Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday. I think Thanksgiving is the best because it’s a non-selfish holiday…it’s a time to spend with loved ones making and sharing delicious food. It’s also a time to step back and think of everything you’re thankful for and appreciative of in your life.
This year was very monumental for my climbing. At the beginning of 2011, I sent my first V10 in Hueco Tanks, TX. I qualified to compete at the IFSC Bouldering World Cup in Vail, where I placed 17th, and for the IFSC Lead World Cup, where I placed 11th. Last month I sent my first 5.14a in Spain. I’ve been climbing for 13 years, and there’s a lot of thanks I would like to give because without certain events and people in my life, my success in climbing this year may not have happened.
I want to thank the following people (these are not necessarily listed in order):
- My parents. My dad and I started climbing together when I was 11 years old. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have tried climbing and would not have the life I have today. My life is currently defined by climbing. My mom always worked very hard to make sure I was able to travel to competitions and go on various climbing trips. Without her endless efforts, my climbing would have been very limited. Together, my parents always supported me and my climbing. They would both drive me 1 hour (one way) to the local climbing gym when I was young. While they completely supported me, they also made sure I was making good decisions and doing well in school. My dad recently reminded me of a time where they didn’t allow me to compete at the National Championships because I got in really big trouble…I think I ‘borrowed’ my mom’s Jeep before I had actually obtained my drivers license…whoops (kids, don’t do this!).
- Greg Perry & Atlanta Rocks. I began climbing at this local climbing gym in Atlanta, GA. Greg Perry is one of the owners of the gym and he was the coach of the Atlanta Rocks Youth Climbing team when I joined after only a month of climbing. I remember going to the gym as a little girl and always getting excited when Greg was there. In the beginning, he always helped me with beta when I was struggling up the 5.10’s. He traveled to some competitions with me and always kept up with my climbing, probably more than I know. I always felt like I could talk with him about anything and I considered him to be a second dad to me. His birthday is the day before mine in August. When I was younger, we’d often have combined birthday celebrations at the gym…I always looked forward to this. Greg also hired me to be the coach of the Atlanta Rocks Youth Climbing Team when I was 17. This was my first coaching position and I loved it. Without this experience, I may not have realized how much I love working with kids and I may not have pursued coaching in general. I’ll never forget Greg’s support while I was growing up. Without his support (as well as the support from all of Atlanta Rocks’ employees and members) climbing may not have been the same for me and I may not have stuck with it.
- My family. I’ve been climbing for 13 years and have been competing for most of that time. My family have always come to show their support at various competitions through the years. Even if some family members weren’t able to make it, they would ALWAYS follow me through my parents, phone calls, emails and Facebook. I really appreciate the support of my family. My family is dispersed all over (Pennsylvania, Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada) so there are lots of family members that I don’t have the privilege of seeing very often. Because of this, it means even more to me when they keep up with what I’m doing.
- My Friends. Without my friends, life would be pretty boring and climbing wouldn’t be quite the same. They always keep things interesting and in perspective. They are always psyched to climb, hike, bake, and go on adventures.
- Dave Wahl (Athletik Specifik). I’ve been training with Dave Wahl through Athletik Specifik for a year now. He’s my strength and condition coach and I believe that I have avoided major injury and have increased my overall strength and power because of the help of Dave. Working with him is not easy…I’ve puked in my mouth during conditioning…but I always show up for practice.
- Kynan Waggoner. Kynan has had a huge impact on my climbing for the past few years. He’s helped me transform my climbing; I used to be a very static climber who had a lot of difficulty with dynamic moves and would climb sloth-like, which isn’t the way most successful climbers climb (the only successful climber I’ve seen who climbs sloth-like is Steve Hong, a Boulder local who destroys it in Rifle). Today, I’m not shy to move dynamically or dyno on routes and I feel that this transformation is largely due to the help of Kynan. In addition, Kynan always supports me and helps me obtain my goals. For example, while training for the Lead World Cup, he would wake up at 5:30am on most mornings just to belay me for a few hours at a time. He was also my partner in Spain, and he gave up a few days of climbing so I could try to send projects as well as gave up going to Barcelona for rest days so I could continue climbing (Barcelona is his favorite city!). Kynan is my best friend and I really appreciate all of his support.