Interview | Hazel Findlay
Hazel Findlay, who has been climbing for over 20 years, is one of the worlds most popular & famous climbers. A six-time British junior champion, Hazel turned to trad-climbing at 16, and has clocked up some outrageously impressive achievements: successfully climbing “The Doors” in Italy, the “Book of Hate” in Yosemite, “Mind Control” in Oliana, Spain, and “Air Sweden” in Indian Creek, Utah.
We had a few moments to chat to Hazel about how she fuels her career as a pro-climber…
Hazel, ahead of a competition or a big climb, let's say the night before, what sort of meals/foods are you having? “Nothing too heavy. Maybe a quinoa stir fry or chicken with vegetables”.
Do you eat much in the morning on the day you climb? “I’ll usually eat 2 eggs with rice cakes, sometimes I will add almond butter and/or an avocado”.
On your huge climbs, where you could be on a rock face for a significant period of time, do you carry any food or snacks with you? “Absolutely. I usually take dried fruit and nuts. Sometimes in bar form. If I will be gone for a long time I might take some dried meat”.
Are you eating much after competing, or after a long climb? Can you eat pretty much anything you like? “I generally just try to eat enough protein and hydrate enough”.
Does your diet change much over the year? Are you taking on-board more calories during the summer or winter? “Maybe slightly more calories in the summer but I tend to do big days in winter also”.
Do you eat much when you are training; do you have a protein bar or shake within easy reach? “Not really. I use Motion Nutrition for recovery after a session”.
Max Lahiff (Pro rugby player here in the UK) came down to our studio and said sleep and nutrition are king for recovery, do you find the same? “Yes I think enough sleep especially is hugely under estimated”.
What are the most common meals in your house? Do you have to make sure you're eating XX amount of calories per day/week? “Vegetables, quinoa, rice, we try to minimise meat due to environmental concerns but if we are training or climbing a lot we will eat meat 1 or 2 times per week. We eat tinned fish such as mackerel”.
Is there anything you actively avoid? “Milk, too much sugar, anything overly processed”.
Final few questions, stepping away from nutrition: Do you have a favourite place to climb? Yosemite National Park.
Is there a particular climb that stands out in your career so far? “Salathe on El Capitan”.
What piece of equipment is in your bag en-route to a climb, that people might be surprised about? “I have a squeezey dog ball in my bag for warming up my fingers!”.