Katie Lambert Free Climbs Moonlight Buttress in Zion
The 1,200-foot sandstone formation known the climbing world over as Moonlight Buttress stood proud in the sun’s radiant light. For many, this wall is a first; it wouldn't be a first for me, but it would be a sort of milestone in my climbing career. Every big wall free climber I know has either ticked this iconic line or it's on their list. It had been entered into my queue some years back when Kate Rutherford and Madaleine Sorkin made the first all-female free ascent. I had not long ago moved from the South to California and I was still cutting my teeth on the granite in Yosemite.
As the years progressed, so too did my climbing experiences and my knowledge of how to manage these bigger stones. Each partnership had taught me something different, and it became more and more evident to me that climbing partnerships took on a deeper meaning than just “someone willing to belay you.” They were relationships: I relied on my partners to be on time, to be positive, to be supportive, to be patient, to be willing to let me make mistakes and figure them out, to belay just so, and on and on. And I felt I was expected to do the same. There had been a lot of talk with different people about possibly teaming up for this wall, but in the end my real dream was to do it with another female, all free.
Read the unabridged version of Lambert’s essay:
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