Nolan is one of those climbers you want to be around. He’s funny, gentle and climbs like a beast. Spending his early life in Southern California, Nolan literaly grew up amongst the rocks of Joshua Tree. This is his perspective on Joshua Tree.
What does Joshua Tree represent for you as a climber?
From a climbing perspective it's definitely a proud place, and because of that it leaves you with so much more than some crags. Climbing there gives you a chance to work super hard mentally, and when I feel up for it, those are the days that stick with me and really stoke the fire.
"Cutting my teeth amongst the footsteps of the giants really molded me into who I am as a climber and what inspires me."
How did it shape you as a climber?
I think it’s one of the places where the old school ethics from the Stone Master era survived and thrive. Cutting my teeth amongst the footsteps of the giants really molded me into who I am as a climber and what inspires me. The idea that style trumps all; it’s not what you do but how you do it. That’s one thing that's always stood out about JoshuaTree, and that vision and style has definitely stuck with me over the years.
You recently moved from SoCal to Tahoe.
When I was 17, I went on a climbing trip to Lover’s Leap in outside of South Lake Tahoe, and on that trip I just feel in love. I knew that South Lake was where I wanted to be. That feeling when you step foot somewhere and you feel at home; you just know. It took me 7 years after that first trip to make the move work logistically, but it’s probably the best single thing I’ve done for myself to this day. I was really close to getting stuck in the Southern California city grind that I was in, and fortunately things just fell into place during somewhat of a tipping point. Now I’m living the dream that I wasn't sure I'd realize, and I couldn't be more psyched about what I have going on these days.
What are you up to these days?
Right now I’m working towards becoming an AMGA Certified Rock Guide. I’ve completed the course, and plan to take the Advanced Rock Guide Course/Aspirant Exam, and ideally the year after, I'll be able to take the Exam. If both of those go well over the next 2 years, I'd get to wear a cool patch on my jackets. Big picture, I’m working toward becoming a Certified IFMGA Mountain Guide, but I'm taking my time on the other disciplines, so it'll be a while before that's on my horizon.
"As soon as I get in the park it feels like coming home. Since the first time I drove through the gate at 15, it’s always had this ancient, wise, powerful feeling."
How you feel when you go back to J-Tree?
I’m so, so happy whenever I get the chance to get back there. As soon as I get in the park it feels like coming home. Since the first time I drove through the gate at 15, it’s always had this ancient, wise, powerful feeling. I think because of all the early experiences I had there when I was young and learning, it'll always be a really special place, and has a "back to my roots" vibe when I feel the sand under my toes again.