Imagine competing in a rock climbing competition two and a half hours from your house, driving back, and attending your high school prom on the same day. Well, that’s exactly what a climber from Duluth Denfeld experienced.
Hartley Bauer has been climbing for over seven years. Although the sport is never easy, she has improved throughout her career. Qualified for nationals this season in bouldering and lead climbing.
“I have been climbing for a long time now. I recently did the math and realized that I had been climbing for 8 years and had always practiced both disciplines in the same way. By being in the team, you are obliged to play in all areas. Every year I’ve competed it’s kind of climbed like I never made it to the division, so it’s been a journey,” Bauer said.
A journey that is not yet finished this year, since she is now preparing for the nationals in Chicago, which will take place the last week of July.
“It’s the third time I’ve qualified for nationals, and every time I break down and cry, because it’s so overwhelming to realize that I’ve come this far. Just the feeling of the national championships is super exciting because you feel like you’ve made it,” Bauer continued.
Not only is it rewarding for Bauer to reach the highest level, but also for his coaches at Vertical Endeavors.
“To see someone go all the way through qualifying, all the way to regionals and making it to the national championship is incredibly rewarding. Given her work ethic, it’s not even hard to get someone like that to where she is,” said assistant climbing coach Bradley Zwagerman.
Although climbing mountains both physically and mentally can be daunting. It’s a sport, and an experience that Bauer wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
“I’ve always said I like adrenaline, like the feeling of being on a wall is scary. It’s still scary most of the time, but there are times when you feel free. I don’t think I could ever find a sport that made me feel as free and excited as rock climbing,” Bauer concluded.