If you’ve hung around First Ascent, you’ve probably noticed that we love our community. It’s comprised of strong, diverse, talented people who are passionate about climbing as well as other things too. If you’ve climbed at First Ascent, chances are high that you brushed shoulders with someone named Myung. For our very first member spotlight, picking who to spotlight was easy. Myung is First Ascent’s twice-a-day climber, honorary staff member, personal chef, and the ultimate embodiment of what we love about our community.

Here’s a quick Q&A with Myung so you can get to know him too. Be sure to say hi next time you see him at First Ascent!

How did you get into climbing?

Four years ago, a good friend wanted to go climbing for his birthday, so we ended up going to Vertical Endeavors (VE) when it used to be located in Warrenville. After we went, we decided to make climbing a regular thing. One visit led to another, and we just kept climbing. The community is very supportive, and it was a great thing to be part of.

We continued to climb, and I also climbed at a tiny wall at UIC. I then transitioned to VE in Glendale Heights, and once First Ascent came around, it was a no-brainer where I would be climbing.


Myung crushing it on the beast.

What do you love about climbing?

I love the community. I love the fact that everyone is so welcoming. The climbing community is about climbing, but we all have other interests beyond climbing. For instance, last Sunday, we all were helping out at Divisionals, when a group of us went out afterwards and did some arch


Climbing can be very individual or rather collective with a group. For instance: there is Women Crush Wednesdays, or you can boulder on your own, or you can have a partner on rope or auto belay. I know that I can go on any given day and find a climbing partner or friends to boulder with.

Plus, there’s a mental aspect, it’s physical, it’s exhausting… there are so many different aspects to climbing that make it all around fun.

How do you approach training for climbing? Any particular goals or projects for this year?

I don’t have a regimen per se. People are surprised that I’m at the gym so often. However, I can do it because I am constantly training other aspects, not just climbing. I build in cardio and weight training, and I’m working on incorporating bouldering more as well. I also try to push past my limits, like the mental aspects of leading.

Myung’s debut in the now world famous FA Hangouts gif.

But for the most part, I don’t train to send some number or specific route. I go to enjoy my workout. And I think that’s the key; I climb everyday and get stronger because it’s fun.

When not climbing at First Ascent, where do you get your climb on?

When outdoors, I’m usually at the Red (Red River Gorge). I recently went to Colorado Estes Park for ice climbing, which is very different from “dry” climbing and definitely an adjustment with the altitude. There is also a potential trip to Seattle for Alpine Climbing in the works.

When you’re not climbing, what are you doing?

I really like “experimenting/cooking” other dishes, watching cooking shows, and working on recipes that are intricate. My favorite dish is Gordan Ramsey’s Beef Wellington. It’s one of those dishes that can easily go wrong at any stage. 

What’s your favorite Chicago restaurant?

Three favorite places in Chicago by category: Pot Sticker Hut (Chinese), Little Goat (Casual) and Green Street Smoked Meats (BBQ).

What is something about you that most people don’t know?

I am obsessed with Arthurian Mythology, and I read my favorite pre-Arthurian myth The Skystone by Jack Whyte at least 3 times a year.

Anything else you want to say to the FA community?


Myung at the Red River Gorge (left) and Estes Park (right).

Come say hi, ask questions, ask for a belay, and get involved. The community at FA is welcoming to all, and we are all VERY VERY lucky to have it!