- Name: Julia Wakeling
How many years have you been climbing and how did you start?
About 20 years. I first climbed once when I was little, but then only started again with the UCT Mountain and Ski Club. I really got more into it through friends. I’ll always be grateful to Andrew Lewis for taking me up Africa Crag – a day that got me totally psyched about trad!
Most memorable experience or send?
It’s very special to top out of The Nose – an entirely wonderful experience with Gosia!
Climbing FitzRoy still feels like a dream. Sleeping on top was a bitterly cold shiver-bivvy but magical. Thanks to Gosia and Hector for being so awesome!
How do you deal with the frustration of not being able to send your projects?
Chocolate. And training…our bodies need to be all-around strong for when we can get out and have long days in the hills (walking, belaying in funny positions, thrashing through bushes), so pilates, hiking, cycling, theraband, and gym training all help!
What is the first piece of climbing advice, knowing all you do now, that you would give to yourself if you had just started climbing?
Don’t restrict yourself by limits set by others. And, at the same time – chill out and have fun!
What is your favorite or most used piece of The Edge ZA gear?
How to pick one!?
A piece of clothing that I won’t leave home without is the Alpine Start Hoodie. It is awesome for keeping the wind out and the sun off on climbs, mountain walks, and runs.
The BD Momentum climbing shoes are brilliant – comfy for both long days and perform well on hard technical sport routes (this has been proven many times by both myself and others)! I have no need for any other shoes.
And the Black Diamond Ultra-light Cams are marvelous in keeping rack-weight in check.
Have you had any gnarly epics?
One stands out. We were climbing in a trio and the leader took a bad fall. Everyone lived, but the rescue took 12 hours and he ended up in hospital for 6 weeks. Always place good gear even on easy ground, and make sure the rope isn’t behind your leg.
What motivates you to keep climbing?
The movement of climbing pulls my body back in line. Being out in the hills pulls my brain back in line. The focus of climbing helps bring perspective.
Do you have plans for 2021 and the future?
A project or two up my sleeve, but mostly having low expectations and enjoying being outside (that’s when I climb best). I’ve recently found meditation to really help my climbing, so will be trying to do more of that!