Career Highlights

  • 7th woman in the world to climb 5.14 trad: "China Doll," 5.14a R.
  • Featured on the Feb 2020 cover of Rock and Ice
  • Has achieved several First Ascents and First Female Ascents

Interview

  • Climbing

    Favorite type of climbing (bouldering, sports climbing, trad, etc.):

    Trad! And Sport

    When and how did you get into climbing and what kept you interested / fascinated in the sport?

    When I was 12 I took a trip to Yosemite with my dad and tried toproping on the Swan Slabs. But since there were no climbing gyms very close by where I lived (Fort Worth, TX and then Atlanta, GA), I just stuck with gymnastics and then track for a while. At age 16 I joined a climbing gym about an hour away and started driving myself there on the weekends. I liked that climbing pushed me out of my comfort zone and empowered me to commit to moves that my mind didn't think were possible. I then chose to go to school at CU Boulder and pursue my climbing as well.

    Who was your childhood hero and do you consider yourself a role model now? Does it influence you at all that other people look up to you?

    Lynn Hill! I hope I'm someone's role model :). I try to be as authentic as I can with people and share my struggles along with successes. Something I'm passionate about is Mental Health, and I want people to see the real me and the ups and downs I have had with anxiety. So often on social media we just see the highlights of someone's life, but I think it's good to show that no one is perfect. It just makes me want to be transparent.

    What were the most important milestones in your life so far, both in climbing and in everyday life? Did you immediately recognize them as such or only later on?

    Sending China Doll was a huge milestone because I never thought I could climb 5.14 trad. It took hard work and I'm so proud of what I put into it. Also, I think moving back to Boulder in 2018 (I lived in Vegas for a couple years after graduating from CU) really set a new direction for my whole life. I have had experiences, made amazing friends, had career opportunities that may have never happened had I stayed in Vegas. But I do miss it sometimes! I'm glad for that experience as well. I grew a lot in my time away from Boulder and felt like I found myself and got rid of my ego while I was away. Also, I think seeing a psychiatrist and going to therapy was a huge milestone for me. Accepting that my anxiety had gotten to a bad place (both in 2014, and in 2019 again) was really important for me, and changed my whole life for the better.

    What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?

    When I was 20 I developed a viral thyroid disease that left me feeling really weak and tired all the time. It lasted about a year. It's funny because that's when I wanted to start getting into competition climbing, but since I felt so bad all the time I decided against it and started climbing outside more. And I ended up getting into trad climbing shortly after. It's strange how our life directs us to what we were really meant for.

    Anxiety has also been a factor that has really made me struggle. There are bad days where everything just feels overwhelming and I feel like my self worth is really low. But it also has taught me a lot. I don't know if I would be so obsessive as I am without it, nor if I would appreciate the presence that I find in climbing. It's a part of me and learning to manage it has made me stronger.

    What is your favorite climbing related story / experience?

    Hmmm there's so many! I think one that sticks out is watching Heather Weidner send China Doll back in 2016. I got to belay her! And just the chills that it still gives me to think about that day is incredible. We were screaming and crying and so ecstatic. Watching her fight so hard for many days and finally break through - those moments are so valuable. And it's pretty cool that I ended up going through the process and sending China doll a few years later. Heather also supported me through the ups and downs of the projecting process! She's an inspiration to me.

  • Training

    Do you have a strict training schedule for when and how you train throughout the year?

    Most of the time, yes. Tim Rose is my trainer and writes my plans. They are dependent upon what my goals are! Usually specific climbs I want to try. But I go through more strict and intense months, and then also months where it's lighter and filled with more climbing outside time.

    What advice can you give to somebody looking to improve their training routine?

    Write down what you are going to do before going to the gym! Or have a trainer make a schedule for you. It really helps to stay focused. Also, make sure you listen to your body and make adjustments if you need to so that you don't get injured. Also know that progress will come even if you have bad days. PS Tim is a great trainer! He helped me a ton with my goal of China Doll, and he's one of the only people I trust with my training.

    What do you think of indoor climbing gyms in relation to climbing on actual rock?

    I use indoor climbing gyms as training for outdoor goals and climbing. I don't count climbing outside really as training. I go to the gym to train! But I prefer to climb outside when I can, in addition to the training I need to do at the gym

    Are you able to do a one-arm pull-up? How about a single finger?

    No I wish!

    How much of the success as a pro climber is due to show and how much due to actual climbing skill?

    Hmm not sure about what this means really. I think you have to have the skill to be able to perform well in competitions and send your projects. And I think the more cool things you do outside or perform well in comps, the more attention you get. I have the mindset that hard work = reward. I try to be overly qualified physically for a route, so that when the pressure is on to perform well and redpoint, I can be confident in myself.

  • Psychology

    Is it possible for anybody to eventually perform a one-armed pull-up or get to the top of the Eiger/Matterhorn, or do you really have to be born for it?

    Oh I think if you work hard and trust the process, anything is possible. I didn't start climbing until I was 16, and I never thought I'd be able to achieve some of the things I have. You just have to commit, and you'll surprise yourself.

    How important is it to set goals in professional sports? What are your goals / targets you are working towards in climbing and in life?

    I am a goal oriented person, so for me it's really important. It keeps me on track and is how I base my training and resting cycles. It keeps me motivated too. Currently I have a few routes in mind that I want to do... when we are able to climb again! In quarantine I've made mini goals of being able to do the splits and hang on a small edge with one hand. It's the only goals I can really see progress in at the moment. But once we can climb outside again I'd like to work towards climbing another 5.14 trad route.

    How to you deal with extremely hard climbing problems? Do you ever get frustrated and give up on them or do they motivate you even more?

    Everyone gets frustrated. I think the best way to deal with it is to not set such a strict time frame for completion, and always look for small victories and progress in the projecting process. These can be super small- even just learning new micro beta or feeling better on a move. I get frustrated and down on myself, but then try to come back with a more open mind.

  • Future of climbing

    Is there anything you would like to change about the current developments in climbing?

    Not that I can think of right now... maybe just continuing more awareness of respecting and maintaining our crags! As we get a bigger climbing community it's important to make sure everyone is doing their part to preserve our outdoor areas.

    Where do you see the sport going in the next years, what will change and what is your role going to be in it?

    I think the olympics will create more of an interest in the gym scene and maybe more people venturing outside. I hope to continue to quest into more outdoor facets of the sport, and help to promote more awareness to mental health, preserving our outdoor spaces, and love for climbing.