Andrea settling herself for the drive on Slinkin’ Leopard in the Mount Arapiles Rock Formation in Western Victoria. Image Credit: Simon Madden
by Simon Madden
Ten years as a gymnast made Andrea Hah strong and determined. Now, when she puts this kind of determination into rock climbing, she sets records.
From age eight, Andrea Hah trained with the Victorian Institute of Sport, ultimately doing 34 hours of gymnastics a week, only 20 hours of school classes and having supervised weigh-ins twice a day. Then, at just 16, it was all over.
Young ex-gymnasts are often branded as ‘burnt out’. Andrea refers instead to her “retirement” and speaks fondly about the institute’s staff who, knowing the importance of a new focus, helped her apply her skills to a new discipline.
She tried many things: aerial skiing, Cirque du Soleil, hurdling, trampolining, diving, yet none seized the young girl’s attention.
Until rock climbing.
In rock climbing, there is no one to answer to but yourself. There are no coaches’ frowns, no weigh-ins or skin folds.
“The best thing about climbing is that it is self-driven,” Andrea says, “I don’t have anyone to report to if I don’t perform. If I don’t want to train or participate in competitions, I don’t have to.”
Finding your place in the world is difficult and even the most cocksure feel like frauds sometimes.
Andrea would take some time to make this new world her own, but when she finally did, the results were spectacular.