Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 10.10.49 AMMy name is Kathy and I’m a rock climber hailing from Brooklyn, NY. I began climbing in the Gunks and since my first gear placement, I have never looked back. I have only looked to what lies next on the horizon—and it’s pretty damn exciting. My love of rock and ice has been a life changing experience.

A few years ago, I started a blog to let my mom know that I was alive and I hit the road for twelve months. I nested in Colorado with future goals of big wall, aid soloing, and exploring the alpine world. Between baking and loving on dogs, I’m desperately trying not to kill the last few living basil plants in my apartment. – June 2014

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For the Love of Climbing goes beyond hard sends, spray, and ticking off climbs to bring the focal point back to the climbing lifestyle (the love of it, the heartbreak, the failures, sends, and everything in between). The life surrounding the outdoor lifestyle resonates with everybody—whether you call home a campsite, your car, or city apartment—there are similar questions we are all asking ourselves.

Update: I moved to Salt Lake City and have since killed all of my basil plants. I am now the proud of owner of several mostly not dead succulents (did you know that those things need water, too? Sheesh, plants are needy.)


Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 10.10.54 AMKathy Karlo- T-Wall-9118Someone once told me: “Climbing doesn’t change you.” that, “This is rock climbing. It isn’t supposed to be nice or safe or accepting of who you are and your feelings.”

I disagree.

Times about infinity.

We tend to avoid the sad stuff, the awkward conversations, the uncomfortable topics–but what happens when we talk openly about pain and weave it into a story is really powerful. It helps us find meaning and value in struggle, but most importantly, find strength. My vision is to normalize talking about vulnerability and create a collective storytelling platform that will somehow bleed into our daily interactions–and maybe the world will be a slightly better place for it. 

We all have these stories that go untold, but to use them to make a difference in the world, to transform ourselves, to broaden our perspective–it’s brave, like attempting a bold climb. And, maybe it will change somebody else’s perspective, too.


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When climbing found me, I was living in New York City and consider those the best five years of my life. I was a broke dirtbag before, during, and after my stint on the east coast but eventually, moved out west. Now, I am biologically an adult—still broke, but wiser (I think.) I’ve had a few adventures and I love writing about them. I have been published in Alpinist Magazine and I am a senior contributing writer for The Climbing Zine. In 2014, For the Love of Climbing was featured in Climbing Magazine. Two years later, I made a film. It won an award. I felt proud.

Some other things happened between then and now: I grew up, stopped questioning the absurdities of life, cried on a big wall in Africa, was depressed, took a ground fall, broke a bone, moved back to New York City, fell in love, ate a lot of $1.25 tacos, aid soloed my first big wall, drove across the country thirteen times, made a lot of cookie towers, saw my best friend get married, got a full-time job, understood who I was, and found a little slice of happiness, here and there.

I live in Salt Lake City and continue to travel around the country to climb. I work for No Man’s Land Film Festival to promote a shared vision of gender equality in the outdoor industry and beyond. I write stories to inspire and promote empathy. I produce a new podcast about choosing vulnerability, that talks about our pain, our most awkward moments, and how we are all really just shining examples of this messy, human existence.

Ultimately, all I have ever wanted to do with my life was something meaningful that impacted people in a powerful way. I’m proud of my work.

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7 thoughts

  1. I love reading your thoughts! You inspire me with how you live your life. Living in a sense of unsurity of what the future holds is how I’m beginning to believe how we were meant to live on this earth; not to have life figure out and to kno exactly what the next day holds!

    Keep on keepin on! I love seeing your climbing snap shots they grow my own love for climbing!

    Jody Lisenby

  2. that was a great read, thanks for sharing all those thoughts and emotions…. some of it hits home (except that part about living I a car – LOL). Full steam ahead with gumption, ambition and not settling for a low hanging fruit. Dan

  3. Kathy you rock, period. You’re enthusiasm for pursuing vertical adventures and your ability to instill that joy in others is a true gift. Thank you for sharing.

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