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Climber Interview : Ruth Rizzo

November 29, 2019 4 min read

Climber Interview : Ruth Rizzo - Dynamite Starfish

Our next Climber Interview comes from Ruth! I’m enjoying these responses so much and very much look forward to sharing more! .

Q1: To start, a few ways you identify yourself... (some examples: name, age, pronouns, type of work you do...) But really, anything you believe is important.

A1: My name is Ruth (she, her) and I’m 32yo. I’m a project manager at a pediatric healthcare facility.

Q2: How did you start climbing?

A2: A coworker invited my husband and me climbing after a conversation about trying to be more active and get fit. He’s been climbing for 20ish years and asked if we’d be interested. That was June 2018, and now we can’t imagine our lives without climbing. We’ve also gotten four other friends involved in climbing since. ...interview continues in the comments below!

Q3: What impact has climbing had on your life?

A3: Climbing has impacted my daily life much more than I ever expected. It’s a meditative and mindful exercise for those who, like me, can’t seem to figure out how to meditate. When I try to “clear my mind” I am inevitably flooded with several thoughts, tasks, and ideas. Climbing takes away the ‘work’ in clearing my mind because the moment you start a climb or problem everything else doesn’t matter, only that next move matters. I have that time to focus on the present and de-stress from a busy work day or life in general.


Climbing has also changed the way I think about relationships and setting goals outside of climbing. You wouldn’t let just anyone belay you, and you (if you’re responsible) take belaying someone seriously. I mean, you literally have their life in your hands. So there’s trust going both ways in a belay-tionship. Climber trusts belayer to catch, belayer trusts climber to communicate needs. In the same way, I have made an effort to remove ‘one-way friendships’ in my life. If I am going to trust you, that trust should be respected. We all know that relationships need good communication from both individuals in order to function well, and climbing has cemented that for me even more.

And as far as setting goals, it’s hard to explain but I’ll try. It’s unrealistic for me, a V2/3 climber, to say “I’m going to send me first V8 in 3 months.” Not impossible, but unlikely without it being my absolute focus day and night for the next 3 months...maybe. It’s more sensible to make the goal keeping my current strength and endurance level and workout routine in mind. So perhaps saying “I want to send a V5 within the next year, and start hang boarding regularly within 3 months. And I want to be able to do a full set of pull ups within 6 months.”

I’m setting more realistic, achievable, and progressive goals that will keep me on track for that V5 goal. This has carried over to real life career goals. I’ve never had a “passion” so I’ve always struggled to decide what I want to do in life, though I have always enjoyed being involved in the healthcare industry. So, this year I wrote out my goals and was able to articulately express them to my boss who was very open and agreeable to my ideas for personal and career growth. They’re allowing me to grow and learn, and in a way I feel that it’s because I was very clear in what I wanted and know where my strengths lie. This is clarity and self-awareness I’ve gained through climbing. I hope that made sense, haha. Sorry if it’s too “stream of consciousness.”

Q4: What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?

A4: I enjoy being outdoors and hiking/walking. I feel that I don’t get to do that enough. It’s actually one of my goals for this year/ next year, to get outdoors more. And I love working in healthcare, I always feel that I’m a part of something bigger. What I do may not personally touch patients, but the work we do collectively certainly does. And that’s a wonderful feeling.


Q5: If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?

A5: That’s a tough one. I think there’s a lot of things we could all stand to hear a few extra times in life because there are not enough people saying them. But, if I had to choose one it would be this: “Sometimes, progress and growth are not linear and that’s ok.” We can get caught up in where societal timelines tell us we should be, or when failures set us back a year or two, or we aren’t able to accomplish a goal or achievement. The fact of the matter is that life goes on, and eventually we will be ok. Our paths may not always be the fastest or most direct way (maybe we took a long, detoured, scenic route with several rest stops…who knows) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a beautiful journey and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t get where you want to go. You’re the driver and you are allowed to make as many or as few stops as you want.



Leslie Kim
Leslie Kim

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