Favorite type of climbing (bouldering, sports climbing, trad, etc.):
Rope climbing mainly, although I usually gravitate towards sport. I wouldn't consider myself a bold climber, especially on gear.
When and how did you get into climbing and what kept you interested / fascinated in the
My dad has always been a climber and inspired me by his stories of climbing in Yosemite before I was born. After breaking my wrist snowboarding in 2011, I decided to start climbing avidly after my recovery. Snowboarding and skateboarding a lot as a kid made my knees feel old and my body sore. I didn't feel like I was getting physically or mentally stronger, that's when I decided to start getting into climbing with a rope. I knew climbing would push me both physically and mentally and would be relatively safe. I always imagined I could someday be good at climbing with enough effort, so that also motivated me. Since then, it's been nothing but a snowball effect.
Having Smith Rocks as a training ground quickly taught me to climb with good technique and a steady head. After a year of climbing at Smith, I was starting to project the classic 5.12's. Less than a year later, I was working my first 5.13-, Churning in the Wake, and eventually sent after a lot of effort. The 5.12's, 5.13's, and now the 5.14's at Smith have always kept me inspired locally. Once I got to climbing 5.12 well, I began to appreciate my dad's routes he developed in the 90's at Smith Rocks, such as Lords of Karma (5.12c) or Time to Power (5.12c), as projects. His past development has always inspired me to develop at Smith Rocks as well. Since about 2014, I have been developing new routes at Smith. This is what has kept me at Smith Rocks for my decade long climbing career.
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?
My dad has always been my biggest inspiration and hero. I try to be like him in a lot of ways, it's what got me into climbing in the first place. I do consider myself to be a role model now. People see all the hard work I put into Smith Rocks, both as a project climber and developer. I do feel a lot of influence from my local community looking up to me being a strong climber and thoughtful developer, especially after doing it for years . They expect me to do a good job on the routes I develop and to climb stronger than I probably can. Keeps me on my toes!!
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?
Starting climbing in college was probably the biggest milestone in my life. Before then, I never had a true passion for anything like climbing. Ever since I started, I have always done everything I could to be the climber I wanted to be. Sending Chain Reaction was what I would consider my first hard route and a milestone into harder climbing. Years later, I started trying Vicious Fish (5.13d) in the middle of winter. I probably tried the route 70 times in 3 months before doing it. Sending it surprised me just as much as the local community. This inspired enough confidence to start trying Scarface (5.14a) and other hard routes. With Vicious Fish under my belt, I felt a little more qualified to push my developing a bit further. At the top of the Wombat, a streaked wall with marble like stone always caught my eye to develop but seemed to gnarly. At the time, I probably developed around 30 routes but no 5.13's. That was the mythical grade I wanted to develop but never did. When I first rapped down what is now known as the Babylon Wall, I started with the most eye catching line. An overhanging bulbous arete on the left side of the wall. It ended up taking a year of effort before I sent System of a Down (5.13c/d).
What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and
how did you come back from them?
I feel like I have not had too many failures or setbacks in my climbing since I started. A couple injuries here and there that took less than 2 months to heal, but nothing serious.My biggest setback would have to be when my dog passed away from a porcupine encounter in the park. I can't remember exactly, but I don't think I returned to Smith Rocks or to any climbing for at least a month.
What is your favorite climbing related story / experience?
A few years ago, I lost a good friend, Alex Reed, at Smith Rocks from a fall while trying to reach an anchor. Before Alex passed, he bolted a bunch of projects that were way over his head out in the Marsupials at Smith Rocks. He pulled off all the red tags on what he could see himself doing in a reasonable amount of time and opened them to the public.
After his passing, I started to try what is now known as Bold as Love (5.13b) and was quickly discouraged. So much to the point of not wanting to try it because I couldn't even do the moves after hours of effort. I came back a few months later and gave it another try with some friends beta and a handful more 5.13's under my belt. After some serious effort, I figured out some beta and started giving it redpoint burns soon later. After about 15 tries, I managed to clip the chains. I still remember the day I sent as the most emotional redpoint of my life! I have never wanted a first ascent so bad, I knew it would be my most prized tangible connection to Alex. I know how much it meant to him and all the experiences he had developing the route. Getting that redpoint and first ascent is my most memorable climbing experience. Never have I almost cried tears of joy at the chains of a redpoint.