Ambassador Spotlight | Brannon Frank
Hometown: Boise, ID
Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Overhanging bouldering, highballs, and hard sport climbing.
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: The first time I sent 5.13a (Make it a Double, The Fins) in 2015 and the first time I bouldered V10 (Mayor of Swan Falls)in Feb. 2018. Both are Idaho gems!
Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Your ultimate climbing potential is way higher than you can see right now. Keep striving to get better!
Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: I take advice from lots of different people in my life. Everyone knows something that I don’t.
Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: My training has decreased in volume but increased in intensity and focus in the last year. I train very specifically and try to get outside to climb as much as possible. I’ve cut out things that have been unhelpful and I make sure I’m targeting all three energy systems (aerobic, glycolytic, and the creatine phosphagen) in my training with a long term training vision.
Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: I’m a climbing coach for around 40 youths and 10 adults. Climbing is key for most people in my life and affects everyone I’m around in a similar way. Climbing helps us in life. It helps us become better people with more grit and gives us skills that are larger than climbing.
Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: The biggest way I give back is through coaching. I own and coach the Boise Climbing Team and thoroughly enjoy teaching youth and adults. We focus on improving climbing skills, physical strength, and mental fortitude to become better athletes and robust humans.
Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: Failure is the biggest opportunity for learning. I state this mantra as often as people will listen. Failure teaches us so much about ourselves if we are willing to learn. I’m not sure where to begin. There so many things I’ve learned from my failures. Failure has taught me that I need more lock-off strength, stronger fingers, and more attune climbing skills. It’s also taught me that I need to strengthen my mind and improve my emotional intelligence. It’s taught me that I need to grow as a human so I can offer more to myself, others, and the world. The most recent lesson I’ve learned from failure is that failure is only permanent if we stop trying. I recently did a project (Demon Daze, City of Rocks) that took me 5-6 sessions to complete. I thought it would go much quicker than it did. When it did not happen very quickly, all I could is learn from my session, make the necessary adjustments, and try again another day. I think the grit to keep trying is the number one indicator of success.
Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most, and why?
A: Climbers at any level of proficiency who set goals, work toward those goals with fierce determination, and reach those goals are the most inspiring. On top of that, climbers who understand and communicate that the lessons we learn in climbing are larger than climbing are my real heroes. There are so many out there but a few that come to mind are Margo Hayes, Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra. These climbers have a big spotlight on them but there are other climbers out there with the same ethos who are equally inspiring. All my friends from Boise that I climb with are in the same boat as those mentioned above (there are far too many to name).
Q: What is your favorite climbing location, and why?
A: Impossible to answer! Everywhere there is quality rock.
Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Butora shoes are high quality and they are a company that invests in climbers who are trying to do what they love in excellence. Their rubber helps me climb at my best and their love for the sport is evident!
Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Before I climb I like to drink a cup of Brannon’s specialty coffee. This is coffee with a fat source (butter, almond oil, or both), a protein source (usually collagen protein), some turmeric or cinnamon, and agave nectar! Blend it all together.
Mmm… Sometimes I’ll drink a smoothie before climbing or eat some bacon or sausage and stir fry veggies. My favorite after climbing meal is a well-rounded meal with protein, fat, and lots of vegetables.
Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Tiger! Grrr…
Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I currently don’t have any experience climbing in the Narsha but I have a pair on the way! Psyched to try them!
Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Be considerate of others and don’t be afraid to communicate. Music, trash, and making yourself a big presence should be avoided.
Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: This is a hard question to answer because it depends on the individual and their motivation. I think the biggest answer is to follow your motivation. If you are incredibly psyched to try your project again for the 100th time then keep hacking away. If your motivation is winning, then a lot of times it’s a good thing to take a little break and re-stoke the fire by climbing something else. The power of motivation is huge!
Also, be sure to keep your project in perspective. So much of the time we get consumed by the pieces of stone that we want to climb. Stepping back and realizing that your importance, life, and the world is so much bigger than that rock. The best climbers appreciate the process of sending and everything it teaches them about climbing, themselves, and life. Don’t forget that where you are headed as a climber and a human is far bigger than your current project. Keep a bigger perspective!
Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: Overcoming fear in climbing takes time and experience on the rock. The way I overcome fear is by finding that sweet spot, the spot where I’m out of my comfort zone but not in the panic zone. This is the spot where we are able to grow. Finding this sweet spot is different for everyone. For some, it might be taking their first 4 foot lead fall or bouldering for the first time outside. For others, it might be climbing a 20 foot v10 or free soloing. Find your sweet spot where you are uncomfortable but in control.
Secondly, be aware of the thoughts entering your mind. So many climbers aren’t aware. Analyze those thoughts and fight them with reason and courage if they are hindering you.