshire, in May 2011
- The Doors (approx 5.13) in Cadarese, Italy, in 2012
- Chicama (E9 6c) in Anglesey, in early 2013
SITTING DOWN WITH HAZEL
Origin: How did climbing at a young age, especially learning from your father, shape your future outside of climbing? How did climbing affect your approach to life in general?
Hazel: Climbing from a young age has instilled this love for the outdoors and adventure that I will never lose, irrespective of climbing. It most likely means I will never be able to work in an office and get grumpy if I don't spend enough time outside.
Origin: You have been recovering from an injury this year, what did you do to maintain fitness during the recovery period? Injury can be a gloomy time because of the lack of activity or missing your sport, how did you maintain high spirits during this time?
Hazel: I didn't really stay fit to be honest! I cycled a little on an exercise bike but it was so boring I didn't do much of it. Instead I did stuff with my brain. I set up a coaching business, read lots of books, learned some Spanish.
Origin: How do you feel about climbing reaching such a broad audience because of it being a part of the Olympics?
Hazel: I don't have strong feelings either way with regard to the Olympics. I think it's great for competition climbers who want to represent their sport. If it gets people more interested in climbing then that's great, although a selfish part of me hopes the crags don't get too busy!
Origin: What would you tell a little girl looking to start climbing but is a little scared to start?
Hazel: I would tell her that being scared is a normal and valuable part of doing something new. As long as you want to learn you have to push a little bit and this means being scared. Being scared is most often not a bad thing as it's an indication that you're learning.
Origin: You have traveled extensively for climbing to awesome locations such as Morocco and South Africa. What have you seen through climbing with regard to other cultures and travel that you would have otherwise not seen if you weren’t involved in the sport?
Hazel: Climbing can take you far from the beaten track. I love this about climbing since you get to learn so much about other people who come from very different places from you. They have different wants and desires and beliefs and it's interesting to see the world from this different point of view.
THE ROCK PROJECT
Check out the video below when Hazel visited Origin as part of the ROCK Project: