How long do you spend trying your project before you decide to throw in the towel? A week? The entire fall? Two seasons? Two years? Five years?
… What about ten years?
BJ Tilden, our spotlighted climber of the week, did just that. After ten years of incredible determination and persistence, in 2012 BJ established and sent Moonshine (5.14d), one of Wyoming’s hardest sport routes.
Related: Climbing Destination Guide: Lander, Wyoming
BJ grew up among Wyoming’s rugged Wind River mountain range in the town of Cody. After spending his childhood working with horses and hunting, he tried climbing for the first time when he was 15 and hasn’t stopped since. He currently lives in Lander, which is just a short drive from the pocketed limestone of Wild Iris. Lander is also home to many other unsung climbing talents.
In addition to Moonshine, BJ has put up many other first ascents. He has also discovered and established entire crags and bouldering areas in the Lander area.
While his contribution to the sport is highly appreciated, what is even more impressive is his refreshing attitude towards our sport. In an interview with Climbing Magazine, BJ explains:
I think the most important element in climbing is persistence and a positive attitude. It’s easy to try something that feels hard and decide that it’s too reachy or too squatty or too long or whatever, but the challenge is to stick with it and solve the problem.
One of my favorite things about climbing is that moment when you crack a move or a sequence and all of the sudden something that you thought was just too hard feels possible. Believing that you can do any problem you touch goes a long way.
BJ works for six months out of the year as a carpenter and he spends the other six climbing and exploring new areas. His unwavering determination, pocket-pulling mastery, and pure love for climbing is honorable and we wish BJ the best of luck in his future endeavors!
Learn more about BJ in this great climbing film about the culture behind rock climbing in Wyoming: