By the time he was in high school, Chris Coles had become a self-proclaimed “indoor kid,” spending his time in high school as a professional video game player and traveling the country to win gaming competitions. While you can still find Chris traveling, he has found a new passion to fuel him: his love for outdoor climbing. 

From Memphis, Chris remembers not being especially drawn to sports as a kid, though he did enjoy exploring in his younger years as a boy scout. Throughout his teenage years, Chris instead found he was incredibly skilled at video games and set a Guinness world record for gaming in Memphis in 2012. 

In his mid to late 20s, Chris recognized he was out of shape, overweight, and uncomfortable and decided it was time to make a change. “I started to realize I shouldn’t be feeling like this, and there was more I could do than just accept that I’m aging,” he remembers. Chris began to focus on his nutrition by implementing the keto diet and lost over 40 pounds. With a new sense of comfort in his body, he started considering ways to get active. 

In May 2019, Chris decided to try out High Point Climbing Gym with his mom, as it was an activity they could do together. He immediately found it fun and exciting and saw that he had a natural ability for climbing. Soon, Chris was going to High Point regularly and fell in love with the sport and the climbing community. 

Now, Chris is passionate about outdoor climbing. “It has become the gateway for adventure in my life,” he says. Thus, he assembled a group of 25 like-minded climbers who love traveling and adventuring as much as he does, called Broham Jam. In the past year, Chris and his climbing friends have traveled the country to climb in Arkansas, Alabama, East Tennessee, Southern Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona. They also went to France to gain a global perspective on climbing and to experience it in different environments and cultures. “The advantage of Memphis is that it is centrally located to so many great climbing spots, and the community here is so familial and supportive,” Chris says. 

Chris recently placed third in the advanced category of the 24- hour climbing competition known as “24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell,” in which climbers from around the world travel to compete. He also recently won the High Point Climbing and Fitness Rope League competition in the advanced category. Eager to share his knowledge and love for climbing with others, he offers individual and group climbing lessons for indoor and outdoor environments and private and corporate climbing guide services. “Experience level does not matter to me. As long as people are willing to learn, I am willing to help,” he says. 

In addition to the camaraderie and physical benefits he has found through climbing, Chris has noticed a shift in his mentality and focus. “The focus I have brought to my climbing has completely revolutionized my life. When you are more fit and your mind is clearer, you can make better decisions and lead a happier, more fulfilled life,” he says. With this increased focus, Chris has felt even more driven in his career as a brand and marketing consultant at LSI Graphics and as owner of his own company, Dreamcapture Design. He has also stopped drinking alcohol as a way to be more connected with himself and his goals. In the future, Chris plans to continue organizing climbing trips with Broham Jam, looking to return to Europe and climb in Spain and, eventually, Australia. 

Reach out to Chris on Instagram @chriscolesyea for private coaching, or at his website

By Zoe Harrison 

Photo by Jose Oliva Martinez