Five Questions With Climber Nik Berry

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?

After getting burned out on running, I was looking for a new sport to fill my time between the winter months. Some friends took me out to Little Cottonwood Canyon where I was thrown onto sandbagged v1 slabs. I learned really quickly how to use my feet instead of pull my way up. After my first boulder, I was hooked and snowboarding became the “time filler.”

What keeps you climbing?

Its just so damn fun! Climbing has so many disciplines and this makes getting burned out hard. If you get worked on a big wall from all the blue-collar work involved, you can go on a sport climbing vacation. The only thing better than climbing is more climbing.  

What is your typical day/week schedule?

I’m currently in pinstriping school, aka nursing school, so it’s salting my climbing game a bit. I wake up early and run before class sometimes, then sit on my ass for seven hours, then go climb in the gym. This is all capped off by some magnificent studying before I go to bed, and then repeat. My life this past year was much more interesting.

Finish this sentence: In high school, I was ... a single-minded tool who only cared about running fast.

Any advice to young people getting started in your sport?

Climb whatever you’re psyched on. Don’t limit yourself to one aspect of the sport. That would be like only trying one flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robins. Your favorite flavor could be right in front of you, and you would never know it unless you try.

Favorite place on the planet?

2/3 of the way up El Cap, climbing where the rock is steep and perfect, while listing to slut pop.  

If you could leave aspiring athletes with one important piece of life advice or words of wisdom, what would it be?

Climb rocks that speak to you, not numbers that speak to you. When you are looking back on a trip, the lines that will be the most memorable are the ones that inspired you.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Finishing school, a Wind River trip in August, Elephants Perch, Zion and running.

What’s your favorite piece of OR gear?

Ferrosi pants.

Where do you live now and why?

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, because this is where I got into school and my family lives here as well. I would not call SLC climbing world class, but within a four-hour drive, you can be in many world class areas.