Back in September, we celebrated our fourth anniversary of opening our first location, First Ascent Avondale. In the four (already four!) years we’ve existed, we’ve welcomed thousands of new climbers through our doors, and watched them fall in love with the sport we love. We’ve watched countless members get stronger, healthier, and more connected to those around them. We can’t get enough of this community, so we asked you to share your FA stories on Instagram using #MyFAstory. Some of them we’ve heard before (we’re grateful to have a tight-knit group!), and others we heard for the first time.

So, we want to share some of the stories people told about their journey into climbing, and into the FA community. Check out the highlights below, and say hi if you see these crushers in the gym!

Climbing helps @kfuhrich to push her personal limits

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This week’s #MyFAStory feature comes from @kfuhrich: “I never considered myself athletic because I don’t excel at catching a flying ball. Climbing has encouraged me to physically push myself. I’ve sweated through, balanced atop and held on to things I never thought I could. Seeing a barrier and busting through it— or sometimes, barely inching over it— is empowering. What I imagined was merely a physical endeavor has turned out to have many mental and emotional benefits, too.” Friendly reminder for our members: if you post your #myFAstory by 9/30, you’ll receive 500 FA Bonus points! . . . #whyiclimb #❤️#letsclimbchicago #climbingcommunity #climbon #climbing #optoutside #climbingstory

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@chefbreadley has used climbing to help him face fear and adversity

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We’re closing out our birthday month with another #myfastory. Here’s @chefbreadley’s story: “My FA Story begins 3 years ago, when I was tired of the same old exercise routine and wanted something to challenge myself. Fast forward to now, and climbing has become not only a new way to stay active, but also a lifestyle and a community that’s helped foster my personal growth in other areas of life too. It’s taught me to be humble, face my fears, push through adversity and so much more. I love the adversity of it, and the feeling of accomplishment when everything lines up and I conquer a route or boulder problem.” We LOVE hearing stories like these. Thanks for sharing this Seth! FA members: if you haven’t posted your FA story yet, we’d still love to hear it. You have until midnight tonight to tag a post with #myFAstory to earn 500 FA Bonus points! . . . Photo: @sally.blood #whyiclimb #❤️#letsclimbchicago #climbingcommunity #climbon #climbing #climbingstory

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Climbing helped @betweenarock_ surprise himself with new skills

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This week’s #MyFAStory feature comes from @betweenarock_: “I took a learn the ropes class at Avondale as a surprise birthday present. I wasn’t so sure about top rope, but I was really intrigued by bouldering. So I took an intro to bouldering class at Uptown, and then I was hooked. I loved feeling so strong and being able to conquer the fear of heights. After about 6 months of climbing, I was able to do something I never thought I’d be about to do it my life: a pull-up! Not only has climbing been great for building strength and mental toughness, but the community is amazing! I love participating in as many First Ascent events as I can, and love all the new friends I’ve met!” Thanks for sharing your story with the whole community, Kim! The FAmily wouldn’t be the same without you. Reminder: We want to hear your FA story too, so tag your next post with #myFAstory and tell us more about how you got into climbing and the impact it’s had on your life. All FA members can earn 500 FA Bonus points this month for sharing. . . . #climbing #whyiclimb #❤️#letsclimbchicago #climbingcommunity #climbon #bouldering #Uptown #climbingstory

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Climbing’s helped @anne_catrone show strength — mind and body

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LOVE this #myFAstory from @anne_catrone: “The first time I went climbing, I couldn’t do a single pull up. I had zero upper body strength and I hated working out. Climbing changed all of that. I had so much fun and pushed myself so hard that the next day, I could barely hold a pen, my forearms hurt so much. There’s a lot I love about climbing. As an exercise, it’s versatile and challenging, building strength and confidence simultaneously. It’s one of the few sports that can be competitive individually or as a team, and as such fosters a community that’s genuinely interested in supporting others in their pursuit of success. It provides a place where failure is not just possible, but expected, since failure is the only way to test your limits and grow. Now that I’m pregnant, I find it even more important to continue climbing, and to keep climbing a part of mine and my husband’s lives, for as long as I can. I want to show other women that pregnancy doesn’t define you. Sure, certain things may have to change. Like me, you may have to clear it with your doctor, stick with beginner walls, and take more breaks. But it’s important to me to stay healthy and continue doing things I love. Besides, I want to introduce this kid to climbing early. I want my child to know their mom is unapologetically strong, and strong women should be celebrated. I want them to know their dad admits his weaknesses, and seeks guidance to improve upon them. That courage isn’t the absence of fear, but it’s doing something in spite of fear. That difficult things are worthwhile. That failure is how you learn. I want to remind myself that children fall, and some challenges they’ll have to face alone, and when they do, if we’ve done our job, they will have the courage and confidence to tackle them head on. That’s why I climb. That’s why I continue to climb.” Thanks for sharing this story, Anne – so inspiring!! We want to hear YOUR FA story! Tag a post #myFAstory to tell us how you got into climbing and the impact it’s had on your life! FA members can earn 500 FA Bonus points this month for sharing. #climbing #whyiclimb #❤️#letsclimbchicago #climbingcommunity

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Here’s to four more years and beyond with this amazing community!