Fran Brown grew up in Cornwall and started climbing age 11. She climbed for 11 years before a spinal cord injury resulted in disability. Nonetheless, she resolved to get back into climbing and is now the World Paraclimbing Champion, is sponsored by Arch Climbing wall and is an experienced route setter. She also uses her limited spare time to enjoy skiing, skydiving and surfing. Editor Heleana Quartey catches up with her.
It must be great to be sponsored by the Arch – I love that place. Do tell us how it came about.
I was looking for sources of support in the run up to the 2012 would championships as I was unable to afford to train full time and compete due to a lack of funds. I climbed at the Arch and was doing most of my training there and therefore it seemed an obvious place to ask for some help. I approached the director, Fred Stone and he kindly agreed to support me.
Give us some insight into your training schedule. How did you prepare in terms of training – and mindset – to become the World Paraclimbing Champion?
When I was training for competitions, I was training full time, 40 hours a week including gym time, climbing and cross training such as swimming. Now i’m taking time away from competing I am still training 30 hours a week alongside university in preparation for outdoor trips I have planned this summer. I like to approach my training quite methodically and find this gives me confidence when I compete or go on a trip. I know if I have put the hours in and don’t make mistakes I can perform well.
Where do you love to climb the most and what do you love about that place?
I love to climb anywhere indoors or out. Indoors I love the arch for its awesome training facilities and sheer variety of climbing. Outdoors I am not fussy, I just love being in the outdoors. I like climbing in Cornwall where I grew up as it reminds me of my climbing roots and keeps me grounded but anywhere outdoors that is challenging with a good group of companions is perfect.
Got any big trips planned this year?
I am planning a number of outdoor trips but I’m keeping them under wraps at the moment as I decide on filming opportunities and funding.