Emma Grace Lehmann shares passion with others


Photos by Daniel Gajda

This photo was taken in Mooresville, North Carolina at the Triangle Rock Club.

Emma Grace Lehmann is a senior at Athens Drive High School who has a strong and exciting passion for rock climbing. Lehmann started rock climbing when she was in elementary school at the summer camps at the local gym at Triangle Rock Club.

She joined the competitive team and went to her first national championship when she was 10. When she got into the B category, a group of kids ages 13-14, she was then able to start qualifying for the World Championships, which became her goal.

“When I got into the B category, which is for 13 and 14-year-olds, that’s when you can start qualifying for the World Championships so that became my goal,” said Lehmann.

She then ended up going to several training camps over the summer and did a lot of outdoor climbing. She also traveled to Europe a couple of times for training and coaching. Two summers ago, in 2019, she won the National Championship for Sport Climbing and traveled to Italy for the Youth World Championship.

Her favorite place to climb outdoors is the New River Gorge in West Virginia, which has become one of the most popular areas to climb in the country. Their cliffs are made of very hard sandstone and range from 30 to 120 feet high. The farthest she has ever climbed is over 1000ft. Her favorite place to climb indoors is the Seattle Bouldering Project in Washington, a big, modern rock climbing gym.

Lehmann said that rock climbing is very refreshing, especially when she is climbing outdoors and can turn around and see the view from the top.

“It’s also rewarding, but you also have the downfalls to it. It’s challenging and tiring, and it takes a lot of commitment, but no matter what, when she gets to the top or she falls, it always feels good to be trying hard,” said Lehmann. Lehmann has also learned valuable lessons along the way.

“The main thing you need to remember and know to be a successful rock climber is how to problem-solve,” said Lehmann.

It also helps to be flexible and mobile, and there are specific techniques like heel hooks and drop knees that one must learn, but there are always multiple ways to get out.

She says that she plans to continue her passion throughout her college years as well.