Louise Flockhart | Interview

Louise Flockhart | Interview

Introducing the newest member of the SCARPA team: Louise Flockhart.

Louise is a Scottish climber and is part of the GB Climbing Team for both boulder and lead, competing at senior European Cups with potential for World Cups.

We spoke to Louise to find our all about her and her hopes for the future.

Hi Louise, welcome to the SCARPA team! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into climbing?

I don’t come from a climbing family, so I feel very lucky to have found the sport so young. When I was a toddler, my mum would take me to our local soft play which happened to be at the UK’s biggest climbing centre, EICA Ratho. They had a ‘mini boulder’ in the soft play which I enjoyed climbing on so a few years later when I turned 8, I began kids climbing classes. I was awful to start, but I really enjoyed it and was very determined. I started competing a couple of years later and made it on to the local wall youth team. Many a session later, I was selected for the Scottish Youth Team and then the GB Junior Team.

You’ve recently won the ASBO for the second year in a row how was that comp for you?

I love the ASBO! There’s always such a friendly atmosphere at The Valley, Newcastle. This year I found the qualification set ‘old school’, which was a nice change from the complex comp blocs that I’m used to.

I didn’t make too many mistakes and I was pleased to qualify for finals. In finals we had a varied set which required flexibility, power and a lot of try hard. My favourite problem was Bloc 2. It consisted of an awkward start, into a super physical shouldery move in which I had to jump my feet up onto a volume to stick the move. The top required some heavy crimping and trusting your feet on low profile volumes – I was glad to be wearing my Drago LVs. Hopefully at next year’s comp I can make it three wins in a row!

Louise Flockhart at ASBO 2021  Ed Wong

This year you are taking a year out to focus on climbing – what are your goals for this year and beyond?

This year I finished school and had the opportunity to move to Sheffield to focus on climbing. It was a learning curve to balance moving out of home with increased training, competing and work, but I am very grateful to have had great support and I’ve seen big improvements in my climbing.

This year my focus is on collecting podium positions and making finals at junior international competitions. At the senior European and World Cups I would like to progress through as many rounds as possible and gain as much experience as possible. My main focus for this year is on the Youth World Championships in South Korea in August.

My season has got off to a great start as I recently took home a bronze medal from the European Youth Cup in Graz, Austria. My first ever EYC was in Graz and I finished 29th so it felt quite nostalgic to be on the podium at my final EYC. It was a privilege to be part of such a strong GB team, with Brits making finals in every category.

Beyond this season, I hope to become established on the World Cup circuit with the long-term goal of competing at the LA 2028 Olympics.

Away from competitions, do you have any goals or projects you are working on on rock?

I have a few outdoor projects at the minute. I’m desperate to get back to Torridon to climb Malc’s Arete, 7b. I first tried this Scottish classic last April but walked away empty handed as I couldn’t stick the final move. My sandstone project is Sprung, 7c at Bowden Doors in Northumberland.

Who or what inspires your climbing the most?

My climbing is inspired by a wide variety of things. It could be someone trying insanely hard on a boulder at my local wall, a video of a creative dyno on Instagram or athletes achieving highly in other sports. I find people pushing their limits and doing cool stuff sick and it pushes me to do the same in my own way.

What are your top training tips?

  1. Set goals. To improve, you first need to know what you want to improve. Setting goals ensures your training feels purposeful and you can track your progress towards them. Goals don’t have to be climbing certain grades or hitting a certain number of pull ups, but try to make them measurable.
  2. Balance training with life. Being busy with exams or work will, whether you like it or not, have an impact on your training. It’s better to miss or adjust one session, than to risk injury from training whilst stressed or busy.
  3. Make it fun! If you aren’t having fun (at least 50% of the time) it will be much harder to stay motivated. Why not complete your hardest training session with a friend or blast some of your favourite music? I like to make up fun challenges in training or visit different walls for variety.

Ajda Remškar

If you could design a new SCARPA climbing shoe, what would it be like?

I can’t think of how I could technically improve a new Scarpa shoe so maybe I would change up the look. I’d would love to have a glow in the dark shoe with some sort of funky pattern on it.

What advice would you give to other young climbers who are looking to progress in competitions?

My top piece of advice would be to believe in yourself. There will be ups and downs but if you back yourself you can get through whatever is thrown at you. Not every session needs to be perfect, what matters is your consistency and enjoyment. Take the time to evaluate and be clear of your motivations because it will make the hardest days feel much easier. I believe the most important thing is to enjoy the journey because you will perform much better if you are happy.