September Member of the Month – Aki Soyode-Johnson

September Member of the Month - Aki

What is it about climbing or yoga that you love the most?
Besides the obvious physical challenge and sense of fulfillment that climbing gives, Id have to say that what I love most about climbing are the people of the climbing community. I love experiencing the world through the eyes of a climber; it has allowed me to meet some of the most genuinely awesome people and experience some great friendships.

How did you find your way to Mesa Rim?
I used to be into parkour and long story short, after I got injured I wandered into Solid Rock Gym thinking climbing would be a similar feel to parkour but was pleasantly incorrect. After climbing there for a while I heard rumors of a new gym with bigger and better facilities. As soon as Mesa Rim opened I switched gyms and have been a member ever since.

How much is climbing or yoga a part of your life?

Climbing for me is a borderline addiction #ClimbOrDie.

What are 3 things you love to do besides climbing or yoga?

Gymnastic movement, sailing, traveling around the world…

What are 3 words you think that best describe your personality?

Uhh I suck at this type of question.

If you had a theme song what would it be?
“Pick up the pieces” by Average White Band – check it out and try not to strut.

If you could have dinner with a famous/historical person, who would it be?

Either Scarlett Johansson or Bruce Lee (because he was the pinnacle of martial arts and philosophy and these are two things I love).

What is your spirit animal?
No Idea.

If you could only smell one thing for an entire day. What would you choose?
Freshly baked brioche.

City of Rocks • The Spire by Nick Burnett

The only things that matter are your breath, balance, and movement; muscles taught, hands sweaty stealing at chalk, the wind strong, abrading the skin.  Again, your breath, fighting to control it as if the more controlled the breathing, the more controlled the body and mind.  The more control, the bigger the foot chips become, the less strained your muscles become.  Then movement controlled, calculated, reaching high, turning your head away to look down toward the ground in an effort to maximize the reach, and the ground…a long way down.  Grasping for the crimp you think is there, contact, then the cold, biting friction of the melting granite.

This is why we are here. The wind blew hot and fast away from the storm as if fleeing.  We had passed through the quaint farm towns, consisting of a few houses and a post office, or something official like that.  Country music twanging slowly in the background…when in Idaho!  The air then grew cooler and it became damp, and in the distance there were dark storm clouds and dark streaks fell from the clouds, the sun, setting now, caught the clouds in flame.  We drove slowly, but finally made our way over a cattle grate and onto to a wet dirt road.

The City of Salt Lake
I woke to ringing bells, gaudy in their abrupt tone. I had arrived in Salt Lake City a few days prior, and wasn’t expecting to go to the City Of Rocks, but I was psyched when I found out. While in Salt Lake I was able to work with some friends on an organic farm which employs mostly high schools students to run it. My friends Hannah and Nico run the farming site and are essentially farming coaches and mentors to the high school aged student workers.  They organize the students into a teams, and each team focuses on different farm tasks, but sometimes they all come together for the bigger tasks.  It was such a great experience and the farm had such a good energy to it, partially just seeing my friends doing something meaningful, and then being able to get to know some of the kids who were working there. It was cool to see both my friends and the students working together on something that they are passionate about. The day’s farming finished early enough to give us time to go out to one of the numerous canyons that line Salt Lake City to climb!

The City of Rocks
As we drove along the wet dirt road it continued to rain, in a gentle way, like the storm had lost its will to fight, and you got the feeling it wouldn’t last much longer.  We bumbled around looking for a campsite in the dark, most were already taken, but eventually we found one. We made dinner, scoped some lines on a nearby damp boulder, and then it was time for bed.  I took shelter under the wooden camp table provided in the campsite.

Talk about luxury!  I grabbed my sleeping bag the borrowed sleeping pad, and nestled into my temporary refuge, nodding off to sleep to the sound of soft, tapping rain.  My butt is cold, was my next thought.  My pad was flat.  Great.  It was raining harder now; apparently I had misjudged the storm’s determination. Additionally, there was a hole in the borrowed sleeping pad…I emerged, beast-like and wet, from my lair, grunting and cursing.  The only viable solution was the truck: I ended up stacking up the climbing gear and backpacks up in the cab of the Tacoma, and then laid my pad over the pile and went into a deep hibernation. The morning had a crisp, fall feeling, even though it was mid-summer and the world seemed clean and refreshed.  I didn’t feel clean or refreshed; the picnic table debacle had left me muddy, and sleeping on climbing gear had left me feeling a bit creaky, but its all part of the experience, “C’est la vie”.

