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!