On The RISE: Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson - Professional Climber

Give us a brief introduction to you -- where you come from, etc?

I’m a professional climber on the US National Team for Bouldering. I’ve been climbing for almost 23 years and have been a member of the National Team for 17 years. I grew up in Wisconsin, and moved west when I was 18 years old, and have lived all over—literally. From nomadic van life with only my chihuahua, Fritz, to Colorado, to the Eastern Sierras, to Las Vegas, and now Salt Lake City. I grew up competing, but my heart is in the outdoors. Although I predominantly climb outside seeking beautiful, challenging projects and badass first female ascents, competing still holds a fire in my soul, and during the season I get to travel the world with my teammates competing on the World Cup Circuit. USA Climbing recently partnered with RISE Nitro Brewing Co and the Oat Milk Latte’s keep me going at our national events as both an athlete and a youth coach.

Tell us more about what you do in your work?

Being on the USA Climbing Team, months of training and preparation go into preparing for the World Cup season. Sometimes it's sunrise mornings or midnight solo sessions. The competition season goes from February to July, often with World Cups on back to back weekends. We’re gone for weeks at a time, flying all over the world competing, and experiencing the coolest places is a major bonus. 

After the Circuit, I get to come home and put all of that same training and practice to use on real rock in my favorite areas like Yosemite, Red Rock, and Bishop. I’m also lucky enough to hit up my favorite international climbing destinations in Thailand, Chile, and Switzerland.

What do you wish other people knew about your work?

My climbing style is something I’m super proud of. I’ve been told that my movement looks like calligraphy, and it felt like the highest compliment. I think what I want to be recognized the most is a fluid, momentum-based style of movement; it’s a form of self-expression for me. Anyone can be strong or send something hard, but each climber has a unique individual style, and I’m proud to showcase a style that has a natural graceful rhythmic flow, even when I’m trying my absolute hardest.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I’m not climbing or training, I love mountain biking, taking our pups to the park, and conducting a nation-wide search for the best huevos rancheros.

If you weren’t in your current line of work, what do you think you would be doing?

Coaching! I’ve been coaching and teaching clinics for over ten years. I love instilling passion for climbing through movement advancement, and seeing the joy someone feels when they’re able to push through a plateau is undeniably satisfying. There’s never a time in this sport where you stop learning, and I learn the most when I’m trying to replicate, comprehend, and explain the subtleties of movement to someone else.

What super power do you wish you had? Why?

To be able to fly, of course! Imagine how easy the most difficult climbs could feel, and how quick the descents could be!

What’s the one thing you suck at and wish you could do better?

Small talk. I’m secretly a really shy introvert stuck in the body of a professional athlete.

What can you not live without? (Besides RISE!)

LIP BALM.

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