We gathered our gear.  Nico and I were traditionally boulderers, and in the past the thought of using a rope would make us cringe.  In our youthful climber ignorance, we had never dabbled much in the rope business. Bouldering initially drew us in by its rawness. It’s you, some chalk, shoes and a rock.  Getting to the top is up to you.  I loved that about bouldering initially, and I still do.  Additionally, we’d both claim to be experienced climbers, after 7 years of climbing even boulders will find themselves on a rope or two, but we’d never bothered to do any type of multi-pitch climbing.


It seemed we were always pushing our limits on boulders and some stout sport routes, and for a long time those things had taken up the majority of my climbing experience.  So we did a little research. We started out, our field research beginning with Steinfell’s Dome. It’s the most prominent peak seen from the City Of Rocks: seven pitches of pretty cruiser, sloppy slab climbing, then one pitch of 5.8, where you climb and stem up a quartz spine. As I made my way up the spine, I began to hear a slight pshhhhhhh-ing sound. “What the hell is that?” Nico and I asked at the same time, “snake?”

I asked. Then the unmistakable smell. Beer! While Nico had been belaying he had managed to puncture one of the cans of beer and it was now hissing in this bag. We scrambled to get the beer out and drank it at the top of the 6th pitch.  Once atop the Dome, research demanded that we crack some more beers and take in the view: grey granite seemed to sprout from the ground here, and as far as I could see; the farms outside the city patterned the landscape with green patches of corn, mingled with the brown of the wheat fields, with the hard, grey rock formations splattered through the whole scene.  It was a romantic painting. Adding to the painting were the storm clouds swirling to the north.  After being hit by two squalls, we decided to head down.


We climbed as much as we could over the next few days: mostly sport routes, although I was able to jump on a boulder.  It was the hottest day thus far, relief only came when the breeze picked up, or in the sparse shade. Nico and I had planned to do the morning glory spire later that day.  Going at about 250 feet of sustained 5.10 climbing we were pretty psyched, to say the least. But before we did that we decided to go hang out and watch some friends climb. Our friends Danny, Reggie, and Lisa were leading a 5.9 and had gotten stuck about 3 bolts up, so I offered to run up and set a top rope, but Lisa was pretty confident she could do it.  She hadn’t led in over a year, and again I offered to climb it, but she insisted. She made her way up past the first 3 bolts; the point at which the others had been stopped.  I had walked back a bit from the wall to catch some shade, and when I turned around I cringed.

Lisa had made here way into the crux, but where the rope was placed caused me concern. It was taut across her lower legs, but she had already committed to the move. I yelled up, told her to watch the rope behind her legs but it was too late: she was committed and there wasn’t much that could be done.  Her foot slipped, and she slid down the slab, then the rope caught her legs, flipped her over and backward into the rock.  Luckily, she was smart enough to have put on a helmet, and that helmet smacked into the rock.  Nico and I ran back, expecting the worst, but thankfully she was okay and just had a scratch, and mild whiplash.


Nico and I glanced at each other with raised eye brows: this definitely gave us pause. We were experienced climbers, but the sport is inherently very dangerous, and I, at least, had to kind of talk myself through it: why it had happened to her and why that wouldn’t happen to me. Earlier in the trip Nico had asked if he needed a helmet, and I had responded, “you don’t need one till you do.” So after talking over the situation we just witnessed with Lisa, and trying to forget her ugly fall, we turned our focus back to the Morning Glory Spire. After a quick approach to the base, flaking out the rope, and loading up on fruit snacks and water, we made our way up the ‘slabby’ first pitch.  Helmets strapped tight to our skulls. Nico took the first technical pitch. After I followed him up I gathered my mind to focus on the next 5.10d pitch. And although I had tried to put Lisa’s fall from my mind it kept wandering back into it.

