Professional Climber | Mom | Yosemite Dweller | Ridgeback lover
Professional Climber | Mom | Yosemite Dweller | Ridgeback lover
When I was a kid I hated brussel sprouts. It wasn't a mild dislike, it was a massive disdain and I would fake gag and complain loudly when they were served for dinner. My parents had a rule called the "no thank you helping." It was mostly a way to ensure that my brother, David, and I ate some vegetables before we were excused from the table. When I was seven and David was nine, we were still at the table an hour after dinner, stubbornly staring down our vegetables. We’ve never had much in common, but our hatred for brussel sprouts and our strong will were some of the rare shared qualities between us. Finally, David put two massive bites of brussel sprouts in his mouth, chewed vigorously and swallowed. Amazed, I watched with envy. He had done it. He was victorious and could be excused from the table. But before he could push his chair back, his face turned slightly green and vomited the brussel sprouts onto the table. I closed my eyes and plugged my nose. My parents came running, excused David from the table and started cleaning up the mess. I sheepishly asked "do I still have to eat my no-thank-you-helping?" Flustered, my parents said no and I ran out of the kitchen. It was the last time my parents ever served us brussel sprouts. I loved my brother for his sacrifice. It's been thirty years since that fateful night, but last night I cut up some brussel sprouts and roasted them in the oven. Over the past few years they have become one of my favorite meals and I can't wait until they come into season each fall. Crazy, I know. I guess my point is that things change. People change. Bodies change. Don't hold yourself back by something you once believed like gospel. You might just surprise yourself. This picture has nothing to do with brussel sprouts but everything to do with me learning to be comfortable in my own skin last spring in Fontainebleau 😉 // @outdoorresearch @touchstoneclimbing @metoliusclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
I first tried El Poussif in 2003 during the height of my climbing career. I was at my skinny "fighting weight" and expected to waltz up a Fontainebleau classic. I threw myself at it over and over, but finally realized that it was too hard for me. Dejected, I walked away, skipped dinner that night and did double the push ups and pull ups as a sort of self punishment. This past spring I came back and tried again. I was at least fifteen pounds heavier and succeeded. At some point in my life, that's the extent of the story I needed to hear: that being thin wasn't the only path for me to climb hard. But now I realize that's not the most important lesson for me. It's not just about climbing hard. Perhaps it took the physical act of climbing something I couldn't climb before for me to understand, but it's actually what happened underneath that is the most important and has led to those successes. I've wondered how it would have changed things for me if I heard this sort of story at different points in my life. What would I have done as a hungry, tiny teenage competition climber hearing that I could climb hard even if I was heavier? What would I have done as an angsty, driven and achievement focused twenty something knowing that I could climb something that I once failed on and feel success without the external praise and accolades? What would I have done as a postpartum mom in my thirties, crying myself to sleep at night, knowing that with some self love and compassion I could actually love this new, saggier, softer, heavier body instead of constantly resenting it? What would I have done seeing a picture of me smiling happily and proudly without a ripped firm belly? I know that I've been influenced greatly by what my heroes have told me or what I've seen in the magazines and on screens. Rationally, I know we should all make our own decisions, but in reality representation matters. Someday this caption will read "Beth tried really hard and was happy to stand on top of this boulder" but until then, it means more than that. // @outdoorresearch @metoliusclimbing @touchstoneclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
I used to only like eating pre-portioned, packaged things. I wondered how people knew to stop eating if wasn't in a wrapper? I ate a protein bar and an apple for breakfast, same for lunch and a can of soup and a bagel for dinner. I went to bed hungry every night and my favorite time of day was breakfast when I got to eat again. This all sounds so sad to me now, but at the time I only felt empowered. I was diagnosed with Osteopenia at the age of 21. Ashamed, I ate two pints of ice cream and cried. My yo-yo eating fluctuated depending on my climbing achievements. Self loathing was balanced with self worth if I sent. These extremes of emotions softened with age, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have hints of those ups and downs a few