Climber Story: Ellen Golds

June 05, 2024 3 min read

Climber Story: Ellen Golds

To start, tell us a little bit about yourself 

I’m 67 years old and just came to climbing in the last two years…proof that you can pick up new challenges at just about any age. Climbing for me is about much more than going up the wall.

It’s given me new motivation to get in shape, challenged me mentally and given me a whole new set of social interactions. Who says ‘senior citizens’ can’t do something new!

How did you start climbing?

I was inspired to try climbing by my daughter, who started bouldering. It only took seeing one video of her doing it for me to be entirely hooked! I went climbing with her at VITAL Brooklyn, did my first few V0s, and my climbing addiction was cemented.

I joined Movement Valhalla, which was called the Cliffs back then, and took climbing lessons so I wouldn’t waste a lot of my life trying to figure it out myself.

I’ve been climbing three times a week for the last two years. I retired last fall from more than 40 years as a medical device/pharmaceutical engineering project manager, which has given me more time to climb.

What impact has climbing had on your life?

When I was in my 20s and 30s I windsurfed, mountain biked and lifted weights. In my 40s and 50s I ice skated and did Pilates. But the impacts from climbing have been astounding.

Bouldering is definitely the most fun sport I’ve ever done and I can’t wait for the days where I get to go to the gym and spend a few hours. I have made so many friends from all age groups, and absolutely love the supportive, caring environment at our gym. In addition, my overall physical health, which was good to begin with, has improved remarkably. My strength and flexibility are the best they’ve been in more than 35 years and I’m close to being able to do a pull up from a dead hang again.

This is partly due to engaging a physical therapist to fix my shoulder issues, which has led me to a rigorous workout schedule outside of the climbing gym. These workouts don’t feel like drudgery when I can see my results on the wall! I’m just starting to train to dyno. Also, my blood pressure is lower than ever, which is great. Mentally, the accomplishments I’ve made bouldering make me feel more alive and confident. My growth as a climber has been slower than my younger friends’, but this has given me the opportunity to get out of my competitive head and focus on the joy of the learning process.

I never thought I would compete as a Climber, but I have been, with a focus on representing my age group. I won best costume at last Halloween flash comp! Not bad for a 67-year-old!

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

In addition to climbing, I’m an EMT in our village volunteer fire department, where my husband is a firefighter. I garden, raise chickens and hike with our two dogs. And I give a lot of credit to climbing for helping me keep up with all it, keeping me in shape and ready to take on new challenges.

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

Peace is always better than war.

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

The climbing-themed designs!

Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.

My husband and I just finished up lending a hand with the fire department’s Memorial Day festivities. The parade starts half a block from our house, so the captains party is usually held here.

Our town invites the military, who were in port for NYC Fleet week, to march in our parade which meant we had a house FULL of guests. I was also on call on the ambulance for part of the day and my husband drove the fire engine in the parade!


You can find Ellen on Instagram at @peridotcolibri.

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.

Have someone you think we should feature? Send us a message and let us know!

Dynamite Starfish
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