Five Questions With Climber Graham Zimmerman

Our athletes and ambassadors shred gnar and send hard lines, but there’s much more behind the scenes: other careers, balancing family life, creating art, giving back. To dig deeper into the adventure lifestyle, we’ve created Five Questions, an ongoing feature asking OR athletes the hard questions. And sometimes more than just five. How did you get started in your sport?

When I was in high school, I worked at the local ski area, Stevens Pass, outside of Seattle. This was my initial exposure to spending a lot of time in the mountains. My priority shifted from going downward to going upward, and by the time I graduated I was headed off to New Zealand with the intention of cutting my teeth in alpinism. Which turned out to be a great game plan.

What keeps you climbing?

There is a peace that comes from spending time in the mountains, and a strong bond with the folks whom I spend time with in them. These elements are what will keep me coming back to the mountains of the world for the rest of my life. The challenge of hard alpinism is super motivating for me, as is the sense of exploring new terrain.  This motivation toward new terrain is what has taken me to seek out first ascents in rarely traveled corners of mountain ranges both nearby and far away.

What is your typical day/week schedule?

Tough question. There is not really a normal week in my scene. I’m either in Seattle, training and climbing in the Cascades, working seven days a week in remote geophysical surveying, or out on expeditions trying my darndest to crush hard alpine routes. The main thing is, though, that I’m generally having a great time.

Finish this sentence: In high school, I was… hard working, both in the classroom and in the hills. I held a lot of jobs back then to get my climbing started and started drinking coffee when I was young.

Other than the OR kit, what is it that you won’t go into the mountains without?

Strong coffee, healthy eats and loud music.