"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Ada Bonnett — At 13, an inspiring and well-rounded athlete

By on December 22, 2019 in Outdoor Fun with 0 Comments
Ada climbs Fun Rock in Mazama, Washington.

By Sarah Shaffer

Question: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Answer: I just turned 13. I was born in Moscow, Idaho when my dad was in veterinary school at WSU. 

When I was 2 years old, we moved to Bozeman MT, where I lived until I was 5 before moving to the Wenatchee Valley where we have lived since. I have a younger brother, two dogs, a cat and three chickens. 

I play music quite a bit. I play fiddle music with friends and at Bluegrass festivals, take weekly suzuki violin lessons, and recently joined the Icicle Creek Youth Symphony. 

My family spends a lot of time playing outside. This summer we climbed Mount St. Helens, which was super fun, and we go to Alaska every summer. 

This summer we had an awesome bike-packing trip to a glacier. We also usually catch lots of salmon and rockfish in Alaska as well.

Ada getting after a bouldering problem. (Bouldering — a.k.a. cragging when outdoors — is a sub-category of rock climbing, where all that is needed are climbing shoes, a crash pad — to land on that is super cushy — and a chalk bag. This could be indoor or outdoor. Indoor you go up as high as 40 feet and then jump to the ground or down climb. Outside, you climb on boulders found in nature and land — hopefully — onto crash pads.)

Question: We have heard that you placed first in the women’s bouldering competition at Riverfront Rock Gym recently? Please tell us about it.

(Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is generally lower to the ground and does not require ropes. Each boulder route or “problem” is its own unique puzzle, which requires both mental and physical strategies to “solve’” or finish. There are some problems that require more balance, and some more power.) 

Answer: I spent the morning during the USA Climbing Youth competition working on a tough problem that I didn’t finish during the three-hour competition. But during the evening citizen’s competition, I was finally able to figure out the right sequence of moves that allowed me to have enough power towards the end of the route to finish it.

I was climbing for about 10 hours off and on that day — time flies by when I’m climbing.

Question: Are you a part of a climbing team, how often do you train, how often do you go to climbing competitions? Would you say you’re stronger at climbing or bouldering? Which do you like more?

Answer: Yes, I am a member of the RRG youth climbing team. 

I typically train three nights a week for three hours each night, and additionally spend time there with my family as well. 

We are in bouldering season right now. During the fall, I go to bouldering comps almost every weekend in the Seattle area. In the spring, we travel back to the Seattle area for rope climbing comps. 

I would say that I am better at bouldering, because the style of the problems suits me better. I like it more too, because the problems are shorter and usually require more thought.

Question: We also hear you are a skate skier and partake in biathlon events? How do you train for those and do you practice shooting somewhere as well?

Answer: Yes, the last two years I was on the Leavenworth Nordic Ski Team and the Methow Valley Biathlon Team. 

This winter I am planning to take a break from the Nordic and Biathlon Teams to focus on climbing. However, I am still planning to nordic and alpine ski for fun with my family.

Question: We have seen you on a mountain bike too. Do you take mountain bike classes? Do you like to downhill bike or cross-country bike? Where have you biked around our region and further out?

Answer: I like to mostly downhill, because I can go really fast with minimal effort, but I do ride cross-country too. 

I do not take any mountain biking classes, but my mom is an instructor so she will teach me some things about it. 

My family and I go biking a lot, when it is not too hot. Whenever we go on a camping trip in our camper we like to bring our bikes. We bike mostly in Washington and B.C., Canada. Most summers we go to Whistler to go downhilling in the bike park. 

As a part of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance my Mom helps put on kids mountain biking races, and so I am usually involved in those too.

Question: What is some advice you have for young outdoor athletes?

Answer: My advice for young athletes is to try multiple sports, such as soccer, rock climbing, skiing, biking because you never know which sport you will like the most, and so you can have more experience too.

Question: Do you have any long-term goals for your athletic interests?
Answer: I would like to climb for as long as I can, as well as ski and bike. I don’t think I will be a professional athlete, because I would like to be a dentist.

Question: What is your favorite piece of gear and why?

Answer: My favorite piece of gear is probably my climbing shoes, because I can take them lots of places and climb almost any boulders when we go on a hike.

Question: Do you do anything specific before an event or competition — get a certain amount of sleep, eat certain foods?

Answer: Before an event or competition I try to get lots of sleep, and (try to) avoid candy or sugary foods. I also try to take a climbing rest day the day before to let my fingers recover so they are fresh for the competition.

Question: How did you get into all these awesome outdoor sports? What has inspired you to try these different activities?

Answer: My parents are awesome. They have introduced many sports to me since the day I was born. My parents and coaches have inspired me greatly. My parents almost always support me in my activities and are always encouraging me to try new things.

Question: Do you have a favorite outdoor sport? If so, why is it your favorite?

Answer: My favorite sport is climbing, because my coaches and teammates are super supportive and nice. I also just love the climbing itself.

The full version of this story appears on Wenatcheeoutdoors.org — the site covers such topics as hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, trail running and skiing in the region.

Sarah Shaffer is the Executive Director of WenatcheeOutdoors.

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