There is such a duality to climbing, and I always knew it was there.  It has come more into focus recently.  After putting so much passion into climbing it has morphed into so many different things for me. Take a boulder. A boulder is a boulder to the average person. Not much significance in the big scheme of things but, to some, that boulder is so much more.  For me, at least, there is a draw to interact with that boulder. Some might say to conquer it, as if the boulder is an opponent…which it actually does feel like most of the time. But there’s also the whole aspect of respect. I use strong language to insult boulders… all the time… and I get creative.  Mostly because that boulder is just sitting there smirking like, “Yeah, try me Bro, whatcha got?” But really there is a respect, no matter how much grief is given either way.


There’s that draw to interact with this boulder for the most minute blip of time. When I climb nothing matters; bills, lost friends, rocky relationships, and politics are all suspended from my mind in that brief blip. I’m pushing my body to achieve this mental fix.  As I climb, I feel like I enter a meditative state, where my thoughts just briefly pass by and instinct, muscle memory, grit, and pure drive take over to accomplish the set goal.

In my mind, climbing may seem insane, useless or egotistical, but it is deeply spiritual.  As long as we’re still climbing then “good on us.” That’s something we can smile at, that we can stare at in awe; it’s something your parents and grandparents can shake their heads and then tell you a three hour ‘Well-back-in-my-day’ story…which you should listen to anyway because it’s probably a great story.  But what it really is, is something that causes us to grow in ways we never even considered, and most importantly allows us to cast our light out into the universe and say, “Hey, this blip right here! Yeah, this is me! How you like them apples?” And I like to think that whoever is watching just sees those moments and treats them how we treat shooting stars, that moment of magical wonder, our attention is drawn to the sky and to the stars and it humbles us. In my mind, those moments, those blips, make up the faith, the drive, or the soul inside of me.


That drive is what allowed me to move past the uncertainty I had before the second pitch on the Morning Glory Spire; it allowed me to push the image of Lisa’s fall, earlier in the day, out of my mind to focus on the moment:  to let myself move back to my breath and let my muscles become what’s in control, and to let the thoughts that enter my mind just pass by.


The Descent
We made our way up the Spire without any problems but had no beers with us this time, after taking some pictures from the top, we rapped off the spire and made our way back to the car. The drive back to Salt Lake was quick and we were in high spirits. We pushed ourselves into something new and came out of it successful. Its trips like these that really inspire me. I recently heard someone say, “climbing is for conquerors of the irrelevant.” Does something that teaches you and allows you to master your body and mind irrelevant? Perhaps it is the most important and relevant thing a person can do. So go out there, climb a rock, surf a wave, take a trip, get inspired, and see what happens.

– Nick Burnett • Mesa Rim Front Desk Team

Hunter and Parker Take Outdoor Retailer & Psicobloc!

Outdoor Retailer & Psicobloc Masters 2015 – Salt Lake City, UT by Hunter Moffitt

I had no idea what to expect as Parker and I got off the plane in Utah: neither of us had ever been to Salt Lake City, we didn’t know how to use UBER (our only form of transportation), it was our first time representing Mesa Rim at Outdoor Retailer, and our Hotel was overbooked. The psych however, stayed high!

Day 1:
With over 1,500 vendor booths and 25,000 visitors it was easy to get distracted and even easier to get lost. Aside from a few comfy looking hammocks and fancy ergonomic camping chairs Parker and I managed to stay on track and worked our way through the tents, booths, and mini-compounds within The Salt Palace. We spent most of the morning learning the floor plan, searching for the ‘climbing’ specific booths, and geo-tagging bathrooms and food stands on my phone (nature calls). Our first meeting was at the La Sportiva booth where we checked out the newest lines of approach/climbing shoes and activewear. I have always been a huge fan of La Sportiva and was excited by the chance to discuss the newest trends in shoes and finally get my hands on their ‘No-Edge’ technology (Genius/Futura). For lunch we swung by the Five Ten booth and met with our rep Kevin. Sushi was on the menu and we walked across the street to ‘Naked Fish: Japanese Bistro’ where Kevin somehow got us a table (no reservations during OR!?). Thanks to the miracle worker, we ate like kings and I left full and happy. After lunch Parker and I continued to make our rounds and stopped by several booths including Friction Labs, Petzl, 8B+ (best chalk-bags ever), So iLL, Kingdom Holds, Slackline Industries and many more. By the end of the day, nothing could keep me from the cloud like Tempur-Pedic waiting at the hotel.


