Hi, I'm Danyelle and I'm 33 years old. I talk about mental health with teens and I love anything outdoors. Rock climbing is my primary hobby, but my husband and I also white-water kayak and enjoy finding ways to push myself to do things that scare me. Not really a hugger, but I do like cuddling cats and pigs.
How did you start climbing?
I knew my friend, Rosa, from kayaking and she invited me to climb a few years ago. After that first ascent, I was hooked! It's never 'too late' to start and even though I joke that 'I'm old,' I'm going to be doing this until I can't anymore.
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Climbing has definitely been an experience. I have a really hard time connecting with and trusting others. In climbing, you HAVE to trust your belayer...it's not an option! So I had to get over that very quickly. But that also helped me to realize that I can trust people 'in real life', too. Climbing has opened up a lot of friendships and some amazing memories. I still hate heights and taking whippers, but I've just started to lead climb and it's so empowering. I even judged a bouldering competition a few weeks ago! Climbing has really opened doors for me, physically, mentally, and in the community.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
Volunteering at church, a pig rescue (shameless plug for @pittsburghsquealers), adaptive climbing experiences, challenging myself and others, and being part of a larger community.
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Stop listening to all those other voices and start listening to your heart. You are responsibile for your own happiness, and no one else can or will do it for you.
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
The amount of support from this community is incredible. I'm so excited for the Facebook group and I can't wait to make new friends, learn new skills, and be around other rock climbers. People don't get it! Haha
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
I just started lead climbing and I'll be honest with you, I was peer-pressured into taking the test at one of the gyms I go to. I had NEVER lead before when I took the test. I think he was being generous when I passed because I was so nervous, but I've really enjoyed getting into it and I've learned so much more about climbing and even myself.
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.