Member Spotlight: Cole Kohei Corbin


Cole Kohei Corbin found climbing only a little over a year ago, but he’s already going places. After quickly progressing through Salt Pump’s Lead Class and Skills Seminars, Cole graduated to outdoor climbing – managing his first sport and trad leads before the New England winter forced confined him to Salt Pump’s walls. A 42-year-old former rocket-scientist-cum-brewer, Cole currently works as head brewer for Maine Beer Company.

“I definitely enjoy the analytic side to climbing,” he says. “Just figuring out how to climb more effectively and train more effectively gets me excited!”

Salt Pump Adult Team Coach Zack Sawyer agrees. “Once Cole decides to spend his time on an activity, he’s fully in. He strategically figures out the process… Despite being really smart, he’s humble, he has a beginner’s mind.”

1. Where is “home”?

I’m originally from Sapporo, Japan, but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have been happily living on Portland’s West End for the past 5 years. 

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

The people, the food, the weather and the seasons, and the natural beauty!  Acadia can’t be beat.

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

The weather…  just kidding.  I really enjoy the long winters…  really…  I do…

4. How long have you been climbing for?

A little over a year now!

5) What makes climbing unique?

I think one’s mental strength has a bigger impact on performing well in climbing than most other sports I’ve tried before.  Climbing requires a nice combination of this mental resolve, focus, and positive thinking, with one’s athleticism (strength, balance, mobility, etc.).

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

To experience climbing outside more and to lead trad routes!  And, to continue learning and training and improving my mental and physical skills.  So… nothing too specific, yet.  Oh, and staying injury free.

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

To continue eating well and staying healthy!

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

This would be terrible!  Don’t want to imagine or think any more about what it might be like…

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

My general approach to climbing and training actually; applying what I’ve been learning from Zack and Michaela (and Matty) through Adult Team into my climbing projects!

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

I took my almost 4 years old nephew to a climbing gym in Boston last weekend. We had so much fun!  He liked it a lot and said that he’d like to try it again.  We smiled and laughed together a lot that day.

11. Who inspires you to try hard?

Hard not to be inspired by all the total crushers that climb at Salt Pump!

12. What’s your greatest strength?

I’m pretty good at Excel! lol

13. What’s your biggest weakness?

I over think things sometimes.

14. Why do you climb?

I climb because it’s fun and it makes me smile. Climbing connects me to nature.  Climbing connects me to other people.

Cole taking his little nephew Alton climbing for the first time.