adventures in climbing


Just over a year ago, I fell hard.  I fell hard in love.  With rock climbing.

As the years press on, I have made choices more and more based on doing something because it makes me happy.  I say I had my quarter-life crisis when I moved back to Maine from Long Beach, California after working in the marketing and PR world for a number of years and decided to change careers to become a photographer.  Despite the obvious lifestyle and financial change that come with that artistic territory, that choice has made me very happy.

I used to work in Production at the photo agency Aurora Photos.  It was started by some National Geographic photographers and focuses on outdoor adventure photography.  This is where my curiosity peaked about sports like climbing, skiing, and surfing.  I worked with the images that renowned photographers -- like Jose Azel, Corey Rich, Ben Moon, and Jimmy Chin, just to name a few -- submitted to the agency and was in awe of the extreme sports being captured.  I knew what ropes climbing looked like and often thought those folks were crazy, but I was in awe of bouldering.  The more images I saw of the sport, the more I wanted to do it.

A few years passed without me acting upon my curiosity, but for some reason that urge resurfaced a year ago.  I was bored at my regular gym and walked into my local Maine Rock Gym and said, "Hi, I'd like to do that," pointing to the bouldering area.  I had followed through on my word, making the choice to do something I said I would, and ultimately found happiness in the sport of bouldering.  I had dug out some old climbing shoes that a friend had passed along to me and off I went.  It wasn't pretty, folks.  Still isn't to this day at times.  But after one session, despite my flailing and fears, I was hooked.  I eventually added ropes climbing to the mix, and finally got outside to do both bouldering and lead climbing.  Recent acquisitions are a cushy new crash pad for bouldering (they sure do look smaller as you get higher) and a shiny set of C4 cams for mixed/trad climbing.  Maybe a little cart before the horse there, but I've got to start somewhere.

This last year has been pretty freakin' cool.  The Maine Rock Gym community is great.  I've been lucky enough to meet some amazing climbers that are sure to be lifelong friends.  I competed in three of the Dark Horse bouldering competitions and actually made the podium.  I took some falls lead climbing and still have the bruises.  I realized I don't really like heights (well, I think I learned that on the Knife Edge at Mt. Katahdin last year), but I reaffirmed it this year.  My solution is to suck it up and keep climbing with the least amount of whining.  I have experienced mental blocks and plateaus in my bouldering.  I have learned to overcome some of them.  My brother says I now have "man hands" and for me not to touch him with them.  I climb to clear my mind and balance my soul.  Like surfing, it is one of the few sports where you can actually be in the moment, which is an amazing feeling (I learned to surf this year, too, but it took a backseat with my addiction to climbing).  I'm a bit of a late bloomer, having never climbed until now at the age of 32, but I love that I have plenty of years ahead of me to keep learning about this sport, about this obsession.  I now have a new subject to document with photography.  Again, I have a long way to go, but I'll get there and have fun doing it.  I am happy.


  1. sweet! as a climber and photographer myself, i can completely relate! come on down to the red river gorge sometime and bring Em when you do :) LOTS of world class climbing and plenty to photograph :)

  2. Hi Tina, yes, Em told me about you! A woman after my own heart, living and shooting down there :) The RRG is totally on my list, hoping for a road trip this fall down there. Some of my fellow climber friends just went there this spring and I told them about the Rockhouse, so hopefully they stopped in. Congrats on opening that and your wedding (saw Tyler's post - love him!).


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