International Women’s Day is a day for celebration, and at Spider Climbing, it’s no different! Today we celebrate the women of Spider Climbing – the route-setters, staff members and most importantly, the climbers!
This year, the International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. We’ve put together this blog post to show you the progress we’re making at Spider – a safe space for women to climb, learn and prosper in this mostly male dominated area of sport.
Route Setting at Spider Climbing
As you all know, route-setting is the very heart of indoor climbing. Without it, we wouldn’t have much to climb at all!
Spider Climbing Head Setter Evie Cotrulia has always worked to make climbing and route setting more accessible for women:
“ I got into setting by accident 12+ years ago. It was just a bit of fun in addition to my main job because it seemed that women setters just weren’t really a thing back then. A couple of years later I got a job as a DM with a bit of setting at White Spider which very quickly morphed into a role they were missing… Route Setting Manager. This was 10 years ago at a time when I could probably only name one other female setter!
Although there are a few female setters now, this wasn’t always the case, so with managing a setting diary I made it my mission back then to make a difference and actively seek out females to book, trying make it the norm to have at least one female on every set.
I also now teach setting both at Spider and in pop up Creative Climbing workshops around the country with fellow female setter Emma Twyford.
In an ideal world we would have a 50/50 split of male and female setters at Spider, however this is a challenge due to availability and the need for even more females to pick up impact drivers!
We are currently hovering in and around the 25% mark with White, Red and Green, and with our newest centres Blue and yellow we are on the case to improve. We now also have 3 female staff setters on the Spider Group team who regularly set… myself, Billie and Hannah”
Evie Cotrulia – Head Setter at Spider Climbing
The White Spider Climbing Squad
Now, the setting wouldn’t be worth doing if there weren’t mega enthusiastic climbers to clamber all over the routes and blocs we set!
The White Spider Climbing Squad are the most enthusiastic and hard-working climbers we know. Not only do they climb nearly every route and boulder in the centre as they’re set, they represent us at competitions all over the UK, and even internationally.
The Squad is made up of 18 super talented kids, 8 of whom are girls. Lucy Rattue used to be a member of the Squad herself:
“I have been a part of the White Spider Competition Squad for almost 10 years since it first began. Going from being a part of the squad to now coaching it has been a really cool experience. Throughout these years it has been incredible to be surrounded by so many strong climbers and within that so many strong female climbers. When I was younger and climbing in the squad I always looked up to the other girls in the squad and the female coaches. They motivated me to try my hardest and be the best climber I could be. Now getting to coach so many strong girls in the squad is really amazing. They are all so determined and seeing them climb so hard is unbelievable. How supportive they all are of each other is really wonderful. Seeing the older girls help out the younger ones and cheering them up if they are ever upset is amazing. Getting to be one of their coaches is really incredible.”
Lucy Rattue – former Squad member and current Squad Coach
Keep up with the White Spider Climbing Squad:
Coming Soon! Blue Spider Ladies Social!
Just in time for International Women’s Day, we’ve got a great new social session starting at Blue Spider soon!
This session is a safe space for women to come climbing in a welcoming environment to make friends, pick up technique tips and tricks, or to get a bit more confident with climbing in general. One of our instructors will be on hand throughout the session to help you out with beta or to just be there as a confidence boost. Watch out for more details in the coming weeks about how to get involved!
Happy International Women’s Day everyone!