Pro climber Alex Johnson cherishing role model status

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VAIL, Colo. -- The greatest female climbers in the world gather in a small gym in Vail, scrambling up walls and displaying muscles most of us have never seen before.

For Alex Johnson, climbing is her life.

“I always wanted, when I started when I was 11 to move up the ranks.”

After warming up in the gym, the Bouldering World Cup, which is the Super Bowl of climbing, begins.

Johnson’s plan is simple.

“It’s the path of least resistance…how quickly and efficiently you can get to the top.”

It’s a perspective the two time World Cup Gold medalist and five-time National Champion was born with. Her mom, Trish Johnson, says Alex started young.

“When Alex was two (years old), we’d go to the park (and) instead of swinging she would spend hours on the monkey bars. She always was a climber.”

Alex admits it wasn’t just playground equipment but also “...swing sets, churches, because they have cool architecture.”

But now, it’s about winning.

“What keeps me in it is that I get more in the zone doing climbing comps than running, or anything,” said Alex.

But it’s not just about competitions at every event. There are always groups of young girls asking for autographs, wanting to be professional climber just like Alex.  Girls like Gina Kelble who was a volunteer during the Bouldering World Cup at the Teva Mountain Games.

“It’s amazing! It’s so big that I feel like I’m going to pass out when I see some of the climbers,” Gina told us.

Alex says she can relate.

“Every single one of us climbing up there was that 11-year-old girl once going Whoa!”

And her mom keeps reminding her of that little fact. “I tell her, remember when you are in that position. The young girls are awestruck. You’ve got to keep all that in mind that these kids are watching you.”

Johnson finished 4th at the Boulder World Cup in Vail, but she hasn’t even scratched the surface, this was the first time she has ever formally trained for an event.

“It hasn’t sunk in. I’ve been doing professional climbing for 4-5 years.”

And after spending the last 9 months living out of her mom’s van, cruising and climbing around the country, Alex is laying down roots and moving to Boulder… to climb of course.