2016 Summer Wilderness Trip Story: Climbing To Success

Karen pounded her fist against the gritty rock wall in frustration as she lost her footing on a hold and swung backward and forward on the rope like a pendulum. “It’s okay, Karen, you’ve got this!” I called up to the fourteen-year-old Explorer from below. It was Friday, the last morning of the KABP 2020 Girls’ Summer Wilderness rock climbing trip, and the New Mexican sun was hot and relentless.

Karen had been climbing the same route for about fifteen minutes now, a tricky 5.9 that snaked its way up a crack in the rock. 
 
The route was far more advanced than any of the other routes that the girls had climbed the entire trip, but Karen was determined to finish it. After half an hour of pushing through the heat and implementing skilled rock climbing moves, Karen proudly touched the top of the wall. 
 
As she was being lowered back down to the cheers of her teammates, she beamed down at all of us. Scratches and bruises lined her shins and arms, but a huge smile filled her entire face. She had achieved her goal.
 
A few days after returning from her trip, Karen reached out to Explore Austin Program Manager, James Faerber, to ask about joining a rock climbing team in Austin. Karen is a great example of how determination and grit pay off, and Explore Austin is proud to play a part in fueling her passion.
 
Narration and Photo by Rachel Veale, Explore Austin Intern