Jonathan Siegrist: in search of the next climbing challenge

WE TALK to Jonathan Siegrist about his love of climbing and some of his greatest achievements in the sport.

Jonanthan Siegrist

Jonanthan Siegrist is a climber who has always had a passion for mountains and adventure.


ENCOURAGED by his father from a young age to explore and climb it wasn’t until Jonathan Siegrist was 18 that he fell in love with rock climbing after trying bouldering as a form of cross training for downhill mountain bike racing. Since then he has had successes that some of the word’s most experienced climbers would be proud of and currently lives a life on the road constantly in search of the next climbing challenge.


In our interview with Jonathan he talked about what it is about climbing that makes him tick as well as some of his biggest achievements in the sport. Read on to find out more about where the sport takes him as well as his passion to share his life and adventures with others through writing.


To find out more about Jonathan and to follow his blog visit www.jstarinorbit.com.


When did you first start climbing and who inspired you to take up the sport?


I climbed throughout my youth with my father – mostly long easy traditional routes and adventure type climbing. I didn’t begin my personal journey with climbing until I was 18. At the time I was racing mountain bikes and tried out bouldering as a form of cross training for my riding. I got super hooked and climbing thus took over my life!


What is it about mountains and climbing them that makes you tick?


Well I love the challenge of climbing and the self discovery involved, but in the end it’s the places and people that it takes me to that I’m most grateful for. The process of setting goals and working hard both mentally and physically to achieve them is really what drives my climbing. But it’s the travelling and community that is the real benefit – these produce my happiest moments, less than the climbing itself.


Tell us about some of your biggest climbing achievements and do you have any challenges or climbs you’re currently working towards?


The achievements that have the most meaning to me are mostly first ascents like ‘La Lune’ 14d in Arrow Canyon and ‘Spectrum’ 14+ at the Promised Land or ’24 Karats’ 14c in Kentucky for instance. I still think that ‘Enter the Dragon’ 14a, traditional, at the Fins in Idaho is one of my proudest and most beautiful contributions. Certainly climbing 5.15 for the first time last year was a huge personal breakthrough as well but I don’t feel it really added much to the climbing world and therefore feels less important.


Jonathan Siegrist

Jonathan lives a life of travel and climbing and currently has no fixed address.


When did you decide to hit the road and stay travelling and climbing all year round?


In 2009 I finished my undergraduate degree and hit the road climbing in-between stints of working as a route setter at the Boulder Rock Club in Boulder. For a year and a half I continued to pay rent but also tried to be in my truck somewhere across the country climbing as much as possible. It became evident that I could not afford to live this way and dropping the burden of paying rent in 2011 was hugely important to my pursuit of climbing. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


Where has this taken you and what have been some of the highlights to date?


All across the US, with many months spent in Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Kentucky and New England – and everywhere in-between. I’ve climbed across Asia and Europe. This year I spent half of my time in Spain and the other half in Colorado, Nevada and Idaho. The highlights are in everyday things – waking up and feeling like I have the freedom to move as the weather and my motivation changes. Meeting people and seeing this incredible planet.


Tell us more about www.jstarinorbit.com. How important is it to you to connect with like-minded people over the internet and social media?


Yea I have a website that is somewhat antiquated with the appearance of Instagram and Facebook but I like to write and my website gives me the opportunity to tell a little more of a story which I like. Honestly it’s all of the positive feedback that I get from people about my site that keeps me writing there – albeit much less frequently than before. I love sharing my experience with others because throughout my life and still today I draw a lot of motivation and inspiration from other peoples stories. It brings us all together closer as a big family and I like that.


Which other climber are you most inspired by and which of their qualities do you admire the most?


Tommy Caldwell has always been a huge inspiration and more recently a good friend. I most admire his propensity for suffering and truly trying 100 per cent. I know so many climbers who are so incredibly strong that never harness the ability to try their hardest. Tommy is the ultimate representation of this and it’s truly inspiring because it’s a skill that anyone can develop. Not to mention he is just a rad person and his life of accomplishments is unparalleled.


Limitless Pursuits

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