Climber Story: Mattea Pulido

May 15, 2024 4 min read

Climber Story: Mattea Pulido

To start, tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi! My name is Mattea, I’m 24 and I’m from California. I currently work at a climbing gym in the San Fernando Valley as a youth climbing coach. I also run a small business making chalk bags and other things from upcycled materials called Monkey Flower Outdoor.

Sewing and climbing are mostly my whole life at the moment, but I also love running and my cat Kenneth. I enjoy looking at plants and doing my best to identify them, and just generally being outside and absorbing the sun as much as possible.

How did you start climbing?

I was a gymnast until I was 15 years old, and I was always seeking a form of exercise that is as fun as it creative. I had always been fascinated by outdoor adventure sports; I had teachers in high school who were bike packers, and surfers, but I had my eyes set on climbing.

I hiked a lot as a kid and was known to scramble up rocks and climb trees and generally stress my mother out. I didn’t know how to start climbing on my own, so instead I sought out as much climbing content as possible over the next couple of years. Thus, began my love affair with Reel Rock and North Face mini docs.

It wasn’t until college that I actually met people who had some knowledge about the sport. I was able to take a class that served as a weekly ride to the climbing gym. I thought things would really take off from there, but COVID put a bit of a hitch in my plans and my climbing dreams were put on hold for a while. After college, I got a job at REI, made the right friends, and started climbing outside at some local crags!

From there a friend helped me secure a job at the gym I work at now. I’ve been climbing consistently now for 2 years and just keep doing my best to make high school Mattea proud.

What impact has climbing had on your life?

I have learned a lot of things from climbing. It has allowed me to mend my relationship with my body. It has given me more social confidence than I have ever had. It also inspired me to start a business and allowed and encouraged me to express my creativity in new ways.

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

I LOVE to run! I’ve really leaned into running slow and enjoying the scenery. I find that running gives me the perfect way of exploring new places in s’more intimate ways.

I love to sew. Producing functional art is incredibly fun for me. I never thought I would be someone who tries to support themselves with a craft, but here we are!

And I LOVE to just enjoy the sun. In true California fashion, I’ll take any opportunity I have to bask in the glory of a sunny blue sky day!

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

At the risk of sounding preachy, I would tell the world to do your best to remove the word “should” from your vocabulary. Obviously, there are some unavoidable “shoulds” here and there, but I have found it to be one of the most limiting words in my life.

I am 24 and I often have a hard time remembering that there is a lot more life in front of me, so I get caught up in checking off boxes and fulfilling the “shoulds”. But a lot of the happiest moments in my life and some of my greatest successes have happened from decisions made in opposition to what I should do.

There is no “right way” or so they say, so the only thing we “should” do is exactly what we want to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

My favorite thing about DS is founder Leslie and her mission to foster a positive and inclusive climbing community! And my Type 2 Fun Dynamite Starfish sticker, of course :)

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

I suppose I am always working on something, but right now I’m mostly working on finding balance. I'm trying to find the right level of investment in Monkey Flower and climbing and coaching and having relationships with the people in my life and finding time to slow down and get outside. Oh, and also train hard to get stronger!

It’s a lot to think about and thinking about everything all the time is a bit overwhelming, so until I can figure out how to stop sleeping or stop time… I’ll be working on finding balance :)

You can find Mattea on Instagram at @monkeyfloweroutdoor or visit or Etsy shop here.

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!

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