“I am in absolute love with the out of the ordinary cracks.
My current obsession in rock climbing is any crack climb that is overhung, horizontal, or long. ”
- Mary Eden
Mary Catherine Eden is a rock climber, photographer, painter, but mainly loves to spend time outside and enjoys a good laugh. Starting off as a hard core adventure climber, Mary now embraces all forms of rock climbing and enjoys making short climbing films.
Indian Creek, Yosemite, Val di Masino (Val di mello), Dolomites (Marmolada & Civetta) , Torres del Paine, Siurana, Rätikon,… It all depends on the style”
I would define myself as a climber and a social worker in the first place. Second, I enjoy sharing experiences, stories, and visions as a public speaker. My dreams are to discover my own boundaries, untouched ground and share and connect (with) people in all kinds of domains. A lifetime goal is to be an integer with myself and others. As a person but also in my role as a professional climber I aim to be open and sincere about my personal development process as a human being and a climber. Friends call me ‘the climbing philosopher’. I like to think and debate about life, interactions, emotions, and society. I am convinced that we can learn from each other through profound interactions, I have a hard time being superficial, although I agree this is very important as well, to just have fun and not question everything! I aim for sincere communication and motivate everyone to do so, that’s why I don’t hesitate to share personal insights about myself or showing my own struggles. I love it when people do that to me, it’s inspiring. “What is real? What is this guy really experiencing on the wall and in his life and… what can I learn from it?” The need for inspiration is increasing everywhere. My goal is to invest in open communication and transmit what is really happening ‘behind the scenes’. I want to stimulate people to do the same, be sincere with yourself and others and communicate at a deeper level. Drop the masks and be connected, we all become better of it.
Why / How Did You Start Climbing: I started climbing as a gym rat in 2000. My parents send me to this indoor climbing camp during some school vacation. I was sold and kept on subscribing for all the camps possible until the climbing gym started a youth climbing team in 2001. Competition climbing became my focus until the age of 18. Between ages 12 and 18, the discovery of outdoor sport-climbing only multiplied my passion.
Favorite Climbing Destination: Tough question! A few in different styles that come to mind are Indian Creek, Yosemite, Val di Masino (Val di mello), Dolomites (Marmolada & Civeta) , Torres del Paine, Siurana, Rätikon,… It all depends on the style, I do love all climbing. Just a bit less of a boulderer (:
Why / How did you start climbing:
Originally from Kentucky I grew up loving outdoor adventure sports such as riding horses, caving, skiing, kayaking, and hiking. I discovered rock climbing when I first moved to Moab, Utah and saw that climbing on rocks was another way to immerse myself in the surrounding landscape.
Favorite climbing destination:
It’s hard for me to choose a favorite climbing area. I absolutely LOVE climbing, and am happy as long as I’m touching rock. At the moment my favorite climbing areas are: The White Rim of Canyonlands, The Superstition Mountains in Arizona, and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Memorable climbing achievement(s):
I have had loads of fun climbing a lot of routes over the years but my favorite climbing achievements are: Belly Full Of Bad Berries 5.13, The Mechanical Bull 5.13, Tricks Are For Kids 5.13, The Crack House 5.13/V8, Iron Sharpens Iron 5.13, flash of What the Big Boys Eat 5.13, and Necronomicon 5.14a.
In 3 words what describes climbing to you:
Fun, funner, funnest
How do you train:
I train with Lattice Training and my coach Jen. I also nag Tom Paul Randall for workouts to do on my crack trainer.
You whip, you slip, you blow the move... What motivates you to try again:
When I fall off a route, cannot do a move, or encounter a style that I struggle with, I enjoy getting back on the route because I know that there are lessons for me to learn. I do not enjoy rock climbing because it is easy for me, I enjoy rock climbing because I like feeling challenged.
What do you do when you're not climbing:
I have loads of other things that I like to do when I'm not rock climbing! I’m an avid reader, painter, photographer, videographer, I enjoy horseback riding, canyoneering, backpacking, and salsa dancing.
