PODCAST: Factor Two - Episode 4: The Black Dog

In this podcast series, Wil Treasure shares stories from the climbing world through interviews with both well-known and lesser-known characters. In-depth, personal accounts that aren't read from a page on a variety of themes. Settle down with a cuppa and have a listen...

Episode 4: Accomplished climber Katy Forrester talks about dealing with depression and tackling her metaphorical black dog with a real one.

Katy Forrester is a former member of the British bouldering and ice climbing teams. She's a fell runner and an accomplished trad and sport climber, with routes up to 7c+ and E8 under her belt. She also has a black dog. Katy is open in talking about her experience of depression and how she tackled her metaphorical black dog with a real one - a 5 month old labrador called Jade. In this episode Katy talks about her experience of dealing with depression. As a naturally competitive person she became frustrated at being unable to perform to the level she wanted, her frustration turned to self-loathing and what had started as a positive experience became something she realised she needed to walk away from.

I was curious; there's a mental resolve and mindset needed to be successful in competition climbing, but also in hard headpointing, which is what Katy turned to for her fix. How can someone have such difficulties in one aspect of their mental life but be so strong in others? Katy talks about how learning coping mechanisms to deal with aspects of her depression has also brought benefits in her approach to hard climbing.

You can read Katy's blog post here.

If you or someone you know is affected by the issues discussed in this episode, help is available. You can contact the Samaritans on 116123, seek a referal through your GP to NHS mental health services, or you can go to where you'll find an array of self help guides dealing with depression, anxiety, bereavement and other mental health issues.

Forums (9 comments)

I must have missed the bit about 'marriage and male relationships', though presumably it was in there somewhere? Seemed to be mainly about headpointing, mind games and mental health. Really interesting I thought.
Didn't listen to the podcast, tl;dl but the blog was interesting. Coincidentally this is the second article in barely two weeks about a high performing female climber who achieves redemption through marriage and male...
Very interesting, although perhaps missing a bit of the narrative drive that earlier episodes have had? Maybe that's just me though, and I did really enjoy it. I'm pretty amazed that Katy managed to do anything else in...

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