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Climbers Like Me: Hannah

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?

I’m Hannah / Hann. I’m 4ft 11”, 40 years young, a Charity CEO and Co-Founder of my local Climbing Club. I have Stage 4 Endometriosis and I love travel, adventure and supporting others to develop. I’m a CWI, RCI trainee and hope to pass my RCI and my Climbing Foundation Coach Assessment later this year.

Give us three words that you identify with most?

Kindness, Nature, Friendship.

What brings you the most joy outdoors?

I feel at peace when I’m outside in the countryside. All my worries and stresses fade away and I feel an inner calm that I struggle to find elsewhere. From the tranquillity of paddleboarding to the challenge of conquering my fears when Leading trad or just jogging through fields with the dog; it never disappoints. Unless its freezing and I can’t feel my hands and feet!

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

My biggest challenge to date has been learning to live with Stage 4 Endometriosis and how it affects my ability to enjoy the activities I love. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue like the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. In my case it particularly likes my bladder and kidneys. It can affect women of any age and can have a significant impact on your life and whilst there is no cure there are treatments (including surgery) that can help. Symptoms can include chronic pain, fatigue/lack of energy, painful periods that stop you from doing normal activities, depression/isolation, problems with your sex life/relationships, an inability to conceive and difficulty in fulfilling work and social commitments. In the UK, around 1.5 million women and those assigned female of birth are currently living with the condition, regardless of race or ethnicity. As a climber and lover of outdoor activities and sport, I’ve found the condition to be extremely debilitating. It’s been a huge hurdle balancing the condition alongside my love for being active and enjoying the outdoors.

If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?

It taken me a long time to accept this for myself but always listen to your body; it’s ok to say no if you are not feeling well. Now if I’m having a chronic pain flare up instead of struggling on in agony and trying to pretend I’m ok, I am open and honest about my condition and stay home. Yes, I get bad FOMO but there are always other opportunities.

Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?

Smile and take an interest in others. It’s such a simple and easy thing to do and helps put people at ease, relax and feel welcome. A few years ago, my husband and I set up a charity climbing initiative in our hometown. It prides itself on making everyone feel welcome and included and we believe this simple interaction with people has led to us having one of the most diverse and friendly groups of climbers imaginable.

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