The Curious Climber Podcast: Chatting with Hazel and Mina
By Mina and Hazel
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The Curious Climber Podcast: Chatting with Hazel and MinaMay 04, 2020
Anyssa Lucena: Climbing Out
This conversation is with New York based climber Anyssa Lucena (@genuineclimbing). Anyssa re-found climbing later in life and incorporated it into her already busy life - a single mum of three kids. Not only did she find space for it, it saved her in a difficult period in her life. She felt such a passion for climbing, and it had such a deep personal affect on her, that she underwent a complete career change and created a business around climbing. Anyssa is a guide in the Gunks but she does more than just the standard teaching people to go climbing. She works, predominately with women, by using climbing to challenge self limiting beliefs, find bravery and develop resilience. It was a pleasure to talk to her and to hear both her story and her experiences coaching.
Nina Caprez: No Fear
This episode is with Swiss machine Nina Caprez. Nina is known for her hard, adventurous ascents including Sibergier, Wogu, Merci La Vie, Never Ending Story…the list goes on. She has a really interesting attitude towards the mental side of climbing and an unusual relationship with fear. We talk about her experiences on hard routes and what she learnt from them; both successes and failures. We also discuss a new phase in her life that includes a social project close to her heart and a journey into parenthood. Enjoy!
Andrew Bisherat: Toxic Discourse
Andrew is a successful writer and social commentator in the world of climbing. He is the founder of evening sends a website that hosts in-depth writing and articles from himself and other writers. He’s also co-founder of the runout podcast with Chris Kalous. He’s maybe best known for unapologetically saying what he thinks. Something of a rarity online in 2022.
We talk about his experiences as a writer in a polarised political climate and how the culture wars and the way we tend to converse on social media have affected discourse, writing and activism in climbing.
You can support what we're doing here by donating at hazel-findlay.com/podcast or becoming a Patron of the Nugget Climbing Podcast
Reflections: Collaboration with The Nugget Climbing Podcast
Recently, we have entered into a collaboration with Steven Dimmitt of The Nugget Climbing Podcast who is helping us with the editing, sound and production of our podcast. Steven's podcast is great, with loads of fantastic episodes to choose from. He is also a whizz at all the technical things. As part of this collaboration we are producing some mini-episodes together in pairs called "Reflections". These 10-15 min episodes are discussions around various different topics with the focus on learning, reflection and insights we may have had. They will be available to those who support The Nugget Podcast via Patreon, but we have included one here as a taster - enjoy!
Hamish McArthur: Going for Gold
This episode is a conversation between Mina and British climber Hamish McArthur. Hamish is 20 years old and current World Youth Champion in both Bouldering and Lead climbing....a pretty impressive feat. But he isn't planning to stop there, Hamish has big goals and isn't afraid to name them. This conversation is both interesting and empowering. Hamish has a depth of perspective on performance and mindset that is both interesting and useful to hear. As an athlete who is still emerging and finding his rhythm, it'll be exciting to see where his journey takes him.
Mina chats to The Nugget Climbing Podcast
Steven Dimmitt chats to Mina on his podcast 'The Nugget Climbing Podcast' about her early life and living in India, learning about impermanence from her dad, chasing flow state, memorable high ball boulders, learning to try hard, becoming a mama and much more...
We highly recommend his podcast! You can find it here
Hazel talks to Alex Honnold
Hazel chats to Alex H-bomb Honnold about his current life as a father to be, his environmental foundation the Honnold Foundation, affective altruism and also a bit about climbing!
This podcast was edited by Steven Dimmit of the Nugget Climbing podcast. If you would like to help us keep the podcast going you can donate here or if you also enjoy his podcast the best way to support both podcasts is to become a Patreon of The Climbing Nugget podcast.
As always, thanks for listening and happy climbing!
Andy Cave: Learning to Breathe
This episode is an eye opening chat with Andy Cave. Andy is a rock climber and a mountaineer who has a lifetime of stories to tell about his adventures. Climbing aside, he grew up in a mining community in the north of England and his first job was down the pits. Andy has a special way of being able to describe and paint a picture of his experiences with words - he has authored two books about his life so far - and he does just this in our conversation. From the coal mines to the Himalayan mountains we are taken on a fascinating tour of Andy’s unique life story.
