My name is Kieran Hadley and I’ve been climbing for nine years. I am 17, and my passion for climbing first started at the local YMCA in Boise, and after a year of climbing after school every day I was invited to join the Y’s competitive climbing team. In 2013 I joined the Boise Climbing Team because I needed more advanced training and coaching. Now I am almost finished with my freshman year of college in Salt Lake City; I graduated early so that I could move to Utah and devote my time to outdoor climbing. Along with climbing, I love surfing, photography, and being active in general.
Where are you now and what are you doing?
Currently I am attending the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT. I moved to Salt Lake because of the abundance of outdoor climbing as well as the wealth of training facilities and strong climbers who live there. Balancing school and my desire for climbing is difficult, and I have to be careful not to overtrain (I am currently nursing two finger injuries), but I love it here and I know I am already a far better climber because of my move.
What’s your 5 year dream?
Being a 17 year old college student has proved challenging because I feel that I didn’t get the same chance to really figure out what I wanted to do with myself after high school; all I’ve known for the majority of my life has been climbing, and facing a real career is difficult. Photography is something I’ve really found myself enjoying though, especially related to outdoor adventure sports such as climbing and surfing. My five year dream as of now would definitely involve turning my passions for traveling and climbing and photography into a career in adventure photography or filmography. Climbing wise, I hope to send a 5.14a in the nest year, and I would really like to delve into trad climbing to become more well-rounded and open up crags that I haven’t been able to climb at before.
What do you like best? Indoor or outdoor climbing?
Definitely outdoor climbing–competitions are cool, but being outside while pushing yourself to your limit is an experience on a completely different level. Being able to look at a naturally formed piece of stone and climb it on your own power is really cool.
Trad, bouldering, or sport?
Right now I love sport climbing because I really enjoy the feeling of commitment and perseverance required to send a hard sport route. Bouldering can be fun too, although I usually just use it as training for sport. And I’ve been really drawn to trad recently, but need someone to show me how it’s done.
What’s your most memorable ascent?
Last year I was fortunate enough to spend a month climbing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico, where I worked a climb called Nemo for two weeks before sending. Every type of climbing could be found on this route–dynamic, powerful deadpoints, as well as techy, balancy moves. Climbing the route took a lot of focus and when it all came together, I felt this sense of extreme flow, where I just seemed to float up the rock; every foot placed exactly where it needed to go, every deadpoint executed perfectly. I was really proud of that feeling.
What was your favorite competition moment?
One of my favorite competition memories is from my second climbing competition ever, in 2009, one year after I started climbing. I was in Bozeman, MT, and after climbing my hardest all day it was time for the awards ceremony. I had no idea how I had performed, so I got gradually more excited as they called out name after name until finally they called mine for second place. That feeling of excitement was what hooked me on competitive climbing.
What was the hardest moment for you as an athlete?
As an athlete, for every success there are at least three times as many mistakes. I’ve had a lot of hard moments throughout the years, some of the worst have come as a result of falling early in competitions, which has happened more times than I’d like to admit. It’s also really hard to leave a project after putting in a lot of effort into it–I had to leave a project in Nevada after working it for three weeks straight last year, which was heartbreaking.
Social Media links
Instagram: @Kieran Hadley