Climbing her way to mindfulness

Katrin Elfberg, a Medical student with a great love for mountains, ocean and nature.

By Tierra

Katrin Elfberg, Tierra ambassador and part of Tierra’s test team for nine years, is an enthusiastic adventurer with a huge passion for climbing and skiing. When she is not studying she works as a paramedic and leads the alpine rescue group in Tromsø, where she has lived for the last six years.

We’ve asked Katrin a few questions about her passion for climbing, most memorable trip and more.

How did you come in contact with climbing for the first time?

It was by accident in 2002. I had decided to go travelling first thing after my high school graduation. New Zeeland was my aspiration, and I went there and to plenty more destinations that year. My first stop was actually supposed to be surfing in Bali, but just before our departure a bomb exploded, and our tickets were automatically rebooked to Thailand. On the cliff walls along the beaches at Railay Beach where we ended up people were climbing everywhere. We met some Swedish friends that introduced us to top-rope climbing. Halfway up my first climb I was totally enchanted. I forgot everything. I knew that this was something I was going to do for the rest of my life. Nothing else mattered.

What is it that makes climbing so special to you?

There are few things that capture my concentration and focus in the same way as climbing. It’s like meditation. Everything becomes quiet and calm inside of me. It’s pure freedom.

Tell us about one of your most memorable trips?

In 2015 I took a gap year from college. During that year, I went back to Yosemite to, among other climbs, climb Regular North West Face on Half Dome. Even though I’ve done lots of memorable and cool climbs in my days, this particular climb is to this day the best climbing day in my life. Not only because of the trail and surrounding that is amazing, as many others would agree. But it was probably the mood and teamwork within the group that made the day so memorable. I was my absolute best that day, as you are only a few times in life. I didn’t think of anything but my next move. No hesitation, I just went for it. I was filled with a calm and serenity that I think both of us in the rope team felt. At the same time it was the overwhelming happiness inside of me that made my day. I can barely describe it. We were the only people climbing that day, and we didn’t see or hear any other people until we reach the top and was met by tourist. It was a magical day for a small rope team of no importance on the Half Dome.

A well deserved break on the way up El Capitan, Yosemite. Photo: Dave Miller

Do you have any advice to someone that is interested in trying a new activity, like climbing, but doesn’t have any experience?

My advice if you are interested in getting started with something new, or to continue to develop in something, is to go ”all-in”. Don’t be scared! Find something that you are passionate about, and then just do it! Don’t bother listening to people saying that you need to do it in a certain way. Talk to someone with experience, read, try! Practice, plan and be well-reasoned. But don’t be scared! When I was about to start climbing I grabbed the first person I met at the climbing center and asked where I could get hold of a pair of climbing shoes, even though I didn’t have any money. It ended up with her giving me her shoes. And I was good to go!

How did you come in contact with Tierra?

I have been a member of Tierra’s test team for the past nine years. A friend of mine introduced me because Tierra was looking for new members. At that time I was living in the Alpes and I was active in all disciplines of climbing and skiing. It is really exciting to be a part of the test team and to be a part of developing the products that I use every day.

What garment can you not manage without?

I would never go up a mountain without my move hood jacket, summer or winter. It is small and always fits in your backpack. You never know when you might need it!

How do you relax?

When I relax I most probably do nothing. I’ll lay down on my sofa or go out in nature. Make sure I am by myself. I’ll Turn off my phone, computer and music. Then I’ll just be, listening to the stillness. Let the time pass… and reload.

Katrin's favourite product