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Beth Rodden Talks About Kidnapping and Climbing

In 2000, Beth Rodden, Tommy Caldwell, John Dickey and Jason Smith were held hostage in Kyrgyzstan. The four Americans were on a climbing trip to the Kara Su Valley.

They were held hostage for six days by rebels from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. They escaped after Caldwell pushed their a guard off a cliff.

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Rodden later said, “It’s so hard to think about that now, but we were afraid we wouldn’t survive”. Rodden and Caldwell married in 2003 and divorced in 2009.

Rodden started climbing in 1995 in California and won the national championships in 1996, 97 and 98. She then sent To Bolt or Not to Be 5.14 at Smith Rock.

She went on to free The Nose 5.14 and Lurking Fear 5.13 on El Cap and in 2005 became the first American woman to climb 5.14b.

A few years later, she made the first ascent of the unrepeated Meltdown 5.14c in Yosemite, one of the world’s hardest trad climbs.

“Sometimes I can still feel the tape on my hands. I know how my body should move over the rock, but when I climb these days it doesn’t always go that way,” Rodden wrote in a recent story here.

“When I’m honest with myself, I acknowledge that I still yearn for the accomplishment, the concrete proof that I’m doing it right.”