Hometown: Boulder, CO
Sponsors: Outdoor Research, La Sportiva, Maxim Ropes, Metolius, CocoHydro, Primal Guys, Kep’s Pollen Balls.
Current Transportation: 2005 Sprinter Van
Favorite Places: Eldorado Canyon; The Black Canyon; El Cap in Yosemite; alone and scrambling in the Flatirons.
Core Activities: Rock climbing
My Jam Is: I wanna hear your whistle blow
Non-Core Activities: Carefree bicycle riding, inner tubing
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.