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Climbers Like Me: Shivaun

Updated: May 10, 2021

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

My name is Shivaun. I grew up in India in a crowded metropolitan city with not much access to the outdoors. As a child, I loved running around barefoot, making inventive creations from nature and climbing trees. I discovered climbing as a sport when I moved to London after university at the age of 21.

Give us three words that you identify with most?

Try, fail, learn.

What brings you the most joy outdoors?

I value the impact that nature and being outdoors has on my mental health and I want to share this with others. I spent two years as an outdoor guide in China and Southeast Asia, where I taught kids wilderness skills and introduced them to climbing, kayaking, hiking and multi-day expeditions in nature. These kids, like me, also grew up in large cities, and watching some of them thrive and be free in the outdoors gave me a lot of joy.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

My biggest challenge to date is keeping my ego, insecurities and privilege in check. I’ve come to realise that our ego is a false identity that we create for ourselves based on how we want other people to view us. Focussing on the climber I am rather than the climber I want to be has helped me to recognise and address my weaknesses.

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

In the last 5 years, I’ve appreciated the increased momentum of diversity and inclusivity initiatives in the outdoor industry. I look forward to the day when these conversations become mainstream and the outdoor industry will include, acknowledge and be respectful of everyone. But right now we should recognise that this momentum is a result of repressed voices that finally have a platform to be heard. We must listen.

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

I have fond memories of the people who were with me for my first outdoor lead, first fall, first trad climb, first multi pitch, and first project. Each time I stepped out of my comfort zone, I had people to support me. The best thing we can do in the climbing community is to pay it forward :)

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