Climber, route setter, climbing coach and videographer
Thank you to Jo for letting us interview her at Oakwood Climbing Centre.
Who you are and what do you do?
My name is Jo and I’m a setter, coach and videographer.
What was your first climbing experience?
I was about 12 years old, I went to a climbing centre in a place called Sunbury-on-Thames, at the Leisure Centre. Used some hire shoes that had some massive holes in the toes [laughs]. Loved it, but found it very hard.
How did you know that climbing was your thing? I think I just got a bit obsessed with it. The more you do it, the more you love it and just keep going back. Yeah, you know – you know the feeling.
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
I have two, am I allowed to have two? [Rose, says yes]. My first one is a place called Val di Mello, have you heard of it? [Rose says no]. It’s in Italy, in the Alps mountain range. There’s lots of single day long, trad climbing. Like leading but placing your own gear as you go up. Lots and lots of crack climbing, good fun. The other place is Yosemite because it’s just so beautiful out there.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
Proudest moment … I think probably climbing when I went to Yosemite in 2013. Climbed El Cap which was hard, very hard but pretty epic when you get to the top. Amazing views.
[Which route?] Just The Nose, can’t say just [laughs], it’s really hard okay [laughs]. It was an amazing, amazing experience. Just amazing to be out there to be honest.
[Rose – would you like to make your own route?] Establish a new route, yeah I’d love to do that. That’d be really fun. I think it’d be quite hard because you’d have to go somewhere where people haven’t already put something up, so either it’s going to be really hard or really overgrown and you have to clean the rock first, but yeah I’d love to do that. Good question.
What are your ambitions?
I want to go back to Yosemite and climb some of the other climbs there like Half Dome and I want to do The Nose again with my husband. I dunno just keep seeing how far I can go in all the different types of climbing I don’t have any specific ambitions. Just to keep climbing.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
I would actually say I’m a lead climber but I’ve hardly done any lead climbing in the last year since Oakwood opened because I just really like the people here so I always come here. [laughs] this is turning into a plug for Oakwood, Oakwood is great [laughs]. So, bouldering and lead, I’m terrible at speed climbing.
What are your most liked and hated healthy foods?
[laughs] What’s healthy that I like? Is Chicken Caesar salad healthy? I love chicken Caesar salad. I don’t really like broccoli. Sorry is that allowed [Rose looks shocked] I have to mix it with other foods to disguise the flavour. I am sorry. I do still eat it though, I don’t leave it, I don’t waste broccoli [laughs]
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
Maybe cycling, but it’s not really fun at this time of the year.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
I used to wear a t-shirt that I made when I was about 15 that said “When in doubt, dyno”. [laughs]. I’m not very good at dynos so I’m not sure why I made that t-shirt, maybe I thought it would make me better at dynos. I like that.
For more information about Jo, see her website or Instagram
Interviewed by Rose