Jackson Marvell Athlete Bio

Jackson Marvell is the newest member of the Liberty Mountain athlete teams. He has joined as an athlete for Edelweiss, Grivel, and Cypher. We interviewed Jackson to find out a bit more about where his passion for climbing started and what his goals are moving forward.

Tell us about where you grew up -

I was born in Orem, Utah and lived in Provo till I was three. That's also where I dug the biggest hole ever in my parents garden. Then we moved to Lindon where I now live when I'm not on a climbing trip or expedition.

What was your first experience climbing?

When I was 16 I begged an older girl that I worked with to take me out climbing with her on a Saturday after work. She eventually conceded and took me up to Rock Canyon. That day I was able to lead a couple sport pitches and learn the basics, that night I bought a rope, harness, draws, and set of stoppers. Because it became an addiction, I began recruiting kids to skip school with me to go climbing as often as I could. The trips to Moab then started soon after and my weekend norm became climbing there. Moab is where I really cut my teeth climbing.

What is your favorite type of climbing?

Climbing to me is all about the adventure. That being said, I naturally gravitate towards trad, big wall, alpine and ice. There is nothing quite like topping out a wild desert tower though, so if I had to choose one as my favorite I guess I would have to go with that.

Any style of climbing that you particularly dislike?

Sport climbing and bouldering are both fairly boring.

Jackson on Gold Bar Tower
Where are your favorite areas to climb?

I've spent a lot of time over the years exploring the Colorado Plateau, when I'm home that is my go to climbing destination. The past two years I've spent time in Alaska and have really enjoyed the experiences I have had there. It's really cool to disconnect from the rest of the world for a month.

Tell us about your all-time favorite climb –

Hmm. My all time favorite climb… that's a hard one. One of the most standout days in my memory would have to be when my friend and climbing partner, Pat Kingsbury and I got the first free ascent of the east face of Texas Tower Onsight. That was a pretty rad day of climbing.

Why do you climb?

You know that's a good question. I think about that when I’m especially tired at work, or when I’m broke as a joke trying to scrounge up money for another trip. The only answer I’ve been able to come up with is because life should have moments of adventure. Who doesn't dream about wandering the desert, or standing on top of a snowy summit in a far away place. I certainly did when I was a kid and now that dream has become somewhat of a reality.

Jackson climbing Shotgun Wedding
Photo: Tim Thompson

Can you talk about your project to climb 100 desert towers? What was your motivation, and what were logistics and planning like?

A couple months after I turned 20 I decided I wanted to climb 100 desert towers before I turned 21. There were a couple of reasons I decided I wanted to do this, 1) I would be the youngest person to do it by several years, and 2) I wanted to go to areas of the desert that I would otherwise never have had the chance to explore. Logistics and planning was simple, climb towers at every possible chance. Obstacles on the other hand were another story, one thing that comes to mind when I think of obstacles would be when I totaled my truck on a Friday night one weekend out on a dirt road in Canyonlands. I was pretty stressed that night thinking about what I was going to have to do to get a new rig and get back on the road, but I woke up the next morning and said screw it and drove the totaled truck the rest of the weekend ticking off 5 towers. I then drove home Sunday night, test drove 12 Tacomas on Monday, got a loan on Tuesday and bought a new truck. On Wednesday I was back out enjoying my month long road trip.

PS some fun facts for my little project, it took 29,160' vertical feet of climbing, 27,500 miles driven, $3,437 spent on gas, 83 milkshakes from Milts, and 1 totaled Tacoma. What did I get in return? Countless priceless memories with many of my friends.

After being stuck in a storm for a week and a half this spring in Alaska, there was a brief 5 hour window that Jackson and his climbing partner Paul Robertson took full advantage of. They ran for the hill closest to base camp and enjoyed some much needed sun while getting some exercise climbing 6 pitches of fun alpine ridge. That night the weather closed back in for another 4 days.  Photo: Paul Robertson

What other hobbies/interests or passions do you have?

To be honest I usually don't have time for much besides work, planning climbing trips and going on climbing trips. If I did have more time I'd probably spend it in my grandpa's shop working on becoming a better welder or reading books.

What or who inspires you?

There are several people who have inspired me over the years, My grandpa and dad have always been a huge inspiration to me. They both work harder than anyone I know and they instilled that work ethic in me when I was young. I am always trying to incorporate that into my climbing. Another huge inspiration to me was Scott Adamson, he embodied everything I thought climbers were supposed to be.

