Originally from the PNW Steven left his career as an engineer in early 2020 to move into a van full-time, and pursue personal goals in his passion of rock climbing. For the past two and a half years, he has also been making The Nugget Climbing Podcast. Traveling around the country interviewing world-class climbers to tease out the habits and routines that got them where they are today. Steven and I talk about some of that inspiration, how he got into climbing, and of course podcasts.
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How you were introduced to the outdoors?
My dad was always a work to live, work to play kind of guy. He grew up without money. So I think it was important to him to make enough money that his family didn’t have to be stressed out the way that he was as a kid. And his values really came through in his career and his lifestyle.
He became a lawyer and that was just a job, I don’t think he loved his career. He didn’t mind it, he was good at it, but it afforded him all of the things that he wanted to do in his free time. So, yeah, that was what we did together.
I started snow skiing when I was like three years old. We’d go on family, ski trips, every winter, and then backpacking in the summer, very seasonal. They had a ski boat. We’d go out on the river and water ski, and eventually got into mountain biking when I was a teenager. I mean, it was always just a part of life with family.
How did you get into climbing?
My friend Andrew Crawler took me out when I was 18. I had just graduated high school. He took me out to Leavenworth with my best friend, Nathan and we just went bouldering. We just went to this little traversing boulder in Leavenworth and just kind of monkeyed around and got really pumped.
I failed on like a V1, I had no idea what I was doing. I can’t remember if I had climbing shoes. I think I did, but maybe I borrowed them rentals maybe or something. I can’t remember, but I don’t know why I just loved it. I thought it was so interesting.
Tell us about The Nugget Climbing Podcast, what inspired you to create a podcast?
Tim Ferris was probably the first one that really captured me. These conversations I was getting to tuned into, started to have real impact on my life. And Tim was just providing this amazing mentorship with his guests and I was learning so much from them. Armchair Expert is another one that I love and listened to a lot. And that kind of tapped into more of the interpersonal side, and really trying to understand like, who is this person and what are they trying to get out of whatever they’re into in their life? You know, like where are they finding their meaning and their purpose and what led them there. And it just started to occur to me that there was this opportunity to have that kind of depth and that kind of mentorship in the context of climbing and talk to these amazing climbers who all of us can learn so much from cuz, I always had all these burning questions. I was always, I’m not a naturally good climber. I always felt like I had to work really hard at it. I had to really struggle for each lesson.
You’re all in on podcasts. Why do you feel they’re so valuable?
For me it goes back to that idea of mentorship. There’s so much we can learn from one another. And we have this amazing opportunity with modern technology to share that and to not have to all learn the same lessons, the hard way over and over again. I mean, it’s such a gift.
In addition to climbing, what other outdoor activities do you participate in?
Basically, nothing else. I pretty much only climb. I live in a van full time, so yeah, I’m always camping.
Advice or suggestions for folks wanting to get into the outdoor adventure lifestyle, business, or just get into the outdoors?
I’ll, I’ll start with the industry thing. I think just like in podcasting asking the question, I wanna make a podcast, what should it be about? I think that’s the wrong question to ask. I wanna be in the outdoor industry, what do I want to do?
On the flip-side, if you do have something that, you’re like, why isn’t anyone doing this or making this or talking about this? I mean, start paying attention to that feeling and what it would take to be really good at that and create a really good thing 0ther people would also enjoy.
What is your favorite outdoor gear purchase under $100?
I’m a rock climber first. So they’re very specific pieces of equipment that have served me in rock climbing. The first one is a small portable hang board, it’s by Tension Climbing and it’s called The Block.
I’ll give you a second one. So night climbing. That’s that’s a huge thing now, especially for bouldering, you know, going out at night. The thing that has made all the difference for that is these USB powered or USB rechargeable, L E D lights. You can buy ’em on Amazon.
What are some of your favorite books?
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Feriss
Essentialism by Greg Ewen
4,000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
Where can people find you if they’d like to follow up (email, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
Website: The Nugget Climbing Podcast,
My favorite episodes by category: Top Lists