Taking to the climbing wall and knocking out goals one by one is eighteen-year-old John Ford. Eighteen months ago, John was bored and fed up with doing nothing at home. Having never climbed before, he bought a climbing membership and has never looked back. John enjoys climbing at High Point Climbing Gym because there’s always a challenge and different routes that create many learning experiences. He immediately fell in love with the sport and its challenges, and his journey continued to take off when an anonymous person paid for him to be on a competitive team. 

However, John has faced many challenges since beginning his climbing journey. One of John’s biggest challenges was a massive fall at the beginning of 2023. John fell 52 feet and hit the ground, shattering his mental game and putting a rift in the progress he had made. Despite this setback, John participated in a bouldering competition the following week. 

While still recovering from the aftereffects of his fall, John also climbed El Cap in Yosemite. Despite his setbacks, John continues progressing with an ‘I can and I will’ mindset. He also uses the hashtag #allskillnoluck as a reminder to rely on his skill and not chance because there are situations where luck simply cannot solidify outcomes that he knows he can reach if he counts on his training. He perseveres through challenges with a positive mindset because he knows great things are in store. 

John advises other climbers to know the difference between two different types of falling. The first type is falling because one fears failing and believes they will not make it up the wall before they have thoroughly tried. The second type of falling is falling with intention, where the climber makes all of their moves with concrete focus and falls because they gave their all and simply could not make it, which with practice, will change. John encourages climbers to climb with intention and not to fall because of a fear of failing. This sets the climber up to be more mindful of their movements and helps set up a healthier mindset not to let fear overcome one’s goals, especially before trying them. 

John is hopeful that one of the next steps in his climbing journey includes placing on the podium in his first competition while also working towards Nationals. Taking goals to the next level, John aims to make it to the Pro World Cup and even the Olympics. With ambitions high, John is proceeding forward with intention, drive, and patience –– not wasting time but not rushing through wherever this climbing journey leads. 

Highpoint Climbing offers top rope and lead rope climbing, boulder walls, a kid’s climbing area, a gym, a yoga room with classes, auto-belay climbing, and outdoor climbing walls. Memberships start at $79 for individuals and $67 for students. Day passes start at $20 for children under 10 and seniors, and $22 for adults. 

For more information, visit Highpointclimbinhg.com or call 901.203.6122. 

By Dallas Meador

Photo by Tindall Stephens