Climber Sarah is on the up and up

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SaraH Pashley, a Year 13 student at The Ecclesbourne School in Duffield, is enjoying increasing success in climbing.

Here, she writes about her experiences in the world of climbing.

“Climbing is an amazing sport and throughout my nine years of taking part in it, I have met some really interesting people from around the world and have been to many countries to pursue my passion: Croatia, Italy and Slovenia are a just a few countries which I have visited.

Some of the most popular questions I get asked are: is it how fast you climb? Climbing is NOT how fast you climb, it is based on technique, strength and endurance as it is how high you get.

But how can you make it harder? Steepen the angle, make the holds a lot smaller and further apart therefore the moves become more physically challenging, causing people to fall (onto a rope) unless you are strong enough to overcome these moves.

This is what makes climbing so appealing to me as you can be faced with interesting moves which are different each time you then have the challenge of working them out, which when you do it’s really satisfying.

At eight years old, my dad took me climbing for the first ever time to the Foundry climbing centre in Sheffield.

I was quite inexperienced but enjoyed it all the same. We started going every Sunday morning to various walls where I managed to grasp a lot of the basic skills and strength. When I was ten, I entered my first competition, the British regional youth climbing series (BRYCS), but the quality of other climbers made me realise I needed to train harder to get decent results.

After undertaking proper training I made it to the national final in 2008, where even though I was drastically smaller and one of the youngest in my category, I placed 12th overall, which inspired me to become even more dedicated to climbing, at my parents’ expense.

However, something must have worked as I won the youth open 2010 (a national competition). I was now invited to join the British team and climb in the World Youth Climbing Championships!

Slightly scared when I got there, as I was climbing first out of everyone at my first ever international competition, I managed to get over my nerves. I was placed 39th in the World (for females born in 1995–6). It was a great experience for me as I was able to compete with world class climbers from many countries, all in one place.

Now I am training five times a week and competing all over the world, including my last international in Kranj, Slovenia. I placed 23rd at the European Youth Cup there.

This year was all about experience. I’m psyched to crush the Europeans in the next series. I am also Welsh Junior climbing champion, and recently came first in a national competition at Liverpool.

I am starting to enter senior competitions, where I placed fifth in Britain in the summer. But I could not have got to where I am today without the support of my family and friends, who have put up with me through all of my training and traveling around everywhere for competitions.

I have a website where you can read all about my recent climbing trips at “