As soon as I was of an acceptable weight and age (speculative), I started belaying my Dad. I grew up around climbing, climbers and the mountains. Father-son missions up cliffs or peaks was a regular outing. Although climbing was all around me, as a kid I was mostly occupied by skating, friends, snowboarding and mountain bike racing. Scrambling up a long 5.6 or 5.8 was something I did with Dad, and loved it, but it wasn't until I was around 18 that I developed my own relationship with climbing. I started bouldering in the hopes that I could beef up my upper body for downhill mountain bike racing - which was my passion at the time.
I immediately got hooked - like so many people I know. The movement, excitement, challenge, lifestyle, community…. I saw how much climbing had to offer, and fell in love. For years I climbed 6 or even 7 days a week, dragging friends up to Flagstaff Mountain after school and never missing a $5 bouldering night at the Spot gym. I cut my teeth on the front range, gradually improving over the years as I refused to rest and trained tirelessly. I made a home with the good people at the Boulder Rock Club and spent everyday climbing or setting routes throughout college. I climbed at local areas on the weekends and did a proper trip once or twice a year.
Traveling had been a driving passion of mine, and as soon as I really recognized what an incredible vehicle for travel climbing was, it all clicked. I finished my degree in Environmental Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Co in the Spring on 2009, and hit the road, never looking back.
Climbing took over my life - my friends, my plans, my career, my thoughts, ambitions, dreams… and I couldn't be happier. Now-a-days I travel 10 or 11 months of the year, without a fixed address, always meeting amazing new characters, seeing incredible new landscapes and cultures. It's a life that I feel so very fortunate for. Arc'Teryx has proudly supported my pursuits for years - they make it all possible!
In 2012, I aimed to take my climbing forward and also experience longer and longer routes. I started the year with my annual pilgrimage to sunny Las Vegas for the winter. Just 40 minutes outside the city I found an incredible project that captivated my efforts and energy for weeks. I finally completed the first ascent of 'Le Réve' 9a/+ in February, my hardest sport pitch to date. I also added a brilliant new 5.14 to the nearby VRG, called 'Atonement' along with other climbs. From Vegas I headed directly to France for my first European climbing trip. I spent 3 weeks climbing in the magical Verdon Gorge with fellow Arc Athlete Nina Caprez. While there we worked on a cool film, called 'Viva La Vie' which was selected by the Boulder Mountain Film Fest and the Banff Mountain Film for world tours. I traveled France for over a month afterwards, including a visit to the incredible Ceuse, where I added a route of my own, 'Coraux De La Vie' 14c and repeated many others. It's one of my favorite crags in the world, no doubt. I traveled and climbed through Utah, Canada and Wyoming during the summer months before settling in Estes Park, CO with the mission of making the first repeat of Tommy Caldwell's 2001 alpine test-piece 'The Honeymoon is Over' V+ 5.13+ on Longs Peak. After success on this brilliant route I headed to Idaho on a new-route quest at a crag called the Fins. Here I managed a handful of rad new routes, including Idaho's hardest, 'Algorithm' 14d, 'The Catalyst' 14b and 'Enter the Dragon' 14a trad. I flew to Greece shortly after for a quick visit to Kalymnos before I took off for my first trip to Yosemite. In the Valley I teamed up with big wall legend Tommy Caldwell on his multiyear free climbing project, The Dawn Wall. It was an eye opening experience and hopefully a taste of things to come for my future in climbing. I decided to take a month break from moving around in December - I relaxed in Colorado, but also got to repeat 'Mission Impossible' 5.14c in Clear Creek and explore for new routes in the area. I proudly received a Golden Piton for 'Most Productive' in 2012 by Climbing Magazine.
2012 was spent totally on the run - so much traveling and many, many great memories. My climbing moved forward in many respects and now I'm entering 2013 with so much motivation, new goals and tons of excitement. I'll be spending another winter in Las Vegas, traveling the world to new zones and revisiting others.
Stay in touch with my next adventure on my website and my Twitter account (@jstarinorbit) for frequent updates on what I'm up to!
The ultimate mountain jacket, and one of the most beautiful and impressive pieces Arc'teyrx makes. It's super compressible, very warm, and will keep you dry in a downpour. Pit zips and breathable construction make it a great working piece. I love the insulated hood and the two way zipper plus a waist button make this an ideal belay parka for gnarly weather. I usual layer it over a long sleeve, but it's great as a toss on coat in-between burns bouldering or climbing routes as well. It's my favorite all around jacket I've ever used.
This featherweight waterproof shell packs down to nothing, and serves as great protection in heinous rain and snow. Where it really shines though, is in its breathability. The Gore Active Shell is perfect for high output - fast and light - type days, you won't have to keep stopping to change because this thing will keep you cool and dry. I like the cut of the Beta as well - fits well under a harness, but it's not too bulky so you stay mobile. Ultra adjustable cuffs, two simple zipper pockets and a well designed Storm Hood finish it off.
This is quickly becoming my favorite harness. All the lightweight, comfortable features of the 220, except this rig has got four gear loops - plenty of space for a full rack, draws and extras. Don't let the haul loop in the back fool you - it may look wimpy but I've jugged with over a hundred pounds on it. And like all of the WARP harnesses, this folds down to nothing. The colors are bad ass too…
These gloves are the next level. Unimaginable dexterity for a fully waterproof glove. A totally removable liner acts as a nice glove by itself - 2 gloves in one. So far I have beat them up - even rappelling and belaying with them, and they show no signs of wear. The velcro cuff is detailed and beautiful - and snugs up the glove nice and tight. Definitely should be on every winter sports and cold weather climbers list.
All of the Phase products are pretty sweet, but this is my favorite piece so far. It's simple - just a great cut with a dead bird on the chest and some reflective strips on the arms. The fit is a little baggy - it goes over a t-shirt well. I use it for climbing, hanging out and also as a base layer piece. It's ultra light, but offers a nice amount of protection and will not smell awful after a day of hard work like some synthetic materials.
This burly pant is the perfect weight for a cool day out climbing or adventuring. It'll stand up to some serious abuse, and yet doesn't feel too bulky to limit mobility. The laminated zipper pocket keeps your goodies secure, and when the cragging day is over there's no need to change-- these are equally suited for a night out.
Arc'teryx is well known for exceptional durability, but the Gamma is downright armor! I've been saving this piece just for the days of aggressive bushwhacking, new routing or exploring. It is the most durable garment I've ever used. Soft touch fabric around the face is nice, and the cut runs big so throwing this on top of a layer or two is no problem. The mesh backing of the chest and waist pockets act as vents too, improving breathability when needed.
A killer light weight fleece that packs down to nearly nothing. I keep mine (in Silverstone) clean for rest days and fancy dates, but it works as a great mid-layer at the crag or on the approach as well. Simple, great cut, and a very desirable weight.
A very comfortable glove that offers a surprising amount of warmth. These are perfect for a day in the mountains, shoveling the walk or belaying on bitter days. The velcro cuff, soft fleece liner and beautiful design are icing on the cake.
A rad little pack. I really like the brightly colored interior fabric-- making it easy to see to the bottom, even in low light. Room for a hydration pack and the slim cut with a roll top closure makes this a great pack for mountain biking or a summit sprint. The support system will not let you down either-- you could fill the bag with cement and still it'd carry well.