Member Spotlight: Garrett & Valentina

Member Spotlight: Garrett & Valentina

  • Posted by kaleigh
  • On November 29, 2017
  • Comments

One of these climbers is a traveling nurse. The other, in school for nursing while she practices massage therapy. However, that common thread isn’t what brought the adventurer from Chile and desert dweller from Utah together as climbing partners (and we suspect more than that).

Valentina and Garrett met through climbing. Climbing with someone new can be a nerve-racking experience. You start to wonder, can I trust this person? Will they give a good spot? Or are they a competent belayer that will catch my fall? Thankfully, this wasn't an issue for Valentina. She describes her first trip with Garrett as a breeze—she immediately was at ease and felt safe. They became quick friends and started climbing with each other often.

Garrett tried bouldering for the first time 6 years ago and it instantly clicked for him. The short explosions of powerful moves and the social aspect of bouldering was everything he was looking for. He found some dope climbing friends (The Front’s Dan Ruch being one of them) and a year-round sport he had a passion for.

Valentina’s passion for climbing began on the oceanside in Chile—an unreal place to start a climbing career! When Valentina was visiting a friend in Utah for the first time, she discovered she loved our weather and loved that our mountains reminded her of home. Valentina has traveled around the world, climbed in Laos, and backpacked through Southeast Asia... so we feel pretty flattered that she loved Utah enough to “move in.”

Like the rest of the world, we're experiencing some odd weather in Utah. (We’re all doomed!) But, in the meantime, the narrow window of good climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon got a little less narrow. The rock here feels almost frictionless in warm weather—many problems will feel impossible at 70 degrees but go down casually when it’s 45. Thus, LCC is a popular spot as winter creeps in.

Garrett and Valentina served us coffee and breakfast burritos (see left) out of their adventure van that were 1. delicious and 2. speckled with desert sand from Joe’s Valley (Garrett’s favorite bouldering spot). It was the best way to start a morning of climbing. Thanks again you two.

After breakfast, we headed out to climb. Our group crossed the river on the way to the Blunder boulder in White Pine South. LCC is great for groups with mixed skill levels, but it’s a lot different than climbing at the gym or Joe’s Valley. The Blunder boulder has two problems. The problem on the west side of the boulder is called Blunder and is a V3, but to be honest the grades are stiff in LCC. If you’re coming from the gym it’s best to check your ego at the parking lot and just have fun. Plus, there aren’t a lot of good footholds prepared to smear smear smear! Not to mention you’re grabbing onto crystal (quartz monzonite) so bring plenty of chalk and crash pads. On the north side of the boulder, you’ll find a problem called Prowler, which is a solid overhanging V7 with a jump start.

We spent the morning and afternoon in the canyon checking out a few other boulders before we parted ways. Days like these are reminders of why we all got into climbing; we pushed ourselves, had victories and defeats, were reminded to value patience, and it brought us together as friends! Thanks again to Garrett and Valentina for joining us. Everyone at The Front appreciates having you in our community! You two are gems.

Photo Journal

Photos by Marcus MacDonald