About Me

Hi, I'm Leah

This is my story

About Leah

My passion for climbing was born from a love of adventure and excitement.

Dave Dicks was my first ever coach & I trained with him twice a week for around five years at Nottingham Wall. He taught me to climb, becoming a master of my technique, honing immaculate footwork and understanding the subtleties of movement in order to move my body effectively. If it wasn’t for Dave and those early years, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

At 10 years old whilst enjoying a routine bouldering session at Nottingham Wall I was approached by a shaven headed man wearing thick silver framed glasses. Completely unaware of who this guy was, he tried to help me on a route, and seeming like a nice enough chap I joined him and we climbed together for a while.

He subsequently asked to speak to my parents which I wasn’t expecting. It turned out this ‘guy’ was none other than Neil Gresham, international climbing legend and founder of the world famous Masterclass Coaching Academy, and he was to become a brilliant mentor and one of my best friends, opening my eyes to the wider climbing world. Neil took my climbing to the next level, teaching me how to climb outside, and how to be a professional…

…After a few years of finding my feet in the early stages of my climbing life I came across a video of Lisa Rands bouldering in the USA, somewhere I am still yet to visit on a proper climbing trip. I was totally inspired and immediately grasped by her strong, powerful style and her ability to cruise the boulders that others could only dream of.

If I was to pick one female climbing personality that I ever looked up to or idolised it would be Lisa for sure. As I matured both in years and in my climbing, I further identified with her muscular physique and dynamic style. Bouldering became my discipline of choice, whilst dabbling in and out of other styles; my main focus was pushing my bouldering grade.

Late 2013 and after a hard season on the Boulder World Cup circuit, my focus and my psych started to trend a little more towards sport climbing as I joined long term climbing partner and mentor Neil Gresham in his battle against his hardest project to date. It definitely stoked a fire that I hadn’t really fed before and the prospect of getting in shape to be strong enough to send some incredible sport routes got me very psyched…

…In both bouldering and sport climbing, grades had been my main motivation for a very long time, I enjoyed an attractive line but the grade definitely held more kudos for me. Ticking “the next level” and bagging another number was my focus.

Recently I found a new enthusiasm in my climbing, where grades became less important in my psyche & the feeling of climbing at my ‘limit’, regardless of the graded difficulty, became more interesting & inspiring. This means that I can find myself trying to redpoint the most powerful and difficult routes I had ever laid fingers on, to trying to onsight a nemesis style – long & pumpy stamina fest within a few days of each other. Totally different skills, very different grades, but both are satisfying to me. I have realised I take pleasure in simply trying very hard.

Almost 20 years on, and after living in Nottingham, London and Sheffield (not to mention a year long stint in a van around Europe) I have relocated to Kendal, in the English Lake District. Chasing fresh air and the Lakeland Fells, I am hoping to make use of some top-class facilities in the area to help me push my climbing another step further.