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“When I’m feeling stressed, it’s usually because I haven’t been climbing enough.”

Katie Mah was eight when she took a climbing course with her family at the Edge Climbing Centre. That year she and her brother JJ joined the Edge Youth Climbing Team. Fast forward 16 years, countless hours in dusty gyms with talented coaches and friends (like Andrew Wilson and Mike Doyle), and probably a hundred or so comps including a handful of worlds events, Katie is back to climbing after a 7-year break, this time with her eyes on the World Cup circuit!

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Here are the top 10 things Katie likes about climbing:

  1. The people. Climbers are a dedicated bunch who look out for each other.
  2. Being on the Base5 team means I get to hang out with Andrew Wilson! It means the world to me to be on the Open Performance Team and I’m so happy to be training with new and old friends under the tutelage of a great coach.
  3. Climbing helps me focus and brings mental clarity. When I’m feeling stressed, it’s usually because I haven’t been climbing enough.
  4. The mental and physical challenge of the sport
  5. Trips, trips, trips! Climbing allows me to explore wild and remote places and connects me to all kinds of people I wouldn’t meet otherwise.
  6. It’s a democratic sport. Age, height, and other things like that don’t often matter. When I was a kid, my climbing coaches were instrumental in helping me remove the word ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary.
  7. It’s always humbling
  8. That I can link my love for the sport and the outdoors with work. I’m an equipment designer for Arc’teryx, which means I spend probably 75% of my time making outdoor gear or thinking about how to make outdoor gear better. And the other 25% “testing”. I was fortunate to be an Arc’teryx athlete before joining the company as a designer.
  9. Being in nature
  10. There is no end to improvement. I’m working on improving my lock off strength and dynamic coordination.

This is part of a series to profile the 2016/2017 Open Performance Team members.