Katy Whittaker is one of the UK's top female climbers. She has excelled in a number of different climbing disciplines, from indoor competitions, to bold grit routes and hard sport lines.
“I like climbing best where you have to think and use technique and balance rather than your arms,” says Katy. “I also love big days out in the mountains, testing your ability to just keep going. Not necessarily hard climbing but long days where you come back to the campsite totally done in. In America I enjoyed the epics and suffering in a weird way, they have more of an impact/ lasting memory on me than say sending a hard boulder/sport climb.”
Katy was born in Burnley, but grew up in Edale in the Peak District. Her introduction to the outdoor life came early with an abundance of family holidays focussed upon walking, scrambling and climbing.
Katy did her first lead on an indoor wall at the age of eight and started doing BRYCCS competitions a few years later. She got onto the junior team aged 12. Competitions suited her and she kept a place in the British Team for most of the following decade, taking regular podium positions along the way.
In 2007, her first year as a senior competitor, she won the British Bouldering Championship.
“That was pretty cool,” says Katy. “It definitely put a big smile on my face and made all the hard work and stress of comps seem worthwhile.”
Katy continued to compete in the Boulder World Cups on and off but could never really fully commit to indoor climbing, saying “Training on perfect grit days didn’t make any sense.”