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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.

Mar 10, 2022

Keenan Takahashi is a 30-year-old professional climber who has sent boulders up to V15. Originally from Davis, California, he started out as a skater and transitioned to climbing at about 17 years old. I wanted to talk with Keenan because–let’s be honest–I love his moustachio… and because I wanted to understand what sets him apart from other climbers.

He’s climbed all over the world, he’s in countless videos (just google his name), and he clearly tries VERY HARD to excel at this sport. He’s intense and light-hearted all at the same time. He’s confident and humble at the same time, and I admire all of those qualities very much. I was honored to have a Skype sit-down with him from his van in Yosemite.

We talked about his journey in climbing and what sets him apart as a climber, which he thinks is his obsessive personality. Honestly, I’ve never thought that being obsessive was a positive quality, but after talking to him I kind of want to cultivate more of it in my climbing life. His pursuits of progression and perfection in bouldering have led to an illustrious resume so far, and the fact that he JUST started training a couple months ago makes me think that maybe he’s just getting started.

I walked away from this interview feeling soothed and inspired all at once. He’s well-spoken and self-aware, which always makes for an excellent discussion, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Keenan Takahashi Interview Details

  • How he developed as a climber
  • How progression is the thing that drives him in all his pursuits
  • How skateboarding and bouldering are similar
  • How his obsessive nature has helped him
  • Why climbing keeps him awake at night
  • How visualizing climbs makes him climb better
  • What “good tactics” are to him
  • What sets him apart from other climbers
  • How much to rest between burns
  • Whether his body/recovery has changed since he was 17
  • Training now – his protocol and results he’s seeing
  • Plans after being a pro climber


Photo of Keenan in Bishop by @ktlambies


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