Ambassador Spotlight | Tom Smartt

Tom Smartt

Hometown: Idaho Falls, ID

 

Q: What’s your climbing Style?

A: I like techy routes and knee bars. haha

 

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?

A: Breaking the 5.14 barrier was huge for me. That goal fueled my climbing for years, yet in order to achieve it, I had to set it to the side and refocus to keep my climbing fun and healthy for me. I was very number driven and competitive at the start. I thought 5.14 would be some big, defining moment, but those routes came to feel just as important as any of my big sends, FAs, or wild adventures. I guess the number’s change in value helped me put climbing into perspective and taught me to enjoy it on a deeper level.

Outside of climbing?

That one is harder to define. I guess it’s that I’ve been able to live my life the way I want to. I’m very fortunate, for sure, but I’ve also worked hard and sacrificed when necessary to allow myself to have big life goals and to focus on accomplishing them.

In both cases, I hope my proudest accomplishment is still yet to come.

 

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?

A: Follow your psych, set big goals, and own what you do. Also, no one cares how hard you climb.

Tom Smartt

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?

A: Aside from my father, my primary mentor in climbing and life is Matt TeNgaio. I wish I could be more like him, but I’m not sure I could pull off his tattoos. He taught me how to climb, how to bolt routes, always kept my head in check and given me his honest opinion.

 

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?

A: I’ve done two different approaches to physical training this past year, not necessarily of my own design. One worked very well for me, and the other, the seemingly better one, just left me injured and not climbing. The biggest challenge for me is injury prevention. I often have problems with my lower back (I’m pretty tall) that cause me to overcompensate elsewhere and trigger overuse injuries.

The program that worked best for me involved a fairly structured approach to climbing (either a targeted 5 pitch day or a time-based bouldering approach), and then a Tabata style workout on non-climbing days. The Tabata was 4-5 exercises long and alternates one minute on, one off, 4 times per exercise (with the freedom to modify the exercise as necessary). Then we’d throw in a single recovery focused yoga session each week. At first, I didn’t like the non-climbing day’s sessions, but over time I ultimately realized how beneficial that part is to the whole.

I worked as a coach and spent a lot of time analyzing how myself and others climb. I feel I’ve learned more about climbing in the past of couple years than all of my years climbing beforehand. That’s probably been the biggest help. It’s not always about becoming a stronger climber, the focus really is to become a better climber. I could for sure benefit from more strength, but I’m often too tall to use the conventional beta, so I have to be creative to climb a route. I quit caring so much about things that got me down in climbing (like onsighting/flashing, 8a.nu, or counting tries in general) and I’m quicker to haul up the stick clip and actually work out a section efficiently. I get some strange looks from people about this approach, but this game can be played in a lot of ways! I also stopped besieging projects for months on end. Instead, I shift focus after a while and go back later with fresh psych and determination.

Tom Smartt

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?

A: A lot of my friends aren’t rock climbers. In general, though, the people I’m closest with are all passion driven and have these big goals set for themselves.

I’m also a big fan of board games, especially the ultra-nerdy ones. I spent a winter hanging out with folks at a game store and playing 40k (I have a pretty rockin’ Tzeentch Daemon list). I felt really out of place at first, but regardless, we were all united in how much we enjoyed the vastness of that mythical universe and the strategy involved in that game. I would love it if some of my climbing friends would be up for a weekly D&D game!

 

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?

A: I’ve held a few fundraisers to buy fixed gear, I’m on the board of directors of our local climbing coalition and I’ve tried to do my part to bolt routes in Idaho. I didn’t have even half the playground of hard routes as a kid as Eastern Idaho has now. I try to do what I can, where I can, and wish I had the means to be more helpful.

Tom Smartt

Q: What have you learned from failure?

A: Failure is a wave that will hit constantly. It’s just part of any cycle of progression. It’s tough to do, but you just gotta collect what valuable lessons you can from that wave, and then let it go back into the ocean.

