Balancing Redpoint Climbing, my family and a career - An interview with Redpoint Climbing co-founder Katie

Redpoint Climbing co-founder Katie in Ronda, SpainBy now, most of you have either met our co-founder Jack at the walls or read about why he started Redpoint Climbing. Today is International Women’s Day, the perfect backdrop for our interview with Redpoint Climbing co-founder Katie, the powerhouse behind the scene.

Four years ago, after a series of hectic Head of Marketing roles that involved too much travelling and crazy hours, Katie decided to take a step back from her career to focus on personal health and family. Now, she happily balances Redpoint Climbing (her first 👶), a marketing career, and spending time with her 15 month old daughter Lydia (her second 👶).

What role do you play in Redpoint Climbing?

I run the daily operations for Redpoint Climbing. This includes marketing, finance and inventory management. If you hear from Redpoint Climbing on social media, it’ll most likely be me you’re chatting to. Basically, I'm the keyboard ninja and Jack tinkers around in the lab.

What did you do before Redpoint Climbing?

I have been working in marketing for 15 years and I still consider it my main career. I love it, especially the areas of Behavioural Economics and Marketing Technology. Oh, I also volunteer at our local toy library as my way of giving back to the community.

How do you manage to balance Redpoint Climbing, your career, family, volunteering and your personal health?

In my opinion, the old adage of ‘work life balance’ doesn’t exist. When I say ‘balance’, I really mean ‘blend. Essentially, I try to kill two birds with one stone by blending various parts of my life together. For example, I cycle to work (career + personal health). When working from home, I usually have something cooking in the background in the slow cooker (career + family). I choose volunteering roles that make use of my strength (career + volunteering), and sometimes working on Redpoint doesn’t feel like work at all as climbing is our passion (and I’m a keyboard ninja). Don't get me wrong, some days are hard and I just have to get into survival mode.

None of this would be possible though if not for the two-player mode synergy I have with Jack. We operate like the game ‘Overcooked’. It’s a very fun game, we highly recommend it if you haven’t already played it

After giving birth, how long did it take for you to feel comfortable climbing again?

I had been bouldering and sports climbing for about 4 years before I was forced to take a break due to pregnancy and COVID lock downs. After giving birth, I started bouldering again within 3 months but found it difficult to maintain consistency due to Lydia’s nap routine. I have recently started climbing again regularly, thanks to the Women Uprising Community for helping me find a climbing partner that is willing to be flexible with my schedules.

What do you love most about climbing?

Sports climbing is my main passion as the endurance aspect of it really forces you to be efficient with your body movements and smart about when to rest. It challenges me physically and mentally. That sense of achievement after sending a redpoint really invigorates me.

I enjoy sports that are performed individually, but as part of a group. Aside from climbing, I also cycle and snowboard. These are all sports that allow you to get into the zone with no distractions and perform at your best, then afterwards you can gush about it with your mates.

Why is comfort important to you in climbing shoes?

I have always had wide feet with bunions sticking out the sides beneath my toes. On top of that, I have narrow ankles. This means that shoe sizes that fit my wide feet don’t fit my narrow ankle and vice versa. The shape and scale of average shoes just aren’t suitable for wide feet or flat feet, this even applies to sneakers.

That is why we designed Redpoint Ascend with a wide toe box coupled with double velcro. The wide toe box has enough height and width for your toes, and the double velcro allows you to tighten the fit near your ankles but keep it loose near the toes. The soft leather also moulds to your feet over time, making the shoes very comfortable to wear. It’s nice not having to take them off during a 3 hour climbing session even when belaying.

How often do you get to climb indoors and outdoors?

Not as often as I’d like. Currently, I boulder indoors once a week and climb indoors once a week. We’re about to go on our first outdoor climbing trip to Gariwerd (Grampians) this weekend, if this trip goes well, we’ll probably aim for a family climbing trip whenever long weekends pop up.

If you had a day off from everything, what would you do?

Date night with Jack! This would involve a climbing day trip (probably to Camel’s Hump) followed by my favourite Japanese soba noodles at Shimbashi in Fitzroy.