• TNB: Climbing's Big Mistake
  • TNB: Trad Dads and Dad Bods
  • TNB: Do the Right Thing
  • TNB: Big Wall Soloing Sustenance – Cookies vs. Bugs
  • TNB: When Your Rope Falls Off—and 5 Ways to Prevent the Nightmare
  • TNB: Before I Die - What Would Climbers Think?
  • TNB: Raphael Slawinski - Firsthand Account of Everest Earthquake
  • TNB: Point Break - Sharma, Andrada on the Big Screen
  • TNB: Muscle Shoals - Rock and Soul
  • TNB: Naked Soloist is Saner Than Me
  • TNB: The Hard Climb to Heaven
  • TNB: Summer Camp
  • TNB: Suicide in Our Sights
  • TNB: Ethan Pringle's 10 Tips for Sending Your Project
  • TNB: Hawaii Rocks - Totally Aloha
  • TNB: PointGate - Why Comp Climbing Is Not The Future
  • TNB: My First Epic
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Avoid Braking Bad - The Art of the Soft Catch
  • TNB: #Dawnwall and The Creation of Alex Honnlove
  • TNB: Vision Quest - Benji Fink and Mexico’s Steepest Big Wall
  • TNB: The New Dawn (Wall) of Climbing
  • TNB: The Top 5 Weekend Whippers of 2014 (Plus the Comments)
  • TNB: 10 Tips for Jolene Kay, Professional Climber (and Hot Actress)
  • TNB: The Story Behind the Craziest of Rescues
  • TNB: The Risk of Climbing
  • TNB: How to Get Stronger by Doing Nothing for 5 Minutes a Day
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Improve Your Footwork
  • TNB: In Praise of the Weekend Warrior
  • TNB: Joe Kinder Visits the World's Hardest Cave
  • TNB: Celebrating Insomnia in Chamonix
  • TNB: Run, Rabbit - Hermann Gollner, 71, Cranks Pump-O-Rama (5.13a)
  • TNB: Five Best Photos of 2014
  • TNB: Clip Like A Pro - 5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl
  • TNB: Five Things Every Gym Climber Must Know About Climbing Outside
  • TNB: Still Jeff Lowe
  • TNB: Moving Over Stone With Doug Robinson
  • TNB: Wheels Up—The Top 5 Climbing Rigs
  • TNB: Is K2 The New Everest?
  • TNB: Things—Besides Us, That Is—That Fall
  • TNB: When Homemade Gear Works, Sorta
  • TNB: The Outsiders
  • TNB: R.I.P. Homero Gutierrez Villarreal - The Padrino of El Potrero
  • TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle
  • TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen
  • TNB: The Best Crag Dogs of All Time
  • TNB: 5 Ways to Make People Love Your Routes
  • TNB: Hudon and Jones, and Don't Forget It!
  • TNB: Climbing's Tribal Rites
  • TNB: Sasha DiGiulian and Alex Johnson On How to Be a Modern Pro
  • TNB: Is Dean Potter A Bad Father?
  • TNB: Silly Places We’ve Slept - Tales of Unplanned Bivies
  • TNB: Forgotten Hero - Frank Sacherer 1940-1978
  • TNB: The World-Class Weekend Warrior – Martin Keller Climbs V15
  • TNB: Everest Sherpas No Longer Willing to “Grin and Bear It”
  • TNB: Hardheaded Helmet Lesson Learned
  • TNB: Six Most Awesome Jobs for Climbers
  • TNB: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker
  • TNB: Sharma and Glowacz Send World’s Steepest Rock Climb
  • TNB: An Encounter with a Legend - Patrick Edlinger, Plus A Whipper Vid
  • TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die
  • TNB: Falling from the Top
  • TNB: Weekend Whipper
  • TNB: Band of Crushers
  • TNB: Charlie Porter, We Hardly Knew You
  • TNB: Climbing's Greatest Route Names
  • TNB: Hot Women Die and Have Sex on Everest
  • TNB: The Great Tragedy at Carderock
  • TNB: Thoughts On Death, and Last Words
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story
  • TNB: Next Level? Honnold Pushes the Game on El Sendero Luminoso
  • TNB: Jeff Lowe Invented the Sport
  • TNB: The Most Popular Weekend Whippers of the Year
  • TNB: If Ondra Isn't The Best Climber In The World, Who Is?