Favorite post-send meal –

Would definitely have to say a nice big guac bacon burger with some fries.

What are your long-term climbing goals?

I have a lot of climbing goals. Some upcoming ones would be to free this line called “Hell Bitch” on a really rad tower deep in the desert. I’m also heading to Kyrgyzstan for two months to do some big wall climbing and exploring this summer so pretty stoked about that.

Anything else that you think your fans should know?


Follow Jackson's adventures on Instagram @jacksonmarvell


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Climbers Partner with LDS Church on Stewardship of Little Cottonwood Canyon Climbing

Photo: Nathan Smith
June 1st, 2017, Salt Lake City, Utah – The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and Access Fund announce the signing of an unprecedented lease for 140 acres in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC). The parcel, known as the Gate Buttress, is about one mile up LCC canyon and has been popular with generations of climbers because of its world-class granite.

The agreement secures legitimate access to approximately 588 routes and 138 boulder problems at the Gate Buttress for rock climbers, who will be active stewards of the property. The
recreational lease is the result of several years of negotiations between LDS Church leaders
and the local climbing community.

A lease signing ceremony will be held to commemorate this historic event, which coincides with National Trails Day. Media are invited to join us.

Photo: Andrew Burr

What: Lease signing ceremony for climbing access to the Gate Buttress parcel in Little
Cottonwood Canyon.

Who: Scott Trotter, Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church and Julia Geisler, Executive Director
of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance. The Access Fund Conservation Team, Chip Powell and
Lindsay Anderson, will be facilitating an environmental stewardship Adopt a Crag event for
volunteers on site.

When: Saturday, June 3rd, 9 a.m.

Where: Parking lot of the Gate Buttress, one mile up Little Cottonwood Canyon. (Signage will be
present marking the site)

The leased area can be seen in the highlighted area here

The first recorded climbing route in LCC was established in 1961 by former Salt Lake City
Mayor, Ted Wilson and Bob Stout. Over the years, Wilson worked with Rick Reese, Allen
Sanderson, and other local climbers, in conjunction with the LDS Church to assure recreationalists, predominantly rock climbers, access to the Gate Buttress parcel. However, no
formal agreement had ever been established to allow climbing and land improvements. This
lease is an evolution of this relationship.

“The LDS Church has always been gracious to climbers regarding climbing access,” says
Wilson. “The Church, Salt Lake Climbers Alliance, and Access Fund now, by the agreement,
take this relationship to a whole new level. Because of the agreement, the canyon will have
needed environmental improvements to continue to enhance a wonderful recreational site open
to individuals and families.”

“Agreements like this lease benefit climbers and landowners alike,” says Access Fund
Executive Director Brady Robinson. “By teaming up, Access Fund and SLCA can ensure a
lasting partnership with the LDS Church.”

The SLCA and Access Fund are preparing a stewardship plan that will incorporate climbing
area improvements, erosion mitigation, and more. This stewardship work will replicate
successful efforts that SLCA is spearheading at the lower Little Cottonwood hiking and climbing
access trail network. In addition to hosting climbing, the property is also part of the Salt Lake
City watershed system that provides drinking water to more than 400,000 Salt Lake County

Photo: Nathan Smith

“The Gate Buttress is a world-class climbing resource that is near and dear to many climbers’
hearts both here in the Wasatch and across the nation,” says SLCA Executive Director Julia
Geisler. “The climbing community is deeply committed to the environmental stewardship of the
property. This lease not only secures access for climbing at the property, but also allows the
community to be better stewards of the places we love to play. The SLCA is actively planning
for recreation infrastructure improvements to begin in 2018, including trail and staging area work
that will reduce erosion and impacts on the Salt Lake City watershed.”

Stay tuned to SaltLakeClimbers.org for volunteer environmental stewardship opportunities at
upcoming Adopt a Crag events. The SLCA will also be responsible for funding recreation
infrastructure at the Gate Buttress parcel and will have fundraising events that the public is
encouraged to attend, including one on June 8th at Black Diamond Equipment. For tickets, visit
Photo: Nathan Smith

About Salt Lake Climbers Alliance

The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) exists to provide a unified voice for climbers in the
Wasatch through stewardship, advocacy, community, and education. The SLCA is Utah’s
leading voice for climbing access and stewardship: uniting, educating, and inspiring climbers of
all disciplines to serve their local climbing community since 2002.
For more information, visit saltlakeclimbers.org.

