We all want to feel alive. We want to feel connected with ourselves and the world around us and to find that quiet space in our minds where we can both focus and relax.
We all find this in different places.
For Corey, a marketing project manager at Redmond Life, that place is rock climbing.
Where It All Began
Corey grew up near the mountains and was often outside camping, hiking, backpacking, and skiing. Some of his favorite trips were going to Zion National Park with his uncle to rappel and hike the slot canyons.
“With so much time in the mountains using ropes, rock climbing was just the natural progression of that,” Corey says.
While Corey’s brothers climbed a bit, Corey didn’t really get into climbing until he met his friend Zak on a canyoneering trip. “Turns out, he was kind of a guru for climbing,” Corey says. Zak became Corey’s mentor and literally showed him the ropes of rock climbing.
Corey immediately made a personal rule for himself: “I decided that whenever Zak would ask me to go do something, I’d say yes.” So for about three years, he went on lots of trips with Zak and built his skills and experience in climbing as well as skiing, rafting, canyoneering, and all kinds of outdoor adventures.
In addition to Zak’s guidance, Corey learned a lot through self-study, AKA getting out there and doing it. “It’s very technical once you get out of the gym and onto the rock,” Corey says. “There are bigger adventure lines and a lot more involved.”
Climbing for Body, Heart, Mind, and Spirit
At Redmond Inc. (our parent company), the overall mission is to elevate the human experience in body, heart, mind, and spirit. Climbing definitely does that for Corey!
Corey loves getting outside and seeing beautiful places, and he also loves the technical side of climbing.
“It’s a lot of managing ropes and gear as you ascend or descend,” Corey says, “especially when you’re trad climbing and placing your own gear. There’s lots of problem-solving. There’s also the physical strain, and sense of accomplishment when you get to the top, and all the beauty you’re surrounded by. It’s nice to lose yourself in the wilderness.”
His favorite part, though, is the mental challenge of climbing. “When you’re climbing something difficult, that’s all you do. That’s it. All your focus and concentration. Something like that is really hard to come by. People practice meditation for something similar to remove stress and things that might be on their mind and just exist.”
Rock climbing can also be scary. And while a lot of people don’t like that (understandably), Corey enjoys pitting himself against nature in that way. “I think it’s healthy because it helps me recognize my own mortality,” Corey says. “Life is more fragile than we recognize. It helps me appreciate being alive. That’s what I think about when I climb. You can do everything right, but something could go wrong. Thunderstorms, rock falls. This is true with everything we do, it’s just more obvious with climbing.”
He relates this to Occhiolism, one of our core values at Redmond, which means “awareness of the smallness of your perspective that leads to a thirst for understanding.” There’s nothing like climbing a giant rock wall to remind you how small you are and that there’s so much about the world you don’t know!
A Beautiful Way of Living
One of Corey’s favorite climbing experiences was just off the Salt Lake Valley, in Little Cottonwood Canyon (one of Corey’s favorite places in the world!).
“I was climbing with my friend, Ben, who’s been my main climbing partner for years,” he begins. “We get along because our approach to climbing is similar. We both like big objectives that put us on a lot of cliff faces, with long adventure routes and lots of problem-solving. We were on a route that we’d done several times that was seven pitches (length between anchors) long, and we wanted to see how fast we could do it.”
At the top of the fifth pitch, a storm came in suddenly. It wasn’t in the forecast, but storms around here are pretty quick and you can’t do much in heavy rain anyway. We were soaked, but luckily we had a little ledge to stay mostly out of the storm. We decided to wait it out. The next thing we knew, we were looking down the canyon at Salt Lake City, and there was sun streaming out of these dark, dark clouds, shining on the city and the granite cliffs. We were five or six hundred feet off the ground, and the canyon looked amazing. It was so beautiful. We just sat there and enjoyed it.”
During the climbing season, Corey usually climbs about twice a week, and he’s in the climbing gym every day. For cross-training (and for fun) he also runs on trails, hikes, and backpacks. He lifts weights as well because it’s good for climbing, though he finds it boring. (Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.)
In some seasons he even gets out multiple times per week in different locations like Moab and Indian Creek.
He’s also gotten into ice climbing in the winter. “It’s a whole new level of climbing, and it took me a long time to get into it,” Corey says. “It’s a new medium. It’s methodical and risky, but you can mitigate a lot of the risk.”
Promoting Good Stewardship
Corey currently volunteers with Salt Lake Climbers Alliance, an organization that maintains trails and anchors on pitches and works to preserve climbing areas for future climbers, and for the sake of the land itself.
“The sport has exploded, so it’s absolutely critical that people take care of climbing resources,” Corey says. “There’s lots of demand for recreation resources, and also for industry and development. We need to be good stewards of the land, develop positive relationships with communities, and not just take take take. Unless everyone does their part to maintain and preserve, that experience won’t be the same for long.”
Sharing the Journey
Though climbing is a big part of Corey’s life, it’s not his WHOLE life.
“This is a thing I do that I love, but it’s not my identity,” Corey says. “Climbing is one part of my story.”
Part of the reason why Corey loves Redmond is that his work helps support his story.
“Redmond provides a blend of fulfilling work, and time to pursue other things I love. I’m grateful for that experience. That’s why Redmond is so unique. It’s not just the products (though I love to use Re-Lyte on the wall for hydration), it’s the culture and the people that help me advance myself and live my journey.”
Since starting at Redmond in early 2022, two other Redmond Life employees have gone rock climbing with Corey. It’s nice for him to be a mentor for someone else!
“You learn by someone teaching you, guiding you through the etiquette, and through open community, and helping you become a good steward.”
Corey is a valuable part of our Redmond Life team, and we love how he’s sharing his journey with others!