You can follow Andy at:
What recovery looks like, with Mina and Steven
In this episode Hazel talks with Mina and Steven Dimmitt of the The Nugget Climbing Podcast about their respective recoveries from under-eating/over-training. Although their stories look a little different they both managed to get into a position of poor health in the bid to get stronger and lighter for climbing. Both have since made a full recovery and are in great shape mentally and physically. In this conversation they talk about each of their uniquely difficult journeys back to full health. The emergence of stories like theirs are part of a growing trend in climbing that reprioritises strength gains over weight loss and uses practices that better reflect latest research. Thanks to Mina and Steven for being open to talk about this because conversations like this do a lot to improve the health of our community! Go here for the previous episode on Mina's diagnosis of RED-S. Go here to hear about Steven's story.
Hazel chats to The Nugget Climbing Podcast
Steven Dimmitt chats to Hazel on his podcast 'The Nugget Climbing Podcast' about mental training, the ego, fear of falling, fear of failure, her experiences with Magic Line and much more...
We highly recommend his podcast! You can find it here
Katy Whittaker: Grit Kid
This episode is a conversation with Katy Whittaker aka The Grit Kid. Katy is a life long climber. She started young in a family of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts living in the picturesque village of Edale in the Peak District, UK.
Katy became known on the UK scene for a number of things; her stand out achievements on hard, scary gritstone trad routes make an impressive CV alone but she has also bouldered hard outside, competed for the British team and excelled in sport climbing.
But what makes this conversation interesting isn’t her list of achievements. It’s Katy’s honesty, reflection and her insights into her climbing that are the gold. We talk about risk, motivation to try dangerous routes, her relationship with “hard climbing” and her identity as someone who since so young has been entrenched in climbing culture.
John Kettle - How to move well
John Kettle is a movement coach based in the UK. He's been the teaching climbing for 20 years. We talk about: his story with his own climbing and what led him to be a coach and interested in movement, why don’t we focus more of movement and technique, what are the many climbers missing, elite climbers versus beginners, what drills can people do, the role of mind and attention in movement efficiency, the role of stress, the ego, breathing exercises and much more. Enjoy! *The first upload of this podcast was cut short. If you listened to that - listen to the other half here.
Marisa Michael: What's your gut feeling?
We have been a bit slower on producing episodes lately - Hazel has been studying more with her masters and I’ve (Mina) been making and now caring for a new baby (2 weeks old as I post this)! Suffice to say, life has gotten a bit busier but we are still very psyched on producing podcasts, albeit at a slower rate!
Madeleine Cope Part 2
Maddy and Hazel talk about topics that interest them including women's training, body weight and body image, diet and nutrition, hormonal contraceptives, optimising performance in the menstruation cycle, menstruation and psychology/stress tolerance.
The life and times of Madeleine Cope - part 1
Maddy just turned 30! We know that's not old but it's a good enough excuse to have her on the podcast to talk about her life (so far). This is the first part of a two part chat. The first part focuses on Maddy and her climbing the second part we talk more about issues that interest us.
Stacy Sims: Training and Exercise in Pregnancy
In this episode Mina (18 weeks pregnant at time of recording) chats to Stacy Sims about all things about training and exercise in pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a confusing time in one’s body and experiences of pregnancy also vary hugely. Stacy specialises in exercise physiology and human performance with a particular interest in female athletes through all life stages - one of which for many women will be pregnancy - so it's great to get her take on this tricky area. It's worth mentioning that neither of us are medically doctors and we are discussing medically uncomplicated pregnancies in this context - if you are unsure of anything, please seek advice from your doctor or healthcare provider.
At the time of recording I (Mina) was 18 weeks pregnant....I’m now (at the time of publishing) 32 weeks pregnant and it’s interesting for me to notice what has changed and not changed since Stacy and I had this chat. I stopped doing pull ups of any sort (even assisted) around 20 weeks due to the doming of my abdominals and stopped finger boarding soon after for the same reason. But, I’m still climbing with no issues, lifting some weights, doing finger holds by my side, and plenty of walking! Oh and endless pelvic floor exercises....
