Climbing bold, intimidating routes doesn’t seem like it would be at the top of the list for someone living with an anxiety disorder. But for Molly, it empowers her. With her ascent of “China Doll,” 5.14 R in Boulder Canyon, she became the seventh woman in the world to climb a 5.14 rated traditional route – and tied for the youngest female as well. But what happens when the exact thing that gives her confidence, ends up traumatizing her? Join Molly as she delves into her climbing career battling mental illness, and the aftermath of taking a 30 foot fall to the ground in October 2020. Her speech will discuss her road to success, and how a broken back that’s now healed physically, has affected her mind and identity as a climber for the long haul.
Molly Mitchell is a professional rock climber who lives in Longmont, CO. At 28 years old, she has already achieved a lifelong goal of climbing a traditional route rated 5.14 (placing all her own gear), with her 2019 send of “China Doll,” located in Boulder Canyon. In October 2020, she took a 30 foot ground fall on a different route in Boulder Canyon and fractured two vertebrae. She is also very open over the years about her struggle with mental illness (anxiety and depression) and how the accident has affected her mental health greatly. She is a speaker for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Today she is back climbing again, but with a much different perspective and a lot of growth that she feels had to happen in her climbing journey.