Photo Credit @harry.b.irch

Frances Bensley

@francesbensley

Years Climbing: 21 years

Local Crag: Living in the Midlands, local crags are in short supply! I believe Forest Rock is the closest.

Favourite Climbing Destination: Always a tricky one. Currently Magic Wood in Switzerland is leading the way, however, I would love to visit other Swiss climbing destinations as well as explore places I still haven’t been to closer to home. There is quite a lot in North Wales, the Lakes and the South West coast that I am psyched for.

Best Climbing Experience: Initially I thought of Fat Lip. However whilst Fat Lip was a massive achievement for me, I wasn’t necessary the most euphoric moment - it was as much a feeling of relief as it was happiness. It’s difficult to pick just one moment that stands above al the rest, but definitely close to the top would be my top of Jack’s Broken Heart. It is a very aesthetic bloc with some awesome moves and I spent the best part of a week trying it. Funnily enough, I also found it incredibly frustrating which is rare for me as I seldom feel frustration towards boulders to that degree!  With only a couple of days before we left Magic Wood, I made my peace with not doing the bloc that trip. On our last day I had one final session - for whatever reason, possibly the lack of pressure or any expectation, on my first reappoint attempt all of the moves flowed together perfectly and I found myself at the top of the boulder. All of the previous effort and frustration made that particular send all the sweeter!

Favourite Moon Climbing Product: Anyone who knows me, knows I a leggings kind of girl. I absolutely love the new Women's Sigma Leggings and there’s also the new Women's Helius Bra Top which goes together perfectly as a set.

What Is It About Climbing You Love: It started off as something my dad and I shared and it has taken me on some wonderful adventures to many beautiful places. Outdoors is where my passion has always been and whilst not all climbs or boulders are situated in picturesque surroundings, when you find some that are, it's just another thing to be grateful for. Aside from nature, I love how immersive projecting can be and how personally gratifying the smallest bits of progress can be. As arbitrary as getting to the top of a piece of rock my sound to a non climber, it has taught me how to really try hard, and also that patience and persistence can pay off.

Career Highlights: I think at the top must be my first 8B boulder, Fat Lip at Raven Tour. This boulder represents a lot for me. It is the most sessions I have put into anything and the most determined I have ever felt whist tackling something. Yes, it is also the biggest the number I have climbed, but on a personal level, it represents a lot more.

Other hard boulders include:

Keen Roof 8B, Raven Tor

Jack’s Broken Heart 8A+, Magic Wood

Fat Lady 8A+, Bowderstone

Pilgrim 8A/+, Parisella’s

Hardest routes include:

Kale Borroka 8b+, Siurana

La Ruta Del Sol 8b, Santa Linya

Marroncita 8b, Oliana

Massih Attack 8a+, Flatanger

When Not Climbing You Like to: Garden, draw and I have even recently taken up running. I used to love surfing, but until I live a little nearer to the coast, that is going to have to stay on hold!

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