This is a conversation between Mina and Dhillan Chandramowli, who’s psyche and drive is infectious. And it’s not just about climbing. Dhillan puts his passion into everything, he is one of those people who lives to find and realise potential in its many forms. Whether it’s developing new bouldering areas in remote Himalayan villages, organising marches to support women in sexual politics, advocating diversity by creating platforms for important conversation or using pen to paper to write, story-tell and open channels on things he cares about, he is emphatic in all his endeavours. This conversation was really interesting, enjoyable and educational.
Massive thanks as always to Alex Dempsey for the edit. And does anyone notice our new jingle?? Thanks to Morgan Jones for offering his sound technology expertise to create us our very own intro music.
Paul was a pro climber in the 80’s putting up or repeating many serious routes on sea cliffs, big mountains and scrappy little quarries in Lancashire. In 1997 he won the Boardman Tasker award for his book Deep Play. With the money he went on a trip that took him to the Totem Pole, a sea stack in Tasmania. It was here that he almost lost his life after a rock hit him in the head. The accident left Paul partially paralysed and yet Paul describes this event as the best thing that ever happened to him. We talk about what he means by that, the lessons in acceptance that inevitably come with trauma like this, his experiences with meditation, the adventures he’s had post-accident and his new book! Paul is an amazing human with a lot of wisdom and little ego. Enjoy! This episode was recorded on the 3rd July.
How much of what we do in life and climbing, is controlled by the mind? When you fall on a route do you blame your physical strength/endurance or do you look to your mindset and thoughts? How much does your mind affect your experience and enjoyment?
This episode is a chat between Mina and Hazel about Hazel's work as a mental training coach. Hazel has a vast amount of personal experience in climbing and she is a deep thinking person who’s mind is always ready to explore and ask questions, even the difficult ones. Hazel has coupled this experience with studying; a degree in philosophy, a diploma in transformational coaching and a level 3 coach with The Flow Centre.
Lynn and Hazel talk about Lynn's climbing career and what she has learnt along the way. They hit these topics among others: how she started, nature and nurture question when it comes to talent and passion, is there an ‘adventure gene’, climbing as a male dominated sport - especially when she started, taking responsibility for our climbing experiences, trad ethics, cultural differences between USA and EU, mental training, gender issues and women empowerment.
Periods. A bloody nuisance or bloody brilliant??
This episode is a conversation with academic Natalie Brown about her research and work in the field of the female athlete and the menstrual cycle with a focus on education and communication around these issues.
I (Mina) first met Natalie when I participated in some athlete interviews she conducted about a year ago. As we discuss in the podcast, she was trying to get a sense of the lived experience that women and girls have in sport relating to their periods in order to guide her research to where it was most needed.
Natalie's email : firstname.lastname@example.org
In this episode Hazel and Arno Ilgner geek out about Mental Training. They talk about lots of things including: fear of failure, fear of falling, awareness, mindfulness, following your passion is, process versus outcome, trusting the process, goal seeking, attention, connection, positive psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, motivation, beliefs, imposter syndrome, politics, achievement versus learning, mental training beyond climbing - even beyond the individual, trauma. Enjoy!
Tom Herbert aka @usefulcoach is a performance coach and nutritionist who specialises in working with climbers.
Tom is quite the character; a creative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable person who has really set his mind to helping and supporting the people he works with however he can. He’s also passionate about doing it the right way, creating and nurturing sustainable athletes in a sport where there is all too often a focus on restriction and lightness as the only way forward.
In this podcast episode we talk about his background in nutrition and coaching, his experiences working with climbers and the nutritional needs in our sport, his thoughts on the low carbohydrate craze, body image in the climbing community, strength to weight ratios, veganism....and his other hobby....pole dancing!
Thanks as always to Alex Dempsey for the edit.
