Date of Birth:
February 16, 1982
Born? Grew? Or now? Born in Miami. Grew up in a big suburb (Bethesda, Maryland) of Washington D.C. In the summers, I started going to an outdoor adventure camp in Colorado when I was fifteen and moved to Colorado as soon as I could. Now live in Boulder, CO.
What is your primary means of adventure, AKA what gets you most psyched?
Climbing big walls free.
Invent your dream adventure by combining five places, disciplines, pitches, peaks, environments, etc. and stacking them together into a combination. Why did you pick each part?
- A best friend/great partner—Why? Too many words. Because climbing is hard enough.
- A big route in a remote, alpine(ish) area – Why? Because that inspires me and then if I get to choose, my dream route would be very diverse, containing favorite rock types (granite, limestone, sandstone) and favorite past pitches all stacked one on top of the other.
- Perfect weather – Why? Of all the unknown pieces that can make an adventure, I’d choose to omit this one the most.
- Appropriate yet Inspiring Challenge – Why? This both requires self-awareness to select wisely and the chutzpah to dream big.
- A way to bring the story home and share with a wider audience without having to do the work myself.
Describe 5 climbs, trips, or moments that have defined you as a mountain athlete:
How about 3 and start with some defining firsts first:
- My first alpine rock route hooked my imagination in the world of mountains. I was 15 and had already become obsessed with climbing through toproping at summer camp. A guide led me and another keen newbie up the Prow, a 5.7 on the Colorado 14er Kit Carson. The climb exposed me to a range of experiences from the butterflies in my stomach the night before, to seeing daybreak in an undisturbed landscape, to exploring a small spire and naming it Macaroni and Cheese, to the sublime exhaustion by the end of the day.
- Falling 50 feet from a rappel anchor in 2006. This experience woke me up more. I felt incredibly fortunate to be alive, healthy, and able to do something that I love and less likely to take this for granted or climb when I was feeling apathetic about climbing and being responsible for my well-being in a risky situation.
- The first big wall I ever freed with my dear friend Kate Rutherford (Moonlight Buttress October 2006). We showed ourselves that we were very capable of achieving and that a great partnership and a goal that inspires make everything more possible.
- Nearly free climbing the PreMuir Wall (VI 5.13+) in 2013. Before this I’d freed two other El Cap routes (El Corazon, 5.13 and Freerider 5.12+). From those climbs I’d learned a tremendous amount about perseverance, and selecting an appropriate goal and strategy for achieving it. I had of course enjoyed being able to check the box of completion on those climbs and spraying to my ego and the masses. Yet the experience on the PreMuir was a struggle I’ll never forget and continues to remind me that it is the process and our attention in a climb that creates the fulfilling experience. My partner Joe endured a 95 degree heat wave while on the wall. We each climbed well with commitment, determination and good humor. And we did well supporting each other through ups and downs and sharing the hard labor of climbs like this. I felt proud of us in these ways. I was deeply satisfied when I redpointed the pitch that I was most terrified of—a 5.13+ stem corner at pitch 24. But this was the fifth day without rest. Joe kept struggling on this pitch and I was exhausted. We decided that continuing up but not redpointing the final 700 feet of the route was our best decision. We slept on top of El Cap and hobbled down in the morning. Our decision to say “enough’s enough” before the climb was over and choosing self-care in this way has supported me to keep the heart of this experience in my memory of this climb and reminded me why I truly climb in the first place—for that experience of being alive. In such an achievement focused sport, making decisions like these aren’t highlighted and certainly not valued enough in the climbing culture. I think by doing this, we are silently devaluing an incredible experience we’ve just had.
Describe your most memorable night in the mountains:
Endless rappelling with my partner Nik Berry off a peak in the Ak Su Valley of Krygyzstan. We’d already had majorly adventurous trip characterized by massive granite climbs, dysentery, an unplanned homestay with a generous Kyrgyz shepherd family, sheep killing and general arguments about helmet wearing. This final experience had me crying formercy. In a single day we had climbed a 4,500 ft granite route called SugarDaddy. With an hour of sunlight left, we began rappelling down a different ridge that was the popular descent off this peak. Hard to navigate in the light, we quickly found ourselves off the rappel route and cutting our rope to create anchors. Stubborn and afraid of being cold, I think we pushed a bit too far and getting into dangerous territories before we finally surrendered to waiting out the night. We were both incredibly burnt out after this experience and just wanted our moms. I think I was pushed too far and too many times out of my comfort zone on this trip and it took me a while to recover. I wrote a story about the trip in Rock & Ice Magazine http://issuu.com/rockandice/docs/212 s/37?e=1647928/4166404
What has scared or intimidated you as a mountain athlete?
The fundamental insecurity of mountainous areas and the related deaths of friends and climbing mentors. I probably fret the most about unnecessary suffering (such as being cold, hungry, getting hurt) and spend a lot of time preoccupied about discomfort before it actually arises and distracted from what is actually happening. Ha!
What would your adventure partners be most surprised to learn about you from before the time when they met you?
That I had a blankie that I slept with through college. I let it go at some point and it still makes me smile when I think of it.
What are your top 5 alltime favorite pieces of CAMP equipment?
Why are you a CAMP athlete?
I definitely utilize the lightweight and welldesigned products as I value innovation yet user comfort with climbing products. Equally I find the CAMP crew to be a supportive, adventureloving group of people who strive to keep improving their product and get out and play for themselves. I am supported by CAMP for simply going outside and climbing what I love to climb and appreciate this greatly.