Lydia Ball: Member Spotlight

member spotlight lydia ball

The next participant in our Member Spotlight series is Lydia Ball. Lydia’s 25 years old and works in sustainability with the Ahold Delhaize Group. She’s only been climbing for two years, yet she has an acute understanding of the mental aspects of the sport and an appreciation for the community that a gym climbing atmosphere provides. Although she loves Maine adventure, she’s also is afflicted with a case of world-wide mountain wanderlust. Asked what her next adventure is and she responds:

“I’d love to get out to Joe Terravecchia’s routes in Newfoundland or the Torngat Mountains [in Labrador], but I need to be a far better climber first! So short term, deep water soloing in Greece or Mount Kineo on Moosehead Lake.

What’s not to love about someone who considers their greatest strength to be the fact they they are an optimist?!

1. Where is “home”?

I grew up outside of Philadelphia, but Maine is home now.

2. What’s the best thing about living in Maine?

Maine’s wilderness is unparalleled. Whether you are picking through tide pools, exploring the sphagnum bogs, or a few hundred feet up on a cliff, you always see something new in Maine.

3. What’s the worst thing about living in Maine?

I tried to start a banana plant and coffee plant from seeds, but the summer never got warm enough for my tropical plants.  Luckily, I would rather be banana-less than have hot summers!

maine adventure

“Climbing takes me to places that I would not go otherwise, and forces me to take risks.” – Lydia Ball on the Lower Exum Ridge, Grand Teton National Park.

4. How long have you been climbing for?

I have been climbing for 2 years. My boyfriend, Dan, and my friends Mircea and Andreea, introduced me to climbing onthe limestone cliffs of Romania.

5. What makes climbing unique and/or different from other forms of physical activity?

Climbing combines thoughtfulness, control, power, and pressure.  At the moment when you have to nail the move, you are under the most pressure, yet you have to be your most thoughtful, controlled, and powerful self.

6. What is your biggest climbing goal for the next year?

I’d love to complete the Franconia trifecta: the Whitney Gilman, Moby Grape, and the Eaglet in a day.

7. What is your biggest non-climbing goal for the next year?

I have a pair of AT skis that I got last year, that I have only used once.  I’d like to put some more days on those!

8. If you were completely immobilized in a hospital bed for a year, what hobby would you do?

Read! Although if my eyes were also immobilized, I guess I would have to listen to audiobooks and podcasts.     

9. What’s the hardest you’ve laughed recently?

Most contractions can be formed in more than one way.  For example, “he’s not” and “he isn’t”.  After a long day, Dan and I laughed so hard that we cried when we realized that “I amn’t” is not correct.

10. Who inspires you to try hard?

Everyone at the gym inspires me to try hard.  Hearing people shout encouragement whenever I am on a route that is difficult for me always gives me the extra push I need.  Watching all of the strong climbers at the gym inspires me to train harder.

11. What’s your greatest strength?

I’m an optimist!

12. What’s your biggest weakness?

I don’t like falling, so I end up hanging instead of moving quickly through cruxes.  I’ve been trying to work on this with “whipper therapy” though.

13. Why do you climb? 

Climbing takes me to places that I would not go otherwise, and forces me to take risks.  I enjoy the puzzles and body movement behind each climb, but most of all, I look forward to spending time with other people who enjoy the adventure!