Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
What is the most unpleasant job you’ve ever worked to sustain a climbing lifestyle?
I’ve done some weird stuff for money. I used to make bat houses for this crazy guy. I shoveled manure out of horse stalls. I sanded plastic climbing holds. My first job as a kid was working at Fosters Freeze. I huffed all the nitrous out of a couple cases of whipped cream, and I was subsequently fired.
Landscaping for condo complexes in winter in the Seattle area. It was always cold, wet, and depressing.
Killing crabs up in Northern California. Not very fun! I was sad for the crabs and worried I might lose a finger.
I planted trees in northern B.C. when I was maybe 19. It’s a classic Canadian summer job. I came back to Squamish with this gnarly overuse injury in my wrist. I couldn’t open the door to my car when I got back.
Easily hanging Christmas Lights. It isn’t that terrible of a job, but when you do it for 45 days straight, it is absolutely awful.
I’ve washed dishes, waited tables, done construction jobs, worked in a print house, done mindless computer work, been a route setter, literally anything I could do to make enough money to climb or save up enough to quit and climb. Other than the job I have now, all the others have been unpleasant because they took away from climb time.
Every November and December, I help my husband pack eating grapes during the grape harvest in Namibia—we work 16-hour days, six days a week. But it’s a good balance to climbing because it’s super high stress and your brain is on fire for two months, then we get to go back to climbing.
When I was spending the summers at Applebee Dome in the Bugaboos of B.C., Will Stanhope and I would have to change the poop barrels whenever they needed. That was literally a pretty “shitty” job.
Read more Conversations with Climbers.