Interview written and compiled by Stephanie Hall
It’s time for another Claire! Have you met Claire Lande (@la_la_lande) yet? Shes a badass ecologist, bee keeper (@junebugbees_claire), trail runner, mountain biker, owner of some beautiful tattoos, and mom to two adorable pups! Claire grew up in Northern Minnesota and started her climbing journey here in Duluth and on the North Shore before moving out to the PNW. Last year she moved back to Duluth and joined the North Shore VertiGals to make new friends and reconnect with old ones. She’s done that and more; besides crushing it on the wall has also been a great Vice President of VertiGals for the last six months.
What do you love about climbing?
Getting outside is the best part. But I also love that climbing gives you that feeling of accomplishment without too much effort (at my level at least). I can get a new move I’ve been working on and feel like I’ve done something, and in my other sports you don’t really get that tangible reward each time you do it.
How are you hoping to grow as a climber or what skills are you hoping to develop?
I want to find that perfect life balance where I feel strong and accomplished as a climber without neglecting other aspects of my life. So, I’m trying to work on the mental aspect of climbing (leading, topping out boulder problems) that don’t necessarily require the time commitment of getting physically stronger.
What would you like to see change in the Duluth/North Shore climbing community?
I would love to see the indoor climbing/bouldering scene and facilities expand so that North Shore climbers have a ‘community center’ of sorts. Would also love to see it become more beginner-friendly so our community continues to grow!
How did you get started climbing?
I started climbing indoors at UMD several years ago, and then my boyfriend (now husband, Pete) took me climbing outside for the first time (so typical!) at Shovel Point. It was pretty scary being lowered over a cliff for the first time ever as a 27 year old – I cried. And that’s part of why I think the VertiGals are so important- I remember how hard it was to get started as an adult, particularly as a women without friends who climbed. There are plenty of barriers to starting something new no matter what it is, and having a supportive group of women just makes those barriers a little easier to overcome.’
What is something about your climbing history no one would ever guess?
I got pretty into mountaineering when I lived in Oregon. I climbed 5 of the Cascade peaks with Pete, and when we moved away I felt like I had ‘unfinished business’ with four others, so I’ll definitely be going back. I love mountaineering because it combines endurance and climbing and when you make it to the top you really feel like you’re in a place not very many people get to be in.