Maybe it should be no surprise that free soloing climber Anna Taylor will have some amazing stories to share when she speaks on Friday, May 13 at the Kendal Mountain Tour at Eden Court.
Anna has had her ups and downs with climbing, mostly ups.
In 2019, as the youngest person in the team, Anna joined a six-strong team led by Leo Houlding heading for Mount Roraima in Guyana. The summit is said to be the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World featuring dinosaurs, and over two weeks, they climbed The Prow, a 2,000ft wall.
Last year Anna completed a gritty challenge of stamina and courage when she set a record for becoming the first woman to complete a continuous round of every route of the 83 that feature in the climber’s guidebook Classic Rock written by Ken Wilson. Anna soloed most of the routes and cycled between each set, covering 2,400 kilometres and climbing over 10,000 metres, which took her from southwest England and after 62 days, finishing on the Cuillins on Skye.
Anna did start early, so perhaps her achievements should not seem so unusual.
From Windermere the 23-year-old said: “I grew up in a very outdoorsy family which is something that I am very grateful for now.
“I probably started being taken up mountains from when I was very – as long as I can remember really.
“I was carried up quite a few as a baby!
“Then when I was a kid, my dad used to take me fell walking – climbing, mountain-biking, kayaking, all that kind of thing. So I’ve definitely been quite outdoorsy from an early age.”
But Anna’s rapid progress as she grew up left room to reconsider.
“I got properly into climbing when I was about 10 and was totally obsessed with it for a few years and did competitions as a junior.
“But the competitive environment for whatever reason didn’t quite agree with me.
“I ended up quitting climbing altogether for about four years, I think, and went to college and did music – I had a total change of direction!”
But it sounds like even with a change of direction, Anna’s love for climbing hadn’t disappeared …
The young climber explained: “A band I was in – the other members were into climbing and I started going to a climbing wall with them, I was about 17 at this point.
“Then I just got rehooked and from there I started working at the local climbing wall full-time and – just very quickly – it snowballed and I got into outdoor traditional climbing which is one of the more popular styles in the UK – to climb while placing your own protection into the natural features of the rock with these little metal devices.
“I fairly quickly progressed through the …….