Climber Story: Emily Starr

June 21, 2023 4 min read

Climber Story: Emily Starr - Dynamite Starfish

To start, tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi, I'm Emily! I am an avid outdoors girl living in the Tahoe area. I work in the SaaS industry with PR, social media, digital content creation, and communications. But, I work to live, not the other way around!

My life is truly fulfilled by being able to be in nature with my good dog and partner by my side, Louie. I am an eating disorder survivor and my mission is to advocate for body liberation and moving your body in ways that you love — because you love it — not because you want to maintain a certain physique.

I believe that every body is valid and that we should all do what we love regardless of what we look like. I am very open about speaking about my own experiences to spread awareness.

How did you start climbing?

In the midst of eating disorder recovery in 2020, I was navigating how to form a positive relationship with movement. This meant switching from exercise that I was pursuing that supported what my (at the time) idea of a "perfect physique" was to finding ways to move my body in ways that I actually love.

I knew that I loved being outside, and I had just moved to Austin where I knew there was a pretty cool climbing niche. Knowing that Austin is extraordinarily hot in the summer, I started at Crux Climbing Center in June of 2020, and I loved it from the first day!

I took a bouldering basics class and realized that I spent the entire session enjoying it because it was fun  like problems and puzzles that I can solve  rather than me focusing on my body the entire time. I have been a climber ever since.

What impact has climbing had on your life?

Climbing has supported not only my eating disorder recovery, but also has helped my mental health in insurmountable ways. Firstly, although I don't always climb outdoors, it's definitely my favorite spot to climb. Being outside, especially now that I live in Tahoe, brings me a feeling of joy that can only be described as gleeful. When I am in nature with rocks, everything negative that is swimming in my head is silenced.

Additionally, it has helped me focus my energy into healthy goals. For example, having a mission to send a project, enhance my endurance on ropes, or up my bouldering grade has been so impactful to me. It gives me something to focus on (sometimes even if it's the only thing I focus on) which helps my ADHD brain. Like being outdoors, all else is silenced when I am climbing.

I attribute finding climbing to a lot of my eating disorder recovery. Although I had to do a lot of work outside of this sport to fully recover, I am so grateful for it.

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

I love trail running, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, backpacking, camping, and literally anything outside. Put me in nature and I am happy. I also lift weights and do CrossFit occasionally because I love the dynamic movements and varying workouts. My dog, Louie, comes along on almost all of my adventures. He is the best boy and is a rescue pitty mix. I am a big adopt don't shop person!

I left my best friend in the whole world, Sophia, back in Austin when I moved to Tahoe. I miss her dearly but we talk a lot. One of the most fulfilling things to me is being able to talk with her or hang out with her when we are together. We are the most obnoxious and lovable best friend duo you will ever meet.

I also find fulfillment advocating for anti-diet culture and body liberation movements. I am so strongly tied to the eating disorder recovery space since I was in it for so long, and I am passionate about spreading awareness, advocation, and education on the topic of how society views bodies, how it affects us, and how we should fight back.

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

Practice lessening first judgements you make when seeing someone for the first time, and don't EVER comment on someone's body. No matter who they are, you never know what someone is going through.

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

I have bought SO many Dynamite Starfish products. I wear my "CLIMB (and pet all the dogs)" shirt at least twice a week...Don't worry, I wash it!

I love defining myself as a badass climber in a unique and fun way! I get complements on my "Rope Gun" shirt all the time as well.

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

I am working on becoming an eating disorder recovery coach! While I love my job in Marketing, I would like to advocate and support the community as much as I can without having to go back to college.

If you ever need someone to talk to, lean on, or need advice from someone who struggled with my body and habits for several years, never hesitate to reach out.

You can find Emily on Instagram at @emilyclimbsrocks.

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
Dynamite Starfish

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