As 2013 comes to a close, I look back over the year, and begin planning for 2014. I started the year with high goals of competing in my first youth world championship and climbing my first 5.14a route. Looking back on this year, I realize I have so many reasons to be grateful for the experiences that I had, and hopeful for the year to come.
Outdoor Climbing Adventures: In addition to climbing my first 5.14 this year, I ended 2013 having sent 6 routes from 5.14a-5.14c. This far exceeded my expectations. Surprisingly, hard sends were only a small part of my amazing 2013 outdoor adventures. Throughout the year, I had the pleasure of climbing with a host of people that volunteered to take really nice pictures/videos and/or teach me how to navigate and stay safe outdoors. I’ve met people that live out of their cars near crags, work at local businesses, and donate half of their checks (and time) to replace bad bolts and draws at the crag so that we can stay safe when we climb. Their generosity showed me how important it is for all of us to pitch in and help take care of our community. I met a lot of people that have helped me get off to a good start as I continue to venture outside climbing more in the future.
Competing In My First Pro Comps: This year, I was allowed to compete in my first Pro lead and bouldering competitions, Ring of Fire and Dark Horse. During these competitions, I had the opportunity to climb alongside so many amazing climbers that I grew up watching. Upon entering these competitions, I had to choose between competing in the Advanced division (where I would be more comfortable with the routes) or risk getting my butt kicked in the Open division with amazing competitors and tough routes. I can never resist a challenge, so I took the 2nd option for both . I made finals at both events, ending Ring of Fire in 8th place and Dark Horse in 4th place. After competing at both of these competitions, a lot of information was learned. I had to learn to adjust to difficult sequences in both a lead and bouldering setting. Mentally and physically these competitions provided amazing training grounds.
Competing at My First Youth World Championship: My experience in Victoria and becoming #4 in the world (for my age category) was amazing! I met so many people from around the world and got really close to so many of my US teammates. We became a family at US team camp. I am really appreciative for all of the close friendships I developed and experiences that I had during this event.
Gaining New Sponsors: Evolv has supported me as an athlete for over 3 ½ years; first as a grassroots member, then as a National team member, and now as a member of their elite team. They have always been great to me.
During 2013, I have also had the pleasure of becoming a member of the Salewa and Tent & Trails teams. These are amazing companies that I am very proud and honored to represent. The Salewa brand is widely known throughout the international climbing community. It was an honor to be invited to become an ambassador for their products. Tent and Trails is a New York based outdoor retail store that has quietly supported the climbing industry throughout the US for decades. I am very fortunate that they saw my potential and decided to help give me the opportunity to continuing growing in the sport, through sponsorship.
I am very grateful to have sponsors that believe in me and want to help support my dreams!
I’m really pleased with my progress in 2013 and I look forward to pushing myself beyond my current limits and trying many new things next year. I realize that when setting high goals, failure is inevitable. Like most people, I hate to fail. However, I really believe that if I keep working hard and pushing forward, success will ultimately come. Thanks to everyone that helped to make 2013 an awesome year for me, and wish me luck as I venture into new territory in 2014!