A few words with Claire Kassay

Claire Kassay was crowned Australian National Bouldering Champion in 2014 and has represented Oz on the biggest competitive stage, the World Cup circuit. Yep, though she was born in South Africa, Oz has claimed Claire in the same way we’ve claimed all best things from New Zealand: Crowded House, Russell Crow and Barnaby Joyce*.

One half of a not-so-terrible twin twosome, Claire comes from a long line of climbers but it's not just nature that is responsible for Claire's climbing ability. She gets plenty of strong nurturing in running Bayside Rock with her husband, James Kassay, with whom she is raising future heir and wunderbergsteiger Harvey, who – rumour has it – can at seven months oldalready run laps of Dead Can’t Dance.


You’re an expert competitor, what advice do you have for boulderers preparing for their first outdoor comp?
I wouldn’t say I am an expert competitor, but I do enjoy the competition side of climbing. My advice would be to make sure you are;

  • well rested, at least one to two days of rest before a comp
  • your skin is in good order, as you don’t want to be slipping off holds due to lack of skin
  • you have all your kit ready (e.g shoes, chalk bag, tape, an energy snack)
  • only worry about yourself on comp day. It doesn’t matter how anyone else is going, you just need to climb your best.
  • Most importantly, have fun! As then you will climb your best!

Even though the comp is a ‘casual comp’, we expect that you’d have some great advice as to how to psych out competitors?
Flashing a problem could psych people out or at least put the pressure on. In all seriousness I don’t try and psych out any competitors. I like the comps to be fun and social… and if you happen to win that is an extra bonus.

What are you top five Grampians boulder problems?
In no particular order my favourite Grampians boulders would be; Gourmet Cats (V8) and Butthole Surfer (V9) at the Campground Boulders, Wimmel Friedhoff (V5) at Hollow Mountain, Bismarck (V8) and Mr Fox (V5) at Andersons… the list could quite easily continue, too many classics in the Grampians!

What is the most common mistake you see beginner climbers making at Bayside Rock?
Leaving their feet behind as they get higher and higher up the wall, making them too stretched and harder for them to move on.

You’re running a women’s climbing clinic, what are some of the things you’re hoping to cover?
Some ideas for what I will be covering are technique, beta, footwork, training.

*the last two are a joke, obviously.