Ash, Media Wrangler, Years Climbing: 5

Climbing keeps my brain and body working together. I’ve been dealing with mental illness for a couple of decades. The puzzle solving nature of climbing requires that I stay in tune with myself and makes it easier to keep from dissociating.

Also, it’s simply fun. You get the same endorphin/dopamine kick after you send a route now as you did you when you made it to the top of a tree or a wall when you were 7…

I’ve got decent balance and a fair amount of functional flexibility. I’m not the strongest, and I can’t lock off for days, but I can usually get my feet in the right places to hold myself for a minute while I figure out the beta that isn’t just throwing myself up the wall.

I enjoy technical slab, and funky slopers. J-tree was my first outdoor experience, and I spent a good deal of time fearing for my life on run-out slab problems. Somehow, that’s endeared me a great deal to them.

Sport climbing is my favorite. It incorporates some of the technical aspects that you’ll find in TR, but offers some of the more interesting and challenging moves that you find in bouldering.

Heel hooks for life! One of the things I was taught early on was that if I couldn’t figure out the beta, it’s either a drop knee or a heel hook.

My main goals are longevity and travel. I’d like to travel more, specifically for climbing, and I want to make sure that I progress in such a way that I don’t completely destroy my body in the process.