What does it take to “go pro” in climbing? (Photo credit: USA Climbing)
Admit it, at some point in your climbing, you’ve fantasized about becoming a pro climber. You know, living that glamorous, celebrity, Hollywood climber life, rolling in the dough, just for climbing. This last spring, one of the most well known professional American climbers, Alex Puccio, started a crowdsourcing website to raise money to travel to and participate in the Bouldering World Cup. The climbing community had mixed reactions to her request. Regardless of one’s support for Alex’s crowdsourcing, a major question surfaced: Why does one of the strongest and most well known American professional climbers need the public to financially support her? This question led us to wonder and investigate what is the cost of being a pro climber?
We reached out to a number of pro climbers to get the lowdown on the cost of going pro. While the climbers we talked to were extremely candid, they did risk upsetting their sponsors, (discussing compensation for many of the pros is a breach of contract), and therefore asked to remain anonymous. To ensure we had the whole picture, we also reached out to several companies who sponsor climbers, but all declined to comment. As we came to find out, although these climbers may be “living the dream,” there is a lot more (and less financially) that goes into becoming a pro climber.