Ashlee Hendy: Bogong Sponsored Athlete


We would like to introduce the Bogong community to our newest sponsored athlete, sport and trad climbing extraordinaire, Ashlee Hendy. Ashlee has a rich climbing history, where she has made some amazing ascents of some of Australia’s most iconic climbs. You can look forward to hearing and seeing some of Ashlee’s adventures in future blog posts. For now, she tells her story about how she found climbing, her greatest ascents and where she dreams of climbing next.




I grew up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne (Donvale) and went to a public school in Ringwood. No one else in my family is particularly ‘sporty,’ but we did spend a lot of time outdoors. Since the family home is on an acre bush block, I always felt more at home in the bush than anywhere else. We had a houseboat on Lake Eildon and a small beach house at Inverloch (a sleepy town back then), so weekends were always spent away from Melbourne. Both options had no TV or video games, and of course no smartphones, so a lot of time was spent outside finding various ways to entertain ourselves. I was some sort of hybrid version of a city/country kid.

Prior to finding indoor rock climbing, I always had an inclination to explore upwards, enjoying tree-climbing, monkey bars and any sort of rock walls at a playground or recreation centre. The early signs were definitely there!



I found my love for rock climbing at Hardrock Nunawading early in high school. By the end, I was obsessed, spending all my time at the indoor gym. I would beg my older friends to let me tag along on weekend trips to the Grampians or Arapiles. Even though I got a little distracted while studying my undergraduate, enjoying the parties and freedom of young adulthood, climbing was always there. Postgrad study brought more stress to my life; climbing was the only antidote. Over time, climbing became a top priority in my life. My obsession ruined many otherwise great relationships, and ruled my social life. I began to only spend time with other climbers, either in the Wimmera on the weekends or in the gyms on weekday evenings. These days I would say I have constructed the rest of my life around the climbing – and I have no regrets!


Memorable climbing moments:

Grampians - Serpentine (29) on Taipan was always my dream route, and that ascent probably meant more to me than any other. I feel extremely privileged to have completed this route, along with Monkey Puzzle (28) and Eye of the Tiger (29), before the Grampian closures. Fisting Party (26), Venom (28) and Anaconda (28) were also very memorable Taipan ascents.

Arapiles - Slinkin’ Leopard (28) and India (28) made for proud moments, but I was equally satisfied with rehearsed redpoints of the Undertaker (25) and Paladin (24), proving that the grade does not always indicate the challenge.


Arapiles, Slinkin' Leopard


Tasmania - A flash ascent of the Deep Play (24) on the totem pole is another stand out for me, as well as; Power of the Percolator (28), Atomic Vampire (27), Velvet Morning (26), Seize the Day (26), and Rose Pink Cadillac (25).

Queensland - An amazing, all-trad first ascent of Kiteline (27), a steep finger crack found by my partner Chris and climbed by us both in 2018.

USA - I managed to send my first 30, Fight Club (5.13c) and Disposable Heroes (5.13c), as well as countless routes in the 25-29 range, with the most memorable being Paradise Lost (5.13b), Snooker (5.13a), Apollo Reed (5.13a), and Fish­­­­ Crack (5.12b).


Tasmania, Totem Pole


I can not live without:

My La Sportiva climbing shoes. I have probably owned about 20 pairs of Muiras over the years; they are just so versatile and reliable. I’ve loved both the lace and the VS versions. Between the two of them I am pretty convinced I can climb anything. More recently I have found the Otaki to be the ultimate all-rounder. If I have a pair of Otakis in my bag, I would never need to carry a second pair of shoes, and I have absolutely no excuses if I don’t send.


Dream climbs:

There are endless dream routes that I would love to climb, but are currently on hold for my post-pregnancy recovery. Here are just a few:

  • Lord of the Rings, Punks, and Cobwebs are the dream routes at Arapiles.
  • If Taipan re-opens, Rage and Cardigan Street will be top of the list.
  • I would love to go back and do Moonlight Buttress (Zion, Utah USA) and redpoint in a day. To train for this, I would go to Indian Creek, also in Utah.
  • I’ve been to the Red River Gorge (Kentucky, USA) twice but would jump at the chance to go back. The style suits me perfectly. Its user friendly and social, just good fun!
  • After all these years, I have barely climbed in Europe. Several destinations in Greece, Spain and France are high on the list.
  • Would love to taste some English Grit. I think I might suck at it, but I must try!
  • Liming in China also looks amazing.


Why I love the outdoors:

It might have something to do with my early years and upbringing, but I have always felt more at home when I am out of the hustle and bustle of the city. The further away, the better! As a teen I was pretty highly strung, and once I phased out of the family weekends away I would try to join other climbers on trips to the Wimmera. As the city faded further and further into the rear-view mirror, my blood pressure would drop and my troubles would drift away. By the time I was west of Ballarat I was a whole new person. These days the Wimmera feels like home. I still get so much comfort from seeing the sun set over the wheat fields.



Outside of climbing:

Work is a big thing for me. I studied for 10.5 years in total, getting my PhD in neurophysiology back in 2015. Since then I have worked as an academic, doing both research and teaching at Deakin University in sports science and neuroscience. I teach undergraduate units, supervise Masters and PhD students, and have published over 30 scientific papers. I love the work that I do, but it’s an ongoing struggle to get a healthy balance between work and play. Between my career and my climbing there isn’t time for many other hobbies, but I love spending any spare time with my partner Chris and our doggo Lulu. She’s an adorable and spoilt whippet who travelled with us internationally and features regularly on my Instagram.

When I am injured and can’t climb, running is my fall back. I did my first marathon last year with a respectable sub 4-hour time thanks to a nasty pulley injury. Big change is coming as we have a new family member due in June, but we are looking forward to life’s ongoing balancing act. The chance of pace during pregnancy has been hard for me, but it’s really cool to see my body take on some new physical challenges (i.e. growing a human). Chris and I are really excited to share our love for climbing, adventure and the outdoors with the next generation.


Stay up to date with Ashlee and her outdoor adventures following Bogong on Facebook and Instagram, or following Ashlee on Instagram.


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