Today's Climber Interview features our very good friend, Dan Vakili! We met him through our climbing community out here in Los Angeles, and we found that Dan's stoke is absolutely endless. Even though he's still pretty young in years, he is one of the most experienced climbers we know. We hope you enjoy this interview!
To start, what are a few ways you identify yourself? (some examples: name, age, pronouns, type of work you do.) But really, anything you believe is important.
Rock climber, husband, dad, doctor of physical therapy. Born in 1989.
By: Sumit Adhikari. Dan swinging to the crux of Midnight Lightning before sending it
How did you start climbing?
I've been climbing since I was a fetus. My whole family did it, mom, dad, brother, uncle aunt. Even my grandma would come out to Stoney Point once in a while, but she'd mostly knit and pray!
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Honestly, without climbing I'd probably be a couch potato. It's the one thing I feel like I am truly good at. It's the one thing that has given me that surreal out-of-body experience you can only get when all of your focus is on breaking your limits. It keeps me motivated, and takes me to new interesting places.
It's also how I met my wife, and most of my closest friends are climbers.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
My work as a physical therapist is nice. It comes naturally to sell people on their own health and the freedom that comes with mobility. My inner climber comes out as a physical therapist; I'll be yelling support and spotting and spraying beta at my post-stroke patient as they get out of a chair or walk without a cane for the first time in months! Nothing is more exciting to me than seeing someone discover and exist at their limit!
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Love yourself and follow your own advice.
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
Currently working on raising then next strongest female climber. My daughter is 2 months old and she's already touched sandstone, quartz-monzo, and limestone!
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
Down to earth, always a positive message, inclusive, supportive, and encouraging of people to be themselves.
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.