Tom's Facebook Page
Hazel speaks with Trev about racism. She’s known Trev all her life but they’ve never really spoken like this about racism. It is eye opening to sit down with Trev and hear all the personal stories one needs to hear to be convinced or reminded that racism is still a thing. Trev has climbed for 35 years all over the world and has taught climbing for almost his entire working life. They could have talked about anything, but being black in 65 and most likely the first British black climber gives Trev the kind of perspective few have. They talk about: what it’s like growing up in a racist white environment, what it’s like to literally be the only climber that looks like you, living with racism today, lack of racism in the climbing community, the concept of race as a convenient construct, why intentions matter, the ignorance of the white person to racism, the burden/responsibility being a member of a minority, the difference between racism and prejudice, compassion towards the racist, white washing of history/removal of black history, tribalism, class and racism, ‘we’ve had enough’, the current movement, yes there has been progress but it’s no where near good enough. This is a sobering and honest conversation that hopefully cuts through all the hashtags and small bites of info we're seeing scattered all over social media. This is only one black voice Trev is certainly one to listen to.
He asked to share these resources along side the podcast:
Anoushé Husain is a civil servant and paraclimber in the UK and a champion for all those experiencing barriers and self-limiting beliefs. Born missing her right arm below the elbow, living with multiple health conditions, a cancer survivor, a Muslim and coming from an ethnic minority, Anoushé has never let what society or culture thinks she should do limit her or dictate the direction of her life. She spends her time sharing her journey to help others realise they shouldn’t be limited by how society or culture might see them. Anoushé is the 2017 Asian Women of Achievement Award winner for Sport and the 2017 recipient of the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration at The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards. She was also named on the 2018 Sunday Times Alternative Richlist, has received a Points of Light from the Prime Minister and is currently in the Top 100 most influential people with a disability Shaw Trust Powerlist. She is an Ambassador for Limbpower (leading amputee and limb different charity in the UK), Ehlers Danlos Support UK and a patron for the Grit&Rock foundation helping girls from deprived backgrounds reach their potential through Climbing.
She co-founded Paraclimbing London in 2018 to reduce the barriers to climbing for people with disabilities and long term health conditions.
In this podcast we take a deep dive into the following issues: what lock down is like for someone with health problems and a disability, the politics and language of disability, what needs to change in our culture around disability, the idea of inspiration porn in the disability world, the difference between vulnerability and victimhood, how para climbing works and what the scene is like, climbing as a BAME muslim and how welcoming climbing has been for her, body image and facial hair as a woman from an ethnic minority, the headscarf, how to make climbing more diverse and why it isn't very diverse already.
What makes a good film or documentary? Is it seeing someone’s personal journey or their character depicted with authenticity; a sense of real-ness or honesty? Or is it the wild landscapes and the sense of adventure that you can vicariously indulge in through the film maker’s lens? Is it a simple story to follow, to learn a lesson from or find meaning in?
In this episode Mina talks to Jen Randall of Lightshed Pictures about her journey to becoming a film maker. We talk about the balance of needs in any film making venture - her creativity at the helm, the subject and their vulnerabilities and the role of sponsors. We discuss women in adventure films, both as subjects and behind the camera. Jen tells us stories from her experiences; where her films have taken her, the people she has had the pleasure to meet and work with along the way and the difficulties that arise when you are trying to capture a story or sense of a person/place.
If you are interested in this area professionally, then this is definitely a podcast for you - Jen talks openly about how she got where she is and what she would advise her younger self or anyone else who wants to enter this somewhat hard to access industry.
Light Shed Pictures - Jen's website where you can see all her work.
Light Shed Pictures Instagram
Light Shed Pictures Facebook
Hazel talks to Emma Wood about the mind in climbing. Emma is a cognitive hypnotherapist based in Sheffield, UK. Find her website here.
They talk about a lot of things including: fear of falling, fear of failing, coaching, what is cognitive hypnotherapy, therapist/coach relationship, social validation, emotions, meditation.
Support our podcast here
This episode is a conversation between Mina and Dr Stacy Sims. Stacy is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Waikato in New Zealand where she specialises in exercise physiology and human performance, specifically looking at sex differences in training and nutrition.