About the LDS Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a global faith with nearly 16 million members
worldwide. The Church’s teachings include a belief that we have a responsibility to work with
others to care for God’s creations. For more information, visit our page on Environmental

About Access Fund

Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and
conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, Access Fund supports and represents
millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing,
mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local
levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and
mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and
education. For more information, visit accessfund.org.


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Chulilla Spain Travel Tips


Beal Athlete Anne Struble recently returned from a climbing trip to Chulilla, Spain, a small town near the eastern coast of the country. Here are her tips and suggestions for planning your own trip to Chulilla and getting the most out of your time there.

Getting There
Probably the easiest and most direct way to get to Chulilla is to fly to Valencia. It is about 40 min from Chulilla to the Valencia airport. It is also possible to fly into either Madrid or Barcelona and drive from those cities, both of which are under 4 hours away.

If you are staying in the village of Chulilla itself, one important thing to note is that while cars are “allowed” on the side streets, most of them are extremely narrow, steep and winding and you may end up in a dead end forcing you to go uphill in reverse in the dark. To get to most locations in town, visitors leave their cars in the large public lot on the North end of town.

It is also possible to leave your car for short periods of time in the main plaza for loading/unloading/ purposes.

Rental Cars
I usually just use Kayak to find my rental cars and go with whatever is cheapest. Gold Car is usually a good cheap option. They have a super coverage that will theoretically make your life easy if you have any sort of damage to the car or need any roadside assistance. However, you will have to pay quite a bit more for it. Additionally, if you don’t get the super coverage, when you arrive to pick up your car they might give you a really hard upsale.

Airbnb is probably your best bet for finding lodging. Chulilla is pretty touristy and there are many options. There are a couple of B&Bs that you might also be able to get dinner at and there are a large number of apartments with full kitchens (and often a washing machine as well). Chulilla is very cute, scenic and convenient but it also works to stay in La Ermita (very close only around 1-2km), Losa del Obispo (only a 5-10 min drive to the climbing parking), or Villar del Arzobispo (a bit further, but it is bigger with a full grocery store and some restaurants).

The little stores in Chulilla actually have an impressively wide selection given their size, so it’s not actually necessary to go to a bigger grocery store, but depending upon how much cooking you plan to do you still might want to visit one.  Paniza which is right on Chulilla’s center square has daily fresh bread, empanadas and other treats. The woman who works there is very friendly and you can also get a wide variety of other items. If you venture a bit further from the town center there is another bakery and other stores which offer meats and cheeses. There is also a weekly market on Sundays which has a larger range of fresh produce and some snack items.

Goscanos - the climber’s hangout and offers breakfast and dinner, but is often closed in the middle of the day. They are very friendly and offer reasonable prices and good food.
Restaurante Hoces Del Turia - A nice little restaurant right on the main drag through town. You can also just get a drink or coffee.
There are also other restaurants around town, but I didn’t sample any of them. The best restaurants that I experienced were in Valencia on rest days (see the rest days section).


The guidebook can be picked up at the Bar El Canton, or the tobacco shop just next door to it, both are located right on the center square. It’s also likely that Goscano’s sells them. For gear, you could probably get away with a 70m rope, but I’d recommend bringing a longer one. There are a few routes that an 80m is necessary for, but in general it will just make your life easier. For draws, I’d recommend bringing 25, or 40 if you want to leave draws on anything for more than a day. Most routes are between 12 and 16 bolts (plus anchors), but there are the occasional longer (and less run out) ones that might need 20 or 22.

The best areas to climb at will really be dependent on the temps and what grades you are looking for.

For shady climbing I’d hit these areas first:
5.11s: Oasis, Chorreras and Master
5.12s: Chorreras, Oasis, Algarrobo (but stay away from the one star 7b+s at Algarabbo)
5.13s: Balconcito, Algarrobo, Pared Blanca, El Balcon, Chorreras

For sunny climbing:
Pared De Enfrente
For the 5.13s check out the El Ramellar sector for sure. It also goes into the shade in the afternoon and is good enough that it is worth checking out even if it’s a bit warmer.

There is also a climbing gear shop in Chulilla, where there was a decent selection of gear and chalk available.

Rest Days

For rest days, visiting Valencia and eating Paella was our favorite activity. If you just want Paella, I’d recommend Yuso. It’s right in the old town area which is great to explore after a huge satisfying meal. Our favorite restaurant, which also had fantastic paella, but other dishes as well, was Navarro, wonderful food and service. It’s an especially good place to go if you don’t speak much Spanish as they will explain their menu in English and make recommendations. They really want you to enjoy your visit.