years ago sharing a dessert with my son. A new feeling of self awareness started thanks to motherhood. I reached a point where I wondered how much longer I wanted to be at war with my body? I was exhausted. I knew I needed to create a life not dictated by how tight I could synch my harness down or a number on the scale. I just didn't know how to get there. Representation matters and makes a real difference. I started changing who I surrounded myself with, what I said to myself, and who and what I saw on screens. That shift was transformative. I'm going to keep posting these stories and pictures. One day it’ll translate into normal instead of brave. Let’s champion that. Pics: In Fontainebleau this spring, the first time I felt free, not scared, baring my softer body // Me after winning my third Junior National Championship circa 1997? at the beginning of my war with my body. @outdoorresearch @metoliusclimbing @touchstoneclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
A brief interruption of the self love posts to celebrate @randypuro and his never ending passion to develop some of the most beautiful boulder problems out there. On Tuesday, Tioga Road likely closed for the year at 3pm. Randy and I took advantage of the unfortunately beautiful late season weather and had a rare climbing date together! The revelation and amazement of our uninterrupted conversations could garner an entire post, but I'll forgo that detour right now. It was such a treat to see him do the FA of "Flurry" at Kitty Dome, named after my beloved childhood cat and the few snow flurries we had that day. It's pretty special to witness someone doing something year after year that brings them so much fulfillment and joy with no need or desire for fanfare or applause. It reminds me why we all got into climbing in the first place.
A few years ago I worked on an article for @outsidemagazine that was the first time I talked publicly about things that were vulnerable or shameful for me. But the thing I was scared of most was the photo shoot. I was two and a half years postpartum and at least fifteen pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I hadn't been disciplined enough to get my body back. Even my "normal" friends had done so after a few months. My inner critic raged. I made a plan to go on one of those high fat fasting diets. At checkout, Theo asked why I wasn't buying our favorite fruit. It took me by surprise, since it felt natural to manipulate my eating and body for performance and self worth. "Mom has to eat a certain way, for my work, to make me feel good..." As I was trailing on I could see the perplexity in his face. I stopped my little sermon and realized I was planting a dangerous seed. I grabbed fruit and checked out without the diet food. I suppose I could have just done the diet on my own, but I knew that wasn't the transformation that needed to happen. I never lost that weight before the photoshoot. It was winter and I wore a down jacket and could hide my body. I felt relief in that. Looking back, I wasn't ready anyways. That took another few years of changing my own inner dialogue and feeling worthy outside of a skinny body and sending a hard route. But taking small steps have all led to the greatest transformation in my life and career. Thanks everyone for the kind words and posting your own stories around these topics over the past few weeks. It’s been the change we all want to see. Amazing what some self love can do ❤️ Pics: Climbing in Yosemite this fall and the @outsidemagazine photo shoot by @trittscamera 🙏 @outdoorresearch @metoliusclimbing @touchstoneclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
Until my 30's, I was never really comfortable around women. I think it stemmed from being a competitive person and thinking that was not okay to admit or feel or be. But after my divorce, I realized that people are complex and things that I might have thought to be bad or weird can be totally normal. I was also exhausted trying to live up to unrealistic expectations that I held myself to. This week we did a ladies trip up to the high country of Tuolumne. In the past that would have been one of the most intimidating things I could have imagined. But the nice thing about a little self love, is that you just let it all out there and no matter what you are okay because you have you. It probably helped that I was with two of the loveliest humans I know too 😉 On our way home we did a skinny polar plunge into Tenaya Lake. I was reluctant at first, but knew I'd regret not going more than the quick shock of cold water. Happy to report we all went in and the only thing we lamented was that no one was there holding a dry warm towel for us to run into afterwards. Our sweaty t-shirts were a mediocre substitute but still couldn't wipe the smile off our faces on the car ride home. I hope everyone has the sort of sacred relationship that I feel with my girlfriends. For me it took 30 years and understanding that vulnerability was a strength and that everyone has weirdnesses and quirks. If we didn't we wouldn't be human, we'd just be that person trying to please everyone without really knowing themselves, just like I was. I hope everyone is savoring the last days of fall, and if you get a chance to jump naked in a cold lake with your girlfriends, my only advice is to find a warm towel holder afterwards 😉 Enjoy the weekend everyone. // @outdoorresearch @metoliusclimbing @touchstoneclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
