We’re shining the staff spotlight on Brandon Bradberry, Intro to Bouldering instructor at First Ascent Block 37. Read more about his climbing journey below and say hi next time you see him at Block 37!

1. How did you get into climbing?

In 2017, not knowing anything about climbing, I applied for a job at the Maggie Daley Park climbing wall. Before the 2018 season, I climbed on an autobelay, just to try it out. It was sketchy coming down…I’m normally not scared of anything, so I did it again and again and again, and eventually started climbing from there. By the time the 2018 season was over, I was instructing.

2. What do you love about climbing?

It’s like a zen thing. The technique blows my mind. I love how climbing works on muscles I’ve never thought to use and is also a full body exercise.

3. Bouldering or sport climbing?

Bouldering, because I run out of steam very quickly.

4. What is your favorite place to climb outdoors? What other outdoor activities do you participate in?

I’ve never climbed outside—eventually, yeah. I fall enough in the gym already right now…

I occasionally do open water swimming in the lake and also have done some skiing.

5. Do you have any particular climbing projects or fitness goals for this year?

I’d like to become an official V6 climber. I’ve done them before, but it takes me multiple sessions. I want to be able to climb V6 problems within one session.

6. What keeps you busy when you’re not climbing?

My daughter keeps me on my toes all of the time. She loves autobelays, but doesn’t want to toprope with me—she doesn’t want me to help her! She’s really tough.

7. What do you love about Chicago?

The grid system, and public transportation makes it easy to get around.

8. What is your favorite Chicago spot for food, music, art or culture?

My favorite spot would be Hyde Park because it’s so diverse. If I was there right now and hungry, I’d go to Noodles Etc.

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

I basically climb with only my right arm, because I have severe nerve damage in my left one. I usually have to flip problems around to focus on my right arm.

10. Anything else you want to say to the FA Community?

Thanks for all the beta and help in my journey of becoming a good climber.