By Jacquie Budd
‘It’s important for me to have something else alongside climbing so that when I need a break, I have something else to go to…’
The name Leah Crane has always seemed synonymous with climbing. Through my 18 years of climbing there have been numerous articles in magazines and on websites, which stoked my interest and excitement to be able to speak to Leah about her climbing over the years.
Leah, you’ve been climbing for a long time now, how has it changed for you as time has gone on?
My climbing changes all the time including my psych and desire. I’ve found recently it’s important for me to have something else alongside climbing so that when I need a break, I have something else to go to. Having climbing as involved in my life as it is, I sometimes don’t get a break from it and it can be exhausting. I’ve learnt not to feel guilty if I don’t want to go climbing every day.
You are well known for your competition climbing and outdoor achievements in bouldering and sport climbing – are they all equally important to you?
Yes, I love doing any kind of ‘safe’ climbing. I don’t enjoy deep water soloing as the scardy-cat in me takes over, I lose all ability to climb and want to be anywhere but on the rock. But when I feel safe, the feeling I get when I climb routes or boulder is the same. They will always be part of what I do.
Out of all the places you’ve visited, where is your favourite place to climb, and why?
I guess I’ve visited about ten percent of the countries I’d like to visit and climb. So far, Catalunya wins for me. It’s not far away but I have good friends there who own Casa Catalunya and it’s the perfect escape when you need to get away and forget normal life’s troubles. The weather isn’t bad either.
You’ve started 2015 with some impressive ticks, what’s next?
I have the world cup season to contend with first, then later in the year I will spend all of September coaching in Kalymnos for Rocup coaching holidays. After that, I want to travel, see places I’ve never been before. I’m 26 now and I want to make sure I’ve done all things I want to do before life becomes serious.
You had a shoulder injury during 2014, how did you maintain your fitness to come back so strong in March 2015?
I stopped climbing and spent a lot of money on rehab, continuous massage and two months of not using my arms. This might have been paranoia but even carrying shopping bags hurt my shoulder. I came back to climbing very gently, missed a world cup season and focused on not pushing too hard and taking my time. When I felt ready to train again, I contacted Suz Dudink who is now my coach. She has helped me no end with my shoulder and my climbing.
As this article is about “Inspiring Women”, it would be interesting to know which women have inspired you over the years.
Karen Darke is at the top of my inspire list.
She is a Paralympic Silver medallist in the Women’s road time trial H1-2, has been to the South Pole and is an all round hardcore woman travelling all over the world doing what she loves. She is paralyzed from the chest down.
She pops into my head when I’m training, when I’m struggling and tired on a walk in (I am not good at walking up hills!) or when I feel I have no energy to do something. I remind myself that this women has the strength and courage to do all that she has and she can only use her arms. I have my entire body at my disposal, it just depends if my mind is strong enough to use it.
What advice/tips do you have for female climbers reading this article?
Do what makes you happy. Don’t let others shape your way – make your own. And ask questions. You may not always get an answer but knowledge can’t be cheated, just invested.
Article by Jacquie Budd
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