That won’t be the same for everyone of course and could change again rapidly for me too - each week now it feels like my body is different and has different likes/dislikes and needs. Constantly adapting and modifying. To be honest, I think mental flexibility has got to be a core theme of pregnancy in athletes.
Anna Foo - Climbing Blind
In this episode Hazel speaks with paraclimber Anna Foo and psychologist Doreen Hoerold who is Anna's friend and sight-guide. We talk about climbing blind, living blind, the relationship between climber and sight-guide, politics of disability and 'blind activism', what sighted people should know about blind people, paraclimbing competitions and much more... Enjoy!
Dave MacLeod: Calculated risks and personal experiments.
Our conversation is really a two in one. In the first half we discuss his climbing achievements, how to become an all rounder, some of his harder/more dangerous routes, attitudes to risk and consequence and some unusual ways he has prepared for climbs. The second half of the conversation moves to his thoughts on nutrition and nutrition for climbers. Dave has been quite outspoken on this topic, and is well read to support it. We discuss his formal studies as well as his n=1 personal experiments, the relevance of evidence based advice and what is really going on in the body when you manipulate what you eat. Enjoy!
Dave's YouTube Channel
Rosie Watson - How to Build a Sustainable Outdoor Community Post-Covid
Rosie is a runner and climate activist. This episode is all about climate change and how the outdoor community can be more sustainable. We talk about: how the pandemic could be a good opportunity for a fresh start, individual versus big change, hypocrisy within our community, what we find aspirational, community effort and taking the emphasis away from individual action, flight shaming and why it doesn’t work, offsetting, green washing, brands and events, consumerism, social shaming versus community support and what athletes and influencers should be talking about. This is an honest conversation about the complexities of the human response to the climate crisis. I hope you enjoy and thanks for listening.
Here is an article Rosie wrote about this subject
Books by Mike Berners-Lee that Rosie has help to write
Rosie's blog about her running adventures to start conversations about climate activism
- Article by Em Hartova about the problem with seeing the outdoors as a playground/escapism. It's called "Climate action means more than being outside wearing ethical clothes".
- An article that explains why 'ethical consumerism' isn't the answer https://atmos.earth/ethical-consumerism?fbclid=IwAR390-CfhQhYY2MwS3LtSbAbXQ-Yx4RgeCMFWlj_EQV5LZ8t-l2P2I5bTkU
Dhillan Chandramowli: Realising Potential.
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 Pritchard - On Acceptance
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.
Mina talks to Hazel about the mind and mental training.
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 Hill - Legend
Natalie Brown: Periods. A bloody nuisance or bloody brilliant?
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 : email@example.com
Arno Ilgner - The ‘Godfather’ of Mental Training in Climbing
Tom Herbert: Being Useful
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.
Black in ‘65 - Trevor Eugine Masiah
Anoushé Husain - Not your average climber
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.
Jen Randall: A Director's Cut
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.
Emma Wood - The Mind in Climbing
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
Stacy Sims: Women are not small men.
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.
Sky Yardeni - Let's Talk About Grief
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.
Charlotte Gibbs: Running into trouble.
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).
Nasim Eshqi - Defying Convention
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.
Prerna Dangi: Moving Mountains
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?
What does Covid - 19 mean for climbers with Levi Yant (Virologist)
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.
Cameron Norsworthy - The Path to Flow
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
Madeleine Crane: The Mind Detective
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.
Hazel talks to Mina about the divergence of health and performance
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!
IOC Consensus Statement on RED-S
Health and Performance website with information about RED-S aimed at athletes, coaches and health professionals
Gilly McArthur: Cold water swimming, don't say the C word
RED January giving page
Floe State film
Nikki Smith - 'Dancing Saved My Life'
- 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
Nina Williams: A Baller at Height
Beth: She did her best
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
Chatting with Hazel and Mina, what's all this about?
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).