Hazel Findlay

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Hazel Findlay (born 1989) is a British trad climber and big wall free climber who has been called "the best female mountaineer in Britain".[1] She was the first female British climber to climb a route graded E9, and the first to climb a route graded 8c/5.14b. She has free climbed El Capitán four times on four different routes, and made many first female ascents. Climbing magazine gave her their Golden Piton award for trad climbing in 2013.


Findlay was born in 1989,[2] the daughter of climber Steve Findlay.[3] She began climbing on the sea cliffs of Pembrokeshire with her father when she was seven years old.[4][5] She became a six-time junior national rock climbing champion, but gave up indoor competitive climbing in favour of trad climbing.[2] She is a graduate of the University of Bristol, where she studied philosophy.[6] She lives in Sheffield.[4]

Notable climbs[edit]

Findlay made the first female ascent of a British E9 grade climb with her June 2011 climb of Dave Birkett's route Once Upon a Time in the South West (E9 6c) at Dyer's Lookout in Devon.[1][3][7]

She is the first British woman to free climb El Capitán in Yosemite National Park, which she has done four times:[6] she made the first female ascent of Golden Gate in 2011,[4] the first female ascent of Pre-Muir Wall in 2012,[8] and an ascent of Freerider in only three days in 2013.[9] In 2017 she free-climbed the Salathé Wall.[10]

She was the first person to free-climb Adder Crack (5.13a), in Squamish, British Columbia, in 2012.[11] With Jack Geldard, she made the first ascent of the front face of the Aiguille de Saussure, a spire in the Mont Blanc massif, Chamonix, France, also in 2012.[12]

Other first female ascents by Findlay include

In 2014, she climbed Fish Eye in Oliana, Spain, reaching a difficulty level of 8c/5.14b. Although not a first female ascent (the route had been climbed in 2010 by Daila Ojeda) it was the highest level attained by a British female climber.[18][19] In 2017, she climbed Mind Control (8c), also in Oliana.[20] As well as trad climbing, Findlay has also climbed sport climbing routes.[21]

Awards and sponsorship[edit]

Climbing magazine gave Findlay their Golden Piton award for trad climbing in 2013, citing climbs including Chicama and Freerider.[8]

She is professionally sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Beta Climbing Designs, Sterling Rope, Ellis Brigham, Yes Nurse, and Mule Bar.[5]


  1. ^ a b Wetzel, Fran (2012), "Brit woman climber is 'best in UK'", The Sun.
  2. ^ a b Ambassadors – Hazel Findlay, La Sportiva, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  3. ^ a b "Hazel Findlay with the First Female Ascent of Once Upon a Time in the Southwest (E9 6c)", Rock & Ice, archived from the original on 2016-03-04, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  4. ^ a b c McCarthy, James (30 May 2015), How climber Hazel Findlay conquered Yosemite's 3,000ft El Capitan in five days, WalesOnline.
  5. ^ a b Kaikobad, Vera (May 28, 2015), "On the Cover: Hazel Findlay", ClimbSkiBoulderMagazine.
  6. ^ a b Hazel Findlay, Black Diamond Equipment, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  7. ^ Geldard, Jack (July 2011), Hazel Findlay and Charlie Woodburn – E9 – Details, UK Climbing.
  8. ^ a b MacDonald, Dougald (2013), "Golden Pitons 2013 – Traditional", Climbing, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  9. ^ Campell, Duncan (October 2013), INTERVIEW: Hazel Findlay Climbs Freerider on El Cap, UK Climbing.
  10. ^ "Hazel Findlay Frees Salathe Wall 5.13 on El Cap", Gripped, December 1, 2017
  11. ^ Carpenter, Hayden (21 July 2015), "Vikki Weldon Makes Fourth Free Ascent of Adder Crack (5.13 R)", Rock & Ice, retrieved 2018-01-11.
  12. ^ "Jack Geldard", Pro Team, DMM Climbing, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  13. ^ MacDonald, Dougald (May 12, 2010), "Hazel Findlay Does Air Sweden (5.13R)", Climbing.
  14. ^ "Hazel and Marc-Andre Do 69", Gripped: The Climbing Magazine, 31 August 2010.
  15. ^ Geldard, Jack (May 2011), Hazel Findlay Climbs San Simeon – E8, UK Cliimbing.
  16. ^ "Watch Hazel Findlay Send A Hard Italian Crack", Gripped: The Climbing Magazine, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  17. ^ Geldard, Jack (March 2013), Hazel Findlay on Chicama E9 6c – More Info and Photos, UK Climbing.
  18. ^ "Hazel Findlay climbs 8c with Fish Eye", SA Mountain, 7 April 2014[permanent dead link].
  19. ^ Gannaway, Ryan (8 April 2014), "Hazel Findlay Becomes the First British Woman to Climb 5.14b", Rock & Ice, retrieved 2015-10-11.
  20. ^ Berry, Natalie (4 Mar 2017), Mind Control 8c by Hazel Findlay, UK Climbing, retrieved 2018-02-28
  21. ^ Geldard, Jack (July 2012), Ceuse 8b for Hazel Findlay, UK Climbing.

External links[edit]