From 1996 to 2008, Beth Rodden was one of the most influential climbers in the world, racking up an impressive series of first ascents and national championships.
With impressive athleticism, Rodden became the youngest woman to climb 5.14 in 1998, and completed notable ascents around the world with her boyfriend (and later, husband) Tommy Caldwell, as well as other notable climbers. In 2008, Rodden conquered the hardest ascent by an American woman and the hardest traditional route led or established by a woman when she climbed Meltdown—the most difficult line in Yosemite.
At that point, however, Rodden's career and personal life took a nose dive. She divorced Caldwell and suffered debilitating injuries to her shoulder, ankle and finger.
“To be injured and not be able to do the one thing that I was inherently good at and found joy in was the hardest thing in my life to ever go through,” Rodden said in the video above. “Several times over the past few years, I’ve wondered if it’s worth trying to come back again. But climbing is such a great thing in my life that I just want to be climbing, whatever that entails.”
Rodden is focused on recovering her full strength and recently began climbing again.
“I’m trying to go slow and listen to my body, but it feels amazing,” she said. “This process has taught me that I don’t have to climb the hardest thing possible to be happy. But I have to admit, I definitely think about some undone projects I’d like to go do.”
The video above provides more details about Rodden’s climbing history and recovery.