When I was 16 years old one of my climbing heroes told me that she lost 5 pounds before every competition and gained it back afterwards. It felt like a perilous example for a teenager navigating a changing body in a sport that championed thinness. I started losing weight before every competition, but not gaining it back. I saw it as another tool to get me on the podium. It wasn't until 19 that I started my period, I felt like a failure. // A few years ago, I was climbing with my favorite group of mamas, lamenting changes in my body. I grabbed my soft postpartum belly and joked "how do I get rid of this?" We all laughed but I saw my son watching me, soaking in everything I was saying. // Motherhood has been a crystal clear reflection of who I am and who I want to be. I realized I was now the one setting a perilous example. // My postpartum body has led to the most strength and growth. I started to ask myself why I wanted to hide that under baggy t-shirts or behind scornful self dialogue? It's taken me years to change what I tell myself, and it's still constant work, but this past year I've been baring that soft belly with pride instead of fear. There have been moments of questioning, but mostly it's been liberating. Hoping these posts can help free others from the destructive way we've been taught to view our bodies. Let's start celebrating normal. // Pics: In the magical forest of Fontainebleau this past spring, at my happiest and most at peace with climbing in decades ... and at my thinnest in climbing competing in the San Diego X-Games in 1997? @outdoorresearch @touchstoneclimbing @metoliusclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana
Can you suck in your stomach? Roll your shorts up higher? Pull your shirt up? Oh, um, never mind leave your shirt down. Can you smile with your chin out? You have skin bunching below your neck. // These are all things said to me during photo shoots over the past twenty five years. People often ask how could a professional athlete have body image issues. I often reply that I don’t know how they couldn’t. Next time you wonder if your body is worthy enough for tank top or sports bra, ask yourself who made you think it wasn’t. That question has been a game changer for me. Not holding myself to those unhealthy expectations and unrealistic dialogue has been freeing. We’re still in sports bra weather out here in California and I’m still rocking my bare soft belly, not to be brave, just to be normal. Enjoy the weekend everyone. // @outdoorresearch @touchstoneclimbing @metoliusclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
I’m just going to keep posting these pictures that Theo took of me in Europe last spring until it becomes normal instead of courageous. It was the first time since being pregnant that my inner dialogue changed from criticism to acceptance around my postpartum body and shape. The climbing community is welcoming in many ways (it was born from people shunning social norms after all ) but we have a long way to go with body acceptance. Along with a whole lot of self love, I’ve found that what you see on social media matters. I’m hopeful that these pictures will help make it more ordinary to see all shapes and sizes at the crags and on your screens, not just the tan, taught and chiseled ones. Oh, and I also have no idea why I look so serious brushing the holds of a boulder 🤷♀️😂 Enjoy the last bits of summer everyone 😎 @outdoorresearch @metoliusclimbing @touchstoneclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @clifbar @lasportivana #orambassador
This spring was the first time in over five years that I wasn’t ashamed to wear just a sports bra. I highly recommend changing that inner dialogue and working on self compassion over current diets, cleanses and new training regimes. It’s amazing what some self love can do. 📸 and black and white editing effect by my five year old, capturing me topping out during my most fruitful European climbing trip to date. @outdoorresearch @metoliusclimbing @touchstoneclimbing @bluewaterropes @ospreypacks @skinourishment @lasportivana #orambassador
I’ve been saying lately that it feels like a long time since I’ve had any meaningful or thoughtful thoughts 😬😂 It seems that the longer into motherhood I get, the fewer I feel I have (just a theory, not a scientific study 😉 ). I know at some point I’ll reach the bottom of this bell curve and the thoughts will return, but until then, here’s a beautiful picture of Yosemite, gets me each and everyday.
