My First 5.14

                                                                    Mon Pote Assis

Climbing 5.14 was a goal that I never thought was possible for me.  Mon Pote Assis is the 5.14a I redpointed on Tuesday, May 15th at Mt. Potosi, a beautiful limestone cave just outside of Las Vegas.  Last year I was able to send my first 5.13d called Power Windows, which is the climb just to the right of Mon Pote Assis.  I had my eye on this route, as it has a similar style to Power Windows- short, bouldery, and powerful.  I had watched a few guys climb on Mon Pote Assis, and it was intimidating- huge throws and an upper mono crux.  

Chris and I started climbing up at Mt. Potosi in early February this season, but due to weather conditions we didn’t climb there consistently until later this year.  For the first two weeks in May, we climbed there every other day, and I believe this helped my progress tremendously- kind of “training” on the route and increased muscle memory.

During projecting this route I hit a plateau- I couldn’t seem to get past this one move before the upper crux, but I could easily one hang the route.  I thought how am I supposed to climb this thing if I can’t even get passed this one move which isn’t even the crux?  Miraculously one day when I was hanging at this spot I experimented with one of the holds and something clicked.  With one minor difference in how I held the left hand all of a sudden there was progress again, I’d rarely fall here anymore but instead fall just a few moves higher.  This process can be super frustrating, but finding the small successes and celebrating these rather than focusing on the end result of the redpoint allowed me to deal with repeated failure.

Last Tuesday my first attempt of the day on Mon Pote Assis was awful- I fell low and felt super pumped.  Second go I fell at the last hard move, where I knew if I could get past it I would send.  Feeling defeated, I rested for about two hours then gave it another try.  Miraculously, I felt the strongest I’d ever felt on the route.  I hit the upper jug perfectly and sent third go!  I couldn’t believe it!

                                                      The Clear Light Cave, Mt. Potosi

So it’s only May and this is by far the best year of my life.  Every day I wake up and think I am the luckiest girl in the world– it’s kind of weird- and I often feel really guilty.  I know what it is like to work until utter fatigue and complete exhaustion.  That was my life for 14 years- spinning my wheels between work and school and veterinary medicine and squeezing climbing in there every chance I could get.  But to be able to rock climb full time and actually relax in between- amazing!

This year has been so exciting.  I quit my job to climb, just sent my first 5.14, Chris and I are getting married, then honeymooning in Spain and Greece!  What an adventure!      


  1. Way to go, Heather! Sounds like this year will be amazing!

    On another note, I'm a fellow Climb On! team ambassador and I'd love to do a write up with some answers from you for If you're interested, please email me at Thanks!

    Climb On, Sister!

    Jeline Guiles

  2. Amazing!! Congrats on the awesome send!
    It's refreshing to read a climbing blog that's humbling and with such a positive outlook. Thanks for writing! 🙂

  3. Thank you so much Katie! You are so sweet! All the best-h

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