Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?
My name is Emmott and I’m a non-binary person from Sheffield. I’ve always had a connection with nature and the outdoors, which drew me to study Biology at uni in Sheffield where I got involved in climbing, caving, running and generally exploring the Peak District and further afield. This has led me to have all sorts of adventures, including working in the Peak District as a ranger, helping to lead an expedition discovering new caves in Spain, and running through the night in snowy Snowdonia.
Give us three words that you identify with most?
Tree-hugger, socialist, caver.
What brings you the most joy outdoors?
Forging relationships with other people based on shared experiences in awe inspiring places. I’m not always naturally motivated to get outdoors, but the community that exists around outdoor sports is so valuable to me. It doesn’t matter if you’re sat in someone’s kitchen having a brew, or being dragged up a gritstone crag screaming, good friends who’ve got your back make life better. It’s all about having someone who suggests getting outside when you’d rather just sit in and watch netflix, or doing the same for someone else when you’re feeling super psyched.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Realising that the “dream job” I got fresh out of uni wasn’t as amazingly perfect as I first thought it was, and quitting it so that I could pursue my ambitions to leave the world a better place than I found it.
If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?
For me the most important thing in life is being true to yourself. That’s what led me to come out as non binary despite doubts hanging over me about whether it would make any “difference” as I’ve always been . the same person underneath. What I’ve found over the last year is that by living everyday being outwardly the person I am on the inside, my interactions with the world are more meaningful as a result.
I’ve found a similar thing in my relationship with the climbing community. I spent my years at uni trying really hard to be “a climber”; training, pushing myself at the wall, generally making myself a bit miserable by trying to be something I’m not. Now I’m still a member of the climbing community even if I barely ever squeeze my feet into shoes 2 sizes too small for me, and when the mood strikes me the climbing I do is so much more fulfilling and exciting.
Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?
Be openly and courageously accepting of anyone who you encounter through climbing (or life in general). Take people for who they are at face value and don’t ask them to change to fit your way of thinking. This is hard, and it takes work, but it’s important work and will make our community so much more powerful as a result :)