How Climbing Changed My Life.

I recently met up with one of my closest friends from college to go climb some rock in Leavenworth, Washington. During my first year of college at Western Washington University I met this guy. Finlay Morrison, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Norweigan climber with a great name, even though misspelled based on my standards. Before I met Finn, I was convinced that surely no one was more obsessed with climbing than myself, and because I am not willing to admit that yet, I have to tell you that I still believe that statement to be true.

Within the last six months of knowing each other, Finn and I have roughly climbed with our friends for 165 days, leaving 20 days of no climbing. There were many nights where we’d all get together and dream up crazy climbing trips that would  be completed over summer break. For example, driving to Colorado to meet up with our boys from Vail to climb and send it to Utah, or buying a bus and driving her down the West Coast climbing every boulder in sight. 

Unfortunately, a little mishap occurred forcing all college campuses to close down which meant no on-campus living for the rest of the year. That little mishap, being the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak. I felt as if all my hopes and dreams had been infected and killed by the terrible sickness. Luckily for me, the biggest effect it had on me was the state park closures. Closed parks meant no climbing. March 25th was the first day that the closure went into effect, and a little over a month later and they have since reopened in Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Phase One” plan. The minute I read the article about the parks opening I hit up Finn.

nah whatever.. it’s cool

Unfortunately we weren’t on the same page… late one night after communicating for a bit, we came to an agreement for a time to go: early the next morning. So I grabbed the nearest backpack I could find and tossed in a fresh pair of underwear and my toothbrush and loaded it into the car along with a sleeping bag, climbing shoes and crash pads. I was set.

After a three hour long car ride on my end, and a short hour and a half drive for Finn and his brother Olaf, we explored around Index, Washington. We had the intention of climbing some routes that Finn had sent before at the river. However, to our surprise, the river had risen quite a bit since he was last there and a majority of the routes were halfway under water. We loaded up the cars and made the spontaneous decision to head an hour east to Leavenworth. After driving around town for a bit we were able to find some rock called the “Fridge Boulders” and according to, “The Fridge itself has one of the best problems in Leavenworth.” We were game, and knew that this was the spot. There are about six problems on the main Fridge boulder ranging from V0 to V8. We warmed up on the V0 and V2 and decided to try our strength on a couple of V4’s. 

Woefully, we were both unable to complete either of the V4’s which I have to contribute to the fact that we slept in our cars the night before and had little food, because we didn’t pack efficiently. Guys, I know what you are thinking, and I promise you that we are strong enough… 

After a long night of very little sleep, Finlay hazily peers off into the distance and looks back on his life wondering what he did wrong to end up sleeping in his car in the middle of a dirt lot.

I have to be honest with you though. At the end of the day, I am never too hard on myself if I don’t complete a certain climb right away. A year and a half ago when I would lay in bed at night watching climbing/adventure movies like Jeff Johnson’s, 180 Degrees South, I was just waiting for the opportunity to get out and create my own adventures, whether that was climbing or surfing and or just traveling. I am just beyond stoked that I now have that opportunity to do all of that and climb regardless if I flash that V12 I dreamed about the night before. I am especially lucky to have found a community of people around me who are stoked on life and adventure. Life is Good!

Stay safe and enjoy yourself!


By Jack Finley

I am using this website as a means of posting the majority of photos I have taken, and to showcase what I can do. I will also try and write articles or blog posts about whatever I feel like. I need to make myself act more creatively

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