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MATT SEGAL

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Photos by John Dickey

Originally from Miami, Florida, Segal left the beaches for the mountains of Boulder, Colorado. He has been climbing since 1998, the first years dedicated to traveling the US and Europe for indoor competition. After many successful comp seasons Segal realized there was more to climbing than gymnastic movement on plastic holds, so he ditched the gym and journeyed outside.

Some say if Segal hadn’t become a professional rock climber, he could have made a solid go at it in the world of used car sales.  His level of enthusiasm for climbing is unrivaled.  When pitching an idea for a trip, Matt’s voice creeps up steadily in volume, and his gaze becomes more intense.  Then, at the crescendo of the proposal, he’ll explode with “It’ll be great!”  A born explorer, Segal has a sixth sense for sniffing out obscure, wild rock climbing destinations.

He’s traveled the world, from China to Argentina, mostly focusing on establishing the most difficult traditional climbs he can find. Some of his proudest lines include The Iron Monkey (5.14) in Eldorado Canyon, CO, The Orangutan Overhang (5.14-) in Independence Pass, CO and Air China (5.13d R) in Liming, China. Recently he’s also collaborated with both scientists and photographers on National Geographic expeditions where his skills as a climber have proven to be valuable.

Segal graduated from Naropa University with degrees in Psychology and Religious Studies with an emphasis in Tibetan Buddhism. Even though not working in his academic field, he carries the knowledge he acquired in is everyday life. He tries to live by the words of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the late founder of Naropa University, when he said: “The arrival of chaos should be regarded as extremely good news.”

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