#THISISMYADVENTURE - Jess Grzybowski, Climbing Higher
Climbing and and bouldering have seen a huge boost in popularity in recent years and this continues to escalate rapidly. We’ve been speaking to Jessica Grzybowski to find out more about her first year in the sport and the positive impact it’s had on her life whilst finding out how accessible the sport is and picking up some training tips.
What was clear when we first contacted Jess, was her passion for the sport. Even though she’s only been climbing for under a year it’s clear to see that she’s fallen in love with it and we were intrigued to find out why.
How it all started..
Jessica recounts how she had first experienced climbing some time ago at a friends birthday party but didn’t see it as a practical or affordable hobby at first; attempting to juggle a masters degree with full time work and other adventures. But in 2017 following a conversation with a colleague she was invited to a bouldering gym instantly fell in love with the sport. This was followed with a session outdoors and Jess was hooked!
At first Jess found the bouldering gym’s a little intimidating, ‘muscly men with tops off grunting up problems making sure everyone in the gym knew they were working the hardest boulder’ . (A problem in this instance being a natural or artificial (especially at a wall or when bouldering) layout of holds presenting an obstacle between you and the top).
Many climbing walls offer women’s coaching for free though and this gave Jess the opportunity to get more involved and on the whole she has found the climbing community to be very welcoming; now with a group of friends, ‘both male and female that encourage each other indoors/outdoors regardless of what level we all climb at’.
It’s interesting to see the impact climbing has had on Jess’s training routine, too. Having always built her fitness around a mixture of gym classes, cardio and circuit training, she now focuses more on things that will directly benefit her climbing:
‘I’ve now adopted a more tailored approach to training, which consists of finger board, campus and endurance circuit training, with which I endeavour to mix up between both outdoor sessions and climbing in gyms, keeping it fun. I stress that any finger board and campus training shouldn’t be done till after at-least one year into climbing though as you risk injury. This has only been a recent inclusion for me. Up until this point I have just climbed and learnt how my body moves. (This is the suggested method by most climbing books and coaches)’.
Bouldering is the one…
While Jess enjoys all forms of climbing, there’s no hiding that bouldering specifically, is her favourite discipline; ‘It’s accessible to most people because it doesn’t require the endless list of equipment to get started, just a pad and some friends and permission to climb at certain crags. The movement and problem solving required is what attracts me to the sport. Simply staring at a rock and working out how you can move up it is what makes it such great fun. Having the individual input from your friends is the best, because no matter whether you’re the same body type or not, everyone moves differently and this is the beauty of the sport, it really bringing a sense of community that not many sports can offer. There is something pure to bouldering too that just makes it more about yourself and the rock, and being spoilt for choice with the amazing crags in Yorkshire makes it even more exciting.’.
Got you thinking?
Jess has some pretty straightforward advice for anyone who wants to get involved:
‘If I was to advise anyone looking to start out bouldering, I would say hell yeah!!!!!! Go to your local climbing gym and get involved. Most gyms offer coaching sessions and these are great ways to meet like minded people who are looking to get the same things out of climbing as you are, and you may end up picking up a few lifetime friends along the way.
You can follow Jess along her climbing journey on her Instagram.