Words by Crystal Tan & Connor Gurzi
Photo Credit: Kayla King & Crystal Tan
Meet Connor Gurzi, staff member and coach at Sender One Climbing. Connor began climbing at age 11 after he celebrated his birthday at a local gym by his house. It was love at first crimp. The owner of the gym suggested that Connor join the team and start competing. Being naturally competitive, he was psyched to join the team right away. The years of competing have motivated Connor to train hard and become a stronger climber.
Connor has been a coach at Sender One for just over a year and absolutely loves it. It's super rewarding for him to share his passion for climbing with the kids he coaches. Although the kids get beta from him, he appreciates how much they teach and motivate him to lead by example. Way to go Coach Connor!
We asked Connor about his most recent FA's and he was more than happy to share them with us. What is an FA? FA stands for "first ascent" in which a climber is the first one to send that boulder problem or route. Connor recently sent two new boulder problems up in Black Mountain, the first being “As the Sun Shines Through” (V10). This problem was shown to Connor by his dear friend and one of our very own setters, Kody Shutt. The second problem, “No Punt Intended” (V10), was actually an established project in the Black Mountain guidebook. Being the first to send these two problems has been a huge accomplishment for Connor in his climbing experience.
Speaking of climbing…we were curious to know if Connor saw a future in it. The answer, of course, is yes! He is currently working towards becoming a professional rock climber by training 6-7 times a week and having serious motivation to become stronger and more knowledgable. The biggest struggle for Connor is listening to his body and taking rest days. Can’t a guy just climb and train all the time?! With his insane training schedule and high psych, we’re confident Connor will continue to crush it in the climbing world.
With years of climbing under his chalk bag belt, we wanted to know about Connor’s fondest climbing memory. One of his biggest goals over the years was to finish a double digit boulder problem, and he did just that. The first V10 that Connor sent was a sit start variation on the classic “Tour de France” in Black Mountain. He and a friend had been working on it for a couple of hours with no luck. On the hike back to the car, Connor had one thing on his mind, that climb. He and his friend hiked back by headlamp and he sent his first V10 that night. After finishing the climb, he was greeted by one of the best views Black Mountain has to offer. So awesome.
Words from Coach Connor himself:
“My advice to other climbers to get psyched and motivated is to be passionate and have fun! Never say ‘no’ to an opportunity to go rock climbing. When you’re on the wall, everything disappears and it’s just you, the climb, and movement, nothing else. It’s so freeing, I don’t know how it couldn’t motivate you!”