Ben is an up and coming young climber, who got his start in the competition-climbing scene. He is off to a great start, as Ben has flashed 5.14a, as well as projected a new first ascent of 5.14c/d (Helsinki in New Mexico). Also repeated Everything is Karate (5.14c) Bishop.
Birthday: October 25th, 1998
Home town: Santa Fe
Current home: Santa Fe
Favorite MAXIM rope: 9.1mm Airliner
"Climbing is hard."
“The 9.1mm Airliner has been great for all the whips I take. I’m really happy with how well it holds up to abuse.”
Tell us how and when you got into climbing?
My dad started bringing me climbing with him as soon as I could walk.
What do you think was the highlight of your climbing career (so far)?
When I was 12, I competed in the Pan American games, my first international competition. In semifinals they had a spot light, and I ended up getting highpoint and the entire gym started chanting “USA….USA... USA.” I don’t think it’s going to get much better than that. Last year I flashed “Proper Soal”, which was a huge moment for me. Last fall I sent my long term project, “Helsinki.” This was one of those climbs I thought I could never do.
What are you doing when you are not climbing?
Essentially, climbing is the only thing that really matters to me right now. It seems that everything I do is so I can climb more.
What is the soundtrack of your life (favorite song)?
“21st Century Digital Boy” by Bad Religion.
If you could choose a super power, what would it be?
If I could choose a super power, I would be the Hulk.
What was your favorite climbing adventure?
A few years ago I went with my best friend to Roy, NM to boulder. We wound up getting lost, and it took us 3 times as long to get there as it should have. Once we got there, I couldn't find the boulders, so we ended up exploring this choss canyon with almost no bouldering, but we had a great time. It’s by far my favorite climbing trip.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a pro climber?
I would still be climbing, just un-professionally.
Country/City: West Virginia, USA
Length: 100 ft
As my first flash of a 5.14a, this route is special to me. More importantly, it was a route I had heard great things about and was stoked to get on. Furthermore, it’s an amazing route that is a lot of fun to climb.
Country/City: Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, USA
Length: 110 ft
When I first tried this route, I couldn't do more than one move at a time, and there were a lot of moves I couldn't do. So being able to finally send it after 5 years was a big moment for me.
Everything is Karate
Country/City: Bishop, CA, USA
Both aesthetically and in terms of the climb itself, this is one of the most beautiful climbs I’ve ever been on. On top of this, this line demands that every move be executed perfectly, and I really enjoy that sort of challenge.
© Drew Smith