In September 2019, Molly Mitchell clipped the chains of China Doll (5.14a R) outside Boulder, Colorado, becoming one of the few people—and one of a handful of women—to send 5.14 trad. With that clip, she secured her spot in the upper echelons of climbing for good.
But within a few days, her elation over topping the route had faded.
“I felt like it must not be as hard as people said it was because I was able to do it,” she says. “I started questioning everything about it. Like, if I was able to be confident, could it have really been so hard? Your mind can really spiral.”
Watch Heather Weidner send China Doll in 2016
Talking to her, I could almost see the ticker tape of dialogue. It’s streamed out of my own head so many times.