The ‘Tin Can’ Life

November 15, 2018
Written by  in Uncategorized

Ghost Train (E6), in Pembroke, credit Ray Wood

At this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival, Mammut athlete, Madeleine Cope will be speaking about her climbing life since leave full time employment in content development a year ago.

The ‘Tin Can’ refers to the van she is currently living in and travelling around Europe in!

She’ll be exploring how her climbing is developing, her inspirations, and how she applies herself to each challenge.

Reflecting honestly about her motivations, relationships and goals and the importance of learning from your mistakes, the role of mental health and dealing with expectations.

We caught up with her to find out more:

You’re an inspirational speaker. Why do you believe climbing marries so well with this?

“Passion, expectation, disappointment, challenge, self-belief, success, and failure – these are all concepts everyone understands. I believe that climbing provides a useful platform to discuss these concepts in a way that anyone can relate to. The climbing narrative makes topics that can often be pushed aside in life, such as ego and motivation, more accessible and sharing through talks makes it feel more personal.”

How do you use the subject of climbing to inspire others, even if they don’t climb?

“I hope to show through my enthusiasm the underlying joy of pursuing any passion as a way of life. When you peel all the layers away essentially you are talking about the pursuit of happiness – this is something everyone can relate to.”

“Maddy provided a superb talk that inspired on all levels. It didn’t matter whether you were a trad climber or sport climber, novice or elite – she relayed experiences that virtually everyone in the room could relate to. Not only that, but she did so with both humour and humility, which was incredible considering the gravity of her achievements. This fun, down to earth talk went on to tackle some bigger questions about motivation, drive, and pre-conceived ideas of what is and isn’t possible.”

“Huge thanks to Maddy for delivering an excellent talk on International Women’s Day. Keeping good humour throughout Maddy touched upon some more serious points about her climbing journey.  A very genuine and relatable experience, we would highly recommend it.”

Do you practise what you preach?!

“I guess I consider my talks to be more about preaching what I practise. I tend to look at the variety of feelings and experiences climbing has brought me – both positive and negative. The aim is to learn from the negative in order to have more of the positive, but one of the main points about being honest for me is to share those times where I didn’t “practise” in the most positive way.

“We are only human. And being human, with all the defects that brings, is what makes our experiences interesting. For me part of the definition of “challenge” is that not every part of the process is positive.”

Madeleine Cope

Bat Route (8c) in Malham, credit Nadir Khan


How does Mammut help you to achieve your climbing goals?

“Mammut is a brand that covers many disciplines, with many inspiring athletes across them. Besides the quality clothing and equipment, I am inspired by a brand that looks towards supporting adventure. When you are pushing yourself it always helps to have good equipment and I am grateful to Mammut for this.”

What’s your favourite piece of Mammut equipment and why?

“The Alnasca Pants– these are protective but also stretchy. I enjoy using flexibility in my climbing and these are great for that, as well as hard waring – which is perfect for trad and multipitches. The Wall Rider Helmet is great. It is light and doesn’t interfere with balance on technical pitches.”

What are your climbing hopes for 2019?

“I hope to be travelling in Europe in my van with my partner until March. Exploring new areas and styles and pushing myself on whatever inspires me. I aim to be open to whatever goals present themselves rather than trying to pre-empt them. One of my major motivations is for big wall climbing, so whether it is El Cap or somewhere closer to home I am sure I will bring drawn to a multi-day adventure in the autumn.”