 

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?

A: I guess, collectively they’re all folks who climb because they love it so much. It drives their adventures, and they work hard to improve their craft. There are several individuals of note to me, like the late Inge Perkins, or Jonathan Siegrist, Matt TeNgaio, Ty Mack, Ciara Rinaudo, Chad Parkinson, Ben Spannuth, Clay Cahoon; all of whom have been big inspirations to me over the years. The list could go on and on, but I’d be typing for a while. Haha.

Tom Smartt

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?

A: My home crag: The Fins. It’s spectacular and overlooks a vast volcanic desert, dotted with secret government laboratories. It’s always windy and has no amenities. It blazes in the sun each morning, so you have to chill out and relax. You could almost just not rock climb, set up your camp chair and just stare off into the distance all day. That said, the climbing is great. There are a lot of multi-directional pockets, small crimps, and horrid footholds and the routes present fun puzzles to decipher. I’ve spent years bolting routes out there, and every year I find more.

 

Q: Why Butora Climbing?

A: They make some great shoes! But also, everyone I’ve met either from the Butora family could be one of those inspirational people that climb because they truly love climbing.

Tom Smartt

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?

A: If I send, I want a pizza! Haha! I subsist off of tacos and coffee otherwise.

 

Q: What is your spirit animal?

A: A dragon? I dunno, I’ve always loved dragons (I always picked Charmander…). They’re badass.

 

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?

A: The Narsha took a minute to get used to. It’s a stiffer shoe, and despite it looking like a bouldering slipper, it excels at vertical sport climbing. Overall, I prefer a slightly softer shoe for most climbs, but the Narsha has opened up a much easier sequence on my multi-year vert/slab project. Size them up a half step from the Acro!

Tom Smartt

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?

A: I dunno, I think this goes along the lines of being respectful and aware of other people and taking personal ownership of the balance between your fun and everyone else’s. I think we all struggle with this one from time to time, whether we are new outdoor climbers or not.

 

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?

A: I am for sure one to set up shop on a mega project and try a route ad infinitum, but I notice a lot of folks who try something a few times and then give up and say they couldn’t do the route. Instant gratification is great, but it’s not a project unless it challenges you! It’s crazy how moves feel easier each day/week/whatever on a route. Break the route into mini goals. If I walk away with even just a slightly better understanding of my project than I had before that session, even if I regressed in other ways, I call it a success.

Tom Smartt

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?

A: I deal with this all the time.

I put myself in positions where I’m going to confront things I “should” be able to do. I don’t always like it. It’s not comfortable. It frustrates me and hurts my self-esteem, but if I don’t make the fear a norm then I’ll never push past it.

Ambassador Spotlight | Irene Yee

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Beached Whale Will Power

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: My proudest accomplishment in climbing so far was putting up a first ascent off-width climb I named Llamacorn. It was never something I even thought I could accomplish, but I found that impossible mythical beast! Outside of climbing my proudest accomplishment has been toasting and finishing off an entire bag of strawberry marshmallows in one night with Ashley Cracroft.

 

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Never lose your psyche. When the climbing gets too frustrating, go climb something for fun and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: Everyone. It’s about expanding your worldview, though having a strong filter is key. Advice is a personal choice, and you have to realize you may or may not agree with everyone’s choices.

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I have made a move to focus on things that are non-climbing but will ultimately help with climbing in the end. Running and fitness classes train a lot of things climbing tends to leave out, endurance, strong legs, and overall fitness. I’m not training to climb 13’s I’m training so I can climb for the rest of my life.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: I surround myself with more people! Climbing has been a social outlet for me, it has created such a wonderful community that no matter where you are if you meet a climber you know you can interact.

 

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I give photos to the climbing community. I share to show that there is a multitude of people who all found the joy of climbing, and so we can all revel in the wonderful crag day, the 5.8 send or the 5.14 send. I also volunteer with my local climbing organization and refill WagBag boxes in my climbing area, its the least I can do on my way to the crag, pack it in so you can pack it out!

