Archive for the ‘Member Spotlight’ Category

Member Spotlight January 2020

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

Ben Gilkison

Member since 2018

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in the Pacific Northwest?

Ben: I grew up in the suburban outskirts of North Seattle, prior to it becoming modern day Shoreline. There was no World Wide Web. We played outside constantly.

What’s the story behind your becoming a climber? How did you end up at Edgeworks?

Ben: My roots in climbing began late 1994 after visiting the UW Rock, armed with only wrestling shoes and curiosity. It was there that I chanced upon an enthusiastic 14 year-old kid from Mercer Island looking for a partner with wheels. In short order, we were all over the Cascades from alpine routes & glacier slogs, to splitter Index cracks and knobby faces. We had several close shaves summer of 95’.

If you had to choose between bouldering, top rope or lead climbing as the only form of climbing you could do from here on out, what would you choose and why?

Ben: As for disciplines, I prefer the complexity of rope climbing. I’m equally comfortable climbing sport or traditional routes, whether single or multi-pitch.

What type of music are you jamming out to lately?

Ben: Music preferences: I’ve been listening a bit to Junge Junge lately. When time allows I enjoy playing Chopin on the piano.

What is one lesson you’ve learned as a climber that you would teach to your younger self who’s just starting out climbing?

Ben: The best advice I can offer to new climbers is to have fun, explore, and don’t take things too seriously. Embrace adventure and dare to get a little uncomfortable. Know the difference between real and perceived risk—as one keeps you alive while the other leads to stagnation. When it comes to pushing limits…the road to success is often paved with failure. Check your knot!

Best part about Edgeworks?

Ben: Best part of Edgeworks… is the climbing of course! EW is on my way home from work and helps me stay healthy and balanced.

Could you tell us something about you that our community members might not know? What’s your jam outside of Edgeworks?

Ben: Other odds and ends about me: I’m happily married with 2 small children. I work as a full time PT at Harbor Physical Therapy in Gig Harbor; and enjoy helping climbers, whether they are trying to recover from an injury, or seeking to balance the muscle and movement system to optimize their potential and ward off future injury.  This past year I received a WARP grant to update all the ancient hardware on the Sport Wall at Index, and am nearly finished. It has been an honor to give back to the climbing community in this way, and I’ve learned much in the process.  Climbing highlights over the years include:  sending 5.14b sport, establishing a 5.13+ roof crack in Zion, and swinging leads with Alex Honnold up El Cap before he became famous.   

What’s your goal for the months ahead as far as climbing and fitness go?

Ben: Goals in 2020 are to get outside, scrub, bolt, smile, and give some of the ole’ try hard.

Member Spotlight November 2019

Friday, November 1st, 2019

Deb King

Members since October 2016

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in the Pacific Northwest?

Deb: I grew up in the Bay Area, and first moved to the PNW after living on the Big Island for 4 years with my husband Jeff. We left the PNW for a couple years to live in Oslo, Norway, but came back to stay in 2000.

What’s the story behind your becoming a climber? How did you end up at Edgeworks?

Deb: The first time I came to Edgeworks was with Jeff, our sons and their Scout troop. That day I only did auto-belays, but loved the challenge of climbing. Of course I was clueless on what I was doing, but I had a blast doing it! It wasn’t until January of last year that a friend of mine suggested we join EW to stay active in the winter. I’ve been coming ever since!

If you had to choose between bouldering, top rope or lead climbing as the only form of climbing you could do from here on out, what would you choose and why?

Deb: If I had to choose one form of climbing, it would be lead. I love the challenge it presents, and the total focus it requires.

What is one lesson you’ve learned as a climber that you would teach to your younger self who’s just starting out climbing?

Deb: In the two years I’ve been climbing, I’ve learned the importance of warming up before climbing hard, and not letting the route ratings dictate what I attempt, at least while on top rope!

Best part about Edgeworks?

Deb: Best part of Edgeworks is the people, of course. I love how friendly and laid back everyone is, both the employees and members. I am always impressed with the creativity and diversity of the routes – EW route setters do a great job keeping things interesting!

Could you tell us something about you that our community members might not know? What’s your jam outside of Edgeworks?

Deb: Something people might not know about me: I used to fly helicopters over active lava flows on the Big Island, and spent a summer flying over and landing on glaciers in Southeast Alaska. 

