Ben Hanna was too young to remember his first climbing experience. His dad had him in a harness as soon as he could walk and he was climbing all over things even before that. Climbing has always been a part of his life. It’s what his family did for fun. It’s what he loves. It’s what he wants to do for the rest of his life.
Born in 1998 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ben still calls Santa Fe home, but he feels most at home in the wilderness. He doesn’t feel like himself when he is in a busy city, which is why he spends most of his time climbing outside where he thrives on the projecting process. “On rock, it is 100% up to you how well you do,” he says. “The rock will never have a bad day.”
When Ben was 10 years old he met another climber his age and heard he was crushing it competing in the USA Youth Climbing Circuit. That’s when Ben’s competitive side took over. “As soon as it was clear that he was better than me, I became very motivated to change that,” he says. He joined a local climbing team and after a year of competing realized how much he enjoyed competitive climbing and decided that he wanted to do it as a career. After telling his parents of his climbing career ambitions they agreed to do whatever they could to help him achieve his dream. He’s been trying to make it a reality ever since.
Ben has always trained hard, but when he started training with Ed Strang his training became much rigorous. Ed taught Ben the importance of intense training and sticking with it to see results. Then Ed stopped coaching. This left Ben with a lack of motivation and a long journey ahead of learning how to self-motivate. “The things I use for motivation change a lot from a beautiful climb I want to send, an upcoming competition or anger about something going on in my life,” Ben explains. “But more than anything failure drives me the furthest and the hardest. I hate failing and coming up short so I let it push me to do better.”
His training has paid off and Ben placed second in the 2015 Sport Climbing Series Youth National Championships. He sets big goals for himself to increase his motivation and is currently training for the Climbing World Championships.