Day 2:
Our second day at OR was a little less intense than the first and we were able to take some time and enjoy more of the show. After meeting with reps from Mammut, Black Diamond and Liberty Mountain Parker and I were able to check out Scarpa, Arcteryx, Organic, Evolv, Trango, PrAna and countless other booths before finally heading back to the hotel. Despite a less than stellar weather report (60-70% chance of rain and thunderstorms) we decided to make the trip to Park City for the Psicobloc Masters 2015. Showing my true San Diego colors, I neglected to bring a jacket…Let it rain! Although short lived, the Psicobloc Masters was incredible. Watching some of the strongest climbers in the world solo ~50ft above a pool in the middle of a true Utah thunderstorm was a once in a lifetime experience. The amount of support and psych for the event, despite the weather, was a clear indication of how far climbing has come. OR was a truly massive event and throughout the week we got a first hand look at exactly how large our industry has grown.


Gym to Crag:
The newest trends will soon become old news, innovative products will be developed and new companies created. The goal however, remains universal: Creating lifelong climbers through the recent boom in climbing gyms. Focus has largely shifted away from the practice of new climbers having a ‘climbing mentor’ or learning outside and towards the process of learning/climbing mainly, sometimes only, in indoor climbing gyms. The sport is growing rapidly and I believe it is our responsibility as industry professionals, and members of the climbing community, to ensure that new climbers are embraced wholly, educated properly and informed of any and all risks associated with climbing both indoors and outside.

-Hunter Moffitt – Front Desk Supervisor • Mira Mesa

August Members of the Month – Bryan Davis and Laura Muehl

Members of the Month: Bryan Davis and Laura Muehl

What is it about climbing/yoga that you love the most?
Laura: Because it makes my arms look good.
Bryan: Yes it does.


1) getting to travel around the world and have something interesting to do once you get there besides eating and looking at buildings
2) trying to solve a tricky physics problem in your head, then hopping on the wall and doing your best to not think about anything at all
3) meeting wonderful, sometimes crazy, but always inspiring people who help you to be a better climber and human being
4) Laura has informed me that 3 is enough.

How did you find your way to Mesa Rim?
We first climbed here years before we moved to San Diego, shortly after you opened. No idea how we first heard about it, but so glad we did!

How much is climbing/yoga a part of your life?
We met while climbing almost exactly 9 years ago, and it has been a significant part of our life ever since. In that time we’ve spent about 1 year, cumulatively, on climbing trips around the U.S., Australia, Mexico, Spain, and France. I don’t even want to know how much time we’ve spent in climbing gyms in the last decade, but it has definitely kept us (relatively) sane during some crazy times, most recently medical school.

What are 3 things you love to do besides climbing/yoga?
Eating ice cream (Bryan) or drinking IPAs (Laura), trail running, and swimming, though usually not all at the same time.

What’s your spirit animal?
Laura: Bottlenose dolphin
Bryan: Whatever animal David Attenborough is narrating.

If you could have dinner with a famous/historical person, who would it be?
At the risk of feeling even dumber than usual and possibly dying of laughter: Richard Feynman and Stephen Colbert

Coming Soon – Mesa CoWorking Campus

In celebration of Coworking Week 2015, Mesa Rim is excited to announce the Mesa CoWorking Campus! On September 15, 2015 the office space adjacent to the Mesa Rim Climbing Training Center will be available to rent for coworking! Part of Mesa Rim’s larger vision is to improve the quality of life of our community and we believe that the Mesa CoWorking Campus is an avenue through which we can make a positive impact. An inspiring energy is created when motivated and passionate people come together. It is our goal to facilitate that connection through the Mesa CoWorking Campus and provide an intentional workspace where local and like-minded small businesses and freelancers will thrive.

Mesa Rim is committed to fostering a healthy, collaborative, and productive work environment. Many in our community work independently but often in isolation because the overhead of leasing an office isn’t practical. The Mesa CoWorking Campus is an opportunity to bring freelancers and small business owners who value active lifestyles together to share knowledge, learn from one another, and work in an intentional and energized workspace. The Mesa CoWorking Campus will offer a variety of workspace styles and sizes and each workspace rental will include membership to Mesa Rim Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness Centers. Now you can operate your business at a collaborative office within a very short walk of your favorite place to climb, practice yoga, workout, and meet friends. Climbing before work and yoga on your lunch break? Yes, please!

