Our resident original rock chick Amelia has been tearing her way up through the grades recently, getting stronger and stronger as she graduates from Team chimera to a fully-fledged member of the Chimera Crew. Amelia has well and truly caught the climbing bug and at 17, is just getting started.
“I grew up bouldering but I’m so excited to try trad, I’ve never done it,” she said with a smile when asked which climbing discipline she preferred. “And lead, lead I got to do for the first time outside in South Africa and it was amazing. So different, but so much fun!”
Amelia lights up when she talks about climbing, and it is clear that the sport she took up four years ago has left a lasting impression. She has already graduated outdoors, with plenty of ticks on the local sandstone to her name along with some routes in her native South Africa. Unsurprisingly, Rocklands is on the dream list, and so is some Big Wall climbing. But first and foremost, she has a more local goal for this summer.
“I’d love to tick Nicotine Alley at Bowles. I’ve had a go, but not linked all the moves yet. There are a few more top rope routes there too as well that I'd like to try. Then the plan is to get to Font, as I’ve never been and hopefully travel on from there into Spain, if the weather plays ball.”
Like many of us, Amelia fell in love with climbing for all the things it offered that conventional sport didn’t. The typical school sports of netball and hockey didn’t appeal, and nor did football. But climbing, which was close to a team sport in terms of having the support of your peers without having the pressure to perform for them, suited her perfectly. She cites the community aspect as one of her favourite things at chimera, along with the problem solving that is part and parcel of bouldering.
From being inspired by ‘super cool’ Tommy Caldwell, to lighting up at the mention of resident setter Abbi McDonald – although that had as much to do with eyeliner goals as climbing – it's clear that Amelia lives and breathes this sport, and she exudes passion whenever anything to do with climbing is mentioned.
We were privileged enough to be present when she was offered the job of Route Setting Apprentice, and it was an absolute joy to see how happy and excited she was at the prospect of setting here at Chimera. But what style can we look out for?
“Crimpy, technical blocs – slabby, definitely slabby,” she said, which will be music to many people’s ears. “I love slab climbing, the balance and precision of it, the combination with finger strength and being able to surprise people mid-route with something techy. There are so many possibilities!”