Wunderkind Scott Cory
12-Year-Old Climbs The Nose in One Day
Seattle, Washington - March 22, 2002

Editor's Note: On September 8-9, 2001, Scott Cory, then 11, as part of a team including Hans Florine, Beth Rodden, Tommy Caldwell and Steve Schneider, became the youngest climber to successfully complete El Capitan's "The Nose." It took three days and two nights. Two days later tragedy struck the US and Scott wanted to do something for the spouses and children of the New York City firefighters, police officers and uniformed Port Authority personnel who lost their lives. On October 2, 2001, Scott, Beth, Hans and Tommy climbed The Nose in one day to raise money for AmeriCares relief fund. Scott's mom, Jennifer, helps Scott with this interview.

Scott Cory

Scott Cory When did Scott begin climbing seriously?
Scott started climbing at 7 years old. His whole family joined Mission Cliffs in San Francisco, CA, and began climbing on weekends. Where did his first "real rock" climbs take place?
Scott's first outdoor adventures took place in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He started climbing at The 90-Foot Wall in Emerald Bay, and progressed to climbing at Cave Rock. He then began regular road trips to Red Rocks, Nevada, which is still one of his favorite places to climb. How did Scott train for this feat?
Scott went to Mission Cliffs three days a week. He warmed up on top rope climbs, and progressed to increasingly difficult lead climbs. He ended each training session with ten to fifteen laps on a routes rated around 5.11a. In between trips to the gym, he did push-ups and pull-ups at home, and climbed in his home bouldering room. Does Scott have a climbing instructor?
Beth Rodden and Scott's father, Jim, coach him. His dad put together his training schedule, and Scott loves getting to the gym. He definitely doesn't love the push-ups and pull-ups! No one can get him climbing harder than Beth. She pushes him and challenges him to do his best.

How did the El Cap climb come up and for how long did he prepare?
Scott has known Hans Florine since he started climbing at Mission Cliffs. When he was about eight years old, Hans started talking to Scott about climbing in Yosemite. Scott started going to the valley, and climbing multi-pitch routes. His first climbs were Commitment, Goodrich Pinnacle and Nutcracker. When Scott was 10, they began seriously talking about climbing The Nose.

Scott needed to learn everything there was to know about climbing a big wall. He got all the gear he needed, and would practice jugging for hours after the gym closed. He had never spent the night on the wall before, and set up a port-a-ledge on the back of his garage. He slept for three nights about eight feet off of the ground, just to get a feel for it. By the time they set out to climb, Scott felt prepared to what was to come. How did Scott become involved with Hans Florine? With Beth Rodden? With Tommy Caldwell?
Climbing is a very unique sport in that the best climbers actually want to see up and coming climbers get better. From the moment he began climbing, he was given training advice and tips from every climber who thought they could help.

He met Hans through climbing at Mission Cliffs. He had met Beth at some climbing competitions, and they developed a friendship. They started spending a lot of time training together, and Beth began joining him on his family climbing trips. They have a very similar training style - climb really hard routes for hours! Beth became his climbing mentor and his 'big sister.'

When Beth began climbing with Tommy, she naturally introduced him to Scott, and they all climb together when Beth and Tommy are in town.

Scott Cory

Scott, Tommy & Beth

Tell me a little about the second El Cap climb to raise relief money?
They finished climbing The Nose for the first time just two days before the September 11th tragedies occurred. Scott was very upset by the fact that so many kids were left without parents. He wanted to raise some money for them, and the way he thought he could do it best was by climbing.

He contacted Beth and Tommy, and asked them if they would climb The Nose with him in one day, this time for charity. They readily agreed, and a Climb for Freedom was born. Scott began looking for charities that directly benefited children, and selected AmeriCares to receive all of the funds from their charity climb. Where has Scott climbed and conquered?
Scott has had much of his climbing success at Red Rocks, Nevada, and Mt. Charleston, Nevada. One of his best climbs was an on-site of Yaak Crack, 11d, at 7 years old. Later that same day, he red-pointed Fear and Loathing III, 12a, on his second attempt. He climbed Guntower, 12a, at 9 years old, and after many, many tries, climbed The Gift, 12d, at 9. He has climbed all over the United States, and in Thailand. He went to Thailand in 2001 for a North Face photo shoot. He climbed many 12+ routes, and on-sighted his first 13a at 10 years old. What plans does he have for his future climbing?
Scott loves traveling, and would love to go to the Greek Islands to climb. If he could climb year round and travel with a tutor, he certainly would. He wants to go back to Thailand and climb, and ride elephants through the jungle again. He is beginning his fifth year in the USCCA and looks forward to seeing all of his friends again at the Nationals. He continues to train and push himself, and looks forward to every opportunity that may come his way. What does he want to be?
What else, a climber. What do his friends and classmates think of his achievements? Has he inspired any other youngsters to join him?
His friends and classmates are of course happy for him, but he tries hard to separate climbing from school. He likes to go to school and be a regular kid. He would rather be recognized at school for playing football well at recess, or for getting good grades. He spends most of his time with his friends playing baseball and video games. He takes his best friend Justin to the gym with him on weekends, and they have a lot of fun climbing together. Since his Climb for Freedom, he has been going to bay area schools, and giving talks about his trips up The Nose and climbing in general. He hopes he is giving kids an option for keeping fit, staying healthy, and staying out of trouble. Has he had any injuries?
Scott has been injury free with the exception of getting stung by hornets in Thailand. He was climbing a route, and stuck his hand in a hornet's nest. He got stung several times, and had to down climb over an overhang before he could let go. He hollered in the water for a little while, and worried about getting the draws down because they belonged to Katie Brown. Katie went up the route to try to get the draws down, but the hornets were still swarming around, and the draws are probably still hanging there! As his mom, how do you feel about his participation in this dangerous sport?
Scott started out small, and we have had a lot of time to get used to what he is doing now. He is an extremely careful climber, who really uses his head. He doesn't take any unnecessary chances, and as a parent, that certainly makes it easier. If he wasn't a safe and careful climber, Hans, Beth and Tommy would never climb with him. He trained for a year for his first big wall climb, and covered every area of big wall climbing that might come up, before he left the ground. We didn't give him permission to climb The Nose until he passed our personal tests of readiness, which he did with flying colors. It isn't easy watching your kid climb through binoculars, but we are getting used to it.

What other hobbies/interests does he have?
Scott's real passion in life is climbing, and it really is what he does for fun. If he misses a training day at the gym, he is disappointed not to get to see his climbing friends. He is playing baseball this season, and loves it. His brother plays football, and his sister plays soccer, so during their sports seasons, he plays their sports with them. He also loves golfing, and is sorry not to have more time to devote to it. He spends his free time goofing off with his friends, playing video games, and playing on the computer.

What's his favorite food? Music? Television Show? Movie?
» Food - Pizza
» Music - Alternative
» Television Show - "Malcolm in the Middle"
» Movie - Bad Boys Staff