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Neely Quinn interviews pro rock climbers, climbing trainers, and other insightful members of the climbing community about how we can get a little better at rock climbing. Subjects include how to train for certain aspects of the sport, how to rehab injuries, the best diet for climbing, and personal stories about climbing.

Dec 9, 2021


Matt Samet is the editor of Climbing Magazine, the author of several books, a prolific route developer, and a very strong and dedicated climber. He’s also a friend of mine and someone I respect a lot, so I’ve been wanting to interview him for a while.

He’s a father of 3, works full-time, and just sent a 5.14 project a couple days before his 50th birthday, which is the same max grade he was sending 20 years ago. It’s always inspiring to me to see people just make it work in climbing, even if they have a million things going on in their lives and are at an age many climbers believe to be limiting.

Another notable thing about Samet is that he battled an addiction to benzodiazapenes and other psychiatric drugs for over a decade, and he still deals with neurological consequences of that. He’s had to alter the way he trains and his expectations of himself, and yet he still gets out climbing and trains more often than most of us ever will.

In this interview we talk about his dedication to route development, how his training has changed over the years, his stint with anorexia and how he’s overcome it, among many other things.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.


Matt Samet Interview Details

  • Why he loves route development so much
  • How route development can be a thankless job (and why he doesn’t care)
  • Gender bias in route development
  • How he’s doing now since being off all drugs since 2006
  • Long-term nervous system effects from psychiatric drugs
  • How he makes time for climbing while being a dad and working full-time
  • How his wife deals with him wanting to climb all the time
  • How having kids changes your relationship
  • How age plays a role in his climbing at 50
  • His decades-long bout with anorexia
  • How he’s changed his eating and how that affected his climbing
  • What he hopes to achieve going forward (he’s not slowing down)

Photo Credit

Photo of Matt on Nephson (5.13+) at Hillbilly Rock in the Flatirons by Ryan Pecknold


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