top of page

Kelda Wood - First female adaptive athlete to summit Aconcagua & row solo across the Atlantic Ocean

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Kelda started her sporting career playing netball at a national level as a teenager. Sport very quickly became the thing that defined who she was and the person she wanted to be. Her real passion lay with horses and her ultimate goal was to ride for her country and represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

Unfortunately, after a serious leg injury in 2002, Kelda’s hopes of competing at an international level seemed to have disappeared. The leg injury had a huge impact on her life, leaving her no longer able to run or play many of the sports that meant so much to her. This had a huge impact on her confidence and self-belief, and she spent nearly 10years fighting to accept who she was.

In 2002 she decided to climb Kilimanjaro, and this proved to be the start of a new direction in life. She returned and began retraining as an outdoor instructor. As a result of the dramatic effect the outdoors had on her own mental and physical recovery, Kelda decided she wanted to help others facing similar challenges to herself, and this led her to set up the charity Climbing Out.

Kelda went on to represent Great Britain in Paracanoe and competed at the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World Championships. The ultimate goal was the Rio Paralympics.

Unfortunately she just missed out on selection for Rio, but she went on to join an Adaptive Team attempting to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America at 7,000m.

On the 19th January 2017 she became the first recorded adaptive female to summit the mountain.

In summiting, Kelda found many of the answers she’d been searching for since her injury and this inspired her to attempt a solo row of the Atlantic. After 76 days unsupported at sea, Kelda became the first adaptive person to ever solo row any ocean.

But the challenges didn’t stop there. 12 months ago Kelda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided to set herself the goal of completing a triathlon as motivation to push through her recovery.

She completed her first triathlon just 4 months post mastectomy and went on to complete 2 further triathlons last year, including the Snowman Triathlon, known for being the toughest triathlon in the country. She now has her sights set on completing a half ironman in 2022.

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

To help increase the amount of female role models in the media. Sign up as a patron!


Listen to Kelda Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.


Show notes

  • Who is Kelda

  • Being based in Shropshire

  • Her 4 legged family

  • Her early years and her passions for sports

  • Playing netball at a national level

  • Her dream of wanting to ride at the Olympics

  • Hanging around the local stables

  • Getting her first horse at 16

  • The riders who inspired her

  • Being in an accident with her horse

  • Dealing with the trauma after the accident

  • The start of her resilience journey at 21

  • Losing her confidence and going back to riding too soon

  • Moving away from horse and going travelling to Australia

  • Getting into eventing and gaining her confidence

  • The accident that changed her life completely

  • Trying to be the person she was before the injury

  • Feeling like a failure

  • Learning acceptance

  • Deciding to climb Kilimanjaro and why that was the start of her recovery

  • Not being able to get the mental health support that was needed

  • Table legs….

  • Video resources to help with resilience

  • Being dumped…

  • Lessons from climbing Kilimanjaro

  • Needing to change her attitude and focus more on what she could do

  • Deciding to retrain as an outdoor instructor

  • Figuring out how to get sport back in her life

  • Aiming for the para-olympics for 2016

  • Meeting Martin Hewitt - Adaptive Grand Slam

  • “It’s not about saying I can’t, it’s about saying how can I”

  • How can I make it possible to climb Aconcagua?

  • Figuring out the how

  • Advice for people who are feeling like a failure

  • The importance of being honest with yourself

  • Being brave enough to try

  • Being judged by people and why it doesn’t matter

  • Deciding to solo row the Atlantic

  • Finding peace on the mountain

  • Fundraising for Climbing Out and wanting to raise £50K

  • Advice regarding sponsorship

  • Being super clear on her WHY

  • 3 questions about the row

  • The challenge of the solitude while out on the row

  • The challenges of 2020/2021

  • Being diagnosed with cancer and having a single mastectomy

  • Wanting to get back to normal and feel like herself again

  • Getting back into exercise and following a routine again

  • Why you have to try

  • Training for 4 triathlons in 2022

  • Challenging the belief that she had that she couldn’t run

  • Swimming after a mastectomy

  • Doing an half Ironman in June 2022

  • Connect with Kelda

  • Final words of advice - Keep Moving


Social Media

Website: Climbing Out

Instagram: @kelda_wood

Twitter: @ClimbingOut_


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Become my Patron


bottom of page