Brand Ambassador And Rock Climber: Keiha Dhruev

  • Name: Keiha
  • Age: 24
  • Home town:  Exeter
  • Sport: Rock climbing
  • Profession and educational background: Climbing instructor and coach – also have a maths degree because I’m a massive nerd.
  • Years in current sport: 10(ish) years

How did you become interested in your sport of choice?

I had a couple of fleeting encounters with climbing when I was very young; however the addiction did not bite until a climbing wall was built at my school and an inspirational teacher encouraged me to peruse the sport. Before this I had done Taekwondo (a Korean martial art) for many years. I suspect this helped me take up climbing not least by mitigating the effects of the vast amounts of cake I did (still do) consume.

Did you struggle with it upon your first attempt or were you a natural?

I was definitely not a natural when I first took up climbing. Like all good things climbing takes hard work and practice. However I’m fortunate that an ability to problem solve can come in handy when finding the solution to a climb and I may have some natural talent for that, or at least more than I do natural athletic ability. One of the brilliant things about rock climbing is there are often more than one way to get to the top of a climb. So if you’re not strong enough to perform one kind of move you may be able to execute a strange technique to the same ends. I won’t be the climber you see cranking out one arm pull ups I’ll be the one with a heel above my head!

What have been your biggest achievements to date this year?

On paper a lot of climbing seems very contrived and odd. We search the hardest possible way up a lump of rock and then spend days/months/years trying to get up it, when we finally do there is an overwhelming feeling of joy and rush of ecstasy which lasts about 30 seconds before you start thinking about the next climb. In contrast the friends you make when climbing, last a lifetime. The high level of trust required from a climbing partner enable deep friendships to be built very quickly. So although not an achievement my favourite thing from the last 12 months is the awesome people I’ve been fortunate enough to share a rope or bouldering mat with.

There is also a sporting achievement I’m pretty pleased with but I’m staying tight lipped on that for now (watch this space)…

Who are your heroes/idols?  They don’t have to be an athlete.

I’m always really impressed by anyone who manages to balance family, a “proper” job and getting out doing what they love. So if you’re crushing a 9 till 5, spend time with your significant other and kids and still  manage to get chalky /in the sea/on your bike, then you’re my hero!

If you could wake up in the morning and be a professional at something other than your chosen sport for the day what would you choose and why?

It would be really interesting to be an astronaut. I think this would be both physically really demanding but also very intellectually stimulating. Also space was my first love as a child.

How many hours do you train in a typical week in the season?

I view very little of what I do as training. I climb indoors as and when required but I prefer to view this as practice rather than training. Even the really specific exercises tend to be incorporated into silly games so they don’t really feel like training. The exception to this is hangboarding which always feels like hard work – I do this for 2 x 30 minute sessions a week.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to take up the sport?

1- Do it!! Climbing is amazing.

2- Pay for some quality instruction and coaching. You really need the instruction to keep you safe to start with and a good coach can help you progress a lot faster and avoid injury… I hear that Keiha bloke is pretty good.

It’s a summery Sunday afternoon – what are you doing?

Probably taking some folks out for a fantastic climbing experience. In the unlikely event I’m not working on a summer Sunday I would hope I’m out deep water soloing – that’s where you climb without ropes above the sea and use the deep water to break your fall when you come off.

Favourite pair of Dude Shoes you own?

Farty Incas – super comfy, rad pattern and now associated with an awesome trip to India where they were worn every day for a month. Also I love that you can replace the insoles so when they smell really bad, you can give your dudes a new lease of life.

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