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Here’s the Wild Idea

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.

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 Meltdown, a 5.14c route in Yosemite, where she showed the world women can climb as well as men.

It hasn’t all been easy on and off the wall for Beth, though. In 2000, Beth and three of her climbing partners were on a climbing trip in Kyrgyzstan when they were captured by members of the IMU, a militant group. They escaped on the sixth day, but no one at home even knew they’d 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.

I love Beth’s story because it’s honest, and perfectionism is something I’ve struggled with and many listeners told me they struggle with. 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.

Presented by REI

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.

Key Takeaways

  • 3:05 – Where Beth’s perfectionist personality came from.
  • 5:40 – When she realized she couldn’t push herself so hard.
  • 8:25 – The tools Beth used to learn what made her happy.
  • 10:50 – The lessons Beth has learned from parenting.
  • 14:00 – What it’s like living in Yosemite and her favorite spots.
  • 16:40 – Beth’s tips for van life.
  • 18:00 – What her relationship is with climbing now.
  • 20:25 – How to build a home gym.
  • 21:30 – Beth’s favorite gear.
  • 23:45 –  Beth’s advice about failure and challenges.
  • 25:35 – How Beth has learned from failure.
  • 27:15 – It was empowering to share her story with the world.
  • 29:45 – How to find your own sense of drive.
  • 32:05 – Beth’s dream party in Norway
  • 32:50 – Why it’s okay not to know when you’re younger.
  • 36:10 – How to live a more wild life.

Awesome book Beth recommends gifting

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle
Open by Andre Agassi

Gear Beth loves

Osprey Mutant Series
Poco baby carrier
Outdoor Research Deviator


After Six in Yosemite
Mirror Lake Loop in Yosemite
Article about Beth by Liz Wile
Video about Beth with Outdoor Research

Connect with Beth




Wild Ideas Worth Living on Facebook
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Instagram
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Twitter