We’re shining this staff spotlight on Robin West, Desk Lead and Retail Coordinator at First Ascent Avondale. Robin’s calm, cool presence and one-of-a-kind laugh are contagious. Read more about her below and say hi to her next time you see her around the gym!

1. How did you get into climbing?

I started climbing at First Ascent. I had always wanted to try climbing, but didn’t know how or where to start. I learned about First Ascent around the time it opened, but kept putting it off. Then I was unemployed for a little while and needed an outlet because I was stressed out, so I stumbled into First Ascent and never left.

2. What do you love about climbing?

I love the community of it, but also what it does for me mentally. I feel so at peace when I find my flow on a problem or route. I get focused and everything else fades away.

3. Bouldering or sport climbing? Make sure to tell us why.

I used to be all about sport climbing. I just didn’t enjoy bouldering and sport climbing was my first love. It’s completely flipped in the past year though. Last March I started an affair with bouldering and fell in love all over again. I left sport climbing and my harness behind. It was nothing personal.

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

I love going up to Devil’s Lake to boulder because I can just plan a quick day trip. It’s also the first place I went climbing outside so it’s nostalgic for me. Plus I always feel especially good when I can make it up those slick quartzite problems.

Rock climbing has taken over the outdoors for me so unless I’m lounging in the sun or water, I’m climbing.

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

I wanna get my health up to speed and be able to climb a grade or two higher in bouldering so I can possibly learn how to set and be of more use when we’re forerunning.

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

School 🙁

But also my pup, girlfriend, and friends.

7. What do you love about Chicago?

The comedy club scene! Also that I can get around easily without a car. When I move out West I’ll probably need to get a car 🙁

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

I love The Second City for comedy. Pilsen is awesome when I want tacos. Honestly one of my favorite places to eat is Gorilla Sushi. It’s not fancy, but the sushi is good and you can’t beat $3 a roll. Also Xurro Factory in North Center! 3927 N Lincoln! They make churros fresh in shop. They also have ice cream, funnel cake, churro milkshakes, hot chocolate, and coffee. Everyone must know. Everyone must go.

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

I’m biracial.

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

You’re doing great 👍🏽. Also talk to me about superheroes! I need more nerd friends.