Community first at Climb So iLL


     Trying new things is hard. When you do something for the first time you’re taking a risk, and you’re accepting an infinite number of factors that can influence the decision and change the outcome of the challenge you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes our ability to communicate and work together can make these things easier. We resolve to build things greater than ourselves and accomplish goals that benefit everyone involved. It’s this community component that makes us human. It validates our ideas and allows us to share in our passions together.

I wanted to learn more about building strong community. I found this happening best at Climb So iLL. Anchored by the So iLL product company, they’ve created a place where many people have found identity within the climbing community. The content they create, programs they offer, and products they launch show they understand exactly what athletes passionate about climbing really want! What I realized immediately was this place was full of individuals who where genuinely passionate about helping others and excited to see the climbing community in St. Louis succeed as a whole. I was able to photograph and interview Stephanie and Nathan, veteran members of the Climb So iLL experience. They embodied the Climb So iLL mission and helped me realize the benefits of including climbing in your weekly routine. - Scroll down to see more from their interview at Climb So iLL.


Stephanie Suhany

24 years old


Other Hobbies: Baking, travel, Yoga


What are your favorite aspects about climbing as a sport? 

One of my favorite aspects about climbing is the community that comes along with the sport.  I enjoy seeing and experiencing how it brings together such an eclectic group of people.  I also enjoy the mental focus and determination climbing requires.                                                      

Why did you choose to climb at Climb So iLL? 

I was first drawn to Climb So iLL by the bouldering wall but quickly found so many more reasons to stay.  The route setters are extremely talented, the employees are welcoming and quirky, there are routinely new and challenging problems being set, and the other members are encouraging and motivating.  


What are you currently working on to improve your climbing ability?

I'm currently trying to improve my footwork.  One look at my climbing shoes, and it's pretty apparent that my foot placement could use some work.

What advice would you give new climbers / members? 

Have fun and get ready to be addicted! If you're having trouble with a route, ask someone. Working problems with other climbers is one of the best parts of this sport!

Nathan Lundak

22 years old


Other Hobbies: Tinkering, Making knick-knacks, Learning, Playing music...and just making noise!


What are your favorite aspects about climbing as a sport?

One of my favorite aspects of climbing, as a sport, is the way you get to use your body. Sometimes it requires flexibility; sometimes strength. Sometimes you have to be explosive and react quickly, or you have to move slowly and rely on balance alone. Most of the time you get to do a combination of those things, and it's constantly mentally and physically engaging. 
Climbing is very inclusive too, and I think that is a quality many other sports don't possess. It doesn't matter what your age is, or how tall you are, or how skinny or strong you are. As long as you just climb, and have fun, you will become a better climber. When a sport is as enjoyable as rock climbing, progress just happens. Even when you're falling off of routes you thought you'd perfected, or missing the motivation you had a month ago, you're learning and making progress. And probably having a lot of fun..


Why did you choose to climb at Climb So iLL?

The environment and community. Climb So iLL is the most welcoming and enjoyable rock climbing facility I've ever been to. It's such an easy choice. The route setters are incredibly talented, the management and employees are some of the greatest people I've met - and always working to make Climb So iLL a better place, and the establishment is well designed and maintained. It doesn't get much better. 

What are you currently working on to improve your climbing ability?

I do a few stretches and exercises as a sort of preventative maintenance. One day I hope to have the discipline for a regimented stretching and exercise routine. Until then, I'll just be climbing to improve my climbing ability. 

What advice would you give new climbers / members?

Have fun! Don't be shy, meet new people and learn from each other. Don't worry about embarrassing yourself or looking goofy. Pay attention to your body, if something is causing you pain then it is probably not a good thing- take the time to address these issues at their onset, not after they've caused an injury.
Most of all, just climb.