What’s your goal for the months ahead as far as climbing and fitness go?

Deb:  To become more experienced and confident in trad, learn multi pitch, and climb outside as much as possible. I had the chance to climb for a day in Joshua Tree in April, and would love to go back there next year and spend a lot more time exploring. I used to have the goal of climbing harder and harder routes in the gym, but now I realize that it’s not the number that counts the most, it’s enjoying whatever challenge the route has to offer. 

Member Spotlight October 2019

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Anna and Nick Crosby

Members since June 2019

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in the Pacific Northwest? 

Anna: Born & raised in the PNW. I grew up north of Seattle in suburb called Brier & moved to Tacoma when I met Nick. 

Nick: I am from Southern California & moved to Arizona in highschool. I came to the PNW in 2000 when I joined the ARMY & love everything about it here.

What’s the story behind your becoming a climber? How did you end up at Edgeworks? 

Anna and Nick: We both teach & practice yoga @ Expand Yoga & most of our fellow instructors are climbers & members of Edgeworks. We knew after the first time we came that we were hooked! We love that Edgeoworks is family centered and that we can bring our children.

If you had to choose between bouldering, top rope or lead climbing as the only form of climbing you could do from here on out, what would you choose and why? 

Anna: I haven’t taken the plunge into lead climbing yet- I am still working past that fear! I am hoping to dive into that soon. So i would have to say top rope! 

Nick: Lead climbing-for sure.

Tell us your favorite music as of late. Who should we be listening to? 

Nick: Old school hip hop-always is always my jam. Lately I have been into Little Dragon-check em out. 

Anna: Lately I have been listening to a lot of Alabama Shakes & James Blake.

What is one lesson you’ve learned as a climber that you would teach to your younger self who’s just starting out climbing? 

Anna: Climbing is the first thing that I have done as an adult that I was completely scared of & that didn’t come naturally that I have stuck with. It has given me the courage to step outside of my comfort zone & I am learning to trust myself, my breath/body and the equipment! I would tell myself just to breath, its all good! Stick with it- you feel empowered! 

Nick: Just to go for it! Trust the process & set your feet up first lol!

Best part about Edgeworks? 

Anna and Nick: That we can bring our family! We love that we can bring our 1.5yr old & 4 yr old. Its been so cool to watch our son learn to be in his body & challenge himself. We love how welcoming the community & staff is. Bonus is that all of our best friends are members and we climb with them!

Could you tell us something about you that our community members might not know? What’s your jam outside of Edgeworks? 

Anna: I have been teaching yoga for 6 years in Tacoma & practice as often as I can! 

Nick: I retired from the ARMY after 18 years and now I am a full time student @ TCC getting ready to apply to nursing school. I also delivered our 2nd baby with the midwife over the phone!

What’s your goal for the months ahead as far as climbing and fitness go? 

Anna: I would love to take the lead climbing class and continue to move past limitations that are brought on by fear. 

Nick: Nick would like to successfully start lead climbing 5.12s and learn how to do multi-pitch routes. 

Member Spotlight September 2019

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Julie and Mike Pinske

Members since June 2019

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in the Pacific Northwest?

Julie: I grew up in Sebastopol/Santa Rosa, California and Mike grew up in a small town named Oliver in British Columbia, Canada.  We have lived all over (including California, Canada, Hawaii, North Carolina, and in an RV). We moved to the Tacoma area so I could attend PLU’s Master of Science in Nursing program, and Mike was able to transfer and keep his job as a biomedical technician.

What’s the story behind your becoming a climber? How did you end up at Edgeworks?

Mike: We had each done a small amount of climbing over the years.  After moving here, Julie’s friend told her about Edgeworks. She came and sent me a picture of the tall walls, which excited me. We went climbing later that day and signed up the day after that.

If you had to choose between bouldering, top rope or lead climbing as the only form of climbing you could do from here on out, what would you choose and why?

Julie: We both prefer top rope climbing.  We both enjoy climbing high because it’s fun and always feels like a big accomplishment, and I appreciate the security of being roped in.  I am a very static climber and Mike has a more dynamic climbing style and we enjoy finding routes that support and challenge our climbing styles.

Tell us your favorite music as of late. Who should we be listening to?