Stacy really stands behind a motto of #womenarenotsmallmen and she is actively pushing to understand and do further research into female physiology so that we can really begin to better understand the differences that women may need to consider in sport. After all, we have this thing called the menstrual cycle for a big period (pun intended) of our lives, a completely different (and more complex) hormonal environment to men and our bodies will react differently to some stimuli because of this.
In this chat we cover a lot! We discuss the current state of research, why there isn’t much research done in women, conflicting opinions within the current evidence, why young girls drop out of sport, the menstrual cycle, it’s phases and how we can optimise our experience through training and nutrition, PMS symptoms including increased fear, the pill, future research and much more.
In this episode Hazel speaks with Sky Yardeni about grief. Sky is a therapist and social change maker, originally from Israel but is based in Santa Fe, NM. He is currently the Therapeutic Director of the Climbing Grief Fund with the American Alpine Club. https://americanalpineclub.org/grieffund
They talk about his work with the Grief Fund, his own personal experience of grief, the need for better communication and support around grief, taking risks in the mountains, dialogue facilitation between Israelis and Palestinians, climbing as a means to deal with trauma.
In this episode Mina talks to Charlotte Gibbs who is a runner and ultra endurance athlete. She was the winner and course record holder at the Beacons 50 mile race in 2018, and has taken part in Skyrunning races in the UK and Europe. After suffering with stress fractures and amenorrhea, she was diagnosed with Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport at the beginning of 2019 and has been working on recovery ever since. She hosts the RED-S recovery Podcast and has written articles on RED-S for Ultra Magazine and spoken about the topic on Real Health Radio and in various talks and seminars.
There are a few links below to things we have mentioned during our conversation that might be of interest:
My UKC article about Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport.
Charlotte's own podcast, RED-S Recovery Podcast.
The Seven Health Podcast with Charlotte.
Within Day Energy Deficiency and Reproductive Function in Female Endurance Athletes (we refer to it in conversation as the Swedish study).
RED-S recovery Facebook group run by Charlotte,
Hazel speaks with Iranian climber Nasim Eshqi. If you’re a climber in the West you may have imagined that your experiences and opportunities might be different if you’d grown up, and become a climber, in Iran. Especially if you’re a woman. Or you may not have thought about it at all. Whatever your preconceptions about Iran, Iranian culture, gender politics under a theocratic government, being an independent woman in a male dominated country, you’re likely to learn a lot from Nasim.
Oh and Nasim is no ordinary climber. She’s opened close to 80 routes (sport and trad) in 6 different countries, (despite the fact it’s very difficult to travel as an Iranian). She was Iranian kickboxing champion 10 times in a row before she started climbing She’s bolted and sent up to 8b. She works with women and youth groups in Iran with the aim of sharing her knowledge. She was awarded the King Albert memorial award for sustainable and exceptional services in connection to the mountains. Just all-round one of the most impressive people I’ve had the pleasure to speak with and therefore this definitely has to be one of my favourite podcasts.
In this episode Mina talks to Prerna Dangi, a Dehli based climber. Prerna mixes her climbing time between bouldering, trad climbing, ice climbing and alpinism - she has a taste for everything about the mountains. We talk about her experiences getting into climbing, how it is to be a female climber in India, doing a world cup event, body image in her cultural sphere, role models and the importance of representation that is specific to social/cultural/economic spaces. We also talk about a social enterprise (EcoFemme) she is involved in as well as discussing the recent changes in the town and bouldering area of Hampi.
Short video about EcoFemme with Prerna
Outdoor Journal Article: Battling Social Stereotypes
Outdoor Article: India's Climbing Scene, why aren't more women climbing?
In this episode virologist Levi Yant walks us through the science of Covid - 19. We discuss what a virus is, what makes Covid 19 different, why we're in a global pandemic and what we can do about it. If you're feeling confused by all the information out there and you're unsure of what is right and wrong in this mad new world we live in, take a listen. Our behaviour has never been so important.
