Julia Geisler’s Park City transplant story is a familiar one: she came here for a winter from Wisp, Maryland, to ski 10 years ago, but it was her summer experience after the snow melted that really hooked her. Back then, she didn’t know how to rock climb. Then she met Charlie Sturgis, a veteran climber, former owner of White Pine Touring, and current executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. “Charlie is my mentor,” she says. “He gave me a job guiding climbing tours for White Pine. His passion for climbing sparked my own.”
Sturgis also encouraged Geisler professionally, urging her to apply to become the first executive director of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA), a nonprofit that bills itself as the voice of the Wasatch Mountains climbing community. “At the time, I didn’t even know what climbing advocacy was,” she jokes. Geisler landed the job and now spends countless hours working with land managers, sifting through policy issues, facilitating recreation infrastructure projects, and planning events like the Salt Lake Climbing Festival (August 24–26). “We have to protect the places we love to recreate in, otherwise we’ll love them to death,” she says.
Her commitment is paying off. In June 2017, she helped broker a partnership between SLCA, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Access Fund to lease 140 acres in Little Cottonwood Canyon at the base of the Gate Buttress, a series of granite walls spanning 588 climbing routes and 138 bouldering problems. In exchange for legitimate access, SLCA members are active stewards of the property, working on trails to reduce soil erosion and replacing fixed anchors on vertical routes.
But for Geisler, it’s not all about the rock. In 2011, she launched Park City Yoga Adventures as a hobby. “I’d spent a lifetime enjoying the outdoors and wanted to share that with others,” she says. Her hobby grew into a business that now offers guided hiking, snowshoeing, and paddleboard excursions combined with yoga. Park City Yoga Adventures has received callouts in major publications from the New York Times to Forbes, but Geisler’s most coveted mention came in 2014 when it was included in the book 50 Water Adventures to Do Before You Die.