Who is the climbing sensei?

Meet Coach Sjong

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Pushing the boundaries of the sport.

Justen has been climbing since 1992. From 2004 onward, he has left his mark on elite climbing objectives across the country. In 2008, he established the “hardest free big wall” in the world, Magic Mushroom (5.14a VI) on El Cap in Yosemite. This 28-pitch epic project took him and partner Tommy Caldwell 5 long days on the wall to complete. Justen also established his dream climb, The Pre-Muir (5.13d), on El Cap, in 2007.
In a post-send interview with Rock and Ice, he reported that “by the time you reach the 5.13d crux at pitch 25, you have done eight 5.12 pitches and three 5.13 pitches down low in the ‘easy’ section. The second-to-last pitch is 5.13c. There are 10 five-star high-quality pitches on the route.”

Photo Credit: Tim Kemple

Great coaches enable their athletes to understand their own particular strengths and weaknesses. In Justen’s case, he takes the unpolished climbing gemstone in each athlete, and then, facet by facet, he interacts and collaborates with them – and together, Justen and athlete begin the work of polishing each facet of the great climber within.

Father of Ross Fulkerson

Not just an athlete.

Helping others realize their true potential

Justen is also an accomplished coach. He has been coaching climbers since 1994, and in that time he has helped people of all abilities push their limits. He specializes in evaluating climbing movement and provides drills to improve an athlete’s weaknesses. With a balance of intensity and light-heartedness, he explains complex ideas in a simple, logical manner so that his clients understand the long-term direction and goals.

Justen has had the honor of coaching some of the best climbers in the world, including Alex Puccio, Daniel Woods & Emily Harrington since they were little crushers.

Sjong has been coaching since 1996 when he started a youth team at Cascade Crags in Everett, Washington. Today he is a go-to coach for top climbers trying to push into the next level.

Climbing Business Journal - 2013