Meet Eugenie Lee, the female climber inspiring women into action
Watching Eugenie Lee scale a horizontal surface is not dissimilar to seeing water flow down a stream. On the climber’s Instagram – clad in high-performance Nike ACG – she glides between steps and smoothly circumnavigates obstacles in her path with ease. Be that on rocky terrains from Iceland to the Peak District, or the colour-splashed backdrop of an indoor climbing wall.
The talented Londoner, also a model, says her love for sport is rooted in the movement, noting that while it may be “physically tiring”, there’s a “sense of achievement from little challenges you encounter that keep you moving forward”. She is passionate about using her growing success to open doors and take other women on the journey with her, and runs female-focused beginners’ bouldering workshops.
Here, Eugenie chats to Dazed about how she is helping change climbing culture to make it more inclusive. She also explains how the sport is more than just a workout – it’s a lifestyle that bridges the gap between the urban and rural spaces, just like ACG, helping you reach a higher plane mentally as well as physically.
[ Section 1 - EARTH ] How does being outdoors in nature keep you grounded?
Climbing alongside those who are better than me reminds me there’s still so much to achieve. Plus, being outdoors in general is like a reset. The city can move so fast, but nature takes you away from scrolling your phone. To let go, to breathe and find joy in the little stag beetle you encounter on your trail.
[ Section 2 - Fire ] Your inner passion clearly burns bright, there are now Increasing numbers of women are climbing – how is the community evolving?
It’s key for us to create a space where women can feel comfortable getting strong. If you’re interested, I recommend grabbing a friend and coming along. It may be a full-body workout, but it’s a lot of fun too. I’m passionate for people to engage with this sport as a pathway to getting outdoors, and finding respect for nature, so they’ll want to protect it for future generations.
[ Section 3 - WATER ] You make climbing look effortless – how do you find your flow?
It isn’t natural. I have to train in order for the moves to come together fluidly, and there will be lots of micro adjustments that I have to make along the way. But I’m energised by these little challenges. Just as I recently found myself, scared and tearful, 30m up a windy cliff on a Greek island – albeit with beautiful sea scenery. But just like life, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
[ Section 4 - AIR ] You’ve been climbing since you were seven. Were you drawn by the sense of freedom?
As a kid I couldn’t stop moving. First I mounted trees, then indoor climbing walls – and, before long, I was doing competitions. I loved the sense of achievement when you reach the top, and also the playfulness. When I’m walking down the street with my climbing friends, we’ll see some poles lined up and all feel an urge to jump between.