David, Actor, Years Climbing: 13 years

I was working in the hospitality industry for a long time, but recently moved to Hollywood to pursue acting and comedy.

I climb for a lot of reasons; mainly because it’s so fun. But a broader answer is I must be so completely in the moment, that it creates an inner peace through a meditative like fashion. It’s ironic that it can be so grounding. One of my old climbing partners considered it his religion and I’ve always kind of like to view it in that fashion.

I really try to be a well-rounded climber and was lucky to start in Yosemite. I consider myself a trad climber first and foremost. When I’m feeling confident, trad climbing on a multi-pitch face climb is probably my overall favorite. You’re off the ground, and you get the creativity of plugging gear where you want, without the rock having been scarred from bolts. Yosemite, which had been my home base for a long time, has a lot more bouldering than sport climbing and it's just simpler and less committing. So, I’ve spent most my time doing that. Although when I have gotten into the groove, sport climbing in the Owens River Gorge or in Thailand was extremely fun and fulfilling. I’ve done some aid climbing and get frustrated by the slowness and how hard and scary it is, but hope to keep whittling away at it. There’s nothing like sleeping up on a wall. 

I do consider myself a dirtbag. I’m in a big transition having moved to Hollywood and living in an apartment. But I think the dirtbag-ness runs deep in me. The term to a non-climber could obviously conjure some negative sentiments. But to me, the major characteristics revolve around living a minimalist life style to max your time doing what you love and being more in touch with nature. I’ve managed to do it by working seasonal jobs where I lived cheaply and saved money. Then I could live in my mini-van in Utah or the eastside of the Sierras, where camping is cheap or free. I consider it my job to live extremely cheaply while not working. The only exception being eating healthy; which if you cook all your own meals is manageable. You have to give up a lot, but it creates a life with a lot of freedom, time to climb, and makes one appreciate the little things as well as reduce one’s impact on the planet.

I’ve had a lot of memorable climbing experiences. Summiting the only big wall I’ve completed, Leaning Tower was special. And linking the Royal Arches and North Dome together in Yosemite to get around 2,500 feet of climbing in a day was rad. But one of my favorite moments was on a climb on the Glacier Point apron called “Goodwrench Pinnacle”.  It’s also In Yosemite. I did it about ten years ago with my good friend Joe. I was on the lead on the second pitch, which the guide book listed as having the psychological crux on it. I had gotten to a bolt and couldn’t figure out if the climb took a sharp turn around the corner because it seemed completely blank above me. I yelled down to my partner, asking where to go. He pulled the guide book out of a pack and screamed back up “You’re at the psychological crux”. He saw the terrified look on my face and yelled again “I know you didn’t want to hear that Dave but you’ve got to climb.” I slowly continued up and to my amazement, the blank slab wasn’t that hard. I felt a new barrier was broken through and Joe and I still laugh about it today.

I’ve got a lot of goals as a climber. Mainly just climbing as long as I can, having fun with my friends, and traveling to new places. More specifically though, I feel a need to climb the regular route up Half Dome and the Nose on El Capitan. Part of me is disappointed to not have done them yet, but I know that’s a poor way to look at it. They’re both committing and scary and dangerous and I want to be ready for anything up there. I’m excited to have them in my future and to imagine the adventure they both will be. Hopefully this fall I’ll be feeling strong and ready to give them a go!


KJ, Store Manager-Lululemon, Years Cliimbing: 3 years

Climbing = Playing. I climb because I get to problem solve routes while hanging out with my friends. Climbing is mentally and physically stimulating and forces me to think outside the box.

I felt like trying something new one day, signed up for the intro to climbing class at LAB, and here I am 3 years later.

Bouldering scares the shit out of me, which is why I love it so much. There is no safety net, it’s just you, the rock, and the moment. Bouldering is special because although you acknowledge all the scary hearts of the climb, you choose to do it anyway. And at that point, you’re not just a better climber, you’re a better human.

My most memorable climbing experience was the first time I climbed outside. Everything about Bishop was (and is) incredible, but the people, my friends, are what made it special. I had (still have) complete-100%-without-a-doubt-trust in them, which made the try hard so real. Knowing they had my spot, I made bigger moves and got some first time sends in the Milks. Trusting them made me a better climber and to this day, I climb my best with them. #bishop1.0

The way I see it, there are two types of holds:  good ones and shitty ones. I really like the good ones but I appreciate the latter because they make me work harder and they get my brain thinking differently. As for favorite moves, I appreciate flagging the most. Yes, it’s the simplest move but it makes a world of difference for every climb.

Of course, I want climb better and harder but really, I just want to move well when I’m older. What I appreciate the most about climbing is that it teaches body awareness, body weight control, and promotes core stability.


James, Story Artist, Years Climbing: on and off for 15 years

I'm a gym monkey by day and an Artist by night.

I went to school next to The Gunks in Upstate New York. So by default I ended up climbing a bit. I've moved many times though and not all of the areas have had mountains or gyms to maintain the climbing.

I absolutely love bouldering. The powerful moves, the grace and the balance of strength and movement really makes it challenging. It requires everything clicking together to get you through the climb.

The most recent area I absolutely loved climbing in was the Alpine bouldering of RMNP in Colorado. What a beautiful state.

I'll climb till my body wont allow it anymore. It's something I would love to do forever. Climbing is one of the few moments in the day when all the rest of what's happening can just fade away.



