Current Transportation: 2005 Sprinter Van
Core Activities: Rock climbing
Non-Core Activities: Carefree bicycle riding, inner tubing
Favorite Places: Eldorado Canyon; The Black Canyon; El Cap in Yosemite; alone and scrambling in the Flatirons.
My Jam Is: I wanna hear your whistle blow
I Eat Lots Of: Fermented veggies, smoked fish, avocados, eggs and lots of kale (steamed, fried, dehydrated, blended, fed to the cows I eat).
Fun Fact: Following your dreams takes daily work and requires naps.
At 15, Madaleine Sorkin was guided up her first multi-pitch climb, the Prow, on a Colorado 14er. It was the range of experiences from the butterflies in her stomach the night before, to seeing daybreak in an undisturbed landscape, to exploring a small spire and naming it Macaroni and Cheese, to the sublime exhaustion by the end of the day that drew Madaleine into the art of climbing. Approaching her 30th birthday, Madaleine began to practice a single mantra: Own It. She ruthlessly applied this mantra to big wall free climbing, and it made 2012 a banner year for the insatiable athlete. She teamed with young guns (including fellow ambassador Nik Berry) and enjoyed career-highs in both the Black Canyon (Hallucinogen Wall VI 5.13 R) and Yosemite National Park (El Corazon VI 5.13, El Capitan).
In September, Nik and Madaleine took their big wall free climbing kit to the Ak-Su valley of Kyrgyzstan. The duo’s enthusiasm for adventure—and at times cavalier attitude—was met with massive climbs, dysentery, open bivvys, an unplanned home-stay with a generous Kyrgyz shepherd family, sheep killing and general arguments about helmet wearing. Sorkin says she returned home ready for bedtime stories with a glass of warm milk. Looking back at any achievement, Sorkin notes how attainable a goal becomes once able to understand how to work with the doubts and other emotions that arise while staying committed the climb. At the heart of her climbing is an investigative interest into the partnerships, motivations, struggle and humor that make the pursuit meaningful.
I love this wind layer because it does more than it's job. In the summer, I find it's more important that fabric feels good against your skin. The whirlwind is breathable and can double as a sun layer. It has the right amount of stretch to still retain its shape and stay put under my harness when I
Yet another versatile layer made by OR, this cotton blend adds a little warmth and wicking action to a thin layer and still feels good against my skin. I'll pair the Flyway with the Whirlwind Hoody when there is a chill in the summer air.
Which Big Wall Spirit Animal Do You Need?
Madaleine Sorkin breaks down the benefits of each characteristic it takes to free a big wall. [Read More]
What It’s Like To Free Freerider In A Day—Almost
When darkness and exhaustion weigh heavily, you start to rethink your priorities. [Read More]
Ladies, Are You Climbing At Your Edge?
Pro tips from a women's clinic by Madaleine Sorkin and Tara Eastcott, Psy.D. [Read More]
Big Wall Matchmaking
How I choose partners for big wall projects—and the ups and downs of climbing with other women. [Read More]
Partnership And Adventure In The Ak Su, Kyrgyzstan
Madaleine Sorkin and Nik Berry's Kyrgyzstani climbing saga, as printed in Rock and Ice. [Read More]
Climbing Can Be A Spectator Sport
Madaleine Sorkin on how it helps to have a few cheerleaders up there [Read More]
Real Pro Climber Wives Of Boulder County
Anouncing a new reality TV series* [Read More]