Despite never having to work and being paid to go on amazing holidays around the world with other equally deluded middle-class white people, professional climbers actually have a really crap life it has emerged.
In a recent interview with Unison, British Pro-climber Myrtle Kerry spilled the truth that she was actually "Really stressed. I have 5 Instagram posts to make this week, and like, I really want to send my project too. Sasha got waaaaay more likes than me last week, but it's totally not fair, she's American and they are just like way more in to climbing and stuff over there, it's not that easy to get more than 800 likes here you know.”
However despite the obvious stresses of such a demanding career, professional adventure athletes can at least be content in the knowledge that they are helping to inspire others with their social media postings.
Robert Kaye - a 73 year-old ex-coal miner from Barnsley - commented that he “used to feel really inspired" by Kerry's Instagram account, and it really took his mind off the fact that his rent was in arrears. "I really hope she sends her project." he said quietly, so the Bailiffs wouldn't know he was inside. “But I’m not sure if I’ll ever find out now.” he continued. “I had to sell my smart phone to buy a top-up for the leccy meter, so we’ve got a bit of heating, but I can’t get on the net anymore.”
Robert's son Steve is a 35 year-old steelworker at Tata in Scunthorpe and a keen climber in his spare time. "It's been a tough time at work recently." he said, "and they're axing 40,000 jobs, but at least I've had safe working conditions in the steel coating factory. My dad showed me what these brand ambassadors are expected to do, like have their picture taken up a mountain and stuff, and frankly I'm not sure I'd be up to it."
Kerry, originally from Kensington in London, is used to the hard work and tough conditions of being a professional mountain athlete. Following her rough-and-ready London upbringing and the rigours of fighting through the education system at Cheltenham Ladies College, she burst on to the Facebook scene in a blur of sunny but non-descript photos of similar-looking sport climbs paired with inspirational quotes, and occasional short videos of indoor bouldering.
However as the growth of her Facebook fanbase has now slowed, she admits she is struggling with her career direction:
“It’s tricky right now actually. I really don’t know which apparel brand aligns best with my climbing philosophy.” she commented.
“I mean, I really want to be authentic, and I feel it's essential I believe in the ethos of any brand I choose to represent, but having to make critical business decisions like this is really taking its toll on my actual climbing. Sometimes I feel more like a coat-hanger than a real person, you know. I guess I’m just looking for a sponsor that doesn’t want me to be anything other than me. And to top it all off my parents have been muttering things like 'stand on your own two feet', and are thinking of reducing my allowance, which will impact my climbing even more, I mean that's like 85% of my income on the line."
In the face of such difficult financial times and now suffering from a barely noticeable shoulder injury that most folk would 'just ignore', Kerry has opted to take 6 months out from professional climbing to let her body and mind recover. "I think I've got burn out." She said.
The shoulder injury, technically known as a 'strain', has flared up after an intense period on the road, climbing almost everyday, and staying in cramped, damp, temporary accomodation.
“Getting paid to travel around Europe in a T5 camper van was pretty rugged.” She said. "We had all sorts of weather; rain, sun, wind and sometimes a bit of a mixture. The trip was challenging but overall quite good, and I sent my project, but I'm not sure I'm ready to do that kind of thing again. When I look back on it I feel like I really learned a lot about myself as a climber, and also as a person. That said I'm now looking forward to spending some time at home and just getting back to normal life."