I'm Charles Landis, age 64, and I love climbing. That's what you really need to know. I work as a claims manager for Waste Management, and I love my job, but my passion is climbing. I love the people, the community and being outdoors on the rock. And I love being up high!
Multi-pitch climbing is my favorite style and that's usually trad. My favorite places to climb are Tahquitz, El Dorado Canyon, Red Rocks and Joshua Tree, and I just got back from EPC. My most memorable climbs are Flat Iron #1, Rewritten and Cat in the Hat.
How did you start climbing?
I was 55 when I did my first climb. I had actually never heard of climbing before. On the advice of a friend, I took my kids to the climbing gym. I didn't even know what a climbing gym was. My daughter loved it and wanted to join, so that meant I joined too. And while she loves climbing, I'm the one that got bit by the bug. I was scared of heights when I started — couldn't even look down. Now there's nothing better than being up high.
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Climbing brought be back to the roots of who I am. I'm passionate about the things I do and want to be around people who feel the same. Climbing has energized me, connected me to friends and reminded me that pursuing a dream, no matter what your skill level, is one of the most important things you can do in life.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
Connecting with people is by far the most important thing I could ever do. I find that connection by doing outdoor things at this stage in my life. I cycle, paddle board, climb, work out; but those are just the activities that bring us together.
In my past, it's been music (I was a professional musician for 20 years) or school and family activities. I played a lot of tennis over the years. But it's always been about the people. Connecting with the people is the key. And climbing people are the best.
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
It's OK to strive to be better, to work hard, to push yourself, to wish for a better tomorrow. But remember that right now, today, this moment, is the only thing that matters. Take time to enjoy this moment, this day, who you are right now. Stop a little longer to smell the roses.
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
Actually, this is easy! I was a fan long before I met Leslie. Love the graphics, so cool. But the shirts are also comfortable and wear well. Let's face it, doesn't matter how cool a shirt is if it's not comfortable to wear.
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
I'm currently working on better body position and movement when I climb. I'm a big guy and my age doesn't help. I'm not ever going to be the strongest climber, but there's so much about climbing that's not about strength. I'm trying to discover those things.
Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Stories 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.