Local Crusher Spotlight: Shanon Levin

The Local Crusher Spotlight features interviews with members of our climbing community. Want to nominate a climber or have a rad story you want to share? Email us at philychapter@americanalpineclub.org

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How did you get into climbing/hiking/mountaineering/the outdoors?
I wasn't exposed to outdoor activities as a kid. I had no idea what rock climbing was until a colleague told me about a gym he went to for climbing. I grabbed some friends and we went to the gym to check it out. I was hooked instantly. I then convinced the President of my law firm (yep, that's right, lawyers!) to host a climbing party. I've been climbing ever since. As for hiking, my friend and I started hiking with his sister. I was pretty much right off the couch. I don't even think I owned sneakers, let alone hiking boots! 

What is your most memorable adventure?
It's hard to think of an adventure that wasn't memorable in some way -- epic, rad, beautiful, funny, disastrous -- all memorable! I recently trekked around Ausangate Mountain in Peru with a stop at Rainbow Mountain.  It was an amazing! High mountain passes (almost 17,000 ft), glacial lakes, and herds of alpacas, In Squamish last year, we rappelled into the base of a climb called Star Check where a rushing river meets the cliff -- hard to beat those views!  In Red Rocks, after a day 1 fail trying to find the climb, we went back and climbed Tunnel Vision. Each pitch is different, including a chimney pitch and a pitch through a tunnel by headlamp. We hiked and down climbed back to the base in the dark after somehow missing the rap station. As far as memorable goes, it's difficult to forget ice climbing on Cascade Mountain and rappelling down in the dark, getting myself stuck in a tree. My first trad lead in the Gunks was scary amazing! Reaching Mt. Whitney at sunrise after 16 days of backpacking the John Muir Trail was definitely unforgettable.

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What has climbing taught you about life?
Climbing has taught me to be in the moment -- to focus on what I'm doing, work my way through challenges, and enjoy the adventure and time with friends. It's a way to recharge and put life's minor problems into perspective. The outdoors brings peace, freedom and fun.

What keeps you motivated and inspired?
Visiting new places! High up on a mountain, hanging on a rock face, or deep in the backcountry, adventuring takes you to amazing places you can't see from a car.