March 22, 2021 3 min read
I'm Alan Nguyen, 29, and my pronouns are He/Him. I'm a Vietnamese-American, born and raised in Houston, Texas.
How did you start climbing?
Wow… it’s been a whole decade since I first entered a rock climbing gym. The summer before my freshman year of college, I went on this medical forum trip in CA and stayed with my cousin who’s a rock climber there. He took me to a gym called Berkeley Ironworks. I fell in love with the problem solving aspect and adrenaline rush. I came back to Texas and was like, “There’s gotta be a place to climb.” I hopped around the first two years and only climbed 6-7 times at local spots until I started going to University. My University Rec Center had a massive rock climbing wall (like 3 stories tall), so all I did was top rope. But it was great, my roots were in sport climbing and for the next 6 years, I kept sport climbing. Over last 3 years, I became a boulderer, ever since Momentum in Houston opened up. I did learn to lead outdoors 2 years ago, so being on the rope is still a feeling I crave from time to time. I got mad love for both. :)
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Climbing has truly made me the person I am today. Hell, it's taught me that if life is a battle, we can dust ourselves off and get right back up on our own feet to try again. It's a huge plus, if we can enjoy ourselves and have fun doing so in the process. Tough times don't last, but tough people do. Let's keep on fighting the good fight together, shall we?
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
I'm an aspiring electrician, but I also enjoy baking fresh bread from time to time!
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
I want to walk into room and see at least one person who looks just like me: Asian, brown-skinned, melanin glowing. Someday, a little brown kid is going to step into a room, notice me, and suddenly find themselves in a space where they can comfortably and simply be because I noticed them too. True to be their authentic self. To see that spark and that fire ignite within them. Ain't that magic? Because I was there for them. Because I actually give a damn. Representation matters.
Image of Alan L. Nguyen by Kat Ambrose
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
Personally, I would like to see our community provide even more opportunities (indoors or outdoors) for our current and future generation of kids in areas where they feel are under represented and might miss chances to become potential climbers. Leading by example on the day-to-day, I'm simply working on doing my best to amplify, support, and reach out where I can and when I can.
You can find Alanon Instagram at @hola_alan
Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Interviews here.
We hope you have enjoyed these sneak peeks into climbers' lives. We're on a mission to share diverse stories about rock climbing. Let's push the boundaries of who we know as climbers. Let's use our energy and passion for the outdoors to love our environment and inspire one another.
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