Ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March, one of the UK’s most talented young climbers and Berghaus athlete, Molly Thompson-Smith, is urging girls to try the sport.
After her first climbing experience at the age of seven, Molly Thompson-Smith has grown into one of the sport’s brightest stars. Still only 18, Thompson-Smith has already won 20 national titles, as well as being only the fifth junior British climber to win a European youth cup event. As a junior climber, she won her first senior British title at the age of 15, the youngest to ever achieve that. Thompson-Smith has also been ranked number one in the world and Europe for her age category. She is an ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and, at the age of 16, secured a sponsorship deal with the UK’s leading outdoor brand, Berghaus.
In the film, Thompson-Smith encourages other young women and girls to visit their local climbing walls, and points to the growth in the number of dedicated groups for female climbers around the UK.
“For women who want to give the sport a try, I say go to your local climbing wall, hire a pair of shoes and just have a go. You’ve got a nice soft mat to land on and you don’t have to have climbed anything in your life to get started – you will gain skills as you go along. There’s a dedicated women’s climbing group at my local wall and you can find those all over the country. My top tip is to grab a girlfriend and get along to a wall – and try everything that the boys are trying on the wall too!”
Interest in indoor climbing and bouldering has grown in recent years and the BMC is leading a campaign for sport climbing to be added to the Olympic programme for Tokyo in 2020. Thompson-Smith is one of the team that is campaigning on behalf of the sport and has ambitions to represent her country at the Olympics.
“I think that climbing is such a great spectacle to watch and I don’t know why it’s not in the Olympics already. To compete in Tokyo would be amazing.”
Molly Thompson-Smith is one of a growing number of talented female climbers emerging onto the UK scene at the moment and she’s full of admiration for her peers.
“I’m proud of what I have achieved so far, but I like to look up to other young people. There are so many strong and inspirational young girls on the climbing scene right now, performing really well and leading the way. It’s very exciting to be part of that and I hope it inspires other girls to take up the sport.”
Berghaus and the BMC recently announced that the brand will sponsor the GB Climbing Team for the next two years. Molly Thompson-Smith is one of 30 women and girls in the team, who compete at events in the UK and around the world. Anyone who is interested in trying out climbing can find out where their nearest wall is on the BMC website at www.thebmc.co.uk/find-a-climbing-wall.
A notorious plastic puller and competition monkey, Molly is Britain’s best female lead competition climber. With many domestic titles to her name, she aims to add senior international ones to the medal haul.