Beth Rodden Climbs Back

Happy Wednesday Everyone. Today we’re going to spotlight Beth Rodden. Who is Beth Rodden? She was the youngest ever female to climb a 5.14a at the age of 18, and is the only woman in the world to have red pointed a 5.14c. She also free climber the nose on El Cap around this time, so we’ll say that by the time she was 19 she had quite the resume.

So the spotlight today is on the trials and tribulations that occurred in her life and the strength she found to not only return to climbing but begin to excel it the sport that both gave and took away so many things from her life. Beth has been climbing for almost 20 years and some of the things that has gone down would turn even some of the strongest men away from the sport. Her story is literally a little crazy, and after several injuries, divorce, kidnappings (we touch base on that later) and an understandable bout of “Do I even want to keep doing this?” she found her way back on the rocks and is no doubt, kicking ass again.


As you can see in the videos, she had a pretty bad time with the whole injury thing. She injured her arms, fingers, broke her ankle, and don’t worry, we’ll get to that whole kidnapping incident soon enough but let’s just say that injuries alone are difficult enough to deal with as a Rock Climber. In fact when I googled Beth Rodden, the suggestions alone, indicate that she’s had a less than stellar life outside of her climbing feats. In fact, “Beth Rodden Meltdown” takes you to her successful climb of the Yosemite traditional pitch: Meltdown. So that’s that.


So, this wasn’t part of our original article, but because I spent about 20 minutes while researching for this reading about these kidnappings, I figured I’d at least share what I found.

In 2000, while climbing with Jason Smith, John Dickey and her future husband Tommy Caldwell; Rodden and her crew were taken hostage in Kyrgyzstan’s Kara Su Valley. Seriously, this happened. Here’s the facts:

  • They were kidnapped for six days
  • The kidnappers had them hide from helicopters and Kyrgyz troops searching for the rebel group searching for them
  • They were shot at several times
  • They threw a guy off a cliff and ran “like Forrest Gump”
  • When they finally got to Kyrgyz troops after escaping, Kyrgyz troops shot at them thinking they were guerrilla troops

You can read about the ordeal here

Back to climbing

Aright, so we get it, she had a tough time, climbing was kind of the cause of a lot of grief in her life, and with the injuries and everything else that had happened we can understand her adverse view towards the whole world of climbing. But who are we kidding? The chick has a bouldering wall IN HER HOUSE .. right?

We’re glad to see her back on the rocks and she describes the experience of being on an ascent with the birds and the wind as one of a kind. Climbing is always a sport that challenges one’s inner strength and allows people to persevere. If anyone is a testament to this, it’s Beth. Climb On!