So Worth It: Beth Rodden On Finding Flow—Even With A Toddler In Tow

There are moments that we can all relate to as part of the outdoor community. Whether we identify as climbers, skiers, paddlers, and whether our preferred terrain is rock, snow, or water, these are the highlights of what we withstand that bring us together. No matter how challenging, at the end of the day we discover that each of these moments are #SoWorthIt.

Wrestling clothes on a toddler, doubling the commute for a forgotten lunch, and squeezing in time bouldering between the commute and end of preschool – even if it only ends up being 20 minutes.

Outdoor Research ambassador Beth Rodden has made it her mission in life to balance work and motherhood, but as one of the nation’s greatest climbers, this is no easy feat. We sat down with Beth to hear how she integrates her two worlds of raising a three-year old and succeeding in a professional climbing career. This is her So Worth It story.

What is your So Worth It story about?

Sometimes when I’m rushing to get out the door, packing for five activities, food for those activities, gear for those activities, and clothes for all types of weather, I wonder if it’s worth it.

But at the end of the day, there’s something about getting outside that is worth it. I know there have been so many studies about it, but the outdoors are so calming. If Theo is with me, we can be entertained by the smallest, simplest things: Rocks, sticks, water. If I’m alone, I can use that time to climb quietly, to move in the mountains, to refresh my body, and to connect with nature. It sounds hokey, but just getting out there is always worth it in the end.

How has your climbing impacted the way Theo grows up – where he gets to spend time outside of school?

Our climbing and lifestyle has had a huge impact on how Theo grows up. When he was young, I craved getting into the mountains and nature. We made the decision that we’d spend as much time in Yosemite as possible, which is how we ended up moving there.

I was nervous that I was leaving behind our amazing community in the Bay area, but luckily I slowly found a new one in Yosemite and the Bay area crew came up often. Theo’s out in dirt, rocks and nature all the time. All of his friends are the same way too, outside all the time with their parents, covered in dirt, playing with sticks, climbing up on logs and rocks.

How has Theo impacted your climbing? What are some of the creative ways you get to balance your time now?

Theo has definitely moved my focus from climbing solely hard objectives, to finding climbing I can do as a family. Or, climbing I can do on my own.

I’ve become more independent now. When Theo is in school, I try to boulder by myself as much as possible. I used to not like climbing alone, but now I love the quiet solo time. I get into my little groove, have my own circuit and enjoy the peacefulness of Yosemite.

Being with a very energetic toddler, I really appreciate the silence. Now when I have people who say they’d come spot or join me, I politely decline as a few hours of quiet is so needed for my healthy mind.

What are some of the daily challenges you have to deal with in order to reach your So Worth It moment?

Whew, TIME is a daily challenge! That’s the biggest one. I have the terrible habit of hoping to fit everything in. Wanting to spend as much time with Theo, wanting to spend as much peaceful time in the mountains climbing (which is like my zen), wanting to do a good job at my career, wanting to maintain fitness.

So, balance has become a huge thing for me. And learning to let things go, and realize that perfection and doing it all isn’t necessarily the best thing. Sometimes just sitting with Theo and building legos, or throwing rocks into the river is the best thing to me. Remembering that I’ll remember those moments more than the extra sets of pull ups that I squeezed in.

Tell us about your favorite way to reach your So Worth It moment.

Honestly, I feel so happy when I get my two hours in at Camp 4 by myself. There’s no rush, no pressure. I can just listen to my body and push as long or hard as I like. I really love my solo days out in the boulders, I feel like that makes it so worth it. I love moving over granite, familiar problems, just getting to turn off my mind and get into my flow state.