On January 2, 2011, I began my life as a climber at Planet Granite San Francisco and since then, I have had a large passion for climbing. It began with climbing three days a week then to four to six days a week, and from there, climbing became an obsession.
I wasn’t a prodigy or a pro, only a novice, but the passion that grew inside me pushed me to keep trying harder grades, eventually leading me to climbing outdoors within the first couple months of putting on my first set of rock climbing shoes. Within the first year of climbing, I ended up climbing all over the Bay Area, including Castle Rock and Indian Rock, as well as in Yosemite, Bishop, San Diego, and Malibu. I felt that California was and still is an amazing place for climbing, but I wanted to broaden my horizons and learn more and more about this sport as well as improve my technique and feeling the different kinds of rock between my fingers.
And so this is where my journey began.
Along with climbing, I have another obsession with traveling. When November 2011 came, I decided to put the two things together I was most obsessed about, climbing and traveling, and decided to turn this obsession into a life changing experience. I packed my bags and said bye to all my friends in PGSF and in California and decided to travel the world while having the mission to climb wherever and whenever my heart desired. I wanted to climb on different rock, I wanted to meet the different kinds of climbers, I wanted to experience the cultures, and I wanted to experience this world doing the things I loved to do. And this is when my dreams became reality.
I started off slow but with a bang. I started first in Bishop, where I was projecting V5’s and V6’s while climbing with one of the most elite climbers in the world, Alex Honnold. Of course, I do not hold his elite status, but watching him climb made the time worthwhile.
Following my run-in with Honnold, I moved my way to Los Angeles, where my flight was going to take off, but a few days before leaving the country, I had another chance to climb with, in my opinion, the best woman climber in the world, Sasha DiGiulian.
We met at a rock climbing shop where she premiered her video of her climbing Pure Imagination in Costa Mesa, CA. I didn’t want her autograph but I did muster up the courage to ask her if she wanted to go climbing, in which she obliged and two days later we climbed in Malibu.
After my run-ins with both climbers, I began my trip around the world, visiting over thirty countries, climbing in eight of them: Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, India, Nepal, and Turkey.
I was asked to set routes in the Philippines, a project unfinished, and climbed with people from all over the world. People from Dubai, Germany, Spain, France, America, and so forth. Some of the weirdest, nicest, most unique individuals I have met made our time on and off the rock memorable in many ways.
And no climbing trip to Southeast Asia is complete without climbing at the most infamous spot, Tonsai, Krabi, Thailand, the climbing capital of the world. The majority, if not all the people in Tonsai, are climbers and everyone spends almost their whole day climbing on the surrounding limestone cliffs. I even ran into PG climbers while I spent several weeks there! I even helped a friend finish his project of setting the first BASE jump off Tiger Wall.
Other than climbing in Thailand, there is climbing in Laos, in Vang Vien and Thakek, as well as in Vietnam, in Cat Ba off the northern coast. I tried my luck at deep water soloing here as well and took a big fall from 20 meters. I was fine, but would never try a jump from that high again. It hurt.
As my travels were moving west, I found myself in India and Nepal, where I had the chance to meet the Indian Rock Climbing Team as well as one of eleven of the French Alpinist team. These men were amazing climbers and very hospitable and generous. I climbed in Manali with the rock climbing team where they took us to boulders and lead walls which ranged from very easy to very hard routes. A friend and I also decided to take a trip together through Shimla and to Leh to climb in not so known areas of India and got to experience the beautiful scenery around the Himalayas.
Eventually, I had to leave India, and decided to move on to Nepal. When I got to Nepal, I had to put away my rock climbing shoes, but put on my mountaineering shoes, where I trekked up the Annapurna Circuit, which goes around the Annapurna mountain range, and had the opportunity to see Mt. Everest, climbing up to Everest Base Camp.
As I finished traveling, through Asia, I went through Africa and then up to Turkey where I finished my last climb of my trip.
Over these last two years, I have met a lot of amazing people, climbers and non-climbers, and even inspired others to climb, teaching a few people who have never climbed before along the way, and see the world.
Climbing has opened my eyes to many opportunities and gave me many experiences I will never forget and will cherish for a lifetime. I am happy I broke the void of mundane life and I am glad that climbing was a part of breaking that void.
P.S. The only piece of clothing that has survived throughout the last two years was my PG sweatshirt. Hah.
A little note about Bryan: There were a few things I missed from these last two years and that was the craziness of San Francisco and the option to climb on a regular basis, but most of all I missed my friends. Ironic thing is I opened a fortune cookie and it said “Friends long absent are coming back to you” although I think I’m going back to them. So I can’t wait to climb again in my home climbing gym with the people that helped me get to where I am today.