Steamboat Springs Tori Allen knows even legends get butterflies. Allen, who dominated the world of rock climbing by age 14 and then promptly retired at 16 to attend college, had her stomach in knots before she returned to the climbing world July 30 to participate in the Psicobloc Masters Series in Park City, Utah.
“It took some guts,” Allen said. “I was definitely nervous to see how people would react, but there was nothing but positive feedback. People were shocked I was there, but I was pleasantly surprised with the reaction I got.”
The Steamboat resident also took solace in finding validation in her decision to retire from the sport at such a young age.
“The best part was it was kind of closure for me. I always had this open-ended 'What if?'” Allen said. “So for me, it was closure. It was nice to go back and realize I did the right thing by choosing college.”
Even though she made it past the July 30 qualifiers into the Aug. 1 final round, Allen was clear that her goal for the competition went beyond winning. She wanted to establish a new role for herself in the sport of climbing.
“I feel like I could be an ambassador for the young girls in the sport — just to go back and use my experience to give positive feedback to female athletes,” she said.
She already is well on her way to being an ambassador by having published her motivational book titled “Life Rocks!” Additionally, Allen is promoting what she thinks could be the future of the sport in psicobloc events like the one in Park City that have participants free climb with nothing but water below them to cushion their falls.
“I felt like it was a neat opportunity,” Allen said. “I wanted to be a part of supporting climbing.”
Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
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