Sheila has not only worked her way up the bouldering grades over the years but also up the ranks in the Mountain Equipment shop. She is now the manager of the city store so she has reached the pinnacle of that ladder – the bouldering grades however continue to be accomplished. If you’re out bouldering in Sydney you are sure to run into her after a while and she’s always handy to get the “short” beta on any problem you are trying.
1. How old were you when you started climbing, and how did you get started?
I started climbing in 2003, aged 23. I was inspired after watching a climber on Moon Hill in Yangshuo, China while on a backpacking trip. My manager at work at the time happened to be a climber, he took me to The Climbing Centre in Penrith and the rest is history!
2. List some of your proudest achievements.
When I first started climbing, one of the long term goals that I set myself was to boulder V10, and I achieved it in 2011. I climbed Steve Austin V10 at Sissy Crag after working it every weekend for almost 8 weeks.
Making the podium for the first time in the NSW Boulder State in 2012 and winning the ACT Boulder title in 2013.
Climbing Caroline V10 at Rocklands in 2014. Being able to climb at my maximum ability on a climbing trip made me realise that it was time for me to push my boundaries, and that I can climb harder.
3. Short and long term climbing goals.
Finish a few more of my projects in Sydney and would like to climb some harder lines in the Grampians. I have my sights on Sleepy Hollow V12 at Hollow Mountain Cave. I’ve done all the moves, so it’s only a matter of when it will go.
4. What climb is your biggest nemesis?
Cave Girl V9 at Hollow Mountain Cave in the Grampians. I came off the end a few years ago and haven’t been able to get back to that high point after a hold broke off near the start. It used to make the move to the big pocket less reachy and draining.
5. In three words, describe your ideal climb.
Short. Powerful. Overhanging (I hate slabs!).
6. If you could pick any climber in the world to go on a road trip with, who would it be?
Anna Stoehr. She's an amazing climber, both on rope and bouldering, in the gym or outside. Besides being really strong, she's got a really good, positive attitude to climbing and would be fun to hang out with.
7. If you could pick anywhere in the world as your next climbing trip, where would it be?
I’d like to check out Albarracin in Spain. The bouldering in the forest looks fantastic, and I love old towns.
8. What do you consider to be a good day climbing?
Hanging out with friends at a scenic crag with prime conditions, and everyone sending their projects. That's the perfect day.
9. What has been your favourite climbing day or the most remarkable/funny thing to happen to you on a climb?
I don’t have one favourite day, but our 2014 trip to Rocklands was pretty memorable.
10. How many brand stickers do you have on your favourite water bottle/how many hang boards do you have at your home?
We have two hangboards set up on our balcony.
11. Have you made your own backyard climbing wall?
I live in a unit, so no.
12. Various other quirky/random eccentricities you might have! (i.e,stationary obsessions!)?
I think I’m slightly obsessive compulsive!