Lindsey Tjian

The Basics

Name: Lindsey Tjian

Residence: Berkeley, CA

Discipline: Sport Climbing & Bouldering

How did you get into climbing?  Well shoot, the first time I went climbing was when I was like 9 years old at summer camp in a no longer standing gym called City Rock down in Emeryville. I was instantly into it and so I made my mom sign my best friend and I up for the summer camp which we did 2 years in a row. They took us top rope climbing outside at the local Berkeley hills spots like Indian rock and Remillard park. I was very intrigued but I don't think my mom understood it as a real sport so soon after I got heavily into team sports. I tried again in high school to get immersed at the climbing gym but I didn't have any mentors or friends that were into it, then again during college and when I worked at REI I tried to latch on to other climbers, always feeling this draw to the sport. It wasn't until 2008 when I met a crew of super psyched bouldering boys like 6 years younger just graduating from my old high school that I finally made my way as what I would now call "a climber". 

Proudest send?  I would have to say my proudest send was Mon Dieu 13.c (8b) in Spain. Not just because it's the hardest route I've sent but because it was the wildest ride. From start to finish. I remember when I was actually going through the motions of sending it I felt so cray, like my stomach was churning and burning and I felt like I was going to puke. But the whole process was epic, learning a lot on that route on my own, the ups and big downs, all the emotions that go into a big project. And at the time it was a grade way above me cuz I hadn't ever even done a 13b. The grades aren't really that important but when you've skipped some and also only have a good handful of any 13s on your belt you know that those bigger grades are quite the endeavor. In boulders, I'd say my proudest send was a recent one on Seven Spanish Angels v7 I think, in Bishop CA, this winter. Not because its some mega hard problem but because its a classic and a bunch of years ago I tore my hamstring heel hooking on it, then years later I returned for it, with mostly just my girl Lauren Callaway there for support and after trying it like 100 times, minutes before dark and the 5 1/2 hour drive home waiting for me I managed to pull it off. hahaha silly but proud feeling.

Current Projects?  

My current projects in sport climbing are:

  • China Crisis 14a (8b+) Spain
  • Debaser 12d (7c) Rifle CO
  • Curious Jorge 13b (8a) Southern Utah
  • Warp Factor 13a (7c+) Lake Tahoe

Some of my current long term bouldering projects:

  • High Plains Drifter v7 Bishop CA
  • Green Wall Center v6 Bishop CA
  • Bring the Heatwole v7 Joe's Valley UT
  • No Hands Bard v7 Yosemite CA
  • Tendons Give v4 Yosemite CA

I feel like I am learning a lesson in climbing nearly every time I go! But for sure patience and letting go of ego are the most prominent ones that come to mind.

Who are your climbing heroes? Well of course my number one climbing hero is Joe Kinder! hehehehe But for real he is, never have I met someone so stoked on climbing, someone who works so hard for their goals, someone so passionate and driven. But also because before we met I knew virtually zero about sport climbing, bouldering was where I was starting to excel, so to have come so far in my climbing with a mentor like Joe I am very lucky. What a guy... I also find heroism or at least a lot of admiration in the new jacks like Margo Hayes and Ashima Hiraishi. They amaze me and I enjoy following their ever evolving success in the sport. I also really look up to some of the older generation of climbers like Boone Speed and Conrad Anker not just for their climbing triumphs but for their knowledge, wisdom and attitudes.

Most memorable climbing trip? Hmmmm... Most memorable climbing trip, well definitely my first more lengthy climbing trip, a month in Hueco Tanks Texas in 2013, going from more of a weekend warrior to longer planned out road trips. Not only was that the first of many longer trips that was a big year in many ways because a lot of changes in my personal life occurred that year and the desire to live more free and wild became eminent. But I also refer to a lot of memories from our trip to Australia which was also my first official international climbing trip with Joe. Not necessarily because it was the best trip ever, cuz actually it really was not. A lot of cliffs were closed down due to fires, the weather was kinda heinous, the climbing was maybe not Joe's favorite, we were there for for way too long and jeez I was still figuring out what sport climbing was so insecurity was present. But damn we made the best of it, and had some good times out there. That's where we really figured out we wanted a van you can stand in and live in, we learned a lot about each other and how well we do in small spaces for very long periods of time, I learned a lot more about climbing overall, and a lot of my experiences today mentally refer back to the experiences we faced on that trip. Very memorable.

What's the most important lesson you've learned through climbing? I feel like I am learning a lesson in climbing nearly every time I go! But for sure patience and letting go of ego are the most prominent ones that come to mind. I think I'll always feel like a gumby beginner I don't know why but there's something about that that I don't mind. Keeps you humble and always hungry to learn more I guess.

What's it like to be dating your climbing? Dating your climbing partner is the cats meow! As long as you can do it with stealth and grace or just with-out wanting to murder each other. I'd say Joe and I do it pretty well, although every couple has their moments and for sure things can get a lot more heated and accelerated with a climbing partner when it's the person you trust and let yourself be most vulnerable with too. Let's just say it can get fiery at times. hahaha. But It's the shit! and I wouldn't have it any other way. I absolutely love being there belaying Joe and supporting him through all his endeavors and I'm sure vise versa. Seeing your significant other succeed is one of the best things out there! Doesn't even have to be climbing.

Where is somewhere you haven't climbed that you'd like toMy climbing destination wish list... just to name a few:


  • Greece
  • Italy
  • France (Verdon & Ceuse)
  • Norway
  • China
  • Indian Creek


  • South Africa 
  • Fontain Bleu 
  • Chattanooga/Dirty South in general
  • Squamish

Describe the best and worst parts of living out of a van. 
Best parts of living out of a van:

  • You can pull over and get in bed in a matter of seconds.
  • Your house and everything you brought with you is always close when your out climbing.
  • You are forced to keep yourself and your boyfriend and dog in somewhat organized manners because living in a small space kinda means you have to.
  • The beers and chocolate are always at an arms length from bed.
  • The walls are solid so you can't blow away when its windy.
  • It's 4x4 with clearance because you and your boyfriend weren't spending all of your money unless it was. So you can get to any and every cliff.
  • It's cozy and comfy cuz you have a queen size bed and its covered in Rumpl blankets at all times.
  • It rules but you wouldn't want to do it 24/7

Worst parts of living out of a van:

  • It gets dirty and thrashed quick. But it's small so it cleans up fast.
  • It's a very small space for two people and a dog sometimes.
  • It's one room, so if you get in a fight your all in the dog house.
  • There's no toilet cuz thats a waste of space and yuck so it kinda sucks when you drink too much and gotta pee in the middle of the night and it;s cold af outside.
  • Not too much sucks. 

If you weren't climbing, what do you think you'd be doingIf I wasn't fully obsessed with climbing, I'd probably get fully obsessed with surfing. Another sport/activity that always called to me but never really got pursued. Or if I wasn't a climber I would for sure still be extremely active in some way outside because it's in my nature and I'd be a very unhappy person with out it. But perhaps I'd have gotten into Horticulture or Food/Culinary Arts. Something active, that involves hands on activity. Or I'd just be working as a model, producer, stylist more. Trying to just make more of them medium bucks! Ka Ching$$$!!!