Mike: I enjoy Tool, Rush, Le Castle Vania, and Johannes Sebastian Bach to name a few.  Julie’s taste is all over the place, but a few artists she likes are Cat Stevens, Bon Iver, and Regina Spektor.  She also not-so-secretly loves ‘90s pop and hip hop.

What is one lesson you’ve learned as a climber that you would teach to your younger self who’s just starting out climbing?

Julie: I’d say: have tenacity.  If something is challenging, keep at it and try approaching it differently each time.  Mike would say just go for it- don’t worry about falling.

Best part about Edgeworks?

Mike: We both love the tall walls, the abundance of auto belay routes, the amount of bouldering, and how there is always new stuff to try.  Plus, there is the bonus of the gym equipment as well.

Could you tell us something about you that our community members might not know? What’s your jam outside of Edgeworks?

Julie: Our story of how we met was pretty cool- it was in 2013 on a dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef.  Mike was working on the boat and I came on for three days as a tourist. When we’re not climbing or SCUBA diving, we enjoy playing games (board games, pc games, escape rooms, etc).  Mike is also the DM for a D&D group that has been going for a year, and I swim and play volleyball whenever possible.

What’s your goal for the months ahead as far as climbing and fitness go?

Mike:  Be a better climber, attain greater fitness.

Julie:  In the next few months, I would like to complete a 5.11 and maybe even a 5.12.  I’m also trying to overcome my fears and do a handstand.

Member Spotlight August 2019

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Luis Salazar

Member since November 2018

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in the Pacific Northwest?

Luis: I’m originally from NYC. My wife is from Tacoma. We were living in Brooklyn before we moved out west for work. As much I miss Brooklyn and the climbing community there, I do love having the mountains so close. My backyard is the Pacific Northwest.

What’s the story behind your becoming a climber? How did you end up at Edgeworks?

Luis: It got a bit harrowing at times working in a NYC emergency room and taking the subway home every day was mentally exhausting so I wanted to find a place to clear my mind. I found peace in the outdoors and hiking up mountains eventually led to climbing. I started climbing at a gym in Brooklyn and it just expanded from there. Now, my wife and I plan our trips specifically for climbing and we’ve met so many people in the climbing community with amazing stories. We focus on rope climbing so when we knew we were moving here, Edgeworks was close by and loved the route setting here.

If you had to choose between bouldering, top rope or lead climbing as the only form of climbing you could do from here on out, what would you choose and why?

Luis: Definitely lead climbing. It is a huge mental game going up a route and keeping your mental game in check. It can totally take away from the climb if you’re not managing your fear of falling even though you might be physically capable of doing a route. This is probably the bigger challenge for me than learning the skills, even though those are also pretty tough to execute at times.

Tell us your favorite music as of late. Who should we be listening to?

Luis: I’m kind of old school. Stevie Wonder on a good day and Miles Davis on a bad day. Talib Kweli when I’m climbing.

What is one lesson you’ve learned as a climber that you would teach to your younger self who’s just starting out climbing?

Luis: Don’t worry about how you look climbing. I learned a lot from trying different things on routes and just thoroughly enjoyed the process of messing up.

Best part about Edgeworks?

Luis: The community here is tight. I’ve met a lot of people through this gym and our relationships go beyond climbing. I am also a big fan of the route setting.

Could you tell us something about you that our community members might not know? What’s your jam outside of Edgeworks?

Luis: I work as a nurse and like to volunteer either through medical efforts or through photography. I currently volunteer with a non-profit organization called Climbers of Color based here in Washington . We have an event coming up August 9th here at Edgeworks. Check out our website to learn more about us! (https://www.climbersofcolor.org/)

What’s your goal for the months ahead as far as climbing and fitness go?

Luis: I hope to climb some more 5.11s outside and start projecting a 5.12. I also want to learn trad and expand my technical climbing knowledge. I need to start ticking off some of the bigger mountains like Mt. Rainier, as well. 

Member Spotlight July 2019

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Cole Cook

Member since March 2019

How did you start climbing?

Cole: A few months ago I was with my daughter and I heard about Edgeworks online and decided to try it out. We completely fell in love with it and have been going steadily ever since.

Why do you climb at Edgeworks?

Cole: I love to climb at Edgeworks because it’s an amazing facility, all the staff are great and I’ve met a bunch of friends there. Everyone there is awesome and very helpful.

What do you do when you’re not climbing?

Cole: When I’m not climbing I’m usually working and spending time with my family and friends.

