Gordon’s passion of rock climbing takes him to competitions all around the world

Photo courtesy of Gordon Family | Clay Gordon ’20 climbs during finals of Montreal Championship in October 2017.

By Victor Beck ’20



Clay Gordon ’20 is a nationally ranked athlete and uses his passion of climbing as a way to relax and unwind. 

He’s been climbing since he was very young and has always needed to balance school and climbing.

“I’ve been climbing for almost ten years now and school has always been something I had to balance, so I’ve gotten pretty good at juggling the school work and climbing so I’ve definitely gotten used to the work,” said Gordon.

Gordon is grateful for the climbing community and the opportunities it’s given throughout his career.

“I’m definitely thankful for the climbing community and where it takes you. It’s taken me all over the world and see so many places I wouldn’t have been able to see. I’ve been to Italy for a competition, I’ve been to China once before and most recently I was in Austria about a year ago,” Gordon said.

He’s won national awards and placed in world championships all around the world including China.

“This summer I won youth nationals for sport climbing, and it was really nice to get that title again. I was fourth in the all around the world 2016 Youth World’s Competition in China,” said Gordon.

Gordon describes climbing as his passion and gets the feeling of euphoria while doing it.

“Climbing is my passion and when I’m doing it it’s like everything melts away, and when I go climbing outside it gives me the opportunity to just forget about school and kinda just be in the moment out in nature,” Gordon said.

Mrs. Kristin Venberg praises Gordon for his ability to keep up with school work while going away for competitions.

“I really love Clay as a student. He is very engaging and has a great sense of humor. The thing I loved about him being in an advanced placement course even when he was gone for his climbing expeditions and competitions he always turned in his work in on time,” said Venberg.

Zack Valencia ’20, is amazed by how committed and humble Gordon has been.

Clay is a hard-worker at heart. He is also very humble about what he does. I have never really seen him talk about his accomplishments. He is also very empathic and when it may look like you are having a rough day he will make sure to ask what’s going on,” said Valencia.

Valencia believes Gordon will be successful in any future plans he has.

“I think Clay is someone who is going to do what he wants to do no matter what and he’ll be really good at it. Whether it be climbing competitively and winning more championships, or going to college and pursuing a career in that direction. I believe that Clay will be successful in whatever he does and I am super excited to see where is climbing skills can take him,” said Valencia.