Interview with New Athlete Michael O’Rourke

Michael O’Rourke, where did you come from? You showed up in the Boulder climbing scene unknown, and unexpectedly strong in the field. Are your parents climbers?
I grew up climbing at local gyms in Chicago area. I’m actually the first climber in my family but my parents encouraged me to keep pursuing climbing because they know I liked it.

Michael Finishes Finals Problem at Yank N Yard

You competed on the East coast, and now you’re outside all the time – what changed that?
Well for the first 9 years of my climbing life I could only climb in the gym because the closest crag was 8 hours away. Ever since I moved to Boulder I’ve loved being able to climb outside almost everyday with so many different areas within an hour of where I live.

With relation to climbing, what’s your Super Power, and what’s your Kryptonite?
I would say my Superpower is being very dynamic like big moves and powerful hucks. My kryptonite would have to be slab climbing especially when there’s nothing but volumes on the wall, my nemesis at competitions.

What team or group helps push you harder? Who are your other sponsors?
I train with Team ABC and by myself. I think its good to have coaches to push you and structure your workouts, but I think the best motivation to train harder comes from pushing yourself. All you need to do is pick a goal and don’t stop training until you’ve completed it, then keep on picking harder and harder goals for yourself.

My other sponsors include TruFit, a suspension ring training company and Organic Climbing Pads, keeping me safe on those dangerous falls

As a boulderer living in Boulder, is it difficult to choose where to climb on any given day, with 5 gyms and a mountain range all within 3 miles of town?
I would say picking where to climb on any given day is the most challenging part of living in Boulder. I have so many projects surrounding me its hard to decide what to work on. I usually pick where to go depending on the weather. In the summer I will go up to RMNP, in the spring/fall I try and stay at higher altitudes for the cold weather, and in winter I come down to the Boulder area and work on the projects closer to town. If the weather is too bad to climb outside ill be training in the gym.

And last, where does is the exhilaration come from that keeps you climbing – when you’re working the project, topping the project, developing the project, or something else?
I love all parts of climbing, projecting, sending, developing, training, competing. I think I’m addicted. Each one has its own reward, but each requires lots of time. I love projecting and putting hard problems to rest. Other times I will go on a developing rant brushing up boulders for a week straight. Other days I will be so focused on a competition it feels like I’m living in the gym. There is just so much to do with climbing I think it’s hard to find time to do it all.

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