Interview with Mountain Hardwear
When did you realize you were a “climber”?
Kyra - I’ve been climbing things all my life, from the side of my crib as a 1 year old, to trees as an elementary schooler, and even random structures in my house through the years. When I fully realized that I was a “climber” would have to be when I started prioritizing climbing over most other things in my life—instead of going to the park to play with friends, I was going to the gym to climb with the team.
What does being a “climber” mean to you?
Kyra - Being a “climber,” to me, means that I associate myself with equally crazy individuals who strive to spend their life committed to the outdoors pursuing the hardest ways to arbitrarily get on top of rocks, loving every minute of it.
Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Kyra - I didn’t start climbing until I was 11, so the idea of becoming a professional climber wasn’t even close to my mind when I was 10 years old. Instead, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I’m now 22 and just finished my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in the pre-veterinary track! It’s crazy to me that I was able to identify way back then what I would want to do for the rest of my life, it’s now just slightly amended to include professional rock climber as well as veterinarian (though I still need to get in to vet school!).
What are some challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
Kyra - When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with severe idiopathic scoliosis and was told by my family practitioner that I’d need to meet with surgeons to schedule a spinal fusion surgery. Having 10 vertebrae fused at such a young age and at the very beginning of my rock climbing career could have been a huge setback, but instead it made me more motivated than ever to become the best climber I could be. Ever since then, I’ve never, even for a second, doubted my love of climbing. Now, 8 years later, it’s still one of the biggest challenges that I have to overcome in my climbing because that entire portion of my spine doesn’t bend or twist at all, making some moves much more difficult for me, if not impossible. It’s definitely the thing I’m most proud of in my climbing—getting to where I am today while having to deal with that!
What does your training regimen look like when you’re getting ready for something big?
Kyra - Over the years, I’ve cultivated a training regime that works really well for me to prepare for indoor and outdoor climbing. I like to include a variety of things into my training, but in order to improve, the most important thing is to be enjoying what I’m doing. Luckily, there are a few workouts that I have a lot of fun with. I try to include two days of using a hangboard per week, 2 days of campusing per week, and 6 days of climbing per week. This way I have 2 days in the week that are dedicated to strictly climbing, and 4 days that include climbing-specific workouts on top of just plain climbing! I tend to use this training plan all year round, because I have so many goals stretched out over the year that there’s always something big to be training for!
What is your diet like?
Kyra - The only unusual thing about my diet is that I’ve been a strict vegetarian since I was 8 years old!
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Kyra - Some of my proudest achievements in climbing and life include, winning Youth Bouldering Nationals just a year and a half after my back surgery, making my first ever (and then second ever) World Cup finals in bouldering during the 2018 season, and graduating college while balancing a full-time training schedule.
What would be your personal motto?
Kyra - “You suck try harder” is an inside joke and “motivational” quote we have spray painted across the gym that I helped build! I try to live by it in my training (but I use it in a more positive way than it sounds).
Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Kyra - My other skills besides rock climbing include jigsaw puzzles, guitar hero, and whistling.
What are you really bad at that you’d love to be great at?
Kyra - Heel hooks!! Such an important move in competition and outdoor climbing yet I’ve always been terrible at them, I’ve been working on improving them for years but still have a long way to go.
When has an MHW product helped you the most? And which product was it?
Kyra - I would have to say that the Stretch Down has helped me the most over the years, specifically during the brutal Minnesota winters where I had to walk outside between my classes!