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Women’s History Month Interview Series: Professional Rock Climber, Sierra Blair Coyle

Professional rock climber, Sierra Blair Coyle talks sports, role models, and women.

Taking part in the special project that honored women who are making a difference in sports, was a lot of fun.  One of the wonderful women, whom are a part of this project, is an athlete I had the pleasure of interviewing a short time ago for my site.  Her name is Sierra Blair Coyle.  What follows is the interview plus the update that includes her favorite sports movie and the three people, living or dead, she would most like to have dinner with.  Her answer to that one might surprise you.

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I try and draw inspiration from many different sources.  I think everyone is motivating and inspiring in some way.  Right now there is one guy at the gym who seriously will not let go, no matter what.  I try and channel him sometimes when I climb and need some extra fight power to hang on the wall!

~ Sierra Blair Coyle @Sierrablaircoyl

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Showcasing my work here at, has lead me to meet/interview some pretty amazing athletes.  It lead me to write for Double G Sports, a sports site that focuses on Greater New York local sports and ‘tri-state’ events.  Michelle Kwan, Billie Jean King, and Angela Ruggiero are just some of the outstanding female athletes I met as they walked the Red Carpet in New York City last year, when I was asked to cover the anniversary celebration of the Women’s Sports Foundation  [] for Double G.

When I interview these women, I tend to want to live vicariously through them, as they share about their amazing talents. That is likely because [as I have shared before] I have not been gifted with athletic ability and despite how many believe it can be learned I may be living proof that this may not be the case.  Take rock climbing for example.  I’m not so sure I’d be able to get to the top, let alone the center of the rock.  Yet, if you ask Sierra Blair Coyle, who just so happens to be a professional rock climber, she thinks if there’s a will there’s a way. Of course she may be right, and if Sierra has her way many more will embrace this amazing sport and it will become more mainstream in years to come.

What follows is a series of questions and answers wherein Sierra shared a bit about her passion for her sport, her love for her families and animals, and her thoughts on the future.  I hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit more about Sierra Blair-Coyle as much as I did.



Photo by Jacki Sterna

MSX~ It is my goal to someday have a wonderful website that would focus on an athletes ability on the field, if you will, as well as what matters to them off the field.  In your case, there is no field, per se, but rather a rock.  Explain to me how you think your sport differs from team sports.

SBC- Climbing is different from team sports because it is an individual sport.  We are each scored on how we do individually, and while you may train with a team, it is ultimately your climbing that decides how you place at the end of the day


MSX~Share with me what lead you to become engaged in the activity of rock climbing, and what it feels like to be scaling walls?  What, if anything, would you tell a young girl who sees your photos and expresses a desire to be likes you?

SBC-I first tried rock climbing at a local mall.  They had a small wall that I loved to climb, even during the heat of summer!  I would beg and beg my parents to take me back every day.  After becoming exposed to climbing, I told my parents that I wanted to train, compete, and eventually become a professional rock climber.

At the time, my parents did not know that climbing was an organized sport.  Luckily, there was an article on a local climbing team a few weeks later in the paper.  Once we read that article, I immediately went to the climbing gym, joined the team, and started competing.

For me, climbing just feels right.  It is definitely a freeing experience and makes me feel like I can accomplish anything!

I would tell any young girl who wants to try climbing to hop in and start having fun.  Climbing is organized, but when you begin climbing it isn’t quite as structured as other sports.  This is great because you can get a feel for climbing and if you love it, without committing to a rigorous practice/training schedule immediately.


MSX~ If I were to say that I am attempting to redefine what people think of when they think of what it means to be ‘Very Sexy’ so that a person’s substances and soul is valued in this equation, would you say I’m absolutely crazy to ever expect anyone to see internal beauty as a prerequisite for ‘Very Sexy’

SBC-Internal beauty is absolutely sexy.  Some people have incredible hearts and souls that truly deserve to be described this way.


Photo by Jacki Sterna

Photo by Jacki Sterna

MSX~ Do you have a passion for team sports, and if so which are your favorite teams?

SBC-Watching team sports are fun for me!  My favorite team sport to watch is hockey, I am a big Arizona Coyotes fan, but I can honestly say that I enjoy watching all team sports.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for all athletes and the incredible amount of work that they put into their careers.


MSX~ Share with me where you grew up, and if you have traveled far from home?  Did you have any childhood dreams that you have yet to accomplish?  What’s your favorite childhood memory?

SBC-I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I still reside.  I have actually lived in my house since I was four years old, which is cool for me!  I love my house and want to buy it from my parents when I am older.

While I travel a lot, Scottsdale is still my home base, which is great.

Before I began climbing, my biggest childhood dream was to accomplish something great one day.  I think at this point in my life I have had many incredible accomplishments, but I feel like there are still so many things that I can accomplish.

After I began climbing, my dream was to help make climbing a more mainstream sport.  This hasn’t been completely accomplished yet, but I feel like I am definitely headed in the right direction.

My favorite childhood memory is of Christmas morning.  Christmas was always so magical to me, and I still love the holiday.  I would leave out cookies and milk for Santa, as well as carrots and water for the reindeer.  I would leave Mrs. Claus a goody bag too…because I didn’t want her to miss out on any yummy cookies!  I always remember waking up Christmas morning and being awe-struck at how beautiful our tree looked with all of the presents under it and how only crumbs were left from Santa Claus and the reindeer.  Obviously I loved getting presents as well, but for me Christmas was just so magical.


MSX~ what was it like growing up in your home?  Do you have a big family?  Do you have sisters, brothers, cats, dogs and which is your favorite holiday?

