tackling walls with his hands and feet. So
he jumped on the bandwagon … and took
off at full speed. He had found his calling.
“I always like to say the reason I
climb is my wife. It’s a good hall pass.
It’s her fault that I like it so much.”
Brumbaugh gets good use out of
the hall pass. He sets off to climb as
often as possible, even in the winter.
Sometimes he’ll put in a 12 or 14-hour
workday at the shop, drive to Utah —
usually Moab or Zion — sleep in his car,
climb a big wall and then drive home.
“People always say, ‘you’ve got a
business. You’re married. How do you
fit it in? How do you balance it all?’
Usually I sacrifice sleep. I’m willing
to drive through the night, work long
days and drink a lot of Red Bull.”
Brumbaugh’s climbing excursions have
taken him around the
world. He was heli-
coptered in to climb
Canada’s mighty Bug-
aboos last year. He’s
scaled a vertical mile
of rock called The Sti-
pend in Norway. He
was part of the group
to make the first-ever ascent up El Gi-
gante in northern Mexico. He’s climbed in
Sweden, Corsica and all over Europe. He’s
got a tentative trip to Pakistan planned.
His longest continuous climb (so far)
was 14 hours up the infamous piece of
rock in Yosemite Park on El Capitan called
The Nose. The climb itself, which he and
his buddy started at 5 a.m. wearing head-
lamps, was not that daunting. The sheer
exhaustion didn’t set in until they lost
their way getting back to the car, adding
about three unnecessary hours of walking.
“It was just a paved road and we were
about a quarter mile to the car,” Brum-
baugh recalls. “I offered to buy all the
meals for the rest of the trip if my buddy
went to get the car and picked me up.”
When setting off to climb, Brum-
baugh’s motto is “the bigger the better.”
He has hauled up walls with 100 pounds
of gear on his back, slept thousands of
feet off the ground in a cot attached
to the vertical rock. He always goes
with at least one friend — somebody
he knows and trusts, because, unlike a
ski or biking buddy, when rock climb-
ing, “you are basically putting your life
in their hands and vice versa,” he says.
For Brumbaugh, rock climb-
ing is “a microcosm of life,” only
delightfully more simple.
“It’s problem solving, that’s what
climbing is. It’s good meditation time. No
matter what’s going on, you’re focus-
ing on a 4-foot section of rock you have
to get past. No matter what’s going
on, you’re only thinking about surviv-
ing. Getting up there and not seeing
another person, seeing a golden eagle
flying below you … it’s pretty neat.”
It 's problem solving
that 's what climbing is. It 's
good meditation time."