Story & Photos by Jon Vickers /
The dirtbag lifestyle is often romanticized as the only way to climb your heart out, but these climbers have found a way to make their jobs and other obligations exist in harmony with their climbing. As a tribute to all those who strive to find a balance between their passions and the work they must do, we present some of Momentum’s ‘Pro’fessional Climbers!
Natasha Hodges not only works as a Momentum Lehi staff member, but is also a Dental Assistant during the day. When she’s not at one of her two jobs, she is usually climbing local routes in American Fork and Maple Canyon. Though she climbs a lot at Lehi, she loves making trips up to Momentum Sandy when she just has to clip some bolts and it’s too cold in the canyons.
How do you use Momentum? I use it a lot more in the winter! I love getting to work hard even when conditions are no good outside! Other than that I use it when I don’t have time to get outside. I also love going to Momentum at random times just for the social aspect.
How do you handle the work/life balance? It’s hard to work Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. I want so badly to be able to spend my days out in the mountains, but luckily I live in such a great area where I can go from the office to the crag and in a matter of about 30 minutes be on the wall! If I wasn’t so spoiled with all the local areas, I wouldn’t be able to do that.
How does climbing influence your professional life? Climbing has helped me be able to set and accomplish goals. Climbing has shown me how if I just push myself out of my comfort zone, I can accomplish more than ever thought I could.
When Jon Colbert isn’t figuring out problems at Lehi, he is an Accounting Director at the Timpanogos Regional Hospital. He climbs when time allows and is on the weekend warrior schedule. He enjoys climbing routes, whether they are sport or traditional, and loves going to Maple Canyon.
How do you use Momentum? I use it primarily for strength training and bouldering.
How do you handle the work/life balance? The only way to have balance is to find time for yourself occasionally. That’s what climbing does for me.
How does climbing influence your professional life? It refreshes and resets me for the issues that I need to deal with at work. It also helps me to remember to not get too caught up with work because work isn’t what defines my life.
Momentum regular Dawn Baker, MD is an Anesthesiologist at the University of Utah Hospital. She can usually be seen at Millcreek with her husband Trent and a stroller with their daughter, Aspen. Though she is primarily an outdoor sport climber, she utilizes the bouldering, lead and training deck at Momentum to prepare for her projects in Maple and Rifle.
How do you use Momentum? Lately I haven’t been climbing outside as much because of being pregnant and then having a young baby, so Momentum has been such a very useful resource for keeping the movement of climbing in my life.
How do you handle the work/life balance? I deliberately chose a lower-pay, lower-hour career track within Anesthesiology and have had no regrets. However, even with part time hours, my sense of balance has definitely been challenged by the addition of our baby Aspen to the family. So I have been taking things day by day and trying not to worry about going through ebbs and flows in my climbing performance. A number of years ago, I went through a cancer diagnosis and treatment, and ever since then I also try to focus on gratitude when I’m out climbing; even if I don’t perform well or I’m not currently as fit as I have been or would like to be, I’m grateful to just be able to climb!
How does climbing influence your professional life? Climbing has influenced many parts of my life, including my work and my choice of profession, through the many trips around the world and across the country that we have taken in over 20 years of climbing. The diversity of people you meet in climbing is unparalleled in any other activity! My work is similar in that respect; I meet new people of all types, shapes, sizes, ages, etc. every day at my job. The practice of performing under pressure during a redpoint attempt also translates well to my job.
Trent Baker, Dawn’s husband, is a local attorney who spends most of his free time climbing and raising his daughter. Primarily a sport climber, Trent’s favorite climbing area is Kalymnos, Greece but enjoys Maple when he is climbing locally. To avoid crowds, Trent can usually be seen hitting the gym with Dawn and Aspen during the day.
How do you use Momentum? Routes, Bouldering, and Lifting; In addition to the great facilities and setting, I love being around motivated climbers.
How do you handle the work/life balance? I own my own business and set my own schedule; I need balance to maintain enjoyment and performance in both work and climbing.
How does climbing influence your professional life? Dealing with failure and accomplishing goals in climbing has taught me a lot about humility, confidence, patience and persistence.
Scott Stoddard is a video game animator and motion capture stuntman for ChAIR Entertainment. When he isn’t bringing video game characters to life, he is climbing as much as possible! He generally gets outside to boulder before work once a week, but uses the gym during lunch breaks and in the evenings with his family. A boulderer in his heart, Scott particularly likes the creative movement of Steven’s problems.
How do you use Momentum? I use Momentum to have fun with my training and my family. It’s made a big difference in my fitness, I’ve met lots of great friends, and I love that it’s easy to enjoy it all with my wife and kids.
How do you handle the work/life balance? I love art and creating. Animation has been a great way to be able to support my family doing what I love. As long as I’m getting everything done at work my schedule is pretty flexible so it’s easy to enjoy my family (and climbing) too.
How does climbing influence your professional life? Sometimes climbing means I get to work a little late, or leave a little early, but it keeps my mind fresh for creative work, and keeps me in good shape for motion capture so it all works out.
A business analyst at SelectHealth by day, Odin Kramer was first introduced to climbing as a child to help overcome a fear of heights. Now Odin climbs all year around and enjoys every type of climbing. His favorite outdoor climbing is the sport climbing in Logan Canyon, but says he spends some of the winter months inside at Momentum Millcreek and Sandy.
How do you use Momentum? As my break, coming to the gym and enjoying the climbing culture and working up a sweat gets me into a great head space.
How do you handle the work/life balance? I have to make a weekly schedule: I have days that I climb, days that I study for school, and days to spend with my wife and our friends
How does climbing influence your professional life? Climbing teaches me that if I don’t fall, I am not trying hard enough. This pushes me to try harder at work.