Member Spotlight January 2020

Written By

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.