By Michael Bryant
According to Wikipedia.com, “bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses.”
Bouldering is a growing sport that is engaged worldwide and one of the favorite spots for bouldering enthusiasts is Joe’s Valley near Orangeville, Utah. Bouldering may be done without any equipment, but most climbers use climbing shoes, chalk and bouldering mats to prevent injuries from falls. When you see someone carrying a mattress up the canyon of Joe’s Valley, they are likely going bouldering.
So, how does bouldering relate to tech and why is it being highlighted in this Tech Corner article? Two reasons come to mind.
First, this past year, the annual bouldering festival hosted in Emery County had to adapt just like the rest of us to COVID-19 restrictions. The festival is called the Joe’s Valley Fest and the organizers hosted an online virtual festival for climbing enthusiasts in late September. Practical application of the virtual and in-person lessons taught could be properly socially distanced amongst the many climbing opportunities in Joe’s Valley. Check out the bouldering fest website to see more information at https://www.joesvalleyfest.com/.
Second, many boulderers are techy people that also love the outdoors. Therefore, many have adapted their lifestyle to work remotely and online, while being near to their favorite climbing spots, such as Joe’s Valley. One such couple is Andy and Jess Wickstrom. This article attempts to capture a brief picture of Andy and Jess’s life journey.
Andy and Jess were your average urban Americans that decided to make the leap from the typical 9 to 5 job to being independent graphic design consultants. Jess summarizes their change this way: “After 11 years spent living and working full-time in Chicago—Andy as a graphic designer and me as designer, curator and administrator—we started to crave change. We weren’t wholly unhappy, but we felt like our day-to-day was becoming too predictable, too safe and lacked the element of risk that has potential to help one grow. The DesignEgg project was motived by a desire to have an adventure with purpose—to see the country, climb as much as possible and help others. By extension, we hoped to diversify our portfolio and connect with new clients in an effort to establish our own non-profit organization.”
Andy and Jess began their journey in 2014 by hitching an Airstream to a SUV and then hitting the road. Andy told of the transition of the couple drastically reducing their possessions to what could be carried with them, but otherwise they had all the comforts they needed in their “designegg.” A typical day for Andy and Jess would now consist of climbing and/or adventuring by day and then working late into the night to meet deadlines for their clients that they would network with remotely. Check out more of their story and what they offer at https://www.designegg.org/