I have a secret I need to admit. This weekend I was out to dinner with Delaney Miller, and when she left the table to go to the ladies room, I googled her. In my defense of this creepy act, I was CONVINCED that she was a least 21 years old, maybe 22-23. I wondered aloud if she might want a beer, and my friend said, “I think she’s only like 18.” And you know what? It’s true. She’s 18. So why did I think she was older? “A lot of people think I’m older,” Delaney said, when I confirmed her age with her, because I still kind of didn’t believe it. She has this relaxed and thoughtful energy that gives you the vibe of an older soul. Some might describe her as quiet, but she’s the first to tell you she’s not shy at all. While talking about the differences between this past weekends’ all-female bouldering comp, Iron Maiden at Metro Rock in Everett, MA and co-ed comps she’s been to she explained, “When the climbs I want to get on get crowded out, I like to use this move,” as she lifts up her arm, and does a sharp elbow-jab. No, this girl is not shy.
Before we got to spend a little time with Delaney, who flew in from Boulder, CO to compete in Iron Maiden, we have always been in awe of her style. I’ve heard her style be described as “skinny-sloth“, and I have to say, that’s pretty apt; she’s adorable, can hang for days, moves slowly, and with incredibly precise, delicate, and deliberate footwork. Built for sport climbing, she is the reigning SCS Nationals champ. In this past year she has also been second place, just on the heels of Sasha DiGiulian, in Psicocomp, The Heist, and Ring of Fire. Not content to be pigeon-holed as a sport-climber, she says on her Five Ten blog that she has been working more on building a base of power and pushing herself in bouldering. This year she came in 4th at the ABS Youth Nationals (her last Youth Nationals ever, as she has now aged out) so clearly her training is paying off.
So what’s next for Delaney? “Well, this week I have a ton of homework to do,” she says, in a moment that makes me remember that I’m almost twice her age. She is currently a student at Colorado State University (BTW, did I mention she’s also a brain? Valedictorian of her high school class, and now getting her bachelor’s in Health and Exercise Sciences). “I’ll probably go to the gym Monday, and then take it easy the rest of the week,” she says of her plan on how she’ll be able to recoup from Iron Maiden, and be ready to go defend her title at SCS Nationals which is this coming weekend.
Well Delaney, we’ll be watching. Thanks for inspiring us, not only in your one-of-a-kind climbing style, but also with your drive to always improve, to be well-rounded, and above all to keep a positive attitude. Let’s have the woman herself sum it up, as she does on her Five Ten blog: “Climbing has changed my life; it has become a part of me. It is the most literal translation of how I live my life; always looking up and pursuing something higher. The sport has taught me how to have a positive attitude, how to be dedicated and committed to everything I do, and how to never stop striving to achieve something better. In this way, its not just a sport; its a lifestyle.” Amen sister.