Full pricing will be available by August 15th.  Interested renters are encouraged to email for information on the application process.

What IS CoWorking?

Workspace Details

Quantity Workspace Style and Size
7 Individual offices ranging from 110 – 360 sqft
8 Individual work-nooks in common area (6’ x 6’)
12 Individual open desk spaces in common area
1 Up to 2000 sqft of additional office space available for a single tenant.

* Pricing available August 15

Mesa CoWorking Campus Amenities and Highlights

• Mesa Rim Membership including full access to both Mira Mesa and Mission Valley Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness Centers
• Conference room access
• Free parking
• Printing
• Internet
• Mailbox
• Coffee and Tea
• Collaborative common areas
• Discounted access to Mesa Rim event space, team building, and corporate events
• Access to monthly Mesa CoWorking Campus social and networking events
• Access to quarterly workshops on a selected business topic


Why would I want to rent a shared space?
Watch the video above to learn more about coworking space. There are many articles that discuss the value of coworking and renting a shared space. Read why coworking will give your business a huge edge.

What do I get with my membership to Mesa CoWorking Campus?
To start, enjoy membership to Mesa Rim’s Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness Centers and an inspiring workspace! Check out the comprehensive list of amenities above.

Can I host events?
Campus Members will have access to a conference room and are invited to participate in our monthly networking events and quarterly workshops. Beyond that? Probably! Let’s chat about the details! Email:

Want more information now?

July Member of the Month – Leen Schafer


What is it about climbing that you love the most?
I love solving puzzles and climbing is essentially solving a mathematical and mechanical puzzle. It’s simultaneously physically and mentally challenging; sometimes it can be meditative when you are trying to pull a series of movement together. To me, there is no other activity that has this much to offer. I love it!

Yoga changed my life in the best way possible. Similar to climbing, yoga can be a very difficult moving meditation if you want it to be. Not only is it good for the body and soul, but it also teaches self-patience, making peace with suffering and being present in the moment. And now I cannot live without it!
I dream of being beastly.

How did you find your way to Mesa Rim?
Back in 2004, I scrambled up to the summit of Mt Washington in New Hampshire taking the Huntington Ravine trail. It was pretty gnarly. The last 1000 feet of the trail was a headwall that you ascend ropeless. I definitely encountered some technical sections and I really didn’t know about climbing back then. Hugging a ledge, I looked over and saw some climbers trad’ing up the Mechanic’s Route off the trail. In awe, I asked my partner what they were doing. I immediately knew I wanted to climb. I never really got the opportunity to integrate climbing into my life until I came to SD for grad school. I figured climbing would be a good balance to the insanity of science. I love Mesa for so many reasons – yeah the climbing and the yoga are the best, but I’ve met so many of my friends and continue to meet new people and make more friends here. The culture is fantastic. I even met my husband at Mesa back when I first started climbing regularly Christmas Eve 2012. We were the only two people in the bouldering area and the rest is history. :)

How much is climbing a part of your life?
My life: eat, sleep, science, yoga, climb, run, pump iron and repeat in varying orders. Climbing/yoga is just as important as eating and sleeping. Sometimes science happens with no sleep. If climbing and yoga isn’t in the mix then there is an excess of madness. Madness is only good in small doses, hence we have to stick to the above formula for Leen to operate at an optimal level.

What are 3 things you love to do besides climbing?
Trail running and hiking with my husband and my dog Ron Burgundy. I don’t know how to put this but he’s kind of a big deal. He’s a very important dog; people know him. No really, when we go outside to climbing areas all these people know him and not us. He force cuddles strangers but keeps it classy.

I really love eating fresh fruit off of trees and taking naps in the forest. When I’m not climbing or yoga’ing, I’m always training and trying new things to figure out how I can be buff one day. Pump – you – up!

What are 3 words you think that best describe your personality?
Tenacious, Motivated, Fervent

If you had a theme song what would it be?
“Strangeness and Charm” by Florence and the Machine

If you could have dinner with a famous/historical person, who would it be?
I don’t think that famous or historic people are really any different from regular people. By this logic, having dinner with a total stranger would be kind of weird. I guess I’d want to know that we’d have some fun and light conversation. So maybe Milla Jovovich? We can talk about multi-passes and how to kill mutant zombies.

