Lauren Lee

Model Climber

"I don't have the patience for sticking around climbs very long," says 24-year-old boulderer Lauren Lee, "so I just send them [climb without falling] as quickly as possible." In her case, impatience is a virtue. After less than two years of crag time, the five-foot-five, 110-pounder from Cincinnati was snagging first-place finishes at the 2001 American Bouldering Series and the Subaru Gorge Games. In 2002, she finished second to France's Myriam Matteau at the Bouldering World Cup in Rovereto, Italy, then went on to win the prestigious Phoenix Dyno competition in April 2003 and the Professional Climbing Association competition in Salt Lake City in January 2004. But just because Lee can rage on the rock doesn't mean she's a dirtbag climber: A model for gearmakers Five Ten, Prana, and BlueWater, Lee has been known to compete in a skirt. True to form, she's throwing herself headlong into the next step: sport climbing. In July, Lee put up the fastest female ascent on Dumpster BBQ, a notoriously difficult 5.13c pitch outside Rifle, Colorado. And in September, she became the youngest American woman, and third overall, to send a 5.13d. "It's one thing to be strong, but it's another to know how to move on the rock," says World Cup climber Chris Sharma, 23. "Lauren has both. She's got huge potential."

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