Photo by Nathalie DuPre/ John Wiygul climbs at Denny Cove.

Name: John Wiygul

Age: 31

Passion: Climbing

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tenn.

What is your favorite local climb?

Copperhead on Predator Wall at Castle Rock. The orange sandstone there really suits my climbing style of being vertical and spaced out. I've probably done that 5.12d more than any other in the area.

What is one local climb that never gets old?

Sunset Rock. It's insanely convenient to downtown and there's more than just the best quality single-pitch routes in the world — there are also the St. Elmo boulders and tons of trails to bike and run on.

What is your bucket list climbing destination?

I'd love to go to Italy post-pandemic and climb in the Dolomites. The scenery, adventure and food seem to all be amazing.


John Wiygul, at times in his life, has climbed seven days a week — a feat made easier by owning his own climbing gym.

"Climbing is my lifelong passion," says the founder and co-owner of High Point Climbing and Fitness. "Right now, I've been climbing one to two days a week in the gym and getting outside about once a week."

There are benefits to both, he says.

Indoor climbing lets a person accomplish more in less time.

"It's easier to work specific moves or strengths or weaknesses in the gym," he says, pointing out that even Alex Honnold, famous for his free solo ascent of El Capitan, works out on a hangboard mounted in his van.

But the benefit to being outdoors, of course, is "you get to be in the best place on earth: high up on a rock face without a care in the world," Wiygul adds.

Here, Wiygul shares what be brings to the gym, as well as what he packs for outdoor climbs.

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A. Patagonia indoor climbing pack, stuffed with shoes, harness, GriGri and chalk bag

B. Petzl gloves, which Wiygul wears to help keep his hands clean prior to climbing

C. Granola chalk bag

D. Petzl harness with screw-lock carabiner and GriGri

E. Cloth tape, to protect Wiygul's fingers from the rock

F. Belay glasses (eyeglasses with prismatic lenses that prevent neck strain)

G. Secret Stuff liquid chalk, which Wiygul calls "the best friction of all time"

H. Swiss Army knife

I. Two pairs of climbing shoes: a comfortable pair of Five Ten Quantum, size 10.5, for easy, warm-up routes; and a newer, tighter pair of La Sportiva Miura VS, size 8.5, for more difficult routes

J. Black Diamond rope bag with 70-meter rope

K. Nalgene water bottle

L. Bail biner, used for bailing from a route

M. Petzl Reverso, used for rappelling and multi-pitch routes

N. Long draw, used for that "one out-of-place bolt," says Wiygul

O. Black Diamond lightweight quickdraws

"I carry a minimum of 15 when going sport climbing. This allows for anchor building and extending a few quickdraws if needed by linking them together," Wiygul says.

P. Black Diamond Stone 45 outdoor climbing pack