Interview: Catching Up With Nadya Vorotnikova

Nadya Vorotnikova climbing Liposuction (5.12a) at Reimer's Ranch, Dripping Springs, TX

Nadya Vorotnikova climbing Liposuction (5.12a) at Reimer’s Ranch, Dripping Springs, TX. [Photo] Joe Pill

After moving to New Hampshire from Russia, Nadya Vorotnikova has constantly been sending hard routes and winning local competitions around the region.  I met Nadya at a climbing competition in 2003.  She had always been a climber that I looked up too, so I was pretty intimidated when I first met her.  I quickly realized she was one of the nicest, most genuine people that I had ever met.  I recently caught up with her to see what she’s been up to aside from crushing local comps.

Climberism: How did you start climbing?

Nadya: My parents have always shared a passion for mountaineering, and they didn’t wait long to bring teeny me with them on some “easy” trips. They took me rock climbing for the first time when I was around 3 years old, and I’ve been hooked since.

What was it like moving to America from Russia?

It truly was an adventure. At ten years old, moving from your native country to one where the language and the culture are completely different was definitely a bit shocking. I was never much of a city girl, and moving from Moscow to New Hampshire was a nice change, especially climbing-wise. I have missed quite a bit of my family, though.

Where was the first place you went climbing outdoors?

Karelia, Russia and Crimea, Ukraine – which one was the very first, I don’t quite recall.

When did you realize climbing was going to be a major part of your life?

I don’t think I ever had any sort of realization. It was something I’ve done with my family. All of us loved it. I think it’s that way with anything in life – if it brings you joy, challenges you, keeps you sane, you’ll keep coming back to it.

If you could pick one place to climb at for the rest of your life, where would you pick?

That’s a hard one, because I really enjoy traveling to new places where I haven’t climbed before. Wherever is closest to family. Maybe Kalymnos, Greece, if speaking strictly for climbing.

Favorite climb?

As of yet, probably Snake Dike on Half Dome. I’ve done it once when I was 15. What a fun climb! I loved the exposure.

Where is your favorite place to climb in New England and why?

Rumney, NH is one of the closest areas for me, and it really is some of the best sport climbing in the Northeast. I really enjoy the variety of climbs there. I’m a bit of a sentimentalist, but this is the first place I’ve climbed since I’ve moved to the United States, so it means a lot to me.

Latest ascent?

Gold Coast, 5.13c/d.

Are there any projects you are currently working on?

Since I’ve finished Gold Coast, I really want to take some time to do some traditional climbing. I will eventually try some harder routes just to see how much I can push myself. Right now, it feels great to be climbing without focusing on anything in particular.

Any cool travel plans in the future?

Once I save up some money for traveling, sure. The first place I would like to go climbing outside of North America would be New Zealand – I’ve always wanted to go there.

Nadya Vorotnikova at Reimer's Ranch, Dripping Springs, TX

Nadya Vorotnikova climbing at Reimer’s Ranch, Dripping Springs, TX. [Photo] Joe Pill

What is/was your role at Evolution Rock Gym?

I was program director and climbing coach at Evolution, and I really enjoyed doing both. However, I no longer work there because I would like to use my college degree in Athletic Training, and combine my passion for climbing with my passion for sports medicine.

Do you think you’re going to stay in the Northeast or do you have hopes of moving out West?

Ever since I’ve finished college, I’ve had a rambling itch. I’d like to move out West, for some time, anyway. I do love New England, though. There will always be a special place in my heart here.

Any cool/funny/scary climbing stories?

When I was in college I had classes, clinicals, and work taking up most of my time, which left very little room to go climbing. There was one particular time I went ice climbing in the middle of the night after working late. It was snowing, but it was warm. I remember watching huge flakes of snow coming down in the light of my headlamp, and all I could hear was the crunch of the ice axe and the crampons, along with the familiar clicking of the belay device. Nothing else. It was so serene. It’s very difficult to describe the feeling, all I know is I would like to go ice climbing in the middle of the night more often.

1 Comment

  • Marie says:

    Nadya is such a bad ass! Very modest even though she climbs really hard. Met her at UNH, she’s probably the nicest climber I’ve ever met :)

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