Black and white image of a climbing gym with Kyra Condie sitting on the ground, watching Alex Johnson make her way up on a bouldering problem.
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On the competition floor, there are no friends. Right? Climbing is an individualized sport that not only requires deliberate mental and physical execution but careful and constant calculation of your competition’s, too. It would be easy to show up, perform, and collect your medals without so much as a word exchanged, but Kyra Condie and Alex Johnson’s relationship is far from that; it’s had many different facets over the years: coach/athlete, competitors, teammates, training partners, and finally, friends.
Alex Johnson and Kyra Condie smile for the camera inside the climbing gym, both with backpacks on, ready to go.
“I'm definitely a lone wolf by personality, in life and in training, and have always preferred to climb or train alone, or only with people in my close circle, but there was definitely a moment that sort of hit me in the face realizing we were both training and working towards the same goal—and that it was possible that we could both achieve it. For me, that was when we became allies in my mind.” -AJ
Black and white image of Kyra Condie bouldering, reaching up for her next move.
PROUD COACH
“Kyra has some of the most impressive strength I've seen, specifically her hands and fingers—it blows me out of the water. She also works harder than anyone I know. If it takes her 18 attempts to get to the top of something in a four-minute round, so be it, she'll get to the top in 18 attempts, but she will get to the top. From the day I met her (I think she was 11) I always said she had huge potential, and I saw something super raw in her, and she's really living up to it. Her dedication outshine anyone, and the hours she puts in show that.” -AJ
Black and white image of Kyra Condie bouldering, reaching up for her next move.
In the gym, Kyra bouldering with Alex on the sideline coaching
Looking into a Camp 4 duffel full of climbing equipment
Kyra looking down at her hands
“I think Alex is really good at making people feel heard and included. As a coach, Alex always did a wonderful job making me feel like a peer and not just another kid at the gym. I remember having conversations with her when I was 11 or 12 where she made me feel super accepted in the world of climbing and competitions.” -KC
Looking into a Camp 4 duffel full of climbing equipment
Black and white image of Alex doing hangboard exercises in her home gym
“I’ve always admired Alex’s want to win. I think in the past, I’ve been a bit ashamed of my own competitiveness and pushed down my outward want to win, but in reality, at these competitions, we are all competitors—of course we want to win—competitions would lose their value if we didn’t all have that want. Alex has taught me to embrace that competitiveness without losing any integrity.” -KC
"Minnesota Forever" drawn on the wall in the climbing gym
Alex chalking up, getting ready for her next workout
“SHE HAS AN UNWAVERING CONFIDENCE IN HERSELF, HER TRAINING, AND HER INNATE ABILITIES THAT ALLOWS HER TO COMPETE AT HER FULL CAPACITY, AND EVEN SOMETIMES ABOVE HER FULL CAPACITY DURING COMPETITIONS. HER COMP HEAD-GAME IS RIVALED BY FEW OTHERS AND IS REALLY IMPRESSIVE AND FUN TO WATCH.” -KC
"Minnesota Forever" drawn on the wall in the climbing gym
Over Kyra's shoulder, she marks off a check at her extensive training to do list
IN IT TOGETHER
“This entire past season, we talked strategy, shared recovery tools and protein packs, brought stuff for each other overseas if someone forgot something, and if one advanced into semi-finals and one didn't, we could separate our own disappointment to be there to support the other.” -AJ
Kyra on a bouldering problem, with her mantra "you suck try harder" in the background
Kyra doing push-ups holding on to weights
“Qualifying rounds at world cups are always split into two different groups, each one climbing on completely different problems, and Kyra and I were always in different groups. This allowed us to truly root for the other, as our individual performances had no effect on each other. We could grow a stronger friendship towards each other and just be teammates.” -AJ

Black and white image of Kyra and Alex talking in between climbs at the gym
STRENGTHENING EACH OTHER
“Kyra is stronger than me, it's a quantifiable scientific fact, so I have to rely on movement and strategy to do things that she can power or pull through. That definitely makes it fun and interesting for us climbing and training together, but I think in a cool way.” -AJ
Alex taking a break, sprawled out on the floor of the gym
Close up of Alex Johnson's hands
“One of my favorite parts about the 2019 season was getting to know Alex so much better and being able to call her one of my best friends.” -KC
Kyra sits on the ground taking a break while Alex is near the top of a bouldering route behind her.
“KYRA IS LOYAL AND RESPECTFUL, SUPER SENSITIVE, EMPATHETIC, AND HAS A BIG HEART. IF THERE'S EVEN THE CHANCE SHE MAY HAVE HURT SOMEONE'S FEELINGS, IT EATS AWAY AT HER UNTIL SHE FIXES IT. SHE'S A NATURAL LEADER, BUT IS ALSO FULLY CAPABLE OF ADMITTING WHEN SHE ISN'T AN EXPERT ON A TOPIC AND CAN TAKE CUES, LISTEN, LEARN, AND GROW. SHE ALWAYS STANDS FOR WHAT SHE BELIEVES IN, EVEN IF IT COULD CAUSE WAVES. SHE'S A GOOD FRIEND WHO MAKES HERSELF AVAILABLE IF ANYONE NEEDS HER.” -AJ
Black and white image of Alex and Kyra standing and talking in the gym
Kyra working on a challenging bouldering problem at the gym
“I think what's so special about climbing, is that you can be really competitive but not towards people, more so with your own self, or against a climb. The grit, fight, and try-hard have to do with wanting to get to the top, and wanting to perform, rather than wanting to beat someone or wanting someone else to fail or do poorly. And if you’re lucky, you get to share and be supported by allies who are in that same pursuit.” -AJ
Kyra and Alex sit on the couch, in coversation
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