25 Years of Women’s Fit: Meet the Osprey Athletes


To celebrate 25 years of women’s specific fitting packs we caught up with three female Osprey athletes and ambassadors. We chatted about their sports, their inspiration, their 2019 plans and the advice they would give their younger selves.

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How did you begin your adventure lifestyle?

A charity parachute jump in my early 30s really got me started followed by a bike ride in Peru for the same charity. I wasn’t at all adventurous beforehand. After 2 more bike rides abroad, and still as a Business Advisor, I went from client to crew and then to leader.

Gradually, I began saying yes more and it has completely changed my life! My adventure life really got going when I went freelance in 2010 and started to climb bigger mountains and going to more faraway places.

Who is your biggest female role model, in or out of your sport?

Rebecca Stephens. The first British woman to climb Everest and the first British woman to complete the 7 summits. Like me, she was never a climber but came across mountaineering whilst she was doing her job as a journalist on the North Side of Everest in the early 90s. She hadn’t gone with the intention of going above base camp but then pushed it a little more. A few years later, after lots of training, fundraising and hard work, she stood on top of Everest on the South Side. I use a quote from her book ‘On Top of the World’ in every talk I do. ‘Your eyes are like a camera lens, you focus on what’s important’.

I am also a big fan of Junko Tabei, the first female climber to summit Everest in 1975. At that point only 38 climbers had stood on the summit! Her book ‘Honoring High Places’ is a good lesson in not giving up.

What piece of advice would you give your 12-year-old self?

Be brave, be bold and get involved! I was a very shy youngster, sticking to playing about with horses but if you don’t try out different things you’ll never know what you are good at or what you really enjoy doing. Don’t listen to those saying you won’t be good at one thing or can’t do another, just give it a go as only you can decide what you will like or not!

What are your goals for 2019?

I’m hoping it’s going to be a rather big year! My main goal is to complete the 7 summits with ‘just’ 2 to go, Carstensz Pyramid and Mt Vinson. I am working hard to raise funds for the expeditions plus continuing to raise awareness and funds for children’s mental health charity Place2Be. I have also entered a Half Ironman which is taking place at the end of May so training has ramped up somewhere and I am very busy with work as an Expedition Leader and Outdoor Instructor. It’s all go but I now like my life like that, probably making up for lost time in my ‘no-saying’ years! Here’s to a great 2019 for everyone!

How did you get into biking?

I always rode bikes as a kid growing up on a farm. I was always being challenged by my older brother as we made little planks and bricks to ride up and along. When I was 15 my brother started to ride with my local cycling club and started going to races. I went along to watch and it wasn’t long before he persuaded me to have a go too. 25 years later and I’m still racing and riding bikes!

Who is your biggest female role model, in or out of your sport?

I guess this would have to be one of the top mountain bikers when I first started racing, Anne Caroline Chausson. She was quiet, unassuming and dominated our sport for many years with such skill and style on the bike. I always just wanted to be like her and let my riding do the talking.

What piece of advice would you give your 12 year old self?

Learn a language as you never know where your life will take you. I hate not being able to speak French and converse with the locals when I have spent so much time in France over the years.

What are your goals for 2019?

My goal is to get fit again after the birth of my first child Toby. I have entered a 6 day enduro race across the Provence region of France so I’m really looking forward to getting back between the race tape!

How did you get into climbing?

It was really just a coincidence. My first time climbing was at a birthday party at the local climbing gym. I was eleven years old and didn’t know anything about climbing. I thought it was more like a hobby activity like bowling or pool (no offense to professionals in those sports!). Nonetheless, I really enjoyed and immediately fell in love with feeling of being on the wall, being completely absorbed in solving how to take the next hold, as well as challenging myself both physically and mentally.

I started climbing once a week after that. At the time, I was doing a lot of athletics and loved competing, so I entered my first climbing competition about a month after I started. About 2 months after I started, I entered the Swedish Junior Championship in climbing and came in second place. After that, I quit all other sports and chose to focus only on climbing. I entered as many competitions as I could, both in Sweden but also the Euro Cup. It’s crazy to think what would have happened if I never went climbing at that birthday party. I am sure I would have found climbing in one way or another, but it probably would have been much later.

Who is your biggest female role model, in or out of your sport?

Many of the women around me really inspire me and I am lucky to have some of them as my close friends, for example Sasha DiGiulian and Emma Svensson. I look up to people who go their own way, follow their passion, work hard and are genuinely good people.

Within climbing I think it is super motivating to see other women pushing limits of their own and for female climbing. Lynn Hill’s ascent of The Nose on Yosemite, Margo Hayes two 9a+’s and Angela Eiters 9b are three groundbreaking women that I am also inspired by.

What piece of advice would you give your 12 year old self?

To stop worrying about the little things and about fitting in all the time. Run your own race and be true to yourself. I have always been tall (very tall for being a climber at 1.77 m). During my teens I thought it was tough, especially in a climbing context, because it made me different. I would like to tell my 12-year-old self to stop comparing myself to others, embrace that we all are different and to find ways to use being different and turn it into a strength.

 What are your goals for 2019?

My focus this year and the coming years is sport climbing outside. I want to become the best I can and climb as challenging routes as possible. I have several projects lined up for this year but for now I will keep them to myself…

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