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: Failing is easy, choosing to get back up and keep going is the hard part. Sometimes the task seems impossible, but it is the most I’ve ever learned about myself, it is those times where I learn just how strong I am.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: My friends!!! Nothing inspires me more than seeing those I know best accomplish goals beyond their own belief. You get to be a part of that experience and nothing moves me more than a crag day with my friends.

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Vedauwoo, WY. It’s been my favorite for a while now. I love the style of climbing, the camping, and the hurt of being shut down again and again and again…yeah…oh and the Rec Center has a waterslide.

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Because they agreed to take on a normal person like me and the Altura is proving to be a superior off-width shoe.

 

 

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Before, donuts; After, Ice cream. I mean there’s a bunch of other stuff in between, but if I had a choice they would always be bookended with those two things.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: A Llamacorn. Weird, yet magical.

 

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

 

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I’ll let you know when the sport climbing starts back up in my life.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: You’re a good person in life why would it be any different at the crag? Be polite in trying to accomplish your goals for the day, ask if you’re not sure, clean up after yourself. You wouldn’t poop on the floor of your house, why would you poop on the trail?

 

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: When you find out please let me know. Though I do find some time away can always be helpful. Sometimes your mind gets too used to a problem that it shuts out different possibilities. You focus on your inability to do the problem rather than opening your mind to new possibilities to complete the problem.

 

Ambassador Spotlight | Brynn Keenan

Brynn Keenan

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Bouldering

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: Doing The Amendment in the middle of winter. It felt like a pretty epic accomplishment – I spent a lot of time alone scrubbing snow off the top of that boulder, dropped all of my crash pads into Boulder Falls trying to hike to it after a big storm, and finally sent it on the one weekend day above freezing in January. It was equal parts physically and mentally challenging.

Outside of climbing I really love my job (quality manager for Left Hand brewing), enjoy running long distance, mountain biking, and recently built out a van. I take a lot of pride in progressing in climbing while balancing those other elements of life!

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: If something hurts, STOP! It took me years to accept that when a muscle or tendon isn’t feeling quite right, climbing through it will put you further back in the long run.

Also, past Brynn, those cargo shorts were not cool. Seriously, wear literally anything else.

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: I’m happy listen to advice from anyone willing to give it. Everyone’s perspective is valuable when you weigh it with your own experience and intuition.

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I’ve diversified my training quite a bit this year – running to stay fit, doing less weighted exercises and more ergonomic training. I’ve been focusing more on steady progression that feels natural, and less on high intensity weighted stuff.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A:Climbing is such an amazing community of people, and has ultimately shaped the group I surround myself with. It’s such a way of life that it really connects people all around the world who’d otherwise have never met.

Brynn Keenan Bouldering

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I’ve coached youth teams and lead trips to help get folks into the sport, but I think the biggest way I’ve given back is being open and helpful to newer climbers. Especially in Boulder climbing can be pretty intimidating, and a friendly face at the gym goes a long way.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: There’s always another angle, and you just have to get creative to find it. Failure is powerful when it’s turned into motivation.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: I really admire climbers who are dedicated to climbing at a high level, but maintain a sense of humility. It really connects with what makes the climbing community so special.

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Anywhere in the South East – The New River Gorge, Rocktown, and LRC to name a few. It just doesn’t get better than bullet sandstone and southern hospitality.

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Butora is a great company, that produces amazing shoes, and gives back to the community. I’ve been climbing for 15 years, and have owned a laundry list of climbing shoes. It’s been 2 years with the Acro now, and I think it’s the perfect hybrid of performance and comfortability.

Brynn Keenan Bouldering

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Favorite meal: Pizza for all of the occasions, but what I actually eat is a lot of stir-fry with brown rice, veggies, and protein.

