Sep 12, 2016
One of my first memories of Sam Elias was this: he was climbing on The Crew (14c) in Rifle, and he'd skipped 3 clips in a row on the top half. He was climbing to the death, screaming with every move, and then he fell and came dangerously close to being impaled by a tree right below the route. That tree has since been removed, and Sam has since sent the route.
I think that scene personifies Sam Elias: He tries really fucking hard, he's ballsy, he's intense, and he sends hard rock climbs. When I came to know Sam a little better, I found while he's all of those things, he's also sensitive, introspective, and intelligent.
He recently did the Black Diamond training bootcamp with Dan Mirsky and Joe Kinder, being coached for several 3-week stints by Kris Peters and Justen Sjong. Since those training sessions, Sam has been climbing better than ever, sending routes quickly that he'd put years of work into prior to training.
He's sent up to 5.14c sport climbs, he's a competitive ice and mixed climber, and he summited Mount Everest, so he's an all-around excellent athlete.
In this interview, we talk about what sets him apart as an athlete, how his emotions sometimes have gotten the best of him (as many of us can relate with), and what he's done in the past couple years to calm his anger and anxiety so that he can be a happier person and a better climber. We also talk about how he trained with Kris and Justen and what he's been doing to train since then.