I started climbing in 1992 toward the end of my senior year of high school. When I discovered rock climbing, I thought, “Great! So this is what having a passion feels like. Now I just need to find a career option that I feel this way about, and I’m all set.”
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I never did discover a “real-world” career that fueled my passion for living the same way that climbing did and continues to do, so I did the only thing any logical person would do – I made climbing my career instead. (I’m also a prolific freelance writer, which has helped support my climbing habit, along with my awesome team of industry sponsors, for the past two decades.)
Today, I continue to be as inspired and excited about rock climbing as ever. Sport climbing is my primary passion and focus in climbing these days – particularly steep sport climbing, as it’s a relatively new endeavor for me, after years of honing my skills as a vertical/technical face climber at home here in Ten Sleep, Wyoming. I revel in the mental, physical and emotional challenge involved in successfully redpointing steep, demanding, long sport climbs. I seemingly never tire of working out beta, piecing it together, strategizing as I figure out details like pacing and rests, and visualizing my current project(s) when I’m not at the crag…not to mention the sweet sensation of sending, of course!
More recently, I’ve become fascinated with the science behind training for climbing beyond just climbing to train for climbing. After applying training techniques to myself with marked success (hence my newfound appreciation of steep sport climbing), I began an online climbing coaching service in late 2008. Today, I continue to offer that service and to read all of the athletic training information I can get my hands on. If you run into me at the crag and start talking about training, watch out! I will willingly discuss climbing training for hours on end, so feel free to tell me to stop when you’ve heard enough.
If I could climb at my peak ability level every day, I would. My passion is that one-dimensional, and I’m totally okay with it. You have to accept yourself for who you are, and that’s what I am – I am a sport climber, through and through, and I love it and live for it, for sure. Having a passion is a wonderful expression and experience of being fully human, however silly and inconsequential that passion may be. Nothing makes me feel more alive and in tune with my surroundings and my entire being than climbing.
If you’re looking for spray about my climbing accomplishments, read on. If not, stop here.
1. I’ve redpointed several 5.14as in Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming, all first female ascents and all after I turned 35.
2. I’ve redpointed more than 90 5.13s up to 5.13d.
3. I’ve onsighted more than 200 5.12s up to 5.12d.
4. I’ve bolted and/or gotten the first ascent of more than 15 5.13s in and around Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming.
5. I’ve gotten first female ascents of 5.13s in South Dakota, Washington State, British Columbia, Idaho and Wyoming.
6. I’ve bouldered V8/9 and put up many first ascents and first female ascents in Cody, Wyoming.
7. My area of mastery in climbing used to be vert-tech wizardry here in Ten Sleep, but now, when I read about nasty crimpers and tiny mono pockets on vertical faces in guidebooks, I wince and turn the page in search of steeper outings.
8. I used to compete a lot but never felt really passionate about it or into it; I think my best finish in terms of top-level competition was probably placing 3rd at the 2001 Phoenix Bouldering Contest.
9. I rarely get pumped in my forearms. Instead, I get “handcuffed,” meaning that when I fail on a climb, I can usually put my body into position for the next move and send the command to execute it, only to find that I simply cannot move.
10. Though I’ve been rock climbing since 1992, I’ve seen the most dramatic improvement in my climbing in more than a decade over the past four years, since I started my own targeted climbing training program and embraced the steepness.
Non-Climbing(ish) Odds ‘n’ Ends
1. I wake up (almost) every day excited and happy to embrace the life I’m living.
2. If I could have a ton of pets and still travel for climbing easily, I would. Alas, one dog simply has to be enough (for now…watch out, I’ll probably end up one of those crazy old cat ladies).
3. I love to read. I read myself to sleep almost every night. Books allow us to take adventures into other places and time periods, and I can’t get enough of it. I have no one favorite genre or author. I just like good stories and interesting concepts.
4. I wrote the Wyoming introduction to climbing photographer Jim Thornburg’s Stone Mountains, published in 2010. I’ve written a few books, including travel guides to Wyoming and Montana and a book on fertility treatments.
5. I graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 1996.