Favorite during climbing: I like anything as long as it’s real food, but what I actually eat is whatever energy bar I find in my climbing pack because I forgot my food.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Narwhalicorn 🦄

 

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

 

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I find that the Acro is a good balance between aggressive and flexible – it translates really well from steeps to face climbing and everything in between. The Narsha is a bit stiffer and pulls through during those time when you need a pretty aggressive downturned shoe.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Chalk your hands before touching the holds, It keep the holds from getting as greasy.

Maybe this is just me, but I also think it’s nice to say hi to everyone when you roll up to a boulder that other people are working on. On the other side when you leave it’s polite to ask if anyone wants one more burn before pulling your pads out of the pile.

Brynn Keenan Bouldering

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: Try bringing new people out to mix it up, maybe they’ll come up with beta that you didn’t see and bring new psyche. For low percentage moves, work that one move, then move outwards – once you get it, keep adding one more move beforehand until it’s linked from the beginning. If you just can’t seem to do the move, try taking a break and training for it.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: I broke my back in Bishop when I was 22, and couldn’t climb for a year. When I came back I was pretty paralyzed with fear for a long time, and all I can say is try to find the balance between healthy and unhealthy fear. For me, that means evaluating all of the potential risks, what the consequences are, and eventually deciding if it’s worth it. If you aren’t afraid to say no, the fear will take care of itself when you decide that it’s something that you really want.

Butora Acro Rock Climbing Shoes

Ambassador Spotlight | Robyn Ragins

Butora Climbing Ambassador Robyn Ragins

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Sport & Bouldering

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: Sending Kaleidoscope 13c at the Red River Gorge. And winning the Young Gun Rookie Team Award for community service achievements.

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Go on an outdoor climbing trip as soon as possible.

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: My coaches and my closest friends because they always have my best interest at heart.

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I had a big change in my training while switching from being on a youth team to coaching one. I now train alone most days and am in charge of my own training plan.

 

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: I am mostly around climbers, considering my family climbs, I work with climbers and I climb, so I spend lots of hours in the gym. I love the Chicago climbing community and all the people who make every day more fun. Alternatively, my non climbing friends need to be very understanding people because, I spend so much time training and not with them.

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: When I left competitive youth climbing I started coaching and volunteering at events in order to give back to the biggest part of my youth. I have also participated in clean up days at the Red River Gorge, my home crag.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: Failure is good, it means that I tried hard enough and hopefully put in all my effort to surpass my comfort zone. After failure I learn what went wrong and how to improve myself for the next try.

Butora Climbing Ambassador Robyn Ragins

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: MIchaela Kiersch inspires me the most because she was able to do her best competitive and outdoor climbing all while being an exceptional college student.

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Rodellar, Spain is my favorite crag because I love the long, endurance, tufa climbs. But also the community there is amazing because the climber town is so small and there are always people hanging out at the sectors.

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Butora came into the climbing shoe scene a little late but, they tried and believed in their product and made an impact in the industry. I love the comfortable fit of the shoes that are still aggressive and great for all types of climbing.

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Eggs or yogurt before climbing and Tacos after!

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: A meerkat.

Butora Climbing Ambassador Robyn Ragins

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

 

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: The narsha has a much finer edge that is very helpful while also being an aggressive shoe, making it very versatile for style and great for outdoors. The acro is super comfy and aggressive, which is why it is my favorite all around gym shoe.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Keep your stuff condensed to one area, don’t leave your belongings all over the crag. Also don’t play music or be extremely loud if others are around.

Butora Climbing Ambassador Robyn Ragins

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: Projecting is all about staying psyched on something that you couldn’t do quickly. It takes work to project, lots of tries and energy. Positive thinking is a must, stay happy and confident in your abilities. Also, take a break and climb some other things every once in a while so you’re not bored.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: I was afraid of trying hard grades that push my limits on outdoor climbs because I didn’t want to fall or find out that my limit was lower than I wanted it to be. So I found a climbing partner who I trusted and who supported me, so I was able to be confident in whatever I tried.

