Madaleine Sorkin

Age: 31, Years climbing: 15, Hometown: Boulder, CO, Favorite product: TC PRO


Do you clip bolts, plug cams, stack pads, or crush ice?

Cams, bolts. If I'm crushing ice it usually means I am trying to get to a soaring piece of granite rock. And Pad People are fun and I like going on walks with them.

How long have you been an athlete with La Sportiva?

Since 2007.

What are some of your lifetime climbing goals?

Free climbing objectives on big walls continue to to inspire me to push a little harder. I try to appreciate the moments when I meet a lifetime goal (such as a free ascent on El Cap or big alpine rock wall in a remote area). I aim to climb for as long as I can and I hope it continues to be a tool for cultivating self-awareness and connecting with people and the natural world.

Do you have a claim to fame?

Ability to stay calm and perform in committing situations.

Do you have any vices?

A judgmental mind can spiral me into any number of vices--my go to being staring blankly into cyberspace, eating chips and salsa.

What makes you tick as a climber and in the real world?

I love activities with a bit of consequence and where I feel a connection with the natural world. Here, I learn to stay present and responsive to the unfolding experience. With climbing I have be very aware of myself (how Im feeling etc) and surroundings (safe? is this pitch at my limit?) and learn to choose my appropriate course of action and focus on making that intention happen. These skills are harder for me apply in the "real world" yet I think climbing cultivates my ability to act mindfully in any situation.

What drives you to climb? The money? The groupies? The fame? What?

Well, obviously the babes. Then the adventures, partnerships, and beauty of these natural places.

What is your favorite movie?

I rarely have an answer for questions like these.

Do you have any nicknames? Explain:

MAD (is a better fit than 'Maddy') and Bonecrusher (origin: a lacrosse game...).

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? Why?

30+ hours? I’ve had a number of 20+ hours efforts up (and of course getting down!) long climbs. Last fall, myself and fellow Sportiva athlete Nik Berry were climbing in Ak Su valley of Kyrgyzstan. There are granite formations up to 4,500 feet and the weather is ridiculously stable. We rose at 3 am and by simul-climbing the majority of the 4,500 route, we were able to complete it relatively quickly. Rappeling, however, was another story and we returned to base camp late the following morning. I wonder if it’d be fruitful training to deprive myself of sleep when not climbing but I can't imagine being motivated enough to put yourself through such discomfort unless you had to.

If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?

MD - the abbreviation looks so professional and it's a shout out to growing up in Bethesda, Maryland.

What did you have for lunch yesterday?

Smoked fish and plantain chips and coconut water...... I am not currently on the road, but satisfying habits die hard.

If you could hook up a thought monitor to your head, would you see pictures, hear words or would music be playing?

Words. Often songs--which often help me I know what's going on in my head and body depending on which song comes up.

What really scares you about climbing?

Losing friends. Also, my delusions of self-importance or too strong of an attachment to achievements. I think these factors can turn me off to the sport.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?

Inner and Outer Walls. A compelling saga of connection and disconnection and ridiculousness.

Where would you live if it could be anywhere in the world?

Right here, right now baby! And then often Yosemite with a small village of friends.

Have no food or have no gasoline?

No gas.

Do you wish you had sexier feet?

Sure and a sexy person to massage and moisturize them everyday.