Interview With Leah Crane

Leah Crane. Stunt woman in the making, sponsored by Berghaus, one of the UK’ best female semi pro boulderers,  a previous winner of the British Bouldering Championships and once part of the UK bouldering Team. Is there anything she can’t do?  Leah Crane is clearly someone keen on pushing herself to the limits. The good news for us is she is also a staff member at GO Outdoors around her climbing, so we had the perfect opportunity to catch her on a lunch break to discuss her past, present, and what the future holds.

Leah- From her website LeahCraneClimbing.com

Hi Leah! Can you tell us a bit about how you got into bouldering?

I have been doing it since the age of 3. I grew up with my older brothers always being outdoors, and I remember at a really young age trying an outdoor climbing wall in Yorkshire. After that I joined a kids club in Nottingham.

What kind of things do you specialize in and enjoy?

Bouldering is all about the grades so I’m an 8A in my bouldering routes and my sport climbs are an 8A+. I’m not crazy on slabs with minimum holds, and because I used to be a gymnast I’m more drawn to overhanging, you use your whole body.

 

And outside of bouldering- what are you into?

I’m actually training to be a stuntwoman. It takes around 3-4 years to get qualified to get on the stunt register and you need to cover off certain disciplines so I’ve got my martial art which you need up to brown belt level, I’ve picked Ju Jitsu, as well as climbing, trampolining, swimming, racing bikes…. It’s all stuff I enjoy but as I say I was a gymnast, I used to swim… So it’s great fun.

What’s your family like then?

My older brother is really outdoorsy, and my sister used to be, but now… (laughs) Not any more!

What’s it like being a woman in the sport?

I think now there are a lot more females in the sport. It is male dominated, that’s just a fact, but I’ve run female only bouldering workshops in London and there is a massive call for it, especially because it’s been featured in the 2012 Olympics as a demo sport, I think it’s got a but more promotion.

So you’ve seen more people start bouldering?

Yeah there have been loads of walls popping up and I think it’s becoming more accessible.

Do you think there is anything that stops people trying bouldering? What would you say to those people?

I would say don’t be embarrassed, many beginners fear the wall because they think they are being watched and people are going to say ‘look, they can’t climb’ but everyone has had to start somewhere and I think you just need to get the training, get yourself into an indoor wall with a professional and learn how to boulder.

Do you think bouldering is safer than climbing with ropes?

It’s so hard to say. You know with climbing you need to know your knots, you need to be 100% sure of what you are doing. Plus you are way off the ground. But fall incorrectly from a small height as you boulder and you can snap an ankle. It’s really important to know what you are doing.

Have you had any injuries?

Not at all. I’ve seen some! But no, fortunately none for me, although my knees do give me a bit of trouble but that’s just my body.

What do you wear for bouldering or what would you tell a new boulderer to wear to the wall?

It’s really about being casual for bouldering. I wouldn’t say jeans, but I would say big baggy trousers, a hoody, a t-shirt- some men take there tops off so it can be a good spectator sport! But no, not much Lycra here, it’s all about loose layers.

Shoes are important though, I wear La Sportiva shoes, but beginners can get shoes on loan from the wall.

So your sponsored by Berghaus which is a big name- do you find yourself going further away from the UK thanks to sponsorship?

Well I climb all over, like the EU , Thailand- it’s not that these things are paid for or that I’m always off to a new country climbing, but it definitely creates more opportunities for me. I think whatever I did I would be bouldering in some shape or form.

What are your favourite routes?

LLandudno in Wales, the Peaks, St Bees on the East Coast, although that is a bit dangerous to get to as a new boulderer…But definitely the Peaks.

And what are your plans for the future? (Leah is at present off the UK Bouldering Team)

Well long term I want to do my stunt work, travel. Climb, and just be permanently based somewhere, get a mortgage, maybe do a bit of coaching and teaching on the site… Who knows?

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