I’ve been climbing for thirteen years as of this Summer. It is my passion. I can not remember a time in my life that I didn’t climb. I am now seventeen, and started to climb at the age of four. It all began with my parents taking lessons from the Billings local and now owner of Steepworld (Billings’s first and only climbing gym) Jim Rott. My parents, both just twenty five, decided they wanted to step out of their boxes and try something adventurous. The only truely adventurous thing my dad did before that was riding a bareback horse in a rodeo. It started when the gate opened, lasted about two seconds, and ended with a concusion, and a trip in the ambulance. So he set down the coyboy hat, and put on a harness. My mom enjoyed climbing, but not like my dad. He fell in love with the freedom of it. He took me climbing for the first time on the local “rimrocks”, and had me try ‘the walk-up’ 5.4. I of course made it about ten feet, and decided that was far enough. I can remember hating it. It was hot, and scary, but soon enough it became natural. I grew up learning how to climb, just like learning how to walk. This is why now, I am such a bad teacher. You go try to explain to someone the technique of walking or chewing. You don’t have to think about it any more, you just do it.
So I grew older, and soon fell in love with it. I tried competing in rock climbing for a while and did alright, but it took away from the fun. My reasons for climbing are to-
- First- Challenge your thoughts, fear, and personal doubt
- Second- Have a good time with friends
- Third- To seek pure joy (whether it be in the moment, or thinking back to it years later)
The only reason present durring competing was the first one, and most of the time it wasn’t even personal doubt, but others doubting you. There needs to be a balance of all three. So I quit competing, and found the world of ice climbing.
My dad took me ice climbing for the first time when I was eight, and I REALLY hated it. This time it was just cold and misserable. It wasn’t till five years later that I understood the reasons for doing it. He would take me to the Cody Ice Climbing Festival in Cody, Wyoming, along with some random ice climbs with short approaches, and easy climbing. All was fine and well until I had a terrible experience with him falling through some ice, and me thinking he was dead, until he climbed out of it a solid five minutes later. It took a couple of years before I wanted to ice climb again. I eventually did, and also discovered multi-pitch rock climbing. I tried my first multi-pitch trad route without my dad in spring of 2011 with my good friend Forrest Murter. We tried the five pitch ‘Ramp’ 5.8 in East Rosebud, and made it just over half way. Although it wasn’t “succesful”, this trip would shake the foundations of my climbing forever. This new kind of climbing was ballsy, and fun! At the time, this was the only kind of climbing that presented the idea of beating your own mind and it was so inspiring I got two jobs to pay for gas money, and new gear. So I kept doing it. I got more efficient, and learned how to control my mind. That next fall I decided highschool was a thing of the past, so I dropped out. I was just ready for the next chapter in my life.
That chapter presented itself in the form of Mountaineering. I began to enjoy the suffering that came from it. I joined the Junior Mountaineering Team out of Bozeman, MT(I highly reccomend it for any teen wanting to learn how to be safe, and efficient when climbing, and skiing in the backcountry. I also met one of my best friends, and valued climbing partner Parker Webb through the JMT). Now I had knowledge on avalanche safety, and self-rescue when climbing. This naturally gave me the neccesary knowledge, and confidence I needed to try some harder alpine routes. So my friends Parker, and Forrest and I decided we would try a route called ‘All in Moderation’ on Beehive Peak. It’s a AI3, M4, and consists of 600 feet of Snow climbing. We skinned in one morning, and got to the base at 6 PM. Forrest wasn’t feeling it, but Parker and I decided we would try. We ended up climbing it, but not without a major struggle. Up higher on the peak when it got dark there were 60 mph winds, the snow was comming down by the foot, and the visibility was no more than 15 feet. It’s fair to say that it got “real”. We kept eachother’s spirits up, and made it to the summit at 10 PM. It took us another hour to descend back to camp, where Forrest was waiting with some hot chocolate. We crawled into our Bivis, and waited out the night with spin drifts dumping on us every couple of seconds. It was truely misserable. In the moment I hated it. I wanted to be anywhere but there. We were cold, wet and hungry, but that was just it-we were together.
So that brings me to now. I now live in Billings, MT and try to get out into the mountains as much as possible.
Thank you for reading, and have a great day!