Butora Acro Rock Climbing Shoes

Ambassador Spotlight | David Anderson

David Dave Anderson

Hometown: Woodinville, WA (or where ever our van, Magic, is parked)

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Alpine Rock First Ascents, Trad, Sport, Indoor Bouldering, Ice, Mixed, Aid

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: In 2015 my wife Szu-ting Yi and I climbed a new alpine rock route, Secret Moon Cake, on Eagle Peak East (5.10 R, 17,388ft) in Western China. The route took all of our combined skills to access and climb the peak in very challenging weather conditions. http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201213642/Eagle-Peak-East-Secret-Moon-Cake,

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Bouldering in the cornerstone for improvement in all types of climbing

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: My wife Szu-ting Yi, no explanation needed 🙂

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: More finger-board and indoor bouldering sessions

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: Climbing has been my lifelong vocation, personal pursuit and connected me with my life partner. Climbing, with it’s mental and physical challenges, quickly reveals who we are as people. You can’t fake climbing , it cuts through the “BS” that people sometimes surround themselves with in life. As a result, climbing has made me appreciate people, who are thoughtful, honest, direct and kind under any circumstance.

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I have been an outdoor educator and climbing instructor for the last 30 years. I have been fortunate to be able to impart my knowledge in both climbing movement and technical systems to thousands of new climbers. However, teaching people about protecting the climbing resource/environment and seeing how people gain confidence and pride in themselves through climbing has been the biggest reward.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: Failure is a temporary experience in the process of achieving my goals.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: Having climbed for over 35 years, there have been many, many climbers that have and continue to inspire me today. In 1999, I was fortunate to hang out with the German climbing legend Kurt Albert in Patagonia. Kurt was the first person to develop red-point climbing style. He went on to establish hard alpine rock routes in remote ranges around the world. He was a visionary in terms of what the human body could accomplish and also had the mental determination to achieve any goal he set.

 

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Wind River Range of Wyoming. I lived in Wyoming for 12 years and really enjoy the high quality granite, solitude and unlimited new route potential found there.

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Innovative product design, environmental friendly materials, wide width options for my hobbit-like feet and a company run by great people.

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Coffee (it’s a meal, right? 🙂 and dark chocolate. I am currently eating a low carb high protein/fat diet and participating in intermittent fasting. I have been fortunate to be born with a high metabolism, but at 53 years young maintaining a healthy climbing weight is an important element in my climbing training program.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Raccoon

 

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

David Anderson

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Climbing/Bouldering gyms can be crowded and noisy and user rarely have to think about the indoor “environment” as the gym has rules for safety and behavior. Outside climbing can have a much more diverse group of users in terms of skill level, experience, behaviors and values. While there are few mean spirited people in the world, I believe most folks (especially climbers) are good hearted. That being said, I think most problems at the crag stem from people not even realizing their behavior is bothering other users. If you are a dog person, or love to listen to music while you climb it might not cross your might that some people are very fearful of dogs or are distracted by music of any kind. The key is anticipating the impact of your actions and having open communications with the climbers you are sharing the rock with. In addition, mentoring new climbers in the reasons behind LNT is a responsibility that all climbers have in protecting our climbing resources

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: I think there is value in taking a break from you project and trying something else. Early in my climbing career, I spent a lot of time projecting Killer 12.c, a long power endurance climb in Sinks Canyon, WY. I could easily do all the moves, but couldn’t link it all together. I was convinced I needed more endurance, so I did many unsuccessful burns on the route. Eventually, I took a break and spent some time working another route at the cliff, Addiction. Addiction was also 12.c, but a much shorter more bouldery route. After spending some red-pointing Addiction, I got back on Killer and sent it first go. Turns out I actually needed more power/endurance.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: First, I determine if the fear is because something is actually physically dangerous. Once I know a fall is safe, then it is just a matter letting go of my personal or other peoples expectations and focus completely on the individual moves of the climb, really put weight on the foothold, tension my core, committing to the lunge etc…

