02 September 2013


Lucy came out of mock-isolation fully ready. It was PCI Clinic--Tucson, and we were doing a mock-comp in preparation for Regionals the following weekend. There were two boulder problems to choose from for station two, one moderate and one of slightly harder difficulty (one for the younger kids, one for the older kids.) The objective was to set them up in a slightly less nerve-wracking onsight-format and see how they perform under pressure, then give them feedback.

Lucy was grouped with the younger half. She came out and easily cruised her problem expecting to rest for her remaining minutes. As she headed back to her chair I stopped her.
"Nope, you're going to climb it again," I said. "This time you aren't allowed to bend your arms at all." She looked only a little confused. "Use the movement of your body. Right now you're climbing tense. Relax; twist your shoulders, rotate your hips, pivot on your toes. Tell me if the problem doesn't feel easier." Lucy got back on, twisting, rotating and pivoting her way to the top. It looked beautiful!

"Did you feel the difference?" I asked.
"So much!" She exclaimed. And seeing as practice makes perfect, I made her do the climb with straight arms three or four more times before her five minutes were up. In those five minutes her climbing improved exceptionally.

I'm not writing an article about the next "phenom-wonderkid." This is about a young girl with an eagerness to learn, a desire to get better, and a fierce passion to pursue something she loves.

Lucy is eleven years old and has been climbing for four years. Not unlike myself, she began climbing in summer camps at her local gym. She was instantly hooked and tried out for her team Rocks and Ropes at her gym in Arizona. She's been competing for four years, and just like all of us-- sees ups and downs in her performances.

So when Lucy first heard about a PCI clinic coming to Tucson she thought, "Are you serious? You mean I get to actually talk to and get advice from pro climbers?! I'm in!!"

Lucy has been on her gym's youth climbing team since 2008, and lives in Bisbee, AZ. Her climbing gym is Rocks and Ropes in Tucson and, recently its sister gym, The BLOC, opened in Tucson as well. That means that for the last five years practices have been 100 miles away -- one way. Lucy makes that drive three times per week to continue to stay on the climbing team. Now that's dedication! Even though Lucy has to leave school an hour early to make it to practice on time, she still strives for perfect attendance and straight A's.

Climbing outside to Lucy is more for the experience than it is the send. She's done climbs like Royal Arches in Yosemite Valley, and South Crack on Stately Pleasure Dome in Tuolumne.

Catching up with Lucy since her participation in the PCI Clinic at The BLOC, she says she's been able to concentrate on her breathing much more, helping with her focus, sequencing, and fending off the pump. "Since the clinic, I have a whole lot more confidence in myself, and in my climbing."

It's working with young climbers like Lucy that makes teaching clinics not only warmly rewarding, but so much fun! I'm excited to check back with Lucy over time to hear about how she's progressed, and hopefully see her out climbing soon!

Lucy-- Keep up the great work!! ~AJ


  1. Hey! That's my niece! So great to see how she captured your attention - not at all surprising to me as I've enjoyed watching her grow to be the amazing girl that she is. Such a great role model! Alive and in touch. Lucy, so proud of you!