If you could only smell one thing for an entire day. What would you choose?
I chose a smell combination: Lavender flowers growing under pine trees and wet dirt.

Mesa Rim is Coming to Reno, NV!

Mesa Rim Coming to Reno NV
We are so excited to announce that Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center will open an ultramodern indoor climbing facility in Reno, Nevada! Based in San Diego and currently operating two climbing and yoga facilities in Southern California, Mesa Rim is building a custom-designed climbing center that will feature 25,000 square feet of top-roping, lead climbing, and bouldering terrain, awe-inspiring 50 foot climbing walls, a professional yoga studio, a complete array of fitness equipment, and stylish locker rooms.

Mesa Rim Reno will cater to the area’s large climbing community as well as to outdoor enthusiasts and local athletes. Ian McIntosh, Partner and General Manager of Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center states, “We believe that climbing is more than a sport; it’s a lifestyle. Climbing and yoga can be transformative experiences — physically, mentally, socially, and beyond.” In regards to joining the Reno community he states, “We feel the Reno area is the perfect location for a modern indoor climbing facility that can serve not only as a place to climb and train, but also as a community hub for outdoor and fitness enthusiasts in the Reno-Sparks metro area.”

Mesa Rim Coming to Reno NV

Mesa Rim is proud to announce that the Reno location represents a new partnership with the owners of the Climbing Business Journal, Mike Helt and Marlowe Kulley. In addition to being founders and editors at CBJ, the first and only trade journal focused on the indoor climbing industry, Marlowe is an experienced project manager while Mike has been a leader in the climbing industry for over 20 years and has worked in countless climbing gyms across the country as a professional routesetter, instructor and consultant. Mike and Marlowe are happy to call Reno their home.

Mesa Rim values community involvement and is offering a limited number of community members the opportunity to participate in this business venture. If you would like to be a part of Mesa Rim Reno or have feedback on the project please contact Marlowe Kulley, Reno Manager, at or visit

“I Can Make That” – Castleton Tower Adventures by Quinn Miller

This blog post is about climbing Castleton Tower in Utah, more importantly that adventure is just as much about the journey as the destination.

Although our trip to Utah was four days long, this blog post is going to focus on an 8-hour section of it that occurred at the backend of the first 24 hours. These 8 hours set the tone of the trip, and quickly became a rallying point for any of our decisions.

Our trip began 7AM Sunday morning in Ferris’ Prius. The plan: Make it to the campground parking lot by 11PM, finish the approach to Castleton Tower around midnight, jug up 400 feet of fixed-lines, reach the top by 2AM, sleep, and awake to a beautiful desert sunrise atop an iconic desert tower.

After half a day of driving, having picked up our friend Kate and Ferris’ ladyfriend Bailey on the way, we arrive at the campground at 11:30PM. We meet up with Ferris’ aunt Dana and start packing any essential gear we’ll need for our ascent. Having sufficiently disturbed the sleeping climbers in the campground, we begin our approach to Castleton Tower as the clock strikes midnight.

The approach to Castleton isn’t too strenuous. Mostly gentle inclines mixed with a few sections of steep hiking and scrambling. The group morale is high, reinforced by the light of headlamps from friends currently atop Castleton Tower. We take on a leisure pace, with periodic stops to turn off our headlamps and appreciate the clear night sky. Around 1:15AM, we finish the approach and reach the base of Castleton. The light of headlamps we saw at the beginning now replaced exclusively by the light of stars above the tower.

Once at the base we begin divvying up the gear. The friend that put up the fixed-lines only left us one ascender and we have four grigris between five people. Luckily we have much less-efficient micro-traxion pulleys to cover our need of ascenders, but a grigri will still have to be lowered each time.

For those unfamiliar with jugging up fixed lines, there are various ways of doing it. According to Ferris, we did it the less efficient way. The process involved sliding an ascender up a rope (the rope was fixed on an anchor above us) and then stepping on webbing while simultaneously pulling the rope through a grigri to secure the new height. It was sort of like kick starting a motorcycle in mid-air while simultaneously doing pullups. You gain about a foot each time if you are doing it properly.

