Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meet... Brian Crawley

Climber Brian Crawley
By Aubrey Wingo

Most people would never get the opportunity to meet this gentleman as he is, what I like to call, the “early morning boulderer” but when you meet 23 year old Brian Crawley, you are going to leave with a smile from the nonstop amount of sarcasm and joke telling you are sure to experience.

Born in Brewton, Alabama, but originally from Key West, Brian began climbing after moving to the Orlando area where he visited Aiguille for the first time with his sister and her boyfriend. “I kept coming back because I was skinny and strong, and decent at it.” A boulderer for five years now by choice, Brian always prefer to come climbing in the mornings and early afternoons to enjoy the solitude and complete open choice of bouldering walls. Self described as being “like an upside-down pear”, translated to being strong and powerful style-wise, Brian also enjoys the almost “sadistic” qualities that climbing provides. “You intentionally hurt yourself all the time, cutting off every layer of skin routinely. It’s awesome.” His favorite shoes are by far the 5.10 dragon, however Brian also enjoys his 5.10 Galileos because “of the name. They make me sound more philosophical.”

Brian has been climbing in almost every gym in Florida, as well as Chattanooga’s Stone Fort. He has also been to several gyms around the country, more because his dad didn’t want to have to spot him outside, so gym climbing was a much easier choice. When I asked him what was his dream place to go climbing, he grinned and replied, “the moon.”

When he is not climbing his routine three times a week, Brian pursues his future by serving our country as Sergeant Crawley and Assistant Squad Leader in the United States Army. Joining in 2008, his military career has taken him all over the world so far, starting at Fort Benning, and since Fort Hood, Camp Landing, Camp McCain, and to serving a tour in Iraq for one year. Most recently, Brian competed in the many legs of the Soldier of the Year competition, an event which tests a soldier’s mastery in physical fitness, warrior skills, land navigation marksmanship and knowledge of military programs.

In his battalion, brigade, and state, Brian took top honors including winning the Eagle Trophy for Florida Army National Guard’s Soldier and NCO of the Year. After these, Brian continued on to the Region 3 competition where competitors were surprised with a mystery challenge. “When I walked around the corner to see the challenge for the first time, all I could say is ‘Oh my God.’ When my competitors asked what was the matter, all I could say is, I do this like three times a week.” To Brian’s surprise and excitement, the mystery challenge was a 60 foot climbing wall and a rappel off the back side. “It was like two 5.6 put right next to each other with no tape on the wall.” His competitors sort of laughed but when Brian offered to go first, he certainly left an impression, breaking the current course record of this event. “I sped up 3/4s of the wall and finished with probably a V2 dyno to the top to cut time and probably rappelled down in two seconds straight to the ground.”

Brian’s climbing has certainly contributed to his strength and fitness inside and outside of the Army. “It helps me in very strange ways, like the random times when someone calls for a pull-up challenge, or in climbing ropes and obstacle courses. And of course, random mystery events.” Well, this writer certainly hopes that climbing can also assist him in his goal into joining the United States Army Ranger School, an intense nine week combat leadership course which has been called the “toughest combat course in the world. Brian simply calls it the “most brutal and awesome.” Outside of climbing, Brian spends his time working out, drinking, photobombing, and reading (Brian laughs and says “I actually really enjoy reading”). Amongst this, Brian spends time with his hamster, Commander Shepard, and dominating at Halo Reach (Trust me, I’ve played him... he’s good.). And if you’re lucky, you might be able to be introduced to Duck Norris, his lovably named tattoo on his chest of a duck in an army helmet. Brian has decided to continue his career in the military, hoping to be stationed one day in either Germany or Japan, and then eventually retire with the rest of the climbing world in Colorado.

So if you’re ever in the gym and you see Brian, stick up your hand for the most epic high five that you will ever receive and join him in a bouldering session here at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center.
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  1. Btw, RIP Commander Shephard. I shouldn't have pets.

  2. Aww I'm so sorry hun. RIP Commander Shepard...