I started climbing in a gym when I was thirteen. I was too scared and weak to haul myself to the top of an easy jug bash on the flat wall, so my mom let me down once I got halfway. Less than a year later I had my own pair of shoes, two sizes too small just like the girl at the climbing gym said they should be. My mom bought them for me along with my own harness and a membership to the climbing team. When I finally sent 5.9 it felt like I was really getting somewhere, but I still hadn’t climbed outside. Eventually I quit the climbing team, but I kept my membership to the gym and the band of climbers there adopted me as thier little sister. They are the people I spent my high school years with, the people who accepted me and made me feel welcome and showed me how to live by the golden rule. Still I barely climbed outside though because I worked weekends and lived three hours away from any rocks. So when I finally had the chance to go out west for college I was determined to make it happen. I did not want to go to more school, but I wanted more than anything to get out of Arkansas and climb. I moved to Arizona and dropped out after a semester. I worked at an outdoor store, lived with snowboarding bros, and still mostly climbed in the gym. One of my roomates, Bryan, took me bouldering a few times and taught me an attitude that is fun and inclusive, devoid of ego. The summer of 2012 I started trad climbing. At first I would only follow my climbing partner, Jeff- crying all the way up offwidths and hand cracks, pulling on gear when I couldnt make a hand jam stick. Eventually I started leading routes on gear though, a reality I had never even dreamed of. I had always been so certain that I was incapable of something that crazy. I fell in love with it. I learned how to try hard and started climbing routes harder than 5.10 for the first time. Jeff was always patient and encouraging and believed in me until I could finally believe in myself. That was the best summer of my life. Then Jeff and I grew apart, I didn’t climb much anymore, and the magic of summer faded; however I knew I would go back to climbing and I never regretted buying a rack. After working on a trail crew in 2013 I came back to Arkansas for Christmas. I went on a couple climbing trips to Horseshoe Canyon and Fountain Red and realized all over again that I am in love with climbing and all that goes with it- the community, the land, the focus it takes to just hold on to a rock, the soreness in my muscles. I knew it was time to start climbing again. When I went back to Arizona I decided to take advantage of all the world class climbing destinations within a few hours of my house. Bishop, Red Rocks, Zion, and all the quality local areas exposed me to so much beautiful, wild land and so many new ways to move on the rock. As I left Flagstaff to roadtrip back to Arkansas this June, my heart was breaking. My friend Jacob and I went to Zion first. We went there together in hig school too, but not to climb then, so being there with him five years later with the means and experience to climb multipitch routes was just incredible. Next we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and climbed granite for a few days where we learned how to place nuts and I lead an x rated pitch by accident. This is why I love climbing: because “to climb up rocks is like the rest of your life, only simpler and safer.” (Charles E. Montague) Climbing has taken me everywhere I have been. It has taught me so much about the wild places of this earth and of my heart. Climbing is my mode of worship, a beautiful way to see the world. On top of all that, it’s fun. I can’t wait to explore Arkansas rocks again and be inspired by the people here who share my passion.