Brendan Leader - 3RD ROCK - Sustainable | Innovative | Activewear

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Brendan Leader

Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Currently Resides: Zoe, KY (Red River Gorge)
Years Climbing: 11

Career Highlights:

  • La Kanabica 8b (Rodellar, Spain)
  • The Beast 8a+ (Boven, SA)
  • 10+ 8a+ routes
  • Heavy Seas 8a (Red River Gorge, USA) Second go
  • Coliseum (Rodellar, Spain) 8a Second go
  • Argo (Rodellar, Spain) 8a Second go
  • Spasiba IVA 7c+ Onsight (Rodellar, Spain)
  • 10+ 7c Onsights
  • FA up to 7c+ (Slampiece... BAM! - Red River Gorge, USA)
  • 50+ routes 5.13 and harder (7c+ and harder)
  • Established well over 150 climbs in 3 countries

Tell me a little bit about your climbing history and how you got started?

My first climbing experience should surely be published in a book all about what not to do rock climbing. A buddy and I decided we wanted to go climbing so we scrounged up a bunch of trad gear from used gear stores, the university outdoors club and some random buddies. I kid you not, we went to the library and found one of those books titled ‘How to Rock Climb’, or something like that. We messed around at the base of the cliff looking at pictures in the book and placing cams and nuts here and there. Then off we went. Well I made it up to a set of anchors, somehow, belayed my buddy up as we’d seen in the book, and then we realized we did not have a long enough rope to get down. So there we sat for a couple of hours until some stray climbers came by and saved us. That was pretty much the course of my first couple of years of climbing.

What is it you love most about climbing?

I tie in and leave the ground for me. On the wall everything else drops away. The world goes silent. I don’t think about my to-do list, my worries or the drama that life sometimes brings. When I am climbing all that matters is the present; nothing exists except the here and now. The unencumbered purity of those moments is why I climb.

What was the turning point in your climbing career where you decided to take it more seriously and make it your life?

Believe it or not, what turned me into a full-time obsessed climber was a gnarly climbing accident that put me on bed rest for 2 months and on crutches for 6 months. I don’t respond well to be told I can’t do something and I guess I saw that incident as the world telling me I shouldn’t rock climb. So I’m determined to prove the world wrong. Take that.

What is your proudest ascent in climbing & what’s the story around it?

Just one? That’s a tall order. I guess one that stands out in my mind from recent years is a 13c line called Paideia in Rodellar, Spain. My forte is most definitely not the mega long endurance pitches (yes I know I live in the Red), but rather, shorter sustained climbs. Paideia stretches an uncut 80 meter rope to get you back to the ground. Why I chose that line I can’t imagine. But I will never forget the moment of arriving at the final redpoint crux, a stab to a two finger pocket at the 38 meter mark with the anchors in my face. I fumbled one finger leaving me with a mono and a hell of a lot of screaming but stuck with it and clipped the chains. Haven’t climbed anything that long since.

What is your favourite type of route/type of climbing?

Put me on a rope and I’ll take whatever you throw at me. My preference though would be overhanging climbs that punch you in the gut from the time you leave the ground to the moment you clip the chains. Long endurance based climbs aren’t my first choice. I want hard moves, every move and I’m too hyper to soak up rests.

If you could summarize your outlook on life in a sentence what would it be?

Have fun, try hard, smile!

What is your favourite quote?

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. -Ayn Rand

Any unusual hobbies or skills?

I am a country boy at heart so when I’m not climbing you’re liable to find me hunting or fishing in the woods, riding my four wheeler, tearing things up on my tractor or building something around my property like a new addition to my climbing gym. I am also a super nerd for photography and videography and spend a lot of time shooting and editing climbing media.

Any unusual facts about yourself/your past?

I have a British (and US) passport but have spent less than 24 hours in the UK in my life.

3RD ROCK/why did you choose 3RD ROCK?

FFF&F = Form Follows Function & Fun! -3rd Rock Team

3rd Rock not only makes awesome apparel but they do so in an environmentally conscious manner and go above and beyond to be excellent advocates for this beautiful world we live in.

What are your goals/projects for 2018?

I have huge goals for 2018! First up in the spring I’m heading to St. George, UT to try a route that I’ve been in awe of since I first laid eyes on it, Golden for a Moment (5.14b/8c). In the summer I’m planning to return to Waterval Boven in South Africa to finish up some business with Godzilla (5.13d) and try Rodan (5.14a/8b+) and Shear Force (5.14b/8c). The fall will be spent at home in the RRG where I’ve got endless projects but I’ve been toying with Fifty Words for Pump (5.14b/c 8c/+).

Best training secret?

Firewood! Saw it, drag it, split it, stack it. No need to pick up a dumbbell ever. Nature’s gym.

Follow Brendan:
Instagram: @brendanleader
Facebook: Brendan Leader athlete page