From the quiet, well-kept streets of the north Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, Delaney Miller has vaulted to national recognition as one of America’s top competition climbing talents. Her climbing accomplishments, which include seven sport climbing national championship wins (four junior, three adult) and two top-ten finishes on the World Cup Circuit in 2014 and 2015, have come alongside an impressive academic resume that includes valedictorian of her high school, near completion of an exercise and health science degree from Colorado State University, and a post-secondary Academy and team coaching program. After her busy final year in school in Fort Collins, Colorado, and globetrotting fall on the World Cup circuit, we’re incredibly excited to announce Delaney’s addition to the SCARPA athlete team for 2017. We caught up with Delaney to talk climbing, life transitions, and her new SCARPA partnership.
What is it like to grow up as a climber in Texas?
Growing up in Texas as a climber was surprisingly easy, especially in the Dallas area. There were four gyms within 45 min of my childhood home, all of which had great walls and setting. During high school, climbing was exceptionally challenging. Given the number of advanced courses I was taking my life consisted almost entirely of studying and training. In the end, maintaining focus on the school/training outlets is what taught me dedication and persistence. It was also helpful that Texas has no distracting mountains or bodies of water that enticed me away from the gym or library.
To this point in your career, what climbing accomplishments are you most proud of?
I started climbing around August 2007. Wow! It’s been almost a decade of training, competing, and traveling. I’ve had an incredibly lucky career in terms of the support and resources I’ve received. I’ve always been a hard worker, but I certainly couldn’t have gotten where I am today without the help of family, coaches, sponsors, and friends. That being said, it’s feels odd for me to pick out a single moment or event. Everything seems to have been a building process. It’s cheesy, but I guess the coolest part about my career has just been seeing how it has changed my abilities and life perspectives over time.
This has been a year of transition for you, new cities, new challenges, even new sponsors (like SCARPA) What have you learned from this busy year?
It certainly has been a crazy year! Perhaps the most important lesson has simply been re-discovering my love of learning. I realized this year that when you’re constantly busy and constantly pushing everything in your life to the end of the rope, you lose creativity and inspiration. After a while you just start going through the motions and you forget purpose. Recognizing this helped me understand the need to focus more on valuing every step in the process and not just reaching for the final check at the end of the to-do list. You have to be excited for every step, even if it’s a step backwards, because it’s all a part of development. This is a lesson that I keep learning over and over again, but became especially apparent this year.
What has you excited about this new partnership with SCARPA?
I’m excited about the new people I will get to work with and the prospect of being further connected with other fellow SCARPA athletes. I’m also ecstatic about getting to wear top quality climbing shoes. I’ll admit that this is actually the first year I ever tried SCARPA rock shoes. I have always admired them from afar due to their aesthetic qualities and pronounced presence among top climbers, but I had always assumed they’d be too wide given my extremely narrow feet. After trying a pair, it only took me about five minutes to realize I was wrong, and only about two weeks for me to be completely hooked (which is an incredibly short time period for my high standards). I’m very happy with my decision and I know that SCARPA shoes are something I can rely on any surface type or angle.
What aspects of your climbing are you most excited to explore in the coming years? What are your goals?
I want competition climbing to continue as a large part of my life for many years to come, both as a competitor and a coach. The competition community has made me the climber I am today. When I personally decide to retire from competing, I will focus more of my time on outdoor projects. I also plan to buy a van to spend a year or two living on the road and climbing.