Garrett is one of our presenters for this year's Story Swap. Originally from Michigan, Garrett grew up playing in the woods and building snowboarding jumps in the yard. When he moved to Philly for his Postdoc at University of Pennsylvania, a friend introduced him to gym climbing and he was hooked. Garrett’s story, From Gumby to Butt Face, is about his one-year journey that started with seeing The Chief out of a car window, and his determination to return with the skills he needed to climb it.
How did you get introduced to climbing/ when did you start getting really into it?:
I started climbing about 3 years ago, shortly after moving to philly. A co-worker took me to Go Vertical and I was hooked. I immediately got some gear and a membership and started going 3-4 times per week, learned to lead climb, started sport climbing outside, and the last two summers have been psyched on trad climbing in the Gunks.
What will you be talking about at this year's Story Swap?
I will be discussing a trip to Squamish in May of 2018, in which Kate and I climbed the Chief via the Butt Face route (5.9) The coolest part of this experience was the process and how much progress we made in a year. At the time of the Live Your Dream grant proposal, neither of us led trad so Kate bought a rack, we hired a guide and learned. We became independent, climbing in the Gunks nearly every weekend and did some bigger objectives, including Moby Grape on Cannon Cliff, the Diagonal on Wallface, and climbing Chapel pond slab in the Adirondacks. When we went to Squamish, we were prepared and confident that we could complete our goal and we followed through with it, having an amazing experience, learning a lot, and staying safe.
Now that you’ve conquered the Chief, what’s next?
The most important goal for this year is when I think I hear a bear outside my tent, I want to successfully convince myself that it’s a chipmunk and go back to sleep. My next big goal is to climb offwidth routes in Vedauwoo Wyoming. I want to learn how to get inverted!Other than that, snowboarding is my other passion, and I’m really interested in doing more backcountry riding this winter.