Altura by Butora Rock Climbing Shoes

Ambassador Spotlight | Elan Jonas McRae

Elan Jonas McRae Butora Athlete Ambassador

Hometown: Nanaimo

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Crimpy and steep

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: Finishing 12th in the World Cup in Arco Italy. A lot of things that needed to come together did on the semifinal route. I have always had headspace issues and although I’ve finished higher than 12th (the World Cup in wujiang 2014) I managed to climb this route with the best headspace I’ve ever had. Outside of climbing I’m not sure.. Maybe speaking good enough mandarin to get by in every situation I faced last trip to China!

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Don’t overdue it and don’t be afraid to take more rest.

Elan Jonas McRae Butora Athlete Ambassador

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: I think that I can learn from everyone. So there is nobody I wouldn’t listen to if they have some advice to offer.

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I have been resting more when my body needs it and focusing on a larger variety of moves and styles. Also I have spent some time injured with a broken hand and am still recovering. So I have had to learn to listen to my body better.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: Most of the people close to me in my life are climbers. So I don’t think they are affected by climbing but they are there because of climbing. I think we have a stronger connection because of our shared love for the sport.

Elan Jonas McRae Butora Athlete Ambassador

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I act as a role model that many younger climbers look up to. Especially in competitions. I also spend time route setting and enjoy getting to create climbs for less experienced climbers. It feels like I am sharing my knowledge with them. Finally, I have cleaned and established some boulder problems near my home on Vancouver Island that other climbers can now try.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: I have learned that failure isn’t always a bad thing. It is an opportunity to look at what went wrong and make changes. It has also taught me to try and keep emotions out of the mix as best as possible. So that I can be objective in looking at what went wrong.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: It’s hard to just pinpoint a few climbers. But I am inspired by people who try their best in the worst conditions be it scorching heat or piles of snow. Climbers that are extremely positive. And finally, I am inspired when people go and create things be it bolting routes, cleaning boulders or hiking to new areas. I would say Adam Ondra is the essence of all that.

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: That’s tougher but probably Squamish. I love the texture of the rock and the subtlety of the movement. I have never climbed somewhere else where the discovery of a tiny crystal or a 3 degree drop in temperature can make such a difference.

Elan Jonas McRae Butora Athlete Ambassador

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: The shoes are amazing! I feel confident when I place my feet especially on technical edges and smears. And the shoes are comfortable at the same time. The people behind the brand aren’t half bad either!

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Before climbing probably nothing or a banana some days. And afterwards a rich and hearty pasta will satisfy me. I prefer to eat during climbing though to keep my energy high.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Wolf

 

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

Elan Jonas McRae Butora Athlete Ambassador

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I haven’t had the opportunity to try the Narsha yet but I’m looking forward to getting a pair this year. I love the Acro so I’m sure I’ll love the Narsha!

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Wipe the mud off your feet before stepping on

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: Take some time away from it. Be ok with walking away. And then take time to train the areas holding you back. Maybe recreate the crux in the gym. You will return strong and the stress of sending will also be eliminated.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: I wouldn’t say I have overcome fear. It is always there in some form. But I’ve taught myself to handle it by trusting my ability and trusting the belayers/spotters.

Butora Acro Rock Climbing Shoes

Ambassador Spotlight | Will Kelly

Butora Ambassador Will Kelly

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Powerful

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: Climbing my first 5.13, and maintaining a 4.0 gpa

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: That the mental side of Climbing is everything.

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: My dad, because he cares deeply about climbing, has been doing it for years, and knows his stuff!

Butora Ambassador Will Kelly

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I’ve shifted from a linear periodization format to a non-linear periodization format with an emphasis on any particular weakness during a four week cycle, as well as incorporating more stretching into my training.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: It has obviously caused me to surround myself with others who climb, but also, since climbing has forced me to learn more about psychology in terms of positive and negative beliefs, I try and hang out with those who stay positive.