Where is your favorite place to climb outside?

Cole: I have not yet climbed outside but plan on making a trip to exit 38 very soon.

What are some interesting facts that you’d like to share with the Edgeworks community?

Cole: I love being outside. Other than rock climbing my favorite hobby would definitely be snowboarding. I like doing anything active; I can’t stand sitting around. 

Which do you prefer: top rope, lead, or bouldering?

Cole: I’ve only been climbing for about three months and I recently started lead climbing which I’m completely addicted to. 

Member Spotlight June 2019

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Emily Anderson 

Member since January 2018

How did you start climbing?

Emily: My first experience climbing was when I was 17 and living in Colorado. I went with my brother and his friend to North Table Mountain in Golden. I immediately loved it, but didn’t start regularly climbing until I moved to WA several years later and decided to get a membership at Edgeworks.

Why do you climb at Edgeworks?

Emily: Edgeworks has a very special, welcoming community. I always tell people, I have never been to a gym where I have met so many friendly and genuinely awesome individuals. I also love all the unique spaces and different ways you can challenge yourself physically in addition to the walls, like the campus boards, weight rooms, and yoga studio. I also often do homework and work on my computer at the upstairs tables. Really, Edgeworks has become a bit of a second home.

What do you do when you’re not climbing?

Emily: When I am not climbing, you can probably find me at work or at school. I am a server at Stack 571 Whiskey bar and a student at the University of Washington-Tacoma, studying Psychology and Education. I also really enjoy playing acoustic guitar and singing, hanging out with my family and friends, and hiking/backpacking around the PNW!

Where is your favorite place to climb outside?

Emily: So far, I have only been climbing outside in three different places. Once in Golden, Leavenworth, and exit 38, so really I have just started to dip my toes in outdoor climbing. Although I love the scenery and atmosphere of climbing in Leavenworth, I would have to say as of now I really enjoy sport climbing and all the options for sport that exit 38 has for this. That being said I really want to take a trip down to Smith Rock soon!

What are some interesting facts that you’d like to share with the Edgeworks community?

Emily: I am actually currently conducting a research project on Women and Rock Climbing, and using Edgeworks as well as other climbing locations as field sites for observation. I’m nearing the end of my research, and have learned so much and met so many great people through the process.

Which do you prefer: top rope, lead, or bouldering?

Emily: Right now I love top roping, but leading is in the near future for me 🙂 My favorite projects would probably have to be stemming projects and routes with mostly crimps!

Member Spotlight: Dec 2018

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Scott Thorsteinson 

Member since March 2018

How did you start climbing?

Scott: I had open heart surgery in 2015 and felt I had a new lease on life. I decided I would start hiking and climbing mountains to see the amazing scenery. As I climbed more mountains I realized I was lacking rock climbing skills. March of 2018, I went to Edgeworks and signed up not knowing anyone at the gym. It was tough at first since I was solo and limited to the auto belays.

Why do you climb at Edgeworks?

Scott: Edgeworks community is great! The climbers and staff are always friendly and helpful when I have questions. It’s also the closest gym to my house. The gym was already awesome; but with the remodel makes it even better.

What do you do when you’re not climbing?

Scott: I work as a fire captain in White Center (south of Seattle). When I’m not working I enjoy hiking, mountain climbing, boating on Lake Tapps, going to Mariner’s games, anything outdoors or that involves exercising.

Where is your favorite place to climb outside?

Scott: I’m really new to outdoor climbing. I enjoyed climbing off of Exit 38 in North Bend. The Grand Tetons had great climbing as well.

What are some interesting facts that you’d like to share with the Edgeworks community?

Scott: I no longer drink alcohol since my heart surgery so I found that working out or climbing helps reduce stress. I try to make itto Edgeworks 3-4 times a week and climb for 3 hours each visit. I carpool and climb with my friend Janice and wife Kristy when she’s not working.

What’s your go-to route grade?

Scott: I’m new to climbing as of this year but feel great about my progress. I feel comfortable with 5.10 and some 5.11’s. I’m hoping to complete a 5.12 by the end of this year. I’m motivated to get better and continue to learn from fellow climbers!

Which do you prefer: top rope, lead, or bouldering?

Scott: I really enjoy top rope over bouldering. I signed up for the December lead climbing class. My wife and friends are also signed up so it should be a fun time.