Climber Story: The Sullivan Boys

February 22, 2022 4 min read

Climber Story: The Sullivan Boys - Dynamite Starfish

To start, tell us a little bit about yourself

Our family has been climbing for nearly eight years. It started with a small home wall in our basement and climbing at the local gym. After a few months, the family took our first outdoor trip and we were hooked. We have three boys: Keegan (12), Killian (10), and Lochlann (8). All enjoy the outdoors, visiting new crags, and chasing classic climbs. Our family is fortunate to be in the education field. As a result, we have extended breaks in the winter, spring, and summer to travel across North American. Although we live in Ohio where climbing is very limited, we make the most of the breaks and weekends to get outdoors.

How did you start climbing?

When we were expected our third child, we knew we needed more room for the boys to play. We began finishing the basement and quickly grew tired of dry walling. No one in our family climbed, but it seemed like a fun idea to build a small wall in the basement for fun. The boys really took to the wall. Soon after, we were exploring gyms, getting involved with teams, and learning more about outdoor bouldering. Nearly nine years later, it clearly was not a fad. Our family loves the sport more today than we ever have.

What impact has climbing had on your life?

Climbing's biggest impact on our family has been the appreciation of the outdoors and travel. The boys have visited over 40 states and dozens of crags. One summer, we spent an entire month in Squamish - bouldering, hiking, and swimming in glacial lakes. This past summer, we hiked and climbed in the Tahoe region for a month before visiting Yosemite. Hueco Tanks is one of our favorite winter pilgrimages. All of these are big trips, but we've also been blessed to spend a lot of time climbing in the Southeast: Horse Pens, Stone Fort, Rocktown, Grayson Highlands, Rumbling Bald, Moore's Wall, Coopers Rock, and New River Gorge to name a few. Our family is constantly planning the next trip. That excitement gets us through the week, through seasonal dips, and stressful times. We love seeing new places and meeting new people. Climbing has allowed us to connect with so many great places.

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

As a parent, I love that climbing reinforces valuable skills in the theme of perseverance, grit, resiliency, and tenacity. We all know that sending difficult climbs requires hard work, repetition, and solid attitudes. Sitting back and watching the boys explore beta, try, fail, and try and again makes me proud. It makes me prouder when they take these attitudes to other challenges in their life, like school. I feel that climbing has a way of preparing us for so much more than the boulder at hand.

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

Explore. We have been scared into delays several times in our life. We kept putting off our first camping trip because we were scared we would "do it wrong." Perhaps we would forget to pack something, our tent would leak, or we'd starve - I don't know. We also felt intimidated to go outdoor climbing for the first time, and even delayed trips because the weather was just slightly worse than perfect. The truth is, once we jumped in we realized these things were insignificant. Mistakes can be made, and life still goes on - and it is enjoyable. We have also learned that the community is so supportive and helpful. Now we look at unknowns as opportunities, not hurdles. I would encourage everyone to be ambitious, take risks, and explore more.

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

We love all of the fun shirts that Dynamite Starfish produces.

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

Our family had a recent amazing trip to Hueco Tanks. The boys had spent the autumn training hard and had some lofty goals. Keegan wanted to continue climbing his age by ticking a V12 a month after his 12th birthday. Killian wanted to send a V10 named Stubby, which happens to be the name of his favorite manatee at the Columbus Zoo. And Lochlann, wanted to send harder climbs and several classics he was too short to send on our prior trip. The week in Hueco was magical, but there was one day that stood out. On December 23rd, all three boys climbed V10 or higher! It was a very proud parent moment to see the boys excel, but to also support and cheer for one another.

You can find The Sullivan Boys on Instagram at @sully.sends and their family's website.

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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