Memorable Climbing Achievement(s): With the emphasis on ‘memorable’ these are definitely the ones:
•2008 First 8c sport climb with ‘Les Maux de la Fin’ at Gorges du Loup, France.
•2012 First Big Wall expedition! FA of ‘Kids with Guns’, 450m, Amuri Tepuy, Venezuela.
•2013 First Alpine climb, Divine Providence, ABO 7c 900m, Mont Blanc, France.
•2015 First Ground-Up Ascent and Free Ascent of ‘Fire in the Belly’, 700m, 8a++ on Tsaranoro Atsimo, Madagascar.
•2017 Incredible experience spending 19 days on a wall during the First Free Ascent of Big Wall Route “El Regalo de Mwono”, 8a, 1200m, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile.
•2019 Pushing my multipitch sportclimbing skills up by sending ‘Yeah Man’ / 9 pitches / Third Free Ascent / 8b+ / Gastlosen (Swiss) and ‘Silbergeier’ / 6 pitches / Free Ascent in one day without any falls / 8b+ / Rätikon (Swiss).
In 3 Words What Describes Climbing To You: Flow (body and mind) – Ethics – Lifestyle
How Do You Train: I tend to be someone that wants to achieve a lot in many different domains. This goes for my climbing as well, I want to continue developing my climbing in different disciplines. It is also motivating and enriching to change disciplines. As a big wall and adventure climber it’s hard to keep your climbing level high and still do a lot of exploration trips. Instead of only focussing on the exploration, first ascents and big walls I try to keep my climbing skills up to date by including 3 to 4 months of training and sport climbing periods every year. Basically those moments I will spend in Belgium for training and France or Spain for sportclimbing. It feels great to focus on the pure physical part of climbing for a period. My sportclimbing training programs are often focussed on fingerstrength, corestregth, antagonists, flexibility and powerendurance. I love training powerendurance on the inclination board. For expeditions I will include more cardio and volume training. For trad multipitch climbs I will just prepare by climbing a similar style in easier grades to get comfortable, in combination with the same kind of training I do for sportclimbing. But basically, I try to listen to my body as much as I can. And adventurous trad climbing, you just have to start doing, fail and try again!
You Whip, You Slip, You Blow The Move... What Motivates You To Try Again: I just want it, I want to try my best because I become richer as a climber and person! Aiming to freeclimb (or just climb) moves on rock or on plastic has been the way I was thought how to climb, it’s been in me for so long. The game of climbing is simple, you go up. But the rules you give yourself, or that are given by a local climbing culture, can make it more challenging, more valuable and offer me to learn about myself. My rule is to freeclimb as much as possible, in any circumstance. Climbing partners have been looking at me weird if I try to free an FA in the rain, with dirt in the cracks or maybe snow on the holds. They would scream: “Just pull on that piece of gear and go on!” But that’s how I make fun, I love trying, I love not to put a bold and try to climb the moves free on the gear. So, respecting these rules, laws or principles in combination with the desire to learn and become better, make me try hard and try hard again after falling, failing, brainfarts or external and uncontrollable circumstances. You just need to make up for yourself what your values are, what are the values you want to base your climbing upon?
What Do You Do When You're Not Climbing: Mainly I am planning climbing trips, or occupied with communicating past trips and expeditions to sponsors, magazines and the climbing community through social media. Besides my climbing life I’m very interested in human relations and interactions. I always search for other activitys besides climbing to keep developing other skills. Last two years I’ve followed a public speeching course with as a result writing and presenting my own TED-talk-like speech. Techniques of storytelling and theatre where combined and made this course super enriching as a narrator and just as a person. This year I focus on leadership and management of teams. I read books, educate myself and soon I will start working with a company offering experiential leadership training programs in the outdoors for businesses. Furthermore, I value friends and family so I love to spend time with them in Belgium. I love cooking great food, reading books, and laughing my ass off in a good social environment!