20UNDER40: Zach Galla


Suwanee’s Zach Galla, at age 13, is already a veteran of rock climbing. He has been competing at the national level since age 10. Notes his coach, Arian Bates of Adrenaline Climbing, “It only took one trip to a birthday party at Adrenaline Climbing to hook [then] seven-year-old Zach Galla onto his new favorite sport of rock climbing.”

Indeed, to say that Zach is a gifted and hard-working climber would be quite the understatement. Within a very short time of taking up the sport, he began winning competitions all across the Southeast. And upon winning a climbing competition in Atlanta that included youth as well as adults, MadRock Climbing (a climbing gear company) came calling, and Zach is currently sponsored by the company for shoes and gear.

Just last year, Zach competed in the Youth USA National Climbing Championships (all competitors under 18 must compete in the youth division). The several days event came down to the top 10 competing on the final day for the coveted four spots on the USA National Climbing Team. And guess what happened? Zach made the mark – he is a member of that prestigious team – again, at age 13.

Nathan Steele, owner of Adrenaline Climbing, states that Zach “is a driven young man.” But despite his skills and drive, he still understandably gets nervous before a climb. Coach Arian Bates observes, “As Zach approaches the wall, I can see the stiffness in his movements. He’s nervous. But as he ties into the rope and casts off up the wall, all nervousness seems to disappear. He becomes one with the rock climb, making each move more fluid than the last. His grace on the wall appears effortless.”

Perhaps Zach himself best sums up the sport of rock climbing. He points out that rock climbing requires flexibility – both literally and figuratively. Says Zach, “Climbing takes a lot of persistence. The best climbs are the ones that you don’t get on the first try. You have to figure it out and always believe that it can be done.”

Who knows how high Zach Galla will climb in his chosen sport?


Photos courtesy of Adrenaline Climbing




Reg L. Carver
Reg is a freelance writer and photographer from Johns Creek, Georgia. He is the author of Jazz Profiles: The Spirit of the Nineties (Billboard Books 1998), which was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason Award for excellence in music writing. He is also the author of Walking Up Lombard:My Long Journey Home (AuthorHouse 2012), a memoir of his journey through major depression and healing. You can find him at www.reglcarver.com and www.500px.com/RegLCarver.

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