We call ourselves Team Hörst: my wife, Lisa, our two sons, Cameron and Jonathan, and I. While Lancaster, Pennsylvania is our base camp, we travel far and wide to rock climb on America’s finest cliffs. In the past five years we’ve driven our Jeep Grand Cherokee the equivalent of more than four trips around the globe. To be exact, we’ve covered 101,000 miles of blacktop, dirt, and mud in the last 60 months, in search of adventure and challenge.
Like most rock climbers, we are passionate, energetic, and motivated people. Climbing is always on our mind, even while at home in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, and we always have our next trip in the planning. It might be a quick-strike weekend trip to the crags of the Red River Gorge, Kentucky…or a longer roadtrip to the Rockies. “So many climbs, too little time” is one of our family mottos.
Wyoming is our favorite climbing destination due to its wide open spaces, fresh mountain air, and shining limestone cliffs. Each summer we spent a few weeks camping and climbing in Ten Sleep Canyon, situated in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. At an elevation of 8,000, weather conditions are delightful in July — cool, crisp air and mostly sunny skies, save the occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Coming from the humidity of the East coast, the dry mountain air is perfect for attacking some of the world-class rock climbs in the canyon.
KÜHL Renegade and Radikl are our favorite shorts for warm weather climbing due to the combination of a the loose, but not baggy, fit and the stretchy, tough material which makes them both functional and stylish. These are shorts we can literally wear for days, whether we’re on a cliff or just hanging out at the campground.
Perhaps you’re thinking Team Hörst seems a little too single-minded and, possibly, lacks balance in our lives. While it’s true that we do place high value in our family climbing trips, we also engage in other activities that introduce novel challenge and opportunities for growth and experience outside of the mountains.
Each Autumn, we take a break from climbing and become a football family. Both Cameron and Jonathan are talented high school football players, and we enjoy seeing them excel in a sport that’s completely different from rock climbing. Winter is our ski and training-for-climbing season. We typically spend a few weekends on the snow and more than a few evenings training in our home climbing gym!
And, yes, my wife and I do have careers, and our boys are straight-A students in school. Like most folks we value education and career growth, as much as outdoor adventure.
When spring warmth returns, we transition back into weekend climbing adventures and planning our next major summer trip.
That reminds me….I’ve got a Jeep to pack! This afternoon we’re driving to West Virginia for a weekend of climbing at the New River Gorge.
Eric J. Hörst is an internationally renowned author, researcher, climbing coach, and accomplished climber of more than 30 years. A self-professed “climber for life,” Eric remains active at the cliffs, traveling widely with his wife, Lisa, and sons, Cameron and Jonathan. Driven by his passion for adventure and challenge, he has established over 400 first ascents, primarily on his home cliffs in the Eastern United States. Still pushing his personal climbing limits at age 50, Eric’s focus is now on R & D of new training techniques, traveling and sharing his knowledge with new climbers, and coaching the next generation of elite climbers. The third edition of Eric’s best-selling book, Training For Climbing, will be released in July 2016.