Jackson Marvell Athlete Bio

Jackson Marvell is the newest member of the Liberty Mountain athlete teams. He has joined as an athlete for Edelweiss, Grivel, and Cypher. We interviewed Jackson to find out a bit more about where his passion for climbing started and what his goals are moving forward.

Tell us about where you grew up -

I was born in Orem, Utah and lived in Provo till I was three. That's also where I dug the biggest hole ever in my parents garden. Then we moved to Lindon where I now live when I'm not on a climbing trip or expedition.

What was your first experience climbing?

When I was 16 I begged an older girl that I worked with to take me out climbing with her on a Saturday after work. She eventually conceded and took me up to Rock Canyon. That day I was able to lead a couple sport pitches and learn the basics, that night I bought a rope, harness, draws, and set of stoppers. Because it became an addiction, I began recruiting kids to skip school with me to go climbing as often as I could. The trips to Moab then started soon after and my weekend norm became climbing there. Moab is where I really cut my teeth climbing.

What is your favorite type of climbing?

Climbing to me is all about the adventure. That being said, I naturally gravitate towards trad, big wall, alpine and ice. There is nothing quite like topping out a wild desert tower though, so if I had to choose one as my favorite I guess I would have to go with that.

Any style of climbing that you particularly dislike?

Sport climbing and bouldering are both fairly boring.

Jackson on Gold Bar Tower
Where are your favorite areas to climb?

I've spent a lot of time over the years exploring the Colorado Plateau, when I'm home that is my go to climbing destination. The past two years I've spent time in Alaska and have really enjoyed the experiences I have had there. It's really cool to disconnect from the rest of the world for a month.

Tell us about your all-time favorite climb –

Hmm. My all time favorite climb… that's a hard one. One of the most standout days in my memory would have to be when my friend and climbing partner, Pat Kingsbury and I got the first free ascent of the east face of Texas Tower Onsight. That was a pretty rad day of climbing.

Why do you climb?

You know that's a good question. I think about that when I’m especially tired at work, or when I’m broke as a joke trying to scrounge up money for another trip. The only answer I’ve been able to come up with is because life should have moments of adventure. Who doesn't dream about wandering the desert, or standing on top of a snowy summit in a far away place. I certainly did when I was a kid and now that dream has become somewhat of a reality.

Jackson climbing Shotgun Wedding
Photo: Tim Thompson

Can you talk about your project to climb 100 desert towers? What was your motivation, and what were logistics and planning like?

A couple months after I turned 20 I decided I wanted to climb 100 desert towers before I turned 21. There were a couple of reasons I decided I wanted to do this, 1) I would be the youngest person to do it by several years, and 2) I wanted to go to areas of the desert that I would otherwise never have had the chance to explore. Logistics and planning was simple, climb towers at every possible chance. Obstacles on the other hand were another story, one thing that comes to mind when I think of obstacles would be when I totaled my truck on a Friday night one weekend out on a dirt road in Canyonlands. I was pretty stressed that night thinking about what I was going to have to do to get a new rig and get back on the road, but I woke up the next morning and said screw it and drove the totaled truck the rest of the weekend ticking off 5 towers. I then drove home Sunday night, test drove 12 Tacomas on Monday, got a loan on Tuesday and bought a new truck. On Wednesday I was back out enjoying my month long road trip.

PS some fun facts for my little project, it took 29,160' vertical feet of climbing, 27,500 miles driven, $3,437 spent on gas, 83 milkshakes from Milts, and 1 totaled Tacoma. What did I get in return? Countless priceless memories with many of my friends.

After being stuck in a storm for a week and a half this spring in Alaska, there was a brief 5 hour window that Jackson and his climbing partner Paul Robertson took full advantage of. They ran for the hill closest to base camp and enjoyed some much needed sun while getting some exercise climbing 6 pitches of fun alpine ridge. That night the weather closed back in for another 4 days.  Photo: Paul Robertson

What other hobbies/interests or passions do you have?

To be honest I usually don't have time for much besides work, planning climbing trips and going on climbing trips. If I did have more time I'd probably spend it in my grandpa's shop working on becoming a better welder or reading books.

What or who inspires you?

There are several people who have inspired me over the years, My grandpa and dad have always been a huge inspiration to me. They both work harder than anyone I know and they instilled that work ethic in me when I was young. I am always trying to incorporate that into my climbing. Another huge inspiration to me was Scott Adamson, he embodied everything I thought climbers were supposed to be.

Favorite post-send meal –

Would definitely have to say a nice big guac bacon burger with some fries.

What are your long-term climbing goals?

I have a lot of climbing goals. Some upcoming ones would be to free this line called “Hell Bitch” on a really rad tower deep in the desert. I’m also heading to Kyrgyzstan for two months to do some big wall climbing and exploring this summer so pretty stoked about that.

Anything else that you think your fans should know?


Follow Jackson's adventures on Instagram @jacksonmarvell


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