We just enjoyed wandering around the old town and seeing the sites, but the Valencia Cathedral is definitely worth a visit. In addition to seeing the interior of the cathedral and walking through the small museum inside, I’d recommend climbing to the top of tower, which on a clear day will give you a great view of the area.

The beach on the northside of Valencia is also quite scenic with a long boardwalk with restaurants, cafes and ice cream.

There are also many great trails around Chulilla for hiking or trail running.


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High on Hyalite: Ice Climbing with the Sierra Club Military Outdoors

2016 Sierra Club Military Outdoors Ice climbing group. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com  
I was surrounded by silence.  A thousand feet above the canyon floor the environment was so frozen in white that time seemed transfixed. Snow slept heavily on the mountains. Pale clouds hung low, stretched out across the peaks like slowly pulled wool. Together the snow and the clouds seemed to absorb any sound. I felt as if I’d forgotten how to hear, what day it was, or anything other than the wall of snow and ice that I had dug my crampons into. I was high up in Hyalite.

Lindsey Robinson on the Mummy II WI3. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Gregory Schillinger on Champaign Sherbert WI4. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
The silence was broken by the faint clinking of ice tools as Devin worked his way up the cliff and joined me at the anchor. “My forearms are burning,” he remarked and I smiled in agreement. We still had a few more pitches before finishing the route. Devin and I were climbing Land of the Lost, WI4, which is a beautiful long and winding ice route in Hyalite Canyon. Each pitch gave us a different perspective of the canyon and frozen waterfalls first climbed decades ago by men like Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker. Sometimes we could see Winter Dance, an intimidating icicle hanging like fangs above our own route; sometimes we caught glimpses of Twin Falls and the towering Cleopatra’s Needle across and up canyon from us; we could also look down at Unnamed Wall and the Fat One where we’d climbed both rock and ice a few days earlier.  

Hyalite has arguably the highest accessible concentration of natural water ice formations in the US. It looks like a frozen rainforest. The rock walls behind the snow and ice are mostly basaltic andesite, formed by an ancient lava flow. Mounds of conglomerate rock are found in higher layers, deposited by a mud flow from volcanic activity in Yellowstone millions of years ago. More than one glacier has carved Hyalite into a wide U shape and dragged rock debris far down the canyon.

Gregory Schillinger and Isaac Teaford on Champaign Sherbert WI4. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Devin and I were part of a Sierra Club Military Outdoors annual trip to ice climb in Hyalite Canyon with the Montana Alpine Guides. Everyone in our group had some background in climbing or mountaineering, but the chief common element among us was that we had each served in the military. Several men came from Army and Navy backgrounds; Devin had served in the Marines and I was in the Air Force. Most of us had not been with a group of veterans since leaving the military.

Gregory Schillinger climbing at the Unnamed Wall. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Kyle Burton climbing Genesis I WI3+. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
The group at the Unnamed Wall. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
For five nights, we all camped in Hyalite sharing hot meals and coffee and resisting the cold fingers of winter. Around the campfire we laughed with familiarity at each other’s stories of military life.

Window Rock Cabin, Hyalite Canyon, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
BBQ. Window Rock Cabin, Hyalite Canyon, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
BBQ. Window Rock Cabin, Hyalite Canyon, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
BBQ. Window Rock Cabin, Hyalite Canyon, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
After Action Review. Window Rock Cabin, Hyalite Canyon, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
During the day, we pushed each other to climb better, longer, and harder. I could tell there was instant trust and camaraderie in ice climbing with people who have been through deployments and who know the ups and downs of serving in the armed forces.
Approaching the climbs. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Climbing The Fat One WI3. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Heading back to the cabin for the night. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
The day Devin and I climbed Land of the Lost, our guide Adam remarked on the fortitude of the military teams he’d guided in the mountains. I can see how dealing with tough and miserable military deployments can help veterans adapt quickly to demanding situations in the wild. However, in war there is a human enemy. On the mountain, there are challenges and hazards to overcome, there is a very real risk of death or injury, but there is no true enemy. I gathered that Adam had likely lost as many friends on treacherous expeditions in the Himalayas as I had lost in Operation Enduring Freedom

Adam Knoff teaching lead technique on the Mummy II WI3. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Adam Knoff of Montana Alpine Guides Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Harsh and painful experiences can make us feel isolated, but being together with women and men who have gone through the same difficult times can help restore a broken spirit. Spending time in the mountains, in wild places, is just as important for guides like Adam as it is for veterans.

