Name: Frances Bensley
I have been climbing for over 20 years now, where I started aged 6 with my dad. I have always loved that outdoors and exploring new blocs and climbing pieces of rock seems to be where I am happiest.
Currently, I predominately boulder, but I still love an occasional sport climbing trip. I am very passionate about environmental issues and to reflect that, I have recently started a MSc degree in Biodiversity and Conservation.
Get to know Frances
Tell us about your successes so far?
The most stand out problems are Fat Lip 8B, Keen Roof 8B, Jack’s Broken Heart 8A/8A+ and Burly McFreewilly 8A+. I also climbed Kale Borroka 8b+ in 2018 and more recently, Mecca 8b+.
What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?
I have recently moved to Sheffield and so I am keen to try and work my way through some of the classic grit problems and possible spend a bit more time on a rope. Longer terms, I would like to commit a bit of time and see if I can climb 8B+ boulder and 8c route.
Why do you climb? What do you love about climbing?
Climbing is something that I have always had and taken part in, just for myself and the joy that it brings to me. Outdoor climbing is where my passion for climbing has always been, and it has facilitated some wonderful memories and experiences.
Personally, I love the projecting process - how finding the tiniest pieces of micro beta, or in some cases, just trying harder can make something that seemingly felt impossible, suddenly feasible.
Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?
The Booster are my go-to shoes for outdoors, however, I love the Drago LV as a soft shoe alternative and the heel is amazing.
Tell us about your best day climbing?
This is always a tough question, as some of my favourite days don’t necessarily involve hard sending, but rather, spending time with friends pottering outdoors.
Possibly my favourite sending day this year, was when I ticked off Burly McFreewilly, 8A+ at Churnet. It is a bloc that I have put quite a lot of time into over the last year or so. It has two hard moves that require a lot of tension, followed by one that is quite possibly the most satisfying move I have ever done and initially, I couldn’t even touch it in isolation.
Sending this bloc was a culminating of everything that I love about projecting and climbing.
What do you do away from your sport?
Studying for my masters - balancing work and play is currently my biggest challenge!
Pretty much everywhere! I would love to visit Rocklands, but equally there are still so many problems and places in Europe, particularly in Switzerland, that I would love to explore.
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