Lena Drapella - Photographer and Climber #findyouradventure

At kora, we are adventure seekers. We love to explore and travel - uncovering hidden gems as we go. In a world where a plane ticket can be bought so easily (and cheaply), it’s easy to push aside the adventures closer to home.

Who else has stumbled upon an amazing new hike, climbing spot or cycling route, right on their doorstep?

This month we’re exploring the meaning of adventure and what that looks like from person to person.

We’ll be interviewing a series of our favourite adventurers to find out their hidden gems, top tips for exploring and more.

Next in our Find Your Adventure series, UK based climber and photographer, Lena Drapella. Originally from Poland, Lena moved to Bristol a year ago where she works as a professional photographer, specialising in outdoor adventure photography.

Her love for photography and climbing has led her to a career inspired by her hobbies - something we’re seriously envious of! If Lena’s story doesn’t inspire you to make a career change, we don’t know what will.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into climbing

I grew up in Poland though I am currently based in Bristol, where I work as professional photographer. I first got into climbing about 6 years ago and quickly realised that this sport - or rather a lifestyle - is going to change my whole life. I became addicted pretty much instantly and had to adjust all my life plans and goals to accommodate climbing in my life. Fast forward to now, it is still my biggest passion and slowly becoming my career.

You’re also a photographer, how do you tie your work and love for climbing into one?

They say ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’. It actually proves pretty difficult to diversify the ‘climbing days’ from the ’shooting days’ but I am certainly getting better at it with time. Having assignments helps a lot, as I started treating it as a job - though certainly one I love with all my heart! I still take my camera to the crag when climbing with friends, but it will often stay unpacked - letting me enjoy the moment through my eyes rather than the lens.

Our new campaign is all about finding adventures close to home, have you discovered any hidden gems in your local area?

Due to the lockdown all my international projects have been put on hold and I found myself with a unique chance to discover my backyard. I moved to Bristol only a year ago, and spent most of this time travelling abroad, so it was a pleasure to explore my surroundings. I’m lucky to say that within a couple hours drive from my home I’ve got some of the best climbing areas UK has to offer! Pembroke, Devon, Portland and even Cheddar - lots of rock to play on.

Scariest moment when climbing?

Not sure if that was the scariest of all, but I think it’s the only one that made me cry! Early on in my climbing career, I had a chance to visit the stunning Meteora in Greece. During the long approach to the multi pitch route me and my partner were about to climb, it dawned on me how very limited my experience was at the time. If anything was to go wrong I would have no idea how to perform a rescue. In that headspace, once my partner pulled a massive bloc from the route, I burst into tears and we had to return back to the ground. I’m happy to say, I have learned the rescue techniques by now, though I hope not to ever use them!

What advice would you have for someone wanting to start climbing?

Find a climbing gym closest to your home and get a membership. It’s the easiest way to meet new friends and climbing partners. New experiences and adventures are closer than you think!

Discover more about Lena’s work and climbing adventures on her Instagram or website.

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