Levi Yant has a postgraduate degree in Virology in HIV vaccine development. After forming a research group in evolutionary biology at Harvard, he moved to the University of Nottingham and is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
This conversation is all about flow state. Also known as 'being in the zone'. This psychological state could be responsible for our best climbing performances but also our most enjoyable moments. Mild flow can feel like a heightened focus or presence and deep flow states are more immersive and unique in character. Cameron has a phD in flow and has coached world champion athletes, CEOs and climbers like myself with the aim of finding more flow in whatever their discipline.
Read about him here
In this episode Mina talks to Madeleine Crane who is a Sports Psychologist and Systemic Coach based near Magic Wood in Switzerland. As a strong climber herself, Madeleine takes a special interest in working with rock climbers from all disciplines. In this podcast we talk about her background, confidence in performance, comparison in sport, body image, vulnerability, the role of a coach and emotional regulation.
Some of the tools we discuss in this conversation can be found here.
This episode is the first of a few that we plan to do together. Each one will have a focus and in this episode Hazel talks to Mina about health and performance, where they intersect and how in her experience they have also diverged. We talk about Mina's climbing history, her journey with Rainshadow (9a), the lead up to her RED-S diagnosis as well as what RED-S is and what the causes are. We talk about how it gets diagnosed, red flags to look out for, why climbers might be particularly susceptible and why aren't we talking about it more. We cover the feeling that menstruation is a taboo subject and how it's a crucial parameter of health that gets masked by contraceptives. We also discuss symptoms of RED-S in men, climbing's obsession with weight and how we ought to manipulate the other side of the equation (strength) finishing with a piece on how RED-S intersects with body image problems in climbing.
*Correction Hazel makes a mistake in the intro - Mina has climbed 4 8cs not 2 - what a beast she is!
Mina's article about RED-S
IOC Consensus Statement on RED-S
Health and Performance website with information about RED-S aimed at athletes, coaches and health professionals
In this episode, Mina talks to Gilly McArthur, a life long climber, who has in recent years found a love for cold-water swimming. Gilly swam every day in January in the lakes and tarns of the UK to raise money for Mind Charity. In this episode we talk about the physiological and psychological experiences and benefits of cold-water swimming, parallels to climbing, mental health and mindfulness, performance vs. non-striving, body image and much more.
RED January giving page
Floe State film
In this episode Hazel talks to Nikki Smith about:
- climbing on rock and ice near to home and further away
- first ascents
- her experiences coming out, transitioning and becoming herself
- social media and the problem of privacy
- doing better as a community
Niki is an ambassador for Mountain Hardware, REI, Scarpa, Grivel, Beal and Bronwen Jewelry
If you are a trans person and you're struggling, here are some resources that may help:
USA and Canada
In this episode Mina talks to US-based climber Nina Williams. Nina is well known for her ascents of highball boulder problems such as Evolution Direct (V11), Ambrosia (V11) and the absolutely massive Too Big to Flail (V10) as well as many other hard boulders up to V13. They discuss a bunch of interesting things including Nina's brave Rock and Ice Article published a few years ago where she talked about her experience of cheating as a young climber, her process with highballs, her attitudes around danger and risk, thoughts on the notion of the first female ascent and how she has found her recent transition back to studying and the necessary adjustment to her climbing and identity.
In this episode Hazel talks to professional climber Beth Rodden about: - looking back; what she'd do differently - body image and eating disorders - achievement versus learning - happiness versus success - compatibility of good health and high performance - social media, including ethics of sharing stuff about her boy - motherhood - her book that she's writing at the moment - the responsibility she feels to be honest and vulnerable in her writing and speaking
What's this podcast shizzle about? Who are we? Why are we doing it? What kind conversations will be on it? How are we doing it? When will episodes come out?
A somewhat haphazard into to our podcast plans. Stay tuned for the first proper episode soon (ish).