Career Highlights

The highlights of my career come when I am able to use my knowledge and talents to help my friends achieve ambitious goals. To date I played a part in dozens of first ascents, first free ascents, first female ascents, establishing new highlines, and restoring old climbing routes. Occasionally I would even help document our endeavors, helping to create films such Psychovertical, The Dawn Wall, Sasha Diguilian's Triology, Blood on the Crack and Kevin Jorgeson's Blue Collar.


  • Climbing

    Favorite type of climbing (bouldering, sports climbing, trad, etc.):

    BIG WALL !

    When and how did you get into climbing and what kept you interested / fascinated in the sport?

    As a child I was a competitive freestyle skier and racer. While getting into backcountry skiing as a teenager I found that getting up the mountains was scarier and more difficult than skiing down. I began to train in the climbing gym in order to access backcountry ski zones. I found my first trad mentor in Alaska while working in Denali National park the summer after highschool. I have enjoyed problem solving, freedom and self reliance in the vertical wilderness ever since.

    Who was your childhood hero and do you consider yourself a role model now? Does it influence you at all that other people look up to you?

    As a child Shane Mcconkey was my idol. He was at the forefront of his sport and would constantly push the boundary of what is possible. I learned to entertain my imagination, and realize anything can be done if you want it badly enough. I have become a Bigwall mentor, Freeride ski coach and Climbing coach since his passing. I think giving back to the younger generation and teaching them to ask "How can we do this" instead of "Why can't it be done" as a great way to honor his legacy.

    What were the most important milestones in your life so far, both in climbing and in everyday life? Did you immediately recognize them as such or only later on?

    Many milestones in my life can be seen geographically. I moved from Denali National Park, Bend Oregon, Lake Tahoe, and to Yosemite National Park. Though I was changing places and growing, there are a few events in my life that shaped who I am even more. The milestone stages in my climbing life were: my first Bigwall (Washington Column), my first El-Cap route(Lurking Fear in a day), getting injured high on South Seas and having to self rescue during a storm, helping Tommy and Kevin on the Dawn Wall, the last ascent of the Waterfall route and coming face to face with death, getting introduced to climbing photography thanks to Kevin Jorgeson in the Bugaboos, winning the People's Choice Award in the Banff Mountain Film Festival for videography in "The Trilogy", and establishing the first Natural Highline on ElCap

    What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?

    I tore my ACL and Meniscus last year. Much like bigwalls you have to learn to take setbacks in stages and not think about the summit. Just enjoy the process, no matter how painful or tedious it seems.

    What is your favorite climbing related story / experience?

    I watched Honnold fully commit his weight to a small cam I placed during one of his speed ascents with Tommy. He was about 80 ft run out and I placed it to help him pass our haul bags. He comes running up the changing corners, gives me a look and asks if the piece is any good. I tell him "I think it's pretty bomber" and without hesitation he jumps on to it not thinking twice if it would hold or not. Thats alot of trust you have in strangers Honnold.

  • Training

    Do you have a strict training schedule for when and how you train throughout the year?

    I don't necessarily train, I just try to climb as much as possible. 5 days a week in the winter and every day in the summer.

    What advice can you give to somebody looking to improve their training routine?

    Make it fun so it isn't a chore

    What do you think of indoor climbing gyms in relation to climbing on actual rock?

    The finger strength translates well

    Are you able to do a one-arm pull-up? How about a single finger?

    No way!

    How much of the success as a pro climber is due to show and how much due to actual climbing skill?

    Everyone has their niche. Whether you are trying new things, completing the hardest routes, doing the scariest lines or going the fastest. I found my place among the bigwalls, and my problem solving skills are much more refined than my climbing ability.

  • Psychology

    Is it possible for anybody to eventually perform a one-armed pull-up or get to the top of the Eiger/Matterhorn, or do you really have to be born for it?

    Like I said in the earlier answers, i don't think anything should ever be called impossible. That is the only one sure way to limit innovation or progress. Go for it, no matter what.

    How important is it to set goals in professional sports? What are your goals / targets you are working towards in climbing and in life?

    Goals are great, and working towards them can be rewarding. I have found that my biggest accomplishments came not from setting a hard goal, but from finding something I was passionate about. When you have a dream to chase, bubbling excitement every time you think about it, the kind of thing that keeps you up at night. That is what you should put your effort towards, not some monotonous trophy, but something that truly inspires you. Like the old cliche, do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. Right now we are pioneering new ways to climb big walls. In a push style ascents where we bring aerial silks or highlines to never before rigged locations. I would like to experiment more with capsule style climbing, we did 14 days on Tribal Rite and I cherish every moment up on the big stone. It would be amazing to do some more hard aid routes, spend a month off the ground.

    How do you deal with extremely hard climbing problems? Do you ever get frustrated and give up on them or do they motivate you even more?

    The nice thing about being an Aid climber is you don't have the option to give up in the middle of a difficult pitch. The further you climb away from the belay, the more dangerous it typically gets. Many times you have to commit beforehand, and once you start the only way to safety is finishing sometimes many hours later. I enjoy this type of commitment and it is very similar to standing on top of a big mountain ski line.

  • Future of climbing

    Is there anything you would like to change about the current developments in climbing?

    As climbers become stronger and push grades I hope we can maintain a sense of adventure and self reliance out in the mountains. Hopefully a sense of boldness, imagination, and freedom can still be found at the crags 10 years from now

    Where do you think sport will go in the next few years? What will change? And what role will you play in it?

    Climbing is blowing up. Participation is at an all time high and many of the popular routes are becoming crowded. I have been spending my time replacing bolts with the help of the ASCA to help spread out the masses and minimize impact on vulnerable resources. I hope to continue this work and mentor the next generations coming through Yosemite so that we can build a sustainable climbing community dedicated to preservation of the mountains we all love so much.