Q: What are your climbing goals?
My main goal is to enjoy the process of climbing. Always enjoy the process, no matter what is going on with your climbing at any given time. It teaches you about yourself and reveals things that never cease to amaze and that will help you improve. Another goal I have is to develop good technique on the rock and good character to go with it! Other goals include getting into the best shape of my life (mentally, physically, and spiritually) and being the best climber I can possibly be. I would not mind being able to climb V10 boulder problems or branching out into some roped climbing. I want to be a good ambassador for climbing, too. Keep in mind that you represent climbers everywhere. People might not remember your name, but they remember how you treated them, and if they associate your bad day with climbers in general, that is no good! Watch your behavior at all times. We all represent each other!
Q: Most memorable climbing experience?
So far, my most memorable climbing experience has been accidentally winning the Beginner’s Division of my first climbing competition in November 2016, and then winning the most awesome fitted ball cap in the raffle during that same event! What made it memorable was my buddy, Brian, and all the other climbers who made the atmosphere friendly while still being competitive. Everyone was encouraging everyone else in their attempts even though it was a competition. I had never experienced that before. There was so much positive energy! I flashed two problems, which is unheard of for me, and I climbed at a higher level overall, just because of the environment and the energy that this competition created. It feels great to be part of a community like this – I have found my tribe!!!
Q: What do you like most about MyClimb?
MyClimb allows me to share my climbing experiences with others and to experience others’ triumphs and struggles in climbing. I love this app! Lou Renner, one of my friends (and a fantastic mentor) on MyClimb, has given me so much great climbing advice, which has been invaluable to me as a beginner in the climbing realm. I have gotten some great encouragement and advice from other MyClimb members as well. Feedback is important. MyClimb is like the Facebook of the climbing world, only better! It is very positive, and I think it is such a valuable resource for the climbing community. I try to show it to all of the climbers that I am able to because it is really something special to be part of!
Q: What do you enjoy most about climbing?
Climbing is the one thing that allows me to push everything else, especially the negative, aside and just focus on the next hold, feeling the movement of my body across the rock or the wall as I climb. The combination of problem solving, focus, and movement really get me into a positive space where I can rest from the stresses of daily life. I find it relaxing and challenging at the same time – a true dialectic. It gives me something to look forward to every day and be excited and enthusiastic about!
Q: How did you start climbing?
A bit of personal history is required here. I served in the United States Military as a machine gunner in the Middle East. Obviously enough, some horrific things happened there. I ended up with a very severe and chronic mental disorder called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Long story short, I have been on medications and in therapy for PTSD for 17 years. I spent most of that time being extremely suicidal. My psychiatrist, who used to rock climb, said to me on 30 April 2016, “I think we need to get you down to Steep World,” and explained that it was an indoor climbing gym. After my appointment was over that day, I went to the climbing gym and found climbing to be an instant addiction! I bought my first pair of climbing shoes and the other essentials that very day! Needless to say, both my doctor and I are thrilled that I now have something to look forward to in my life! Climbing has literally saved my life, and I am so thankful for it and the opportunities it provides! Being able to walk and climb on an injured ankle that has been in an immobilizing brace for 18 years is a cool bonus of climbing, too!
Q: Favorite Climbing Discipline?
Bouldering. Indoors and out! I enjoy outdoor bouldering more, I think. I may branch out into some roped climbing this summer.
Q: Favorite place to climb or destination?
Steep World in Billings, Montana, the boulders in and around Billings, and the sandstone Rims in Billings are my favorite places to climb (mostly because those are the only places I have climbed so far). I plan on that list becoming much more extensive! I would like to go climbing in Yosemite when I get a bit better at it… I think I would like to climb on granite and see how that feels. Sandstone is pretty rough on the fingers and temperamental! Granite might be, too, but many have assured me that I will love it, so I will give it a try – hopefully this summer. There is some nice granite within an hour or so of Billings.