I can’t tell you where this podcast is going. I can’t pretend we know what we’re getting ourselves into. I don’t even really know the point at which I became involved. But I do know that, at the very least, we will satisfy our own curiosity.
If we do our job right, we will satisfy yours as well.
The Send Space, ultimately, was born out of one gumby climber’s avid curiosity. Eight months after joining me at the crags for the first time, Mienke – our host – had consumed more climbing-related content than I even knew existed, and it left her with one question. Is there a South African climbing podcast?
Well, there is now.
It has become clear to us that the Send Space will evolve over time (at this point, we aren’t even sold on the name). But we are clear on our mission to create a space for South African climbers to share their stories, record history, and make their voices heard as the climbing world – globally and in South Africa – continues to change.
And it is changing; of this, we are sure. All you have to do is look at recent climbing history and you can see how the community is growing. New gyms in the works, new crags under development, and increased curiosity about the sport as two young South Africans prepare to compete in the Olympics, where climbing is featured for the first time ever.
This brings me to the events of 22 April 2021, a historic day for the Send Space and for myself, Mienke, and Matthew, as we gathered in Mienke’s living room to interview our first guest: Chris Cosser, SA’s male Olympic competitor.
It didn’t run perfectly. I forgot the good coffee, Mienke forgot to put her phone on silent, and Matt had to make the best of a poor recording situation. But none of that mattered, because after weeks of planning, we were finally doing it. We were making a podcast! And it’s not going to be perfect, but damn is it going to be fun!
Chris was instrumental in laying our concerns to rest as he fell into conversation with Mienke like he had known her for years. His insight, maturity, and pure enthusiasm ignited a passion within us that I hope you share after hearing his episodes. We got to know him, he got to know us, and as he spoke, it was immediately clear that this was someone who shares our vision, and has thought deeply about the climbing community, where it’s going, and how we can remain involved in its development.
Today, climbing is a relatively small, niche, and self-regulated industry. It is community driven, where it’s the climbers themselves who take responsibility for publishing route guides, developing new climbing areas, sharing best practice, and promoting ethics and safety. Very little happens without our involvement. But we don’t think it will stay that way.
As climbing becomes increasingly popular, commercialisation is bound to have an impact on our community and the way we do things. We say yes to change! But we also say yes to advocacy. The Send Space is here to help climbers, both new and existing, navigate the inevitable changes coming our way, ensuring we all have a say in how our community develops in South Africa.
Along the way, we will unpack local climbing history, get to know each other, talk about a range of issues, settle (or create) long-lasting debates, dissect myths and misconceptions, and create a space for you to share your story.
Please join us. This is a space for you.