  • TNB: Storm Years or Typhoon? The Biggest Issue in Climbing
  • TNB: Jim Bridwell Speaks
  • TNB: Honnold's Biggest Solo
  • TNB: Death on Forbidden Peak - Was the NPS Complicit?
  • TNB: Ice Climbing Goes to Sochi Olympics
  • TNB: When Gear Attacks
  • TNB: 8a.nu: The Best Climber in the World is the One with the Most Points
  • TNB: Shutdown: Illegal Climbers in Yosemite—Ninjas or Criminals?
  • TNB: Who is the Best Climber in the World?
  • TNB: The New Courage in a Rucksack
  • TNB: Unsolved Mystery - The Ten Sleep Shooting
  • TNB: The Pad Problem - Honnold, Kehl on Headpoints and Highballs
  • TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller - National Champ Turns to Rock
  • TNB: Jail Food and Booty
  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
  • TNB: Flash Floods, Climbers and How to Get Out of the Way
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Level
  • TNB: Best in Show - Brand New Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show
  • TNB: Adam Ondra Ties the Knot
  • TNB: Under Pressure - Trotter and Honnold On How Bets Can Help You Send
  • TNB: The Tragedy of Tito Traversa
  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
  • TNB: What Happened To Climbing Films?
  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
  • TNB: Mystery Solved!
  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower - Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
  • TNB: No Such Luck
  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
  • TNB: Mayhem - Crawling, Balling & Brawling on the Evere$t Soap Opera
  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • TNB: Born-Again Gumby
  • TNB: Super Unknown - Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
  • TNB: Fearless?
  • TNB: The Big Freaking Deal, Ain't Bouldering
  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
  • TNB: He's Either Crazy or a Poet
  • TNB: The Fish Cheat and the Prince of Climbing
  • TNB: A Letter from Santa... I mean Sharma
  • TNB: Traveler's Advisory - El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • TNB: A Year Ago - Athol
  • TNB: Gun Control
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet
  • TNB: The Apprentices
  • TNB: The Jungle
  • TNB: Klem Loskot is Back Climbing V15 and 5.15
  • TNB: Eliminated
  • TNB: The Hurt Locker
  • TNB: The Perils of Sport Climbing
  • TNB: Baddest Climb of the Year
  • TNB: Crossfit Misfit
  • TNB: Eating People and the Real Seventh Summit
  • TNB: Bring It On, Bitch!
  • TNB: What Would Warren Harding Do?
  • TNB: The Curse Of The Bandit
  • TNB: Reality Pro
  • TNB: Chris Sharma and The Art of Jeep Maintenance
  • TNB: American Dirtbag
  • TNB: How Not To Climb 5.12
  • TNB: Project FAIL
  • TNB: The Backwards Future of Climbing
  • TNB: The Death of Progress
  • TNB: The Da Vinci CO
  • TNB: The Philosopher King
  • TNB: Spam Alert
  • TNB: Bad Genes - The Different Types of Gumbies
  • TNB: Mouth Wide Shut
  • TNB: Outside Reality
  • TNB: The Day I Saved Jésus
  • TNB: My Pad, Your Problem
  • TNB: House Rules
  • TNB: Five Things I Don't Hate About Climbing
  • TNB: Metro-Pointing
  • TNB: Beast in the East
  • TNB: Artificial Intelligence
  • TNB: To Boldly Go Sprad Climbing
  • TNB: Self-Destruction
  • TNB: Soul Sport
  • TNB: Nine Pitches
  • Video Spotlight
    The Full Send Footage of Ethan Pringle's Jumbo Love (5.15b) Ascent
    The Full Send Footage of Ethan Pringle's Jumbo Love (5.15b) Ascent
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Chris Sharma's 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo
    Weekend Whipper: Chris Sharma's 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo

    TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller - National Champ Turns to Rock

    By Alison Osius

    Delaney Miller. Photo: Aaron Colussi.Delaney Miller is a sweet spirit, and she had just turned 18 and graduated from high school when she arrived at our Rock and Ice photo camp this summer. You might have seen her recently at the Psicobloc competition in Park City–a force, climbing 5.13c two and a half times in quick succession, coming in second only to Sasha DiGiulian.

    “Hey, Alison, would you belay Delaney on that cobble route?” Duane, our publisher and the head of the photo camp, asked.

    Sure. As a belayer and de facto safety officer for the camp, I had been belaying the psyched, quietly tenacious 5’4” Delaney for two days on the looming Redstein, high above the alpine hamlet of Redstone, Colorado.

    “You’ll need your shoes,” he said, “to climb back out. The ledge is halfway down the wall,” meaning the sector below us.

    Oh, shit! It was about 800 degrees–I’d kept apologizing to all the photo-camp athlete/models (especially Sonnie from cool far Canada) about the heat, smothering us in a wave very atypical for the region—and I had just that moment wiped my hands as, crouched in the slim band of shade lining the long ledge stretched above the Second Band, I finished my catered lunch. Out of inertia, I’d eaten most of it.

    “How hard?” I asked.

    “Oh, 11c,” he said. Well, I figured, that should be OK, though I’d rather warm up on something easier. Oh. Wait. I just remembered. Duane is a horrible sandbagger.

    “How hard?” I asked again, suspiciously.

    “Eleven-c,” he said again, as blandly.

    Delaney, from Frisco, Texas, had practically never climbed outside, mostly training in her gym in Dallas under the tutelage of Kim Puccio, mother of strong, strong Alex. Yet Delaney, the reigning SCS national champion, adapted easily to real rock. She was also photogenic, Titian-haired and with sculpted features below huge flecked blue eyes emphasized by deft touches of kohl and gold. A thoughtful person, and polite. Every time I belayed Delaney as she climbed for the aspirant photographers attending the camp, who jumared daily into the sky above the Crystal River Valley, she thanked me.

    She called me Alice. I corrected her once, but gave up, not wanting to make her feel bad. I took a mentoring and maternal (I have teenage children) interest in Delaney, both as a young female talent and inexperienced in outdoor climbing: joked about being her personal belayer, pestered her to stay trammed into our guidelines (mainly lest anyone knock any cobbles down from above) on the long ledge; asked if she brought sunscreen.

    I dug for my shoes, apparently looking generally doubtful, because my coworker Andrew Bisharat offered, “Hey, Alison, I can do it if you want.”

    But I demurred, which was dumb. Soft-spoken Delaney and I rapped to the belay and arranged ourselves, me quickly checking her tie-ins.

    She had asked me if I climbed; I’d said yes. Now I asked if she had ever belayed someone seconding up a rock pitch. No, she said, “but I’m a quick study.”

    Then she started up, and as I wormed my feet around, half removing my hot climbing shoes, she suddenly—leaning across the void between the adjacent wall and the rock bulge above my head—whispered hoarsely, “Watch me.” She palmed an awkward round horizontal, eked toward a far quartzy jug. Chugging her breaths, she jabbed her right foot at a cobble, and swung slowly outward onto the jug as she committed her full 90some pounds to it.

    I paid out rope as Delaney gingerly worked her way up the pitch, its top section of sun-blasted cobbles lit up in view of the peanut gallery on the long ledge.

    She called down off-belay; and I took her off, waited. The rope reeled in and voices from along the ledge told me I was on.

    I started up the wall, leaned over the void, pawed at the hand jug, thinking, I’ll rip my shoulder off if I swing onto that. Wondering how sweet, light Delaney was doing on that belay up there, and the fact that I weigh about 10 times as much as she does, I stabbed half-heartedly at the jug, dropped off. Doh. Tried again. Cussed.

    “Go, Alice!” I thought I heard a high voice call.

    I scowled blackly at the bulge.

    Alice doesn’t live here anymore.

    I studied the move, feeling familiar curiosity. I could maybe really commit and make it work. It might take a number of tries. I also considered these possibilities: rotator-cuff injury. SLAP tear. Ambulance, MRI, surgery. Or that I would at least be taking another 15 or 20 minutes that were really intended for the photo camp.

    “Go, Alice!”

    I reached up, firmly grabbed the quickdraw, and yarded on it.

    “Yay, Alice!”

    Alice is in Chains.

    I climbed a few moves, grabbed a few more draws, haltingly proceeded.

    Then someone, perhaps Ben, a different model, cheered for me from the ledge, drawing the other occupants’ attention and encouragements. My face flamed. Were they admiring my A-1 technique?

    It worked, though, and I knew I’d soon forget about my little tussle, and that it was preferable to surgical events. Why, life could simply go on as it was, instead of violently changing for months. Still I arrived at the ledge sun-scorched and secretly grumpy.

    “You’re amazing, Alice!” Delaney said innocently.

    Minutes later someone asked for a belay.

    Go ask Alice.

    I belayed, of course.

    On August 2, from the site of my son’s mountain-bike race in Angel Fire, New Mexico, I smilingly watched on video stream as Delaney rose and rose and rose on the Psicobloc wall, 55 convex feet above a translucent pool in Park City, Utah (Read the report here). In early autumn she, who was valedictorian of Frisco Centennial High School, entered Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, a place of many climbs and climbers. Her adventures in wonderland have just begun.

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