A Friend Theory Interview: Climbing Connections

Adventure can bring you closer to people. Going for hikes, surfing, rock climbing, and camping are all things we love to enjoy with others. We’ve been hearing from you and from our Friend Theory ambassadors and one thing is clear: we are all seeking more authentic human interactions. In a world that is more connected than ever, how can we differentiate and find connections with likeminded people. Let’s use technology to bring us closer to each other.

We spoke to Laura Bero, a recent graduate of at the University of WI – Madison about her experience building friendships through climbing.

When did you start climbing?

I started climbing in high school, a bit here and there. It wasn’t until I lived in Santiago, Chile that climbing became a big sport in my life. When I returned to the states, during my senior year in college, climbing became an essential part of my daily routine.

Where do you typically climb in Madison? 

Boulders is the gym I climb at in Madison and they recently opened their new gym close to campus. It has become a home for me.

What is one of your favorite climbing stories from this year? 

This is tough because I have so many wonderful memories and stories. But, one of my favorites happened this year. I walked into one of  the first days of class with my climbing shoes strapped onto my backpack. I had plans to head to the gym after class. One of my classmates saw them, and without hesitation came up to me and asked (an obvious question given my gear), “Do you climb?”. Of course, he is a climber too. I went out on a whim and extended an invite to the gym that afternoon. He gladly said, “I’d love to”.

Andy, the stranger in my class, is now one of my most cherished friends both in and out of the climbing gym. We have spent hours working on climbing projects together and recently started heading outdoors to climb together with a groups of other climbers.

What do you love about climbing?

Climbing has provided me with a community that I didn’t even realize was possible. Now, I walk into the gym and see familiar faces who support and empower me as a climber. I can’t imagine this past year without my community at the gym, and it’s only growing.

What could make climbing better for you?

Recently, I’ve started climbing outside. It’s been a whole new outlet and way for friendships to grow. Climbing + quality time in nature + camping + hiking … what could be better? Especially as a college student, it’s been an amazing outlet for me and has allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t even know were possible. That being said, when you start to climb outside, it’s a whole new territory. We are always looking for new routes and new places to climb.

My own network doesn’t provide me with all the information I’d like to have about climbing. I’d like to use Friend Theory to use my networks of friends and friends’ friends and other climbers to find the coolest places and make the best trips happen!

Do you have any climbing trips planned for the summer?

Yes, and I am stoked. I am heading to New River Gorge this summer with a crew of friends and my sisters to camp and climb. I mostly boulder and there are some great routes I can’t wait to get after. 

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