Wild Ideas Worth Living: Beth Rodden


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Beth Rodden on rock climbing, living in Yosemite and re-framing the perfectionist mindset. 

Beth Rodden started climbing in indoor gyms when she was 14. She quickly won national competitions and then began climbing outside around the world. She became famous for free climbing the nose on El Capitan. She also completed many other first ascents, like free climbing the Meltown (a 5.14c route in Yosemite) showing the world women can climb as well as men.

It hasn’t all been easy on and off the wall for Beth. In 2000, Beth and three of her climbing partners were on a climbing trip in Kyrgyzstan when they were captured by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a militant group. They escaped on the sixth day, but no one at home knew they had been kidnapped. A few years later, Beth went through a divorce. After that, she decided to break down her own ideals about perfectionism and being a constant overachiever.

Beth’s wild idea: To become a world class rock climber and inspire others to find their own drive and definition of happiness and success.

I love Beth’s story because it’s honest and relatable. While Beth speaks about breaking the perfectionist cycle, she’s also achieved a version of success and happiness that works for her.

She still climbs. She’s a sought-after speaker, a beautiful writer, she’s remarried and a mom to a four-year old son. We talked about what it was like to share the story of her kidnapping with the world, what she has learned from being a mom and how you can shatter your own ideals about perfectionism. We also dive into her relationship with climbing today and what’s it like to live in the magical valley of Yosemite.

Listen to this episode if:

  • You’re a climber.
  • You are a recovering perfectionist.
  • You want to visit or have been to Yosemite.
  • You are still looking for your own sense of drive and passion.

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