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I love participating in the adaptive ascents clinic at my local gym, which works to help introduce climbing to those with disabilities, and I’m planning on volunteering as an assistant coach on the adaptive ascents team in the upcoming months.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: I’ve learned that failure is necessary for reaching success, and that it is the only way I can discover what my weaknesses are.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: Alex Megos, because he seems like he climbs confident and smooth no matter the situation.

Butora Ambassador Will KellyQ: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Red River Gorge, because it’s the best climbing on Earth..

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Because I appreciate their drive to innovate the climbing shoe industry, and their willingness to experiment with new things, and I think I have a little bit of that in myself

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Before: A breakfast burrito After: An Ale 8

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: A Liger, because they’re bred for their skills in magic.

 

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

 

Butora Ambassador Will KellyQ: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I’ve found that the Narsha tends to be on the stiffer side, and excels on steeper terrain that involves tiny feet, while the Acro has a little more flex, and is my go to shoe for long sport climbs or anything involving a more slopey foot.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Please bury your poop, and if you’re uncomfortable in a situation ask for help.

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: As a person who enjoys a good project sesh, sometimes you just have to measure your progress in inches, and take the occasional break.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: A lot of fears can be broken down into what you see as a risk. By fact checking and looking at the situation from a different perspective, you can identify that risk as either being a rational one or an irrational one..

Butora Acro Rock Climbing Shoes

Ambassador Spotlight | Szu-ting Yi

Szu-Ting Yi Butora Athlete Ambassador

Hometown: Taiwan

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Trad climbing, Alpine climbing

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: Several alpine first ascents; climbed 40 desert towers in a season in 2015; got a PhD in computer science at University of Pennsylvania

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Get some solid movement lessons from a climbing coach. Start bouldering as soon as possible.

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: I haven’t have a particular person in mind.

Szu-Ting Yi Butora Athlete Ambassador

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I dedicated more time on indoor bouldering and start a non-linear strength training program.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: Climbing makes me to have more friends who are progressive thinking, open minded, and inquisitive.

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I have written a couple climbing instructional books and gave classes on traditional climbing. I also have a blog sharing my climbing stories and reflections.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: I learned to dissect failures. This way a failure is not just a failure but useful information. And by looking carefully into information, I got more reliable self evaluation and can adjust my goals accordingly.

Szu-Ting Yi Butora Athlete Ambassador

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: Mostly any bad ass trad/alpine female climbers, because I am just that. and there’re not many role models out there.

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Desert Southwest. it’s simply beautiful and I like sandstone crack climbing.

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: I love crack climbing and Butora Alturas are the best crack climbing shoes I’ve ever worn.

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Home-made omelettes loaded with vegetables and cheese. Hot soup with chucks of meat.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Cats

Szu-Ting Yi Butora Athlete Ambassador

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

 

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I haven’t had any experience on Narshas.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Pack out whatever you pack in and don’t play music loudly.

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: Try something different or put it aside for a while and climb something else fun and come back later.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: Try to focus on what I was doing at the moment. Stay focused and stay present.

Altura by Butora Rock Climbing Shoes

Ambassador Spotlight | Kevin Celommi

Hometown: Coatesville ,PA

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Springy

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: Mentoring both the kids on the Philadelphia rock gym climbing team as in my inner city.

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Buy shoes that fit.

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: Coaches and close friends.

Kevin Celommi Butora Ambassador Rock Climbing Athlete

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: The past year of training has been harder than ever. Sharing workouts tips with climbers I’ve met from all over has really taken my Climbing to the next level.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: Climbing has definitely help me surround my self with people just as motivated as me and I’ve been blessed to have met so many people like this who care about me as much I care about them.

Kevin Celommi Butora Ambassador Rock Climbing Athlete

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I’m so proud to have introduced kids to Climbing and help them get psyched about It. helping to create the next generation of climbers is, to me the best way I can give back.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: The biggest things I’ve learned from failure in competition is how to get myself in the best head space. Not too stressed but not indifferent about performance.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: Solomon Barth

Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: I’ve always had a soft spot for the gunks, my parents have been climbing there since before I was born and I’ve been going since before I even started climbing.

