Hey there! I'm Erin (Olson) Williams — a 28 year old teacher from Maryland. I just recently got married, so I still have a hard time figuring out which last name to use. (Okay, I'll admit, I have zero clue where to start with the name change process so I'm just procrastinating) I occasionally get outdoors, but spend most of climbing time indoors at DRG (Delaware Rock Gym).
How did you start climbing?
I started climbing when I was in a former relationship. It was a huge passion of his, so I decided to look into it. I walked into a local gym here and said I had no idea what I was doing, but I wanted to give it a try. I did a set of trial climbs and was instantly hooked. I got a day pass one more time and then got a membership. It's been 6 years and there's no going back now!
What impact has climbing had on your life?
I know it's super cheesy to say, but I feel like I found my identify and deepest friendships in climbing. When I was in school, the biggest part of my identity was being a part of the drumline. Once I graduated, all of that was left behind. I tried being a percussion coordinator for a few years, but I wasn't very good at it. I moved on from that, but felt lost without a true hobby and passion. I spent a few years floating from hobby to hobby, never really diving deep into anything and working on it. But then I was introduced to climbing and felt a spark for something again. I got the gear, spent evenings at the gym, and began making friends in the community. The people I met climbing are now my closest friends and I can't imagine doing life without them. I felt such a warm welcome into the climbing community and now it's where I feel like I can be 100% myself.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
While it's been a constant battle for the past few years, teaching can be incredibly fulfilling. The age group I work with (7 & 8 year olds) is perfect; they are young enough to still love school and their teacher, but old enough to understand bigger concepts. There are a lot of things in the education world that I don't agree with, but I can deal with it if it means getting to laugh and learn with my kids. I can't say being a classroom teacher is my forever career, but I know I want to always work in education! My dream career would be an environmental educator with a park system.
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Please be nice. Everyone you meet is most likely struggling with something, big or small, and we need to just be nice to each other. Oh and if you see someone climbing alone at the gym and they are falling off a climb, please don't immediately spray beta. This has been a huge struggle at my gym recently. It feels like anytime I come off a climb, a stranger is running up to tell me how to climb. I get the idea of wanting to help others, but please wait for that person to ask. Or, start off by saying "do you want any beta or do you want to work through it on your own?" Always be sure to practice good climbing etiquette!
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
The artwork is beautiful and the community is amazing! I love all of the positivity you put out into the world.
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
One of the things I'm working on for myself is better climbing technique. As I'm working into harder grades, I'm trying not to cheat myself out of hard moves. My go-to move used to be the ol' match and bump. I've been working on better movement and doing scary moves that I wouldn't normally go for. It's terrifying at times, but it has been super rewarding so far.
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.