Ambassador Spotlight | Nat Baird

Ambassador Spotlight | Nat Baird

Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Sport.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: My proudest accomplishment in climbing is probably being a part of The Climbing Academy. I am so stoked to be apart of such an amazing congruence of both kids and adults. My biggest accomplishment outside of climbing is probably pushing myself in the classroom and getting good grades. Although this isn’t that large, I am still very happy that I am able to stay motivated inside and outside of the classroom.

Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: I would tell my first year climbing self to just have fun and go outside! When I started climbing, I was really wrapped up in comp climbing and plastic pulling. And although I am thankful that comps are ultimately what got me hooked on climbing I would have definitely wanted to go outside more and climb on some real rock!

Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: I will listen to advice from just about everyone because I feel as though everyone has a thing or two that they can help me with on or off the rock. But in climbing, I look to my coaches at TCA and back at home to help give me critical advice. The person whose advice which tends to be the best for me is Brandon Smith the head coach at The Climbing Academy.

Nat Baird Rock Climbing

Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: This year I have done a lot more antagonistic training. When you climb almost every day for seven weeks at a time you risk burning out. That is why whenever I go to the gym to train. I try to focus on some of the supporting muscles in climbing. Although this has helped me stay psyched, it has also helped me become a much more well-rounded athlete and climber.

Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: Due to climbing I have found it very difficult to be around people who aren’t motivated to do anything. Even if it isn’t climbing, I love the contagious energy of passion and motivation. Meanwhile, if I were to surround myself with people lacking passion or motivation then I would begin to feel passionless or unmotivated.

Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I have helped organize climbing comps at my old school back at Boise, as well as participate in crag cleanups throughout Idaho. One of my favorite parts of the climbing community is its willingness and enthusiasm to give back.

Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: One of the most unique parts of climbing is that we fail a lot more than we succeed. In order to enjoy climbing and become successful at it, you must learn how to take failure and learn from it and apply it to your future endeavors. The biggest skills that I have learned in climbing are patience, appreciativeness, and the value of a good work ethic. All of these traits I have been able to attain due to consistently failing.

Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most and why?
A: I recently had the opportunity to climb with Nina Williams and that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed being able to pick her brain and get to know her more. On a more personal level, I probably have to say current TCA student Tanner Mack and TCA Alumnus Kieran Hadley. They both work so hard and are so motivated. Whenever they are at the crag they push me to be the best climber and person I can be.

Q: What is your favorite climbing location and why?
A: My favorite location has to be Raco de Finestra in Margalef, Spain! Being a student at The Climbing Academy, I am so blessed to have the ability to climb in some of the best locations all across the world! Although I have been there twice already, it is quite likely that by the end of the academic calendar my answer might have changed to Kalymnos of The Red River Gorge!

Nat Baird at the peak

Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Why Not? I have an amazing opportunity to be a part of one of the fastest growing brands in climbing and that alone is an amazing experience. I also personally love everything about the shoes. The fit feels perfect and the rubber is my most favorite thing ever!

Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: Before Climbing I usually eat some sort of scramble with eggs and various vegetables. This gives me really sustainable energy that I can use throughout the day. I also have some sort of fruit and greek yogurt with breakfast to get important vitamins and sugars. Then by the time we get to the crag and I am ready to hop on the project, I usually eat a PB&J to give me some quick energy and protein before I work the project for the day. I am also periodically snacking on various fruits and nuts throughout the day to keep my energy levels high. Then when we get back to wherever we are staying my, go to is a very hearty pasta with a meat and vegetable sauce. This fills me up and gives me carbs proteins and other essential nutrients.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: This is a tough one! I think that I would peg myself as a bald eagle! I am very patriotic!

Questions from the Internet

Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: I have found the Narsha to be a stiff shoe with a more relaxed heel cup. Meanwhile, I find the Acro a little more bendy and with a more firm heel cup.

Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: I would have to give them the advice that my mentor, English teacher, friend, and fellow Butora Ambassador Tom Smartt gave me! As someone who consistently struggles with losing things and leaving the contents of my pack scattered in a seemingly three-mile radius, Tom told me that I should try to keep all of my things in a three-foot bubble. This gives fellow climbers more room to walk and belay and of course scatter their things as well! This also makes it a lot easier at the end of the day when you don’t have to search the whole crag for a lost belay glove!

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 one. When I am stumped on a project I find myself questioning why I am on this route and why I even climb. Usually, when I get to this point I take a day or two off the route and don’t even think about it. Then after that, I come back to the route with an open mind and a clean slate. This helps me wipe out any doubts from my mind and just focus on climbing each move.

Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: For me, it just had to do with repetition and pushing myself. The only way you overcome fear is facing it head on and I think that applies greatly to climbing. In the past year or so I have been trying really hard to get on routes that I might not usually get on. Whether they might be scary or not my style I know that I will walk away from them a better climber.


Check out our next Ambassador, Ashley Cracroft

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