Climber Story: Kristi Arroyo

January 24, 2024 3 min read

Climber Story: Kristi Arroyo

To start, tell us a little bit about yourself

Hey, I'm Kristi! I'm a software engineer by day, and a climber, skier and adventure photographer in the hours in between!

I started to get into outdoor sports during college because the campus was surrounded by national forest land. The area was different from the urban environment of Houston, where I grew up. I wanted to try out the activities that were out of my comfort zone. Of all the things I tried, rock climbing really stuck to me and I still love it to this day.

On my rest days I enjoy lying on the couch with my pets and watching movies or reading a book. From time to time I also make pottery!

How did you start climbing?

I first got interested in climbing in 2016 while I was getting introduced to other outdoor activities such as mountain biking and hiking. One evening the YouTube algorithm suggested videos of climbers like Ashima Shirarishi, Emily Harrington, and Daniel Woods.

I was in awe of the movement of climbing and how deeply personal the sport is to all the athletes. I decided to check out a climbing gym and the rest was history.


What impact has climbing had on your life?

Climbing really taught me patience and also repaired my relationship with my own body. Climbing is a genuinely hard sport, but in my early years I put a lot of pressure on myself to continuously progress.

My first plateau was hard for me to process. Over time, I learned to manage my expectations and also understand that progress in climbing builds on introspection, sustainable training, and rest days! Also, in my early days of climbing I was holding on to a lot of insecurities with my body and appearance.

But again, to be able to climb is incredible in and of itself — And I learned to appreciate the fact that the body I have is capable of doing this really hard thing.


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

I like to volunteer with outdoor education programs in the Salt Lake City area. People in valley heavily rely on the health of The Great Salt Lake, so I try to join programs that encourage people to be mindful of the land and to advocate for the environment and groups that care for it.

Additionally, I really enjoy adventure photography. I recently attended a photography workshop hosted by Nikki Smith and Mountain Hardware that helped me develop as a professional photographer.

I’ve had the honor of working with local organizations and brands, and I really want to continue that kind of work to diversify coverage in the industry.

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

There are two important things to always keep in mind: honor rest and practice patience.

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

I love that the designs are centered around more relatable aspects of climbing! They’re really fun and capture the spirit of the sport that I enjoy.

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

I’m always open to photographing and writing about people in the climbing, running, and snow sports communities.

Overall, I want to highlight a diverse range of outdoor athletes and community members through my photography. I want to focus more on someone’s love for a sport and community instead of skill level. I know that there is a lot of value in sharing stories like that, and I want to be one of the people who captures those stories accurately and make my subjects feel heard.

If anyone is interested in collaborating on that, I’d love to chat!

You can find Kristi on Instagram at @_krisstiee.

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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