Our latest instalment in our ‘Meet the Team’ series is Alistair Earley. Al is one of Australia’s strongest competition climbers, and has represented Australia on multiple occasions, at both the youth and adult level. Not just a strong climber, a good bloke to boot – he won a sportsmanship award for his participation in the Australian Youth Team in 2015. He’s also a recent addition to the Rocksports routesetting crew, and coaches some of our up and coming climbers. We recently caught up with Al to find out a little more about his competition past, and what he gets up to when he’s not climbing or training.
So Al, exactly how many comps have you entered in your climbing career so far?
I’ve been competing for the last 10 years or so, and after all that time I’ve kind of forgotten how many competitions I’ve done. In the past 18 months though I think I’ve climbed in 18 competitions, some of them overseas at the World Cups and World Youth Championships. It’s been a pretty full on two years, but I love competing so that makes it easier.
Do you have ambitions to ever spend less time pulling on plastic and more time ticking some hard routes outside?
Recently I got to spend a few days in Font after climbing in the Paris World Championships, and those were definitely some of my favourite days of the trip. I think getting outdoors will certainly take priority at some point, but at the moment I’m really enjoying comps and that means more time in the gym, on the plastic.
Who is your biggest climbing influence?
I find it hard to pick just one person who’s influenced my climbing. I started climbing fairly young, and so I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few different coaches and climb with dozens of people, all of which influenced me in different ways and different amounts.
I’m definitely most inspired though by the top competitors on the World Cup Circuit. They put in so much unrelenting work, day after day for years on end, all to chase down that dream of being World Champion, and that’s super inspiring to me.
What do you do when you’re not sending?
I spend a lot of time at the gym, even when I’m not climbing. Between setting, coaching and training, that’s most of the week taken up. I’m actually pretty lazy on my days off, just hanging around at home. I’d like to head back to uni at some point, as soon as I work out what I want to study, but until then it’s all about climbing.
How are you liking setting so far?
Setting is one of my favourite parts of working at Rocksports, and I enjoy it just as much as I enjoy climbing. It’s been a challenge, and sometimes it can feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, but I’m learning a lot, and those great moments when everything works are slowly getting less rare. I think setting is also translating well to my climbing; sequences make more sense, and it’s a lot easier to get into the setters’ head and work out what they were trying to force. I don’t know where exactly I’d like to go with setting, but with climbing taking off so quickly in Australia, I think it’s a good skill to be learning now.
Al is sponsored by Pinnacle Sports. Check out their interview with him below.