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  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    If her little sister hadn't started climbing around the same time she did, Alex Puccio might never have become the rock star she is today. "She was nine," says Puccio. "I couldn't have my little sister beat me. It drove me."

  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    That competitive side paid off: at 16, she won the first professional competition she entered, the 2006 American Bouldering Series Open National Championships. Since then, Puccio has cemented her place as one of the strongest female climbers on the scene, notching seven V12's and winning a string of ABS titles and a World Cup.

  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    On routes in Colorado, California, and Texas, Puccio has notched seven V12's, one of the hardest boulder problems a woman has sent.

  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    "I'd love to climb some V13's, V14's" Puccio says.

  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    Alex Puccio

    It's really weird, I've tried so many different sports growing up and I got bored of all or them. I did basketball and figure skating, but I felt like everything I did was repetitive and the same.

  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    Puccio already has a heavily overhung problem scoped out near her home in Boulder, Colorado, that could rate a V13.

  • Photo: Jeff Lipsky

    Alex Puccio

    "With men, they're up to, like, V16," Puccio says. "Women can get to that level, too. It's just that there aren't that many trying. At least not yet."

    Why did Puccio become so successful? Watch the video.

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