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Madaleine Sorkin

Madaleine Sorkin


Climb

Date Of Birth: February 16, 1982

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

Current Location: Boulder, Colorado

Favorite Zone: Black Canyon NP, Colorado

Proudest Achievement: The Honeymoon Is Over (V 5.13c), The Diamond of Long’s Peak, 14ner in Colorado

Favorite Advocacy Org: Wilderness Society


Biography

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Traditional climbing, particularly multi-pitch, captivated me first and has continued to drive my greater goals with climbing. I’ve had a blessed climbing life, able to pursue free climbing difficult big rock walls and travel as far as Kyrgyzstan, Jordan and Patagonia in pursuit of wild landscapes and cultural adventure. At the heart of my climbing is desire for as much time as possible outside and to engage in the partnerships, inspirations, struggle and humor that make the pursuit meaningful. Big wall free climbing began for me in 2006 with a dear friend, Kate Rutherford, and an achievement, a first female-team free ascent of Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12c). The experience accelerated my understanding of how achievable difficult goals can be and I became all the more driven to climb as hard as I could on long routes and often in female teams. I started learning how to engage in the incremental learning process of a big goal and how work with the doubts, fears, excitement as they emerged throughout. The climbing accomplishments I’m most proud of include a few multi-day routes up to 5.13+ on El Capitan—El Corazon, Freerider, PreMuir(mostly free)—and The Honeymoon Is Over (V 5.13c) on the Diamond of Long’s Peak which challenged me to converge my big wall skills in a high altitude, mountain environment. Also significant to me is time in more remote areas and the first free ascents I’ve completed with partners such as the FFA La Fiamma (5.12c R with partner Nik Berry) on the Russian Tower in the Ak Su Valley of Kyrgyzstan and the FFA of Women At Work section of Original Route (5.12 R) on Mt. Proboscis in the NW Territories of Canada. As a AMGA rock guide and climbing coach, I enjoy demystifying the climbing process (e.g. even the best climbers have to work with their fear) and broadening the focus beyond physical strength. I aim to meet the climbers in their learning zone to support them to identify an appropriate goal and build the necessary mental and emotional resilience and technical skills to pursue it. The Climbing Grief Fund is a current heart project of mine that I’ve helped launch at the American Alpine Club through a climbing fundraiser called 24 Hours Into The Black. Grief is part of the climbing experience, and while climbing is often fixated on stoke and sending, the expression of grief is also essential. We experience loss, we experience unwanted change, and inevitably we all find ourselves staring into the abyss, the void, the BLACK. I’ve wanted our climbing community to create a more intentional resource for grief—a place that bears witness to death, our pain and a way to return to the vitality of ourselves. I hope that the Climbing Grief Fund will build tremendously over the years. Finally, volunteering on behalf of our climbing environment or the protection of wild places is important to me and I’ve worked in a variety of roles over the years, such as a Climber Steward in Yosemite NP. I currently serve on the board of ACE (Action Committee for Eldo).


Q & A

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  1. How did you get involved with your respective sport? : As a teenager, through summer adventure camps. The most pivotal camp was Outpost Wilderness Adventure in the South Platte of Colorado. The people there created a down-to-earth, fun-loving adventure-community. I remember being 16 and being lowered into a long 5.10 crack climb. It took me over an hour to fight my way to the top and I arrived bloody and with a new love born.
  2. What draws you to the outdoors? : The desire explore being human and participate with the natural world that I come from.
  3. What do you like about SCARPA as a brand? : I like SCARPA’s history as a family-run business and the company’s priority to stay focused on making the best footwear it can make and not expanding other products that could detract from the quality of the core products.
  4. Why do you like/trust SCARPA products (in general, not product specific)?: Similarly, I trust the quality of the products and dedication of the company to continue to make well-crafted products, to constantly improve and stay current.
  5. What gets you out of bed on big days? : There’s usually some combination of excitement and anxiety and determination and doubt. Gratitude to be able to have a goal or something big to try and the excitement ahead is usually where I put my attention.
  6. What is your best excuse for skipping training? : Gosh, there are many to choose from… staying in bed to snuggle is a solid go-to.
  7. Favorite recovery/apres beverage? : If I could tolerate milk it would be chocolate milk. Instead it’s some delicious BCAA (amino acids) drink mix.
  8. What’s the last movie that made you cry?: The Red Turtle
  9. What’s your dream trip or expedition?: A great friend and climbing partner and a big remote wall.
  10. What makes a good skiing/climbing/running/hiking partner? : First, someone I have a lot of fun being with. Then they are motivated and appropriately confident and capable of being challenged. Also some complimentary skills help such as they are better have a better sense of direction or are more organized or can move faster.
  11. Two truths and a lie: 1) I failed to complete my figure-8-knot once and only noticed hundreds of feet off the ground after I pulled through the crux and the rope fell away from my harness! 2) I had a blankie that I slept with through college. 3) Currently my favorite piece of climbing flare is an oversized Beyonce tshirt.

Favorite Scarpa Products

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From The Scarpa Blog

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From The Scarpa Blog

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