Ben Smith

Devils Lake Rock Climbing Instructor, Ben Smith

Emeritus Guide
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor
Wilderness First Responder

I've always been the obsessive type. I struggle with how to divide and balance my time, so I find it easier to do just one thing all the time. When I moved to Wisconsin, I fell out of love with my previous obsession, ultimate frisbee. A visit to the local climbing gym immediately filled that void. The other climbers I met, the powerful yet graceful movements, and the technical ropework provided me with endless learning horizons and with friends interested in chasing those horizons. 

"Every day I go out and climb, like a dancer who works on his dance. He probably has some goals, some pieces he would like to perform, but his main goal is to work on his dance. This is how he expresses himself. Both he and I are interested in the same thing. It’s the dance that counts."

-John Bachar

Perhaps it is best to not quote a dead free solo climber. However, Bachar's emphasis on the process of climbing, rather than the achievement of the summit, resonates with me. I guide to share a bit of that process with others. 

When I learned that guiding was a feasible career, I began pursuing the qualifications to work not only on the cliffs of Devil's Lake, but in the greater mountain ranges of the United States. When I'm not climbing, I enjoy lifting weights and cooking breakfast for others. I am known for my French toast.