Always a treat to visit a new spot at home. Even more of a treat to do it with good company. This weekend our little crew of climbers did a lot of running in Tuolumne, with @justinclimbs doing the lion’s share of effort (watch his stories for some stunning images of the high country ). It’s so nice to witness someone completing something they’ve wanted to do for a very long time. But perhaps even better was the two days spent in our favorite place on earth with some of our favorite people...or @lynbarraza bringing the chocolate cake 😉 Hope you all enjoyed your weekends and can walk without terribly sore legs today 😬😂
I had the honor of giving the keynote talk for @touchstoneclimbing ‘s Woman Up Festival again this year. I’ve had so many people reach out and tell me how impressed they were by me being open, honest and vulnerable. It’s funny, when I first started giving “normal” slideshows I told stories about my climbs but left out the emotional journey. It was just easier and fit the attitude of what I thought the community wanted. However, as I got older it felt insincere to just talk about climbing, since that’s been just a part of my story. Speaking in front of large groups of people doesn’t come easy for me, but neither have any of the things in my life that I’m proudest about, the events that have taught me the most. Perhaps amazing events like Woman Up give us a place to feel safe to share our real journeys, but I hope that it just becomes more “normal” and we don’t have to be “brave” to talk about stuff other than conquering mountains. If you get a chance to attend this event next year, I promise you’ll have an amazing time, it’s as top notch as they come.
Summer has been nutty. This place is still as beautiful as ever. And that’s all I’ve got.
Any other parents out there really look forward to dental cleanings now? I never used to find the hour oh so peaceful, but now I don’t want it to end. 😂
“Among many of my peers, being pregnant was seen as a big problem. But not by my sponsors.” The response to the @nytimes piece has been incredible (link in bio ). What a great example for the next generation. I hope that by talking about this, pay inequity or discrimination with pregnancy/motherhood is not something the young girls of today will have to worry about. // photo @coreyrichproductions
Still gets me every time ❤️🏞 // oh, and happy Father’s Day @randypuro we love you so much 😘
Rare run in the high country with @randypuro // We were trying to remember the last time we ran together, and we’re pretty sure it was before I was pregnant with Theo almost six years ago. It’s funny, with pregnancy and having a young child I tried to mentally and physically prepare for so much: sleepless nights, tantrums, endless amounts of required “stuff”...but one thing I didn’t anticipate well was how much time Randy and I would spend apart. It forced me to open up and create a network of other amazing people (mainly women 👊 ) to play with, which has been one of the greatest gifts yet. But it’s also made me appreciate the times we do get to spend together that much more.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Three months in Europe was incredible, but home is pretty great too 🏞❤️🙏
Snuck in a few problems with legend @marc .lemenestrel at the end of the day last week. We are nearing the end of our three month trip abroad and our evening with Marc reminded me that even though climbing is booming, the community is still so small and unique. I first met Marc in the winter of 1995 in Heuco Tanks. I was fifteen and spending my first (and last ) Christmas away from home. Marc’s magnetic smile and energy lifted my sad, homesick spirit. Over two decades later, it was a treat to share a pad and watch him dance up the delicate problems in Fontainebleau. Even more special was to talk to him about his passion for climbing and what draws him to it. He’s now a professor of ethics and his answer resonated deeply with us: nature, companionship and performance. I think we can all relate to one or all of those. Thanks for the delightful evening Marc, and more importantly for entertaining Theo’s lightsaber skills 😬😉
Always a treat to climb something first done by another woman. “Instant de Solitude” put up by climbing wizard Catherine Miquel. I certainly have been loving finding these intricate slabs around the forest, perfect for giving my finger a rest and my toes a challenge ☺️❤️ #slabisrad
Does it still count as a “Fontainebleau right of passage” if I do one of the shortest circuits around for my first ever complete circuit? 🤔 Theo working the stem below 👌😉
If you’re lucky enough, you can sometimes find people and places that feel like home, even when you aren’t home. Happy to be back in the magical forest for a bit, best place to nurse a sore finger. And you know another bonus of slab climbing? Sometimes you don’t need all your fingers to climb them 😂 “La Chicorée” at Cuvier. #slabisrad