AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, Climber, Photographer, Artist
I grew up in a small town called Bronston, Kentucky. I learned to climb when I moved to Moab, Utah. I currently work as a rock climbing guide and run Big Beauty Pitches Productions.
What was your first experience climbing?
When I was 19 I moved to Moab, Utah from Somerset, Kentucky. Moab rocked my world! My first real experience with rock climbing was seeing climbers at Wall Street, which is a road side climbing area in Moab. All I could think was that I had to get up there, on the rock. I took what measly amount of money I had in my bank account and blew it all at the local gear shop, Gearheads. Since then I’ve climbed all over the world and have been absolutely stoked.
What is your favorite type of climbing?
My favorite type of climbing changes seasonally. I love desert towers, adventure climbs, and projects in the spring and fall. I love early morning missions of any kind and sharp granite off-widths in the summer. In the winter I mainly boulder and dabble in some Ice climbing unless I travel to europe then I love sport climbing during the winter.
Any style of climbing that you particularly dislike?
I love all styles of rock climbing. Rock climbing is fun, everytime. I firmly believe in being a well rounded climber. My weakness is in face climbing, so I’ve been working on that a lot. As Lisa Hathaway says “Climbing is good for Climbing!”
Where are your favorite areas to climb?
Indian Creek, Joshua Tree, The Black Canyon of Gunnison, Unaweep, Zion, Enchanted Rock, Tennessee Wall, Red River Gorge, Sicily, Gritstone, La Pedriza, Yosemite, Red Rocks, Flagstaff, and any desert tower of course!
Tell us about your all-time favorite climb.
I have a lot of all-time favorite climbs. It's like choosing one favorite song. Impossible!
Why do you climb?
Why do I climb? Why do I like beautiful sunsets, margaritas, good laughs, shiny gear, and kittens? I’ll never truly be able to explain the joy I find in climbing. I love the struggle, the community, the challenge, and growth I experience in this sport, and all that good stuff just translates over into every aspect of my life.
What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Climbing photography is mostly what I do when I’m not rock climbing. I love documenting the journey that climbers embark on physically and mentally.
I also paint, mostly in the winter when it’s too cold to go outside. My medium is acrylic, and I like to paint realistic landscapes from my favorite photographs.
Most of all my other love is for horses. I grew up training arabian/paint horses and participating in endurance races.
What or who inspires you?
The Climbing community as a whole inspires me, especially all the folks who put in all the work to pave the way for everybody else -- the trail-builders, route-equippers, weekend clean-up crews, and all my fellow guides. But most importantly, the experienced climbers who take the time to mentor new climbers. To teach. There is always a new generation coming up -- who better to teach them than ourselves? Passing down knowledge of safety, ethics, and history? We are a big family. I was inspired and educated by local climbers who took the time to teach me. I cannot count the number of amazing humans that have helped me get to where I am today. Real life role models who have inspired me to push past what scared me, and made me stronger.
Tell us about your dream vacation.
Anywhere with stellar climbing, good humans, and awesome food. Preferably somewhere warm. What can I say? I’m easy to please.
Favorite post-send meal.
My favorite post-send meal is all-you-can-eat sushi. I am excited/starving just thinking about it!
What are your long-term climbing goals?
I’d like to send a 5.13 sport route, a 5.14 trad route, and a V10 boulder problem. I also have an impossible to-do list of rock climbs. Wish me luck!
Anything else we should know?
Never turn down a good top rope.
On Episode 203 of the Enormocast, I meet up with Mary Eden, AKA Tradprincess on a porch in Moab, UT. It was a pleasant morning prelude to scorcher of a day and Mary and I got a solid hour in just before she bailed to Flagstaff. Mary came from Appalachia and ended up in Moab with enough gumption to try climbing. After a few years as a hobbyist, Mary got down to business in 2015. She had a series of old school mentors that instilled the hard ethics of climb, don’t talk. But nevertheless, after a bet, Mary got an Instagram account and Tradprincess was born. Starting off as a hard core traddie, Mary now tries to embrace all forms of rock climbing in her relentless pursuit of fun and freedom on the rocks.