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 tend these days to look at it as incredibly fortunate – I never did discover a “real-world” career that fueled my passion for living fully 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 professional writer, certified personal trainer (CPT, ACTION Personal Trainer Certification), certified yoga instructor (RYT-200, Yoga Alliance) and a personal climbing coach and trainer.
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 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. Since I can’t, I now balance climbing with my expanding yoga practice. Yoga allows me to share the joy of movement in the moment and uniting the mental and physical with far more people than climbing; it’s accessible and doable no matter who you are. As Christina Brown says in The Yoga Bible, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Simply put, I am a person who loves to move and lives to move and dwell in the current moment, through and through. 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 moving as a total being in the present moment, whether I’m climbing, practicing yoga or just laughing with friends.
If you’re looking for spray, read on. If not, stop here.
Spray ‘n’ Stuff
1. I’ve redpointed several 5.14as in Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming, all first female ascents and all after I turned 35. I’ve redpointed more than 90 5.13s up to 5.13d, and I’ve onsighted more than 200 5.12s up to 5.12d.
2. I’ve bolted and/or gotten the first ascent of more than 15 5.13s in and around Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming. I’ve also gotten first female ascents in South Dakota, Washington State, British Columbia, Idaho and Wyoming. I’ve also bouldered V8/9 and put up many first ascents and first female ascents in Cody, Wyoming.
3. In 2013, I helped found the Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting access to climbing resources in the Bighorn Mountains and Bighorn Basin of Wyoming,” and I am an acting board member. We are working to create a climbing management plan for Ten Sleep Canyon, first and foremost and will be hosting the Ten Sleep Climbing Festival on July 5, 2014.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. I graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in modern European history.
8. To earn my RYT-200 from Yoga Alliance, I attended a month-long 200-hour intensive residential Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) at Anamaya Resort in Costa Rica in November-December 2013, taught by Jacqueline Chiodo (ERYT-500).
9. I earned my certified personal trainer (CPT) designation in July 2013 from ACTION Personal Trainer Certification, an NCCA-accredited certification program. I also hold a valid Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED certificate from the American Red Cross.
10. I enjoy playing video games. For more about this side activity of mine, check out Gaming and Climbing: A Climber’s Journey (Back) into the Virtual Realm of Video Games (Innate Blog). I’m also an avid mixed martial arts (MMA) fan.