At 2AM we begin jugging up the fixed-lines one at a time. Ferris is the first to go because he has to show 3 of us how to actually do it. We all look on in amazement; Ferris’ past as a high school quarterback is clearly shown through his endurance, as he quickly ascends the first rope in around 10 minutes (far outpacing any of our future times).

As Ferris gets to the first anchor he gives us a motivating yell of, “Hey guys try not to bounce too much when you come up, the rock is sharp and the rope is rubbing against this ledge.” Our resolve bolstered by these words, we graciously offer the next turn to each other.

Well-after 3AM, Kate and Dana have begun their ascents up the second fixed-line, Bailey begins the ascent up the first, and I wait silently at the bottom having an internal debate on whether I should even bring my sleeping bag/pad with me. Once Bailey reaches the first anchor with Ferris, I decide to suffer just as much as the rest of the group and keep all the gear in my pack.

I begin the slow trudge up the fixed-line; every part of the ascending-system feels like it’s fighting the other part while these parts collectively fight my body. Any notion of not bouncing on the rope is quickly abandoned, as the need for keeping myself alive is surpassed by the need to get to the first anchor.

Upon reaching the first anchor it is nearing 4AM and talk of seeing the sunrise before sleeping is echoed throughout the group. We quickly realize that our ambitious thought of jugging up 400 feet of fixed-rope in two hours was more of an audacious thought. Regardless, we jug on.

By the time I’m fifteen-feet below the second anchor, a thin string of light is forming on the eastern horizon. Dana has begun the ascent up the final section, and Ferris, Bailey, and Kate wait to greet me. Even after being up for 21 hours, driving 800 miles, hiking a couple miles, and jugging up 275 feet of fixed-lines, we all have a collective laugh at the absurdity of the position we’re in. We quickly come to terms with the fact that we will still be witnessing a sunrise; it just won’t be after getting some sleep at the top.

Once Kate has made her way up the final line, I begin making my way up, and leave Ferris and Bailey alone at the second anchor to enjoy the romantic aspect of a desert sunrise. When I get about 30 feet up the line, my micro-traxion pulley quits gripping the rope. Not wanting to ruin the moment Ferris and Bailey were having, I keep sliding the pulley up, quickly pulling on the grigri while stepping hard on the webbing hoping that it will finally catch. I keep trying this in hopes I can get past the section of thin rope, and not interrupt Ferris and Bailey’s romantic moment, when I hear, “Hey Dad! … Yeah we’re just on the side of Castleton right now. Dana and Kate made it the top, Quinn’s right there jugging up and Bailey and I are sitting here watching the sunrise, see!” I look down to see Ferris FaceTiming his dad.

After the FaceTime ends, I lower down and switch pulleys. I jug up the final rope, followed by Bailey and then Ferris. By 7AM, the five of us are atop Castleton Tower to greet the climbers as they wake up. We all talk for an hour and enjoy the rest of the sunrise, but by 8AM (24 hours after getting into the car the morning before) our group is ready to crash. We roll out our sleeping bags, find some reasonably shaded area and pass out. Two hours later, with no more shade to speak of, we are awake and rappelling back down the tower; we’re headed towards the town of Moab where pizza and beer awaits.

Yvon Chouinard once said, “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Whether the CEO of Patagonia would deem this section of our trip as an adventure is unknown to me, but the group consensus was that things definitely didn’t go as planned. With our sleep schedule wrecked the rest of trip, we all ended up making delirious decisions involving swimming in ice-cold rivers right before thunderstorms, acro yoga at gas stations, and sleeping on the pavement 30 feet from the freeway.

– Quinn Miller • Front Desk Team Member + Coach (on the right)
Castleton Tower in Utah by Quinn Miller

Team Mesa Rim – 2015 SCS Regional Championship Results

We are pleased to announce the final results from the 2015 SCS Regional Championship held at Mesa Rim on May 9th! Over 150 competitors streamed through Isolation last weekend, waiting for their chance to get on the awesome routes the Mesa Rim setting team put up! Team Mesa Rim had 21 competitors in total and we really made our presence known!

Congratulations to all the competitors, and a big shout out to Domenic Durso, Antonio Machaz, Sydney Darensburg, Isabella Wright, Sora Haagensen, Sage Karolides, Luke Rodley, Natalie Pellette, Adam Kosviner, and Miles Rogondino who will be traveling to Millcreek, UT next month for the SCS 2015 Division 2 Championship!

