Every so often, we’ll feature extraordinary girls doing extraordinary things: this is Girl Crush.
Cat Suen makes us smile. We first met through mutual friends on a girls only climbcation, where we were blown away by her dedication, kindness, and warmth, and quickly developed a girl crush. When she’s not projecting 5.12’s in her home crag in Squamish, she enjoys climber family potlucks, other people’s dogs, patio gardening, fly fishing, and surfing.
“I am just a girl who loves to climb! I did not heel hook out of the womb, but I was born to climb. Climbing is my oxygen and I can’t live without it. I am afraid of heights, but I am not afraid of the places it takes me. Nothing compares to getting to the top of a climb and breathing in all the beauty that surrounds me. These mountain top moments make my heart smile. Climbing makes my heart smile.”
Something pretty magical happened recently: I sent one of my hardest routes to date. After projecting Rugmunchers (5.11d.) for about a month, one night it all came together.
It took me five sessions of working out my moves, building my confidence, and being in control of my fear of heights and falling. All that work boiled down to mere minutes, where I felt like I floated up the wall. It felt like an out of body experience. Who was this girl who struggled a month ago? Who would doubt her abilities saying “I can’t” every time she got scared? Or shrieked every time she took a fall? It was me! Every time I get to the top of a hard climb, I experience this beautiful metamorphosis and this time, more than ever, I had learned to “fall in love with the process” – the redpoint process. Figuring out the beta, finding the rests, working each crux, linking the moves, and perfecting my sequence until I could visualize myself sending.
I’ll admit that I have to do this for every new hard climb I get on. I doubt I’ll ever conquer my fears, but knowing that I was capable of sending Rugmunchers, gives me the encouragement to get past them again. It’s always worth a shot and sometimes, that one last shot is all it takes.
I am learning to get past the fears of what might happen when I push and explore my limits, rising up to meet the moment with an open mind and open heart. I am constantly growing, and that’s one of the things about climbing that draws me in like a moth to a flame.
I’ve been riding the high of that hard-earned send, which opened the floodgates to my hardest ticks ever. In the following weeks, I onsighted my first 5.10a and 5.10b trad routes, sent my first 5.12a for the year, and sent the most rewarding V4’s I’ve touched so far. I could not believe what was happening, and could not for the life of me stop smiling.
It’s not often I find myself feeling super strong and confident, but I have to remind myself that the struggle is worth it. To take the time to figure it out and embrace the process. To not be afraid to want it. I climb because I love the person it transforms me into. I feel like that person can do anything!
I’ll leave you with a quote that I stumbled upon. It has inspired me to live the way I do: “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”
Climb on babes!
Hugs and high fives,