Climber Story: Katie Cunningham

May 17, 2023 3 min read

Climber Story: Katie Cunningham - Dynamite Starfish

To start, tell us a little bit about yourself

Hey, I'm Katie! I'm a 27 year old, science teacher in Maryland. I'm originally from Long Island, NY but moved to Maryland after grad school to live with my two best friends who are climbers!

How did you start climbing?

I started climbing in college while studying abroad in Australia. I was introduced to climbing prior to this, but at the time was recovering from breaking both ankles (one after the other). My PT worked at our local gym and told me that it wasn't the best idea to start climbing...

But I figured she couldn't stop me in Australia! I climbed at a gym called Hangdog Climbing, and six years later I have yet to look back!

What impact has climbing had on your life?

Climbing has made me become so much more confident in myself. I used to struggle with disordered eating and hard body image struggles. Climbing taught me to admire what my body could do and that I needed to properly fuel in order to appreciate what my body could do.

It has helped me grow in confidence and share that with others. The community that climbing has offered me has allowed me to grow as a person. It is wonderful to find a sport where support comes from strangers and to be seen as you truly are.

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

I love water coloring and sketching. When I am not at the gym or crag I usually go on walks to my local state parks and sketch wildlife I see. It allows me to learn more about our planet and appreciate what is around us.

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

That everyone fights a battle, which can be seen or unseen. The best thing you can do is be kind because it can have such a lasting impact on a person who might be struggling that day. 

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

I love that you use your platform to spread stories from other climbers. It allows for us to find connection in a world of limited connection and hear stories that will resonate with us. 

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

I am finishing up my very first year teaching which has been an amazing experience! I work at a priority 1 school and there are definitely challenges, but the connections I have made with my students has surpassed my expectations. I love being a part of their life and knowing its a stable part of their day that they can look forward to.


You can find Katie on Instagram at @katiesharkbait or check out her Kilterboard account @kilterkt.

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!

Until next time!

Dynamite Starfish
Dynamite Starfish

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