Lynn Hill: Rock Climbing Phenom
Lynn Hill. The name alone conjures up images of a strong, technically amazing, badass climber. You would be hard pressed to find a female climber today who doesn’t know who Lynn Hill is and include her on their list of climbing heroes. Her list of accomplishments in the climbing world is impressive, and not only for a woman, it’s impressive for anyone. Her most recognizable feat is most likely the first free ascent of The Nose on the 3200-foot wall called El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, followed by the first free ascent of the same route in a single day. (“Free ascent” means she climbed it with ropes and equipment, but that she didn’t pull on that equipment.)
I can’t recall the very first time I heard of Lynn Hill. But I do remember being a newbie climber, watching videos of her climbing and being awe struck by how strong yet graceful she was on the rock. Reading through her list of accomplishments over the years, I was motivated to get out and get after it. She set the standard for how hard women are able to climb and made huge strides in chipping away at the notion that women were not capable of climbing as hard as men.
As a climber, I am inspired by Lynn. As a mother, I am even more inspired by her. I was a mother long before I got on my first climbing route; Lynn was the opposite, having climbed long before becoming a mother. And after dominating the climbing scene for decades, Lynn got married and had a son. Since her son Owen was born she hasn’t set any more earth shattering records; but despite that she still gets out and climbs harder than most of us can even fathom. She has completed a few notable first ascents and first female ascents since becoming a mother, and has for the most part seemed to have found that happy medium that all of us climbing moms strive for.
This winter I was lucky enough to get the chance to meet Lynn at the Outdoor Retailer Show. It isn’t often that you get the chance to meet your hero, and I was honestly quite starstruck. I was able to talk to her for a bit and my daughter got to meet her as well. In today’s day and age of less than stellar role models, I hope that my daughter remembers this meeting and will look up to Lynn as a role model, whether she grows up to be a climber or not. Lynn is a strong, fearless woman who pushes the limits of what is possible while embracing the things she is most passionate about. And those are qualities that we should all strive for.
-Haley Dahle, Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team Member, ClimbRunLift Mom