The Time to Climb America Tour: Matt Ritter

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Photo Credit: Eric McCallister

Matt Ritter of Walkabout Mountain Guides

On our trek up to the summit of Mt. Washington we had the luck of having Matt lead the way. Matt being an individual of great climbing ability has devoted his life to the joys of the sport. During our preparation, training and journey to the summit I had the opportunity to talk with Matt. I was fortunate enough to learn a little about his journey and how he was able to purse a life of climbing.

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Our group coming on the Ammonoosuc ravine trail

Q: What got you into the outdoors & climbing?

Matt: “I grew up in an outdoor family. I was always hiking, winter camping, and dreaming about climbing Mt. Everest. My father climbed predominantly in the Gunks during the 80’s and 90’s. I was born in 85′ and by the time I was 15 I had gone rock climbing with one of my older bros who had the bug as well. We climbed 3 Pines in the Gunks and it changed my life. My brother, father and I climbed a bit together but I was hooked. They dabble now intermittently but I have made climbing my life.”

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Matt on "Irish Curse" M9+ in Kinsman Notch, NH Photo Credit: Phil Lonergan

Q: What was the moment that you knew climbing was it?

Matt: “When I was 16 my parents got me a birthday present. It was a 3 day mountaineering course with EMS in North Conway. Day one – we climbed Willey’s Slide, Day two – North End ice climbing at Cathedral Ledge, Day three – was an ascent of Mount Washington. After this course with great guides I knew this was the way for me! 6 years later I was studying Adventure Education at Plymouth State University in NH learning the soft skill side of wilderness experiential education and facilitation. After completing the “core” program there I dropped out to pursue guiding and climbing full time.”

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Matt on "Man Overboard" 5.12d in Rumney NH Photo Credit: Tim Deroehn

Q: How has climbing impacted your life?

Matt: “Climbing has BECOME my life! Climbing has become the reason for endless hours of physical training, endless hours on the road to the next climbing area in search of the adventure that makes life worth living! Climbing is the excuse to travel the world and meet new people. It is a reason to journey. It is a means to self-growth thru its many challenges. Climbing is also my way of giving to a world that could use a bit of recreation! I like the word recreation. When you break it down you get “re-create.” The spiritual, mental, physical benefits of climbing and adventure inspires me! A good trip fills my batteries and keeps me focused in life. It keeps things in perspective. Being able to share this with folks gives my life meaning.”

Matt is a steward of the sport and quite active in the New England climbing community. He is the owner of Walkabout Mountain Guides working year round doing what he loves everyday. You can find him taking folks like ourselves up Mt Washington in the winter, doing big wall trad on Cannon Cliff in the fall or working with kids in Acadia National Park teaching them the ropes on their very first outdoor climb during the summer.

Next Article: “The #TimetoClimb America Tour: The Gunks”

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