Lisa’s career has taken her from Yosemite to Patagonia to Joshua Tree. Spanning several continents and more than 15 countries, Lisa has scaled boulders and pushed her limits to become a worldwide success in the rock climbing community. And while the rocks she’s climbed make up mountains, her fascination started with no more than a pebble.
“As a child I was interested in collecting rocks,” she says. “Then when it came time to go to college, I had a friend suggest a geology class, and I loved it.” Eventually graduating with her B.S. in geology, Lisa says her education has helped boost her career. “Geology can help you to understand how rocks are created and how rock will feel. If someone were to say this area has ‘gneiss,’ I know what gneiss looks like, how it feels, how it climbs. It helps for exploration also. You can understand where to look for different rocks and areas to climb.”
Post-college, Lisa’s rock climbing career began to take off. Winning competitions led to gaining sponsorships, and sponsorships funded travels for expeditions, competitions, and appearances. Soon Lisa had obtained accolades including the first American International Bouldering World Cup winner and the Triple Crown outdoor bouldering winner, and she’s worked to inspire women with each accomplishment. “I’ve won a lot of national and international competitions, but I feel most proud that I was able to push the standard for women,” she says. At the time, Lisa says she felt that women weren’t receiving a fair representation in the sport and weren’t expected to achieve the same things as men.
“When I was growing up, (American rock climber) Lynn Hill was someone I really looked up to. She kind of broke gender barriers,” Lisa explains. “For me, a lot of my achievement was about encouraging women to pursue athletics to the high level that they are accomplishing today and showing that they could do the more powerful, aggressive climbs. They didn’t need to feel limited.”
Today, Lisa continues her climbing career as coach and trainer at High Point Climbing and Fitness. Working alongside her husband, she teaches and inspires blossoming climbers each day. Growing the climbing school is a main focus of hers now, and Lisa says she spends much of her time training the team at High Point Climbing and Fitness, traveling with them to competitions, and taking them to some of Chattanooga’s exceptional bouldering spots. This summer, a trip to England is lined up, and Lisa says she’ll keep challenging her abilities because of her love for the sport. “I always joke that I’m just training to train,” she says.