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: I feel in love with the Acros as soon as I tried them on. The people at Butora are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and have helped me so much.

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Before: scrambled eggs and salsa
After: grilled chicken

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue in the 2001 NBA finals.

Questions from the Internet

These are questions our visitors have asked.

 

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: Acros are by far my favorite shoes I’ve ever owned, but sometimes they’re just not stiff enough to stand on those tiny edge feet on a slab or face which is where the Narshas can’t be beat.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: The biggest thing to remember is to respect the area and try your best to leave it like you found it.

Kevin Celommi Butora Ambassador Rock Climbing Athlete

Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: Sometimes it’s good to take a step back on your project. Get your self psyched on other climbs, come back refreshed.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: For me to get over a fear in Climbing I need to get more motivated than I am afraid, for example, when I started I was terrified of hights (I know ironic) and I got over it by finding a club I had so much fun doing and was so exited to end that I forget all about being afraid

Choose Ben’s Next Adventure

Ben Hanna Rock Climbing

Climbing Magazine released an article on Butora Ambassador Ben Hanna this month. The story made us think about the many aspects of climbing that Ben is involved in, and what our community is most drawn to. It talks about his incredible flashes of routes like ‘Proper Soul’ 5.14a, ‘The Racist’ 5.13b, and his redpoint of ‘Coal Train’ 5.14a, after a 30-minute pre-viewing the day before.

It also mentions his redpoint of climbs like ‘Everything is Karate’ 5.14 c/d, and the hardest climb is his home state of New Mexico, ‘Helsinki’ 5.14 d.

Also, Ben spent some time with Brad Gobright putting up the epic 10-pitch trad lineDreefee’ 5.13d in an intense intro to placing gear!

While Ben certainly gets the job done outside sending sport routes, developing trad lines, and doing his fair share of route development from North Carolina to New Mexico in sport climbing, he also makes sure he is pushing himself in competition climbing.

Last year, he participated in USA Climbing’s Inaugural Bouldering National Cup Series, both Sport and Bouldering Open National events, the World Cup in Vail, and is heading to Europe this Summer to send some sport climbs and compete in more World Cup events.

Check out his full list of comps for the past year:

Vail World Cup – 67th

Come and Send It Fest– 3rd

Tuck Fest – 2nd

USA Boulder National – 8th

Lead Revival – 4th

Southern Grit – 4th

Yank N Yard – 3rd

Portland Boulder Rally

Youth World Championships – 36th

Arco – 57th

Psicobloc – 2nd

Battle for the Fort – 2nd

Ben Hanna Rock Climbing

What part of Ben’s climbing is most impressive? What is our climbing community most drawn to—is it flashing an epic climb in the footsteps of other greats like Chris Sharma? Is it redpointing a difficult climb in short order? Is it moving outside of your comfort zone into trad climbing working with another great climber like Brad Gobright? Or maybe it’s competing on the national circuit and developing lasting relationships with climbers like Nathaniel Coleman, Kyra Condie, and Zach Galla? Perhaps it is developing and sending the hardest climb in his home state of New Mexico?

Maybe it’s the combination of all of these?

We need your help! Let us know what most interests you in the comment below or submit an idea for your own adventure. Then help us decide where to send Ben next. The person who comes up with the best idea will WIN the opportunity to join Ben and 1 additional soon-to-be-named Butora Ambassador on their next adventure!!


As mentioned, Ben is now headed to Europe to team up with Kerry Scott who is already taking down climb after climb in the Ceuse mornings before the rains chase her back into town. To keep up with these climbers and their adventures this summer, please follow and share stories from these Instagram accounts: @hanna_smash, @kerryscott123 and @gajdaphotography.

Share Your Adventure Ideas to Enter