You’ve seen them, likely warming up on your project. Hopefully you were paying attention – their beta’s pretty good. But there’s a lot more to Team Solo than a crew of kiddo crushers coached by Justen Sjong and Adam Markert. We chatted with team members Ella Vondungen and Tanner Bauer to give you the inside scoop on the next generation of dedicated climbers. We learned a few things; some of them surprised us:
Combined, they have almost two decades of climbing experience.
Ella has been climbing on boulder-area teams for over 7 years; before that she went to the gym with her parents, also dedicated climbers. Tanner’s story is similar. They both joined Team Solo last fall – Ella, because she wanted more individual coaching and a smaller team, and Tanner because he’d trained with Justen before and knew he was an excellent coach. Since then, both climbers have excelled, competing at lead climbing Nationals, and:
Tanner’s currently in Russia competing at Youth Lead Climbing World Championships,
which is pretty neat (understatement). It’s his first time competing at Worlds, so the pressure’s off – he’s just “psyched to get out of the country and experience Russia and the climbing world outside of the US.”
They’re more psyched on climbing outside than inside.
Of course they love climbing in the gym and traveling with their teammates for competitions, but after the team’s trip to Rifle this summer, both Tanner and Ella are psyched on projecting outside. Locally, Tanner wants to lead all the pitches on The Naked Edge. In Rifle, he’s psyched on Zulu (5.14a) and getting in lots of mileage on 5.13+ after sending his summer project, Waka Flocka (5.14b). Ella has some projects but is “more focused on being outside and being part of the Rifle community.”
“If I send great,” she says, “but, if not, being [outside] is what I enjoy the most.”
Bouldering season* is about training and outdoor climbing temps
more than it is about specific goals for competitions. Tanner likes competing for the energy at each event and the opportunity to climb with friends from around the county. Ella enjoys the mental challenge of competing and having something to focus her training around.
*The indoor bouldering season starts in September.
They do (way) more than just climb and high school.
Ella is always outside: hiking, biking and skiing when she’s not climbing. Tanner is psyched on photography, videography, skateboarding and combining the three.
Thank you to Ella and Tanner for taking the time to sit down and share their goals and projects for the season. Good luck to Tanner at Worlds and best of luck to both athletes with their outdoor projects and the upcoming indoor bouldering season.
Featured Image: Ella climbs Diety (5.13a) in Rifle, CO. Photo: Adam Markert