Rock Climbing Is a Thrill. It’s Also Really Good for You

Josh Larson was about 14 years old when he went to a carnival and decided to give the climbing wall a whirl. It was nothing major—about 25 feet, he recalls—but the instructor was impressed and made a deal with him. “He said, ‘If you climb this other route, which is the hardest one, we’ll give you a harness, and you can go back home and find a climbing gym.’”

Larson is now an elite rock climber. He’s head coach of the USA Climbing National Team, which governs competitive climbing in the U.S., and in 2018, he and his wife established a new route in the Peruvian Andes, becoming the first people ever to discover that specific way up the 15,000-foot-tall cliffs.

“I love that it mentally pushes me day in and day out, but I also…