On Episode 117, I sit down in a La Quinta Inn in Rifle, Colorado (the town, not the climbing area) with Heather Weidner. Heather and I nerd out on the process it took for her to do the first female ascent of China Doll (5.14R) sans bolts. Then we go deeper. After sending the multi-year mega-project that was China Doll, instead of lasting elation, Heather felt let-down and self-loathing. Heather had given up being a veterinarian to become a professional climber, and as she finally had space to reflect on that choice and her life before climbing, she’s had to reckon with sad memories and troubled times from the past. Climbing, though, still gives her the outlet she needs to be happy and move forward. Onward and upward, Heather hopes to graduate to “For-Lifer” and always find solace in climbing.
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