Issac Teaford on Champaign Sherbert WI4. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Isaac Teaford – U.S. Navy Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
Being on a wall of brittle ice forces you to exist only in the present. The mind is focused on the spikes of the crampons and the tips of the ice tools, the pressure of the body on the ice--nothing else. The stress and confusion of careers, relationships, money, past mistakes, and future plans—everything is cleared away so that the mind and body can feel the ice and maintain vertical progression up the waterfall.
Adam said on our descent, “Sometimes you have to stop pursuing happiness, and just be happy.” In the quiet pauses between our crunching footsteps in the snow, I said to myself, “I am.” 

Lindsey Robinson – U.S. Air Force

Lindsey Robinson – U.S. Air Force Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Robert Vessels – U.S. Army, Sierra Club Military Outdoors Program Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Gregory Schillinger – U.S. Marine Corps Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Kyle Burton – U.S. Army Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Devin Duval - U.S. Marine Corps Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Steve Seager – U.S. Army Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Dan Shoemaker – U.S. Army, Sierra Club Military Outdoors Program Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Sam Magro – Montana Alpine Guides Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com

Nathan Smith – U.S. Army, Liberty Mountain employee Photo ©Jake Hirschi

The goal of Sierra Club Military Outdoors is to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the skills, exposure, knowledge, and confidence to access the great outdoors. Time spent in nature not only promotes mental health, emotional resiliency, and leadership development prior to deployment, it provides invaluable know-how to help returning vets enjoy and engage with nature upon returning from deployments. Many veterans experience difficulty adjusting to civilian life after leaving the service. Time spent outdoors eases the transition and improves both mental health and social skills. Providing service members, veterans, and their families with quality outdoor experiences will help foster the development of a new generation of Sierra Club leaders and supporters from within the military and veteran community, including family members who will work to actively achieve the Sierra Club's mission and become outdoor leaders in their communities.

In March of 2016, Liberty Mountain was proud to support the Sierra Club Military Outdoors Program on it’s ice climbing trip to Hyalite Canyon above Bozeman, Montana. We believe in the power of the outdoors and it’s restorative nature. To find out more about the Sierra Club Military Outdoors, go to: sierraclub.org/outings/military

"I was not sure what to expect going out on this ice climbing trip being a more mature veteran, retired in 2000, but it was just plain awesome! The bond among the veterans the Montana scenery and the professionalism of the guides made this an experience that I will never forget. If I had trepidations at the start of the trip they soon were erased with feelings of excitement and challenge. I was proud to be chosen for this experience, proud to be a part of this group and by the last day wished it could last a little longer." 

-Steve Seager – U.S. Army

Steve Seager on The Fat One WI3. Unnamed Wall, Hyalite Canyon, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
“The Hyalite Canyon trip was my first exposure to ice and mixed climbing, but certainly reinforced my love for the outdoors and passion for climbing in general. Being with fellow veterans and fantastic guides made for an awesome experience. Climbing in Hyalite had the affect I always seek in the outdoors; where all the noise and worry of life is cancelled out by being in the moment and surrounded by a beautiful landscape.” 

-Devin Duval – U.S. Marine Corps

Devin Duval on The Fat One WI3. Unnamed Wall, Hyalite Canyon, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
“Spending time in the mountains, in wild places, is just as important for guides like Adam as it is for veterans. Being on a wall of brittle ice forces you to exist only in the present. The mind is focused on the spikes of the crampons and the tips of the ice tools, the pressure of the body on the ice--nothing else. The stress and confusion of careers, relationships, money, past mistakes, and future plans—everything is cleared away so that the mind and body can feel the ice and maintain vertical progression up the waterfall.” 

-Lindsey Robinson – U.S. Air Force

Lindsey Robinson on a pillar at the back of the Bingo Cave. Unnamed Wall, Hyalite Canyon, Montana. Photo ©Nathan Smith – Pullphotography.com
"The mountains and climbing are an important part of my life. The beauty and solitude I find there is invaluable to keep my life in balance. The friendships I’ve found in climbing are the closest thing I’ve found to the comradery and teamwork I experienced in the military. Joining this great group of veterans in the backcountry was an amazing experience I hope to repeat at some point."  

-Nathan Smith – U.S. Army, Liberty Mountain Employee

Nathan Smith on the Elevator Shaft WI4-. Unnamed Wall. Hyalite Canyon, Montana. Photo ©Cheri Smith – Pullphotography.com

Photos by Nathan Smith @pullphoto Pullphotography.com

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