There’s a photo of Quinn Mason when she was 9 years old, placing fourth at Youth Nationals, qualifying for the national team. It marks the moment she realized how much she really did care about competition and winning in climbing. Today that photo also symbolizes something else she’s grateful for—and proud of: “Out of all 10 finalists, I think I’m the only one still competing at a high level,” she says, now halfway through high school.
She’s a five-time Youth National Climbing Team member and qualified for the 2020 world cups as an adult. But more than wins or sends, Quinn seems to be focused on the longevity aspect of her climbing life. “I’ve had ups and downs, and to have stuck with it to be where I am now—that is my proudest accomplishment.”
We caught up with Quinn—one of the newest members of the Outdoor Research climbing team—a couple of months into the pandemic, and one of the first things she mentioned is how she had taken some time off at the time. With world cups canceled (she had qualified for the first time), she was taking it easy for a little while, sewing masks for family and friends, dabbling in cooking and painting, and encouraging others to relax a bit, too, through her social media channels.
“I want to let people know, you don’t have to train right now,” she says. “It’s great if you can—but it’s a good time for everyone to take a break. I gave myself a little reset, and I’ve been feeling pretty motivated now that I’ve had some time off.”
Quinn admits she’s never been very good at resting. But if she’s going to enjoy a sustainable climbing career and not get injured or burn out, rest is an important aspect.
“It’s easy to want to ignore it, but you know deep down that in the long run, it’s going to be about taking care of your body,” she says. “If you don’t do that, there won’t be a next season.”