Climber on steep granite in fiords

Becca Hounsell Climbs Her First 29

Becca Hounsell is still only 16, but has been giving the adults a run for their money in competitions for a few seasons already. This summer, she's been climbing more outdoors and has recently climbed her first 29, Man Of Substances at Little Babylon, in Fiordland. She also climbed the tricky The Crystal Method (27) and Moses (27).

We caught up with Becca to find out a bit more about her background and where she'd like to take climbing in the future.

How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?

I've been climbing for 12 years now. I started at Extreme Edge and when I got outdoors for the first time my passion kinda grew from there.

Do you have a favourite style of climb?

I enjoy many styles of climbing. A bit of steepness and crimps are thoroughly appreciated. I'd say my climbing style would be a bit more dependent on burl rather than techy stuff.

What are your goals or aspirations in climbing?

In future I'd love to push the grades in New Zealand female climbing. I'd like to sample the classics of many of NZ's crags, but honestly at this point I'm going with the flow and seeing what inspires me.

What’s your favourite place to climb?

At the moment I'd say the favourite place to climb is in the Darrans, but being a North Islander I'll definitely pay tribute to K2.

Do you have any climbing role models?

I'd say Sarah Hay has always been a role model for me. She took me under her wing when I was about 5. Her determined approach to climbing has always been super inspiring to me. Showing females can pull hard with style.

Belay image

Do you enjoy competitions more, or climbing outside?

I've been in the competition game for a long time. The competition scene has been a means to make some amazing friends and learn a lot about head game. Outdoors for me has always been way more exciting and nothing leaves me more psyched than some good rock.

What’s your proudest send and why?

I'd say my proudest send would be Man of Substances (29), at Little Babylon. Personally, I've  never projected that much so it was cool to see the progression from "I'm not gonna do this for years" to "oh, that's not so bad".

What model of climbing shoe do you find works best for you?

As a creature of habit I rarely stray far from the Scarpa Instincts. As a toe hook enjoyer, the large amount of toe rubber serves me well.

Climber on steep granite
Becca attempting No Country For Old Men. Photo: Nat Warburton

Are there any particular climbs you’d like to do in New Zealand, or anything overseas that stands out to you?

I've got a date with No Country For Old Men (29, Little Babylon). I got pretty close on the recent trip and I'm super psyched to get it done in future. I'd say there'd be a lot of climbs I'm keen to get on around  NZ, but at the moment I'm just seeing where my climbing takes me.

No doubt we'll be seeing much more impressive climbing from Becca in the future, watch this space.

Main image: Nat Warburton