 Thank you to all the parents and volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a success!

 SCS 2015 Regional Championship

Male Youth D (out of 23 climbers):

9th – Nathan Kain

13th – Noah Gardner

16th – Antonio Machaz

18th – Ryan Maluf

19th – Weston Gardner

23rd – Daven Giardina

 Female Youth D (out of 11):

9th – Alina Albert

10th – Natalie Jalaie

 Male Youth C (out of 14):

6th – Domenic Durso


Female Youth C (out of 18):

2nd – Sydney Darensburg

3rd – Isabella Wright

6th – Sora Haagensen

14th – Kylie Hall


Male Youth B (out of 22):

2nd – Sage Karolides

4th – Luke Rodley


Female Youth B (out of 14)

3th – Natalie Pellette

14th – Claire Kerofsky


Male Youth A (out of 17)

3rd – Adam Kosviner

6th – Miles Rogondino

10th  – Nik Karolides

 Female Youth A (out of 12)

10th – Ellie Fox

– Team Mesa Rim

From West to East: A Lesson in Jaywalking and Loose Itineraries by Stacy Steirnagle

“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” Pat Conroy

Nothing is more liberating and humbling than taking yourself out of your comfort zone and diving into something that may or may not be a complete disaster.  Such is the gift of travel.  At least traveling the way some people do.  I prefer not to make set plan and instead opt for a loose blueprint that may or may not include places to stay and transportation to get me there.  This past month I was fortunate enough to find myself in Cambodia and Vietnam.  To be fair, this trip was less of a blind mission because I have friends living in Vietnam that I stayed with for part of my visit.  Other than that, I flew by the seat of my pants; for the most part, this worked out amazingly.  As entertaining as it can be to hear what went wrong during a trip, I will mostly stick to the things that went very smoothly.

Although, I will say that the biggest lesson I learned in both countries is that you have to ask for the check at a restaurant or you will literally sit there all day. The servers won’t leave your side the entire time you are browsing the menu and eating but as soon as it seems like you are finished and ready to go, they are NOWHERE to be found.  Seriously, it’s comical.  In Asia it’s rude to bring the bill so you have to hunt down the check every time. I firmly believe this should be at the beginning of every guide book but I digress.

Days 1-3 and then days 12-14 took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Remnants around the country are a reminder that Cambodia was under control of the Khmer Rouge just 30 years ago, but Cambodians have such a good disposition.  The economy isn’t great (they still prefer US dollars), and poverty is quite apparent, but everyone I came in contact with was so nice and helpful.

The rest of the trip was spent in Vietnam.  First in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and then in the spectacular coastal town of Hoi An.  Ho Chi Minh was fascinating and exhausting.  The idea of walking across the city was daunting simply because it involved crossing the street.  Crosswalks do not exist and if they do they are not obeyed.  Basically, you step off the curb and start walking, hoping that the motorbikes and cars will dodge you…and they do! It’s an amazing dance that takes place between the vehicles and pedestrians.  At first I thought it was complete chaos, but if you watch closely every move thats made is very calculated. That being said, I still said a little prayer every time I stepped off the safety of the sidewalk (which isn’t always safe either as the motorbikes use it as an extra lane during rush hour.)

My favorite part of the trip was a day of climbing in Da Nang.  Just outside the town of Hoi An are The Marble Mountains; the hot spot for the newly developed sport climbing scene.  It is situated on beautiful granite and limestone cliffs, and if you venture into the mountain you will find caves with carved buddhas throughout.  It really is a magical spot.  Since the anchors are situated in a really unique spot, it isn’t open for public climbing so we found two guides through a local tour company to bring us into the area.  The routes we climbed on were newly bolted and they ranged from 5.4s to 10a/b. The area where we climbed wasn’t particularly challenging, but we were there to have fun, scramble around, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It was perfect.

All in all, this trip was everything I could have hoped for.  As much as I adore traveling, I came home with a newfound appreciation for the digital walking man on stoplights and the option of some form of bread for breakfast.

Until we meet again, Asia!

– Stacy Steirnagle • Mesa Rim Front Desk