Sunday morning provides crisp, fall air sifting through the madrone and oak trees as they shade the Tafoni Sandstone in Castle Rock State Park (CRSP). The costume party last night only contributes to my excitement, despite the lack of sleep. Rebolting has been so intriguing to me after years of seeing so much antiquated rock protection. I was overwhelmed at the opportunity to contribute to some local climbing areas. That morning, we set out with the Bay Area Climbers Coaltion (BACC) and gear provided by the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA) to update some of the old bolts that protect the California Ridge area.
My first experience multi-pitch trad climbing is what inspired me to work in the climbing industry and in many ways changed the course of my life. I remember getting to the top of Seneca on that first trip and thinking, “Now I get it! This is what climbing is supposed to be for me”. Climbing, while often a social activity, can also be very personal - a person’s goals, priorities and motivations are their own. At the top of Seneca I found my reason to climb and keep climbing. I wanted the ability to inspire others in the same way - it was time to plan a big climbing trip to expand my horizons and better hone my skills. I, along with Emily Sillcox and Sherie Lou Santos, was awarded an Earth Treks Avi Sengupta Staff Climbing Scholarship to venture out to Red Rock, Nevada and pursue my goals.
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Ever since I was very young, I’ve had a strong sense of adventure. I loved to be outside. My friends and I would run through the woods daily, playing tag, swimming in the creek, etc. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to be outside. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up but I knew that if I was outside and exploring, I would be happy.
When I first started climbing, I didn’t know anything outside of the gym. I was ten years old growing up in southern new jersey. I would go to the climbing gym on a near daily basis. When most of the routes in the gym became too easy, I would try to memorize them and do them blind folded. Thankfully, one of the employees of the gym noted my perseverance and saw some promise in me and invited my dad, brother, and I to go climbing outside. I was ecstatic! I knew nothing about any other form of climbing besides what I was doing in the gym. I was probably 11 years old and can still remember the day like it was yesterday. Since that day, I have made sure to share my climbing experience with others – whether indoors or outdoors - to show them the full spectrum of climbing and how amazing it can be to apply the skills acquired in the gym in a beautiful outdoor setting.
The venue was packed for the final event everyone had been waiting for – Youth Bouldering World Championship Finals. The top six climbers in each division from all over the world face off against each other in an epic showdown to see who truly is the best in the world. As the sun set, the lights to the venue kicked on and the show began.