Joyce, Actress, Climbing for: 6 years

I work as an actress. However I am educated as a scientist, namely Biochemistry

I climb because it’s my zen + it’s my workout

I mainly boulder which is my favorite. However, I also sport climb

The most memorable climbing experience was climbing a building in Stockholm, Sweden

I don’t think I could live without music, It’s my passion. my playlist is eclectic. Sometimes, I sing when I climb as it helps me with the climbing and it's fun. I take in air very slowly and exhale slowly as well and it’s calming and I stay very focused.

I just want to climb as long as I can and as hard as I can.

I am a problem solver. I’m patient. I care more about the next move than getting to the top.


Nick, Head Climbing Coach, Years Climbing: 3

I climb because at this point in my life, it would feel wrong not to.

I started climbing in college when a roommate introduced me to bouldering. It’s been about 3 years and I’ve climbed almost every day since I got my first gym membership.

Bouldering is by far my favorite kind of climbing. I love that it’s just you and the wall so you’re completely in control of the outcome. It’s meditative. I’m open to any type of climbing, as I think all great climbers should be, but so far bouldering has been my jam.

My favorite problem that I’ve ever worked is the V7 Caveman traverse in Joshua Tree. It features a lot of compression, corework and toe hooks. Though I still haven’t sent it, I pieced together both halves the first time we met and I’ve been dying to get back to it ever since. Working the movement on that problem has easily been my most memorable afternoon spent touching a rock.

I’m a big fan of crimps, though it hasn’t always been that way. When you train like I do, you can hold your own body weight on the smallest of ledges. Having that kind of power makes those little holds a lot of fun...I’m a technique guy, so learning how to utilize my entire body is a never ending journey. I love a good dyno, but patiently stemming across a slab wall is where I do some of my best bouldering. I prefer toe hooks to heel hooks, but a proper execution of either one feels super rewarding.

I want to be the strongest climber in the world of bouldering. I want to compete in the World Cup and in 2020 be one of the very first Olympic climbers.

Strategy and commitment are my best attributes on the wall. A lot of people can climb high grades, but not every hard climber will be a smart climber too...The best climbers in the world don’t know if they’ll catch the dyno, but they go for it anyway. To me, that commitment is what separates the elite from the recreational climbers.


Nicole, Director of Life Science, Years Climbing: 13

I climb to feel grace and beauty. To push myself. To overcome fear. And, of course, because it’s 100% addictive.    

I've been climbing since 2004 when I met my (now) husband Laurent.  He’s been my personal coach and climbing partner ever since.  

When Laurent and I lived in Europe, we’d come back to the States for vacation and stay for weeks in Bishop, CA. It was long trips like that where I managed to do harder projects (like Junior’s Achievement in the Buttermilks). On one of those trips I was invited to my first (and only) dumpster dive dinner with some climbers we met. It was quite good in fact (!)  

I like crimps and flags. I’m light, flexible, have narrow fingers (good for crimps), and manage to lock off pretty well with my small biceps.

My goal in climbing is to stay on the rock as long as possible.


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.


Laurent, Physicist, Years Climbing: 17

Climbing provides me a lot of peace of mind, and I need this.

I started climbing I think in 2000, if I remember correctly.

I’ve experienced bouldering, highball bouldering, sport climbing, ice climbing and one time traditional climbing (scary). My favorite is sport climbing, because it’s a good compromise.

...Checkerboard (Bishop), Soul Slinger (Bishop), and La Baleine (Fontainebleau, Petit Bois)...

I try to do everything, if I can, except jumping. I’m better with crimps, but I don’t really care. I like slopers more and more, less traumatic for my fingers.

I’m mentally strong I think, and I have a good ability for instant reading of the climb.

No ambitions.  No goals. Just keep climbing as long as I can.


Emilie, Student, Years Climbing: a bit less than a year.

With climbing, I could let go of some sort of control that I am otherwise not able to.

I always have moments where I'm completely disconnected from everything else in a climbing session: the only thing that matters is how to do the next move – not to reach the top anchor, not to climb any specific grade, but just how to best place that foot, how to grab that next hold or where to position my body.

My ability to find joy in those small things is also what I think is my strength as a climber: I am hard on myself, but I still find joy in simple, small things.

I enjoy long sports routes with an even difficulty (no major ”cruxes”). That is how I get the most intense climbing experience and also the most adrenaline – in such routes you have to stay focused all the time in order not to fall. For me that is almost meditation.

One experience I often think about is a long vertical route in Margalef in Spain that was slightly more difficult than I had predicted. I was at the edge of falling all the time, but I stayed calm the whole route and forgot to think about whether I was on belay or not. I just kept climbing, breathing and clipping and when I got to the top anchor, the sun was about to set and I sat down in my harness just looking at the beautiful mountains and I remember thinking something like ”no matter what happens in life, at least I have this”.

I started climbing in Denmark which is completely flat and basically has no outdoor rock climbing. All climbing happens on artificial walls. I recall sport climbing sessions on outdoor walls in the middle of the city before sunrise. After some hard routes, I just lay down on the ground, listening to the distant sound of the city slowly waking up. Those experiences of climbing in complete silence in an urban environment were valuable to me.

Copenhagen is very special to me and I am glad I started on artificial walls. It makes climbing more about the movements for me – I don't find artificial walls boring and the outdoor experience is just an awesome extra that I'm always looking forward to get back to! Besides, in Copenhagen, one never needs to enter a car. You can bike everywhere!