SBC-My family is my mom, my dad, my older sister, and myself.  I always grew up with pets.  Our two main pets were our two cats, Twister and Wanda.  Unfortunately Wanda passed away two years ago, but Twister is a youthful 12 years old.  We also had other smaller animals, like fish, hermit crabs, and hamsters.


MSX~ what do you remember about school?  When did you first get into rock climbing, and did you friends encourage, discourage, climb with or wait for you to return when it came time to do social things?

SBC-I always liked school, but liked to play at home as well.  I think it’s the same with school now, some days I am excited to go to class and other days I want to stay home and go climbing.

My friends were always encouraging of climbing.  They thought it was cool and would want to come with me.


MSX~ Do you have a favorite book?

SBC-My favorite book ever is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  Right now I am hooked on reading mysteries and romance novels though.  My favorite author overall is Debbie Macomber.


MSX~ who inspires you?

SBC-I try and draw inspiration from many different sources.  I think everyone is motivating and inspiring in some way.  Right now there is one guy at the gym who seriously will not let go, no matter what.  I try and channel him sometimes when I climb and need some extra fight power to hang on the wall!


MSX~ what about music?  What role does music play in your life?

SBC-Music doesn’t play a huge role in my life, other than I enjoy listening to it


MSX~ If there were to be a movie made about your life, who would you want to play your best friend and why?

SBC-I would want Blake Lively to play my best friend.  She seems so nice and sweet!


MSX~what would the movie be called?

SBC-Maybe Sierra’s Story?  I think if I brainstorm I could probably come up with a better title though!


MSX~ Do you believe in destiny?

SBC-believe that there are different avenues for different people.  I definitely feel like I was meant to climb, but I know if I wasn’t climbing I would be doing something else that I enjoy just as much.


MSX~ When you heard that you were going to be interviewed for what did you think of the name?

SBC-I thought that the name accurately depicted sports and athletes.  Athletes work hard and are awesome, regardless of their sport.


MSX~ what do you think about sponsorship opportunities for women in sports vs. men?

SBC-Men and women generally have different sponsorship opportunities.  Generally speaking, I believe that men see more of the sponsorship dollars, but that can vary on an individual basis.


Photo by Jacki Sterna

Photo by Jacki Sterna

MSX~ Do you think you would like to travel to another universe?  If you did travel to another universe what do you think life would be like there?

SBC-have always kind of wanted to go into a black hole and see where I end up.  But obviously I would be scared of dying.  If I went to another universe, I’m sure life would be different and similar.


MSX~ what do you think life will be like in 100 years from now?

SBC-In 100 years I believe that life will be different, but great.  I can’t imagine our world not becoming even more technologically advanced, but I envision it happening with alternative energy types.  Looking back on the progress that has been made in the past 100 years…I cannot even imagine what 2115 will look like!


MSX~If you could change the education system in the United States, what would you want to change?

SBC-That’s a tough question.  I think it would be great if students could work at their own pace, moving faster through their easier subjects and slower through their harder subjects.  However, I know this is difficult with limited teachers and large class sizes.



MSX~would you say you are passionate about the environment or your diet, and if so is there any thing you want to share with the world about what matters to you?

SBC-I am passionate about the environment and my diet.  I do my best to respect Mother Nature and I take care of my body.  I also love animals.  One day I would like to become more involved with animal shelters, fostering animals, etc.  Cat, dog, goat, lizard, sheep, elephant, and orangutan…I love them all.


MSX- if you could change the world in anyway, what would you hope to accomplish?

SBC-If I could change the world in one way, it would be to make the world a more caring place.  I know that is very similar to the “world peace” answer, but I believe that by being kind and caring towards others, we can accomplish great things.


MSX- Thank you so much for taking time to share pieces of you with me.  If you could share a Haiku poem that would best describe you…. What would it be?

SBC- Always on the wall

Just trying to reach the top

She won’t ever stop!


What a joy it was for me to interview this young lady and learn more about her goals. I had reached out to Sierra because I wanted to learn more about her amazing grace and find out just who this extraordinary woman ‘on the wall’ is.  In future interviews, I will like to learn more about rock climbing as a sport because there’s so little I know, and so much more to learn.  Based on all I learned about Sierra, in both the interview and how she handled herself prior, Sierra is a true professional that is kind and shows respects for others, as well as, her.  

Update ~ March 2015

As part of the special project for Double G Sports, I had the opportunity to talk with Sierra.  Since all the information was pretty current, there was no reason to change the write up except I had to ask those very important questions.  What is her favorite sports movie, and who would she most want to have dinner with, living or dead, if given the chance.


SBC:  Favorite sports movie would be “Never Back Down” and the three people I would like to have dinner with, are George Washington, just because he was the very first president of the United States.  Rosa Parks, because of her amazing contributions and she is just someone I would expect to be incredible.  Lastly, I would say Oscar Wilde, simply because he is my favorite author.


So let me guess, you were expecting someone else? Or a different choice for a favorite sports movie?  Well, Sierra is full of surprises.  It is no doubt that she has lots more in store for her fans and her family.  I wish her all the best as she continues to follow her own path that she hopes will lead her to something brilliant, somewhere remarkable as she continues to be a pioneer in her sport, and a true contributor to women in history.


Photo by Rico Edwards

Photo by Rico Edwards


Social Media Info:

Sponsors: Sanuk, Roxy, SPY, fuel:one, Sierra Sage Herbs, Climb X Gear, BlueWater Ropes, Asana Climbing, Quotable Cards

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Michelle has been a sports writer and analyst for many years. Now, as host of Neutral Court, sponsored by In The Zone, Michelle brings a new sports topic to the debate floor with each episode.
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