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The Power of Teamwork: The Story of an Uncharacteristic Climbing Team

Mad Rock athletes join the team for the products and stay for the spirit.

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“You just need to jump!” French World Cup climber Mickael Mawem yelled as he launched himself between two wildly linked holds on Handicapps (V9) in Lower Chaos of Lake Haiyaha in Colorado. Led by Matt Fultz, Mad Rock’s diverse climbing team was getting after it for the day in a post-Vail World Cup team bonding trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Mad Rock attracts top talent with their shoes and retains them by fostering team spirit. The athletes thrive on bonding opportunities like the trip to Rocky. Jesse Grupper, who’s been with the brand for over 10 years, was only able to stay for one day arriving to the site in the evening. “At first, it seemed like no one wanted to climb because they had done a morning session. However, understanding my situation, a few team members rallied for a night session with me. I could tell they were tired, but they brought the psych, in addition to a lot of lights.” Jesse continues, “the adventure was full of laughs and plenty of sends, and I couldn’t have asked for more support.”

Despite the fact that the members come from all over the world and some of them don’t know each other well, the athletes describe the team as a family. They spent time over the trip watching climbing videos, laughing, and cooking. “We may be distant geographically, but we couldn’t be closer as people,” Jesse elaborates.

When asked why she joined the team, German climber Jule Wurm shared that there were two reasons, “First I liked their shoes, which was obviously important for me as a professional climber.” She loves the Lotus most for the softness that provides friction on big volumes, and that they aren’t too soft for small edges. The second reason she joined was the team.

Mad Rock athletes love to be sponsored by a brand whose products help them reach their potential. The Shark 2.0 is a common go-to for many because of its versatility and the little extra rubber on the heel. “Great for all wall angles and [has] the best heels ever!” raves Zach Galla, the team’s resident 18-year-old. The team members feel lucky they get to work with a brand that values their professional opinion and takes athlete feedback seriously when designing products. “I’ve been with MR for over ten years now, and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive team or better gear,” Jesse continues, “Mad Rock has always stood out to me because they are constantly innovating and listening to feedback. I think that’s ultimately why they’ve been so successful, and why they will continue to be one of the best brands in climbing.”

Mickael Mawem deep water solos on a boulder near Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mikael Mawem deep water solos on the 50-50 Arete Lower Chaos Canyon.

Mickael Mawem grits his teeth as he moves up an overhanging boulder section. His teammates look on.
Courtesy Mad Rock

Mikael Mawem crimps down on Outer Space (V12) near Bear Lake, RMNP.

White man in blue shirt climbs the side of a boulder with Lake Haiyaha in the background.

Tanner Bauer Autobot (V5) in front of RMNP’s Lake Haiyaha in Lower Chaos Canyon.


Jules Wurm on the Kind Traverse V11 Emerald Lake, RMNP.

Zach Gallah climbs the side of a boulder with mountains in the background.

Zach Galla cruises up to the layback flake of Autobot (V5) Lower Chaos Canyon.


Ethan Pringle on Lost in Space V12, Bear Lake, RMNP.

White man in red shirt climbs high on a boulder as his teammates watch from below.

Isamer Bilog plays head games on the towering Skyscraper (V5), Lower Chaos. Canyon


Alexey Rubtsov on Whispers of Wisdom V10, Emerald Lake, RMNP.

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