It’s certainly not a secret that I consider Shauna Coxsey to be one of my absolute favorite climbers. She is an inspiration to me, and motivates my own climbing progression. I was thrilled to hear that she won this year’s overall world cup champion. Watching her in the world cups has been mind blowing! These are some seriously hard boulders, and she flashed so many of them. Her strength looked unreal, and made these boulders seem effortless. She was also appointed MBE, which is Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for her services to climbing. This award is given to those who have made a significant achievement or important service to the community. This award comes from her efforts in founding and organizing the Women’s Climbing Symposium, her role as Climber’s Against Cancer Trustee, and being a BMC Ambassador, British Mountaineering Council. She is the first British female to climb V12, V13, and V14 grades. At the young age of 23, she has accomplished so much in her life, and so much for the climbing community. There is probably a lot more to come too.
There are many reasons to admire Shauna Coxsey, as a climber and as a person. In honor of her big wins, I will attempt to lay out a few of my personal reasons.
- She shows that progression is possible with hard work. Everyone wants to be a better climber. There are so many forums and discussions where people desperately search for an easy answer to climb harder grades. There are also a million excuses people give for why they can’t get better. Too old, not enough time, hit their peak, injuries, etc. etc. There are even some professional climbers that seem content with accepting perceived limits to their climbing ability. Not a lot of people want to really put in the effort training, because they think it’s not as fun as climbing. You can test it your own gym or at your crag. Ask someone if they want to be a better climber, they’ll likely say yes. Then offer an intense training plan, and they’ll be like “oh, yeah…maybe,” looked pained, or straight up say no. That’s okay. Not everyone needs to be top athletes, and just having fun climbing is totally fine. Shauna Coxsey, on the other hand, has spent some time dedicated to training hard and it shows with these impressive gains in her ability. She also always looks like she is having a lot of fun with it. I remember, when I first started watching world cups and saw Shauna. She was obviously a good climber, because making it into world cups, to semis and to finals, are all impressive feats on their own.However, she was easy to miss among powerhouse climbers of the time like Anna Stohr. Regardless, there was something about her that caught my eye. Now, she is winning the overall title and so many of those climbs were flashes. She went from a good climber to an amazing climber by really training and working hard. There is no way to miss her now. If someone can do that at their limit level and at the overall limit level of strong climbing in the world, imagine what could happen with your climbing? There is so much room for progression if you put the work in, and that is really inspiring.
- She is a good role model. Shauna is a great role model in a lot of ways. Recently I read an article about women in sports using their sexiness to sell. There are some females athletes whose social media looks more like porn than an athlete’s page. People have argued some females seem more popular and supported based on looks than talent. I won’t get into a tangent with this because there is so much out there already. What I will say is that Shauna is not afraid to be herself and seems so confident in who she is. She is a beautiful girl, but the talent and personality is what she really highlights. Her social media looks more like your best friend’s page. It’s covered in silly pictures and fun posts. It also is about showcasing her talent and sunny, positive personality. She is a person that is well liked, and well liked for reasons you want to be and can aspire to.She is doing a lot for the climbing community in general and for female climbers. She seems like a good friend, kind person, and very dedicated to her goals. Her passion for climbing is apparent, and she puts in the effort, no excuses.
3. She is fun to watch. No one seems to climb quite like Shauna. I’m always so impressed by the unique movement she comes up with, and her ability to stick seemingly impossible things. Some of the positions she finds herself in are crazy, but it’s always entertaining. It has really encouraged me to think outside the beta box with my climbing. When stuck, why not try something seemingly ridiculous? It’s part of learning and you might be surprised what comes from it. Everyone does things different, and there are times that beta no one else could use has been what made me successful on a route. Her posts on social media are light, goofy, and put a smile on my face to see. She also will like, retweet, or respond to comments fairly often, which is nice. I would say that, in my personal experience, Shauna, Sean McColl, and Joe Kinder are really amazing to their fans in terms of this responsiveness. They are all people whose personality shines through strong too. I admire the fan dedication. Of course, I’m bias as a fan.
4. She could be an excellent resource/learning tool. Training is one of those things that is kind of foggy in the climbing world. A lot of climbers are following training programs, but the question of does it work is hardly answered. A lot of climbers struggle to explain why their training works scientifically, and sometimes it’s hard to know what part of that training is really working. Then there are a bunch of climbers who just climb a lot, or have really awful training/diets and somehow still power through. Training has a long way to go in terms of being useful, quantifiable, etc. Shauna might be a good step in unlocking some training knowledge. She follows a training plan that is more advance and structured than many other types (ex: just climb a lot, or do things on the campus board), and is done with a coach who would know some of the reasons why those work outs are good. Those work outs obviously work since there has been strong and noticeable progression in her climbing.
These are just a few reasons why I admire Shauna Coxsey. There are so many more out there. She seems like a genuinely amazing person, and I look forward to seeing what else she accomplishes as her career in climbing continues. Congrats to her on her huge accomplishments! She has worked hard, and deserves them. She is definitely a climber to keep watching, if you haven’t been already. Feel free to add your own reasons for liking and being happy for Shauna in the comments below.