Scholarship Winner: Kyle Banzon
Kyle has taken his enthusiasm for climbing and turned it into an enthusiasm for helping others achieve their goals: in health, community, and life.
Kyle Banzon was one of our very first applicants, and let’s just say he set the bar. We were immediately struck by his breathtaking climbing images, his energy, and his enthusiasm—not only for the outdoors but also for his studies and his community. He’s a powerhouse.
When telling us more about his background, Kyle said, “Rock climbing has become the single most influential teacher in my life. It provided me the challenge and motivation to push myself, the pure joy of being outside, discipline, and the most amazing community I have ever been a part of. With so much to see and do, it taught me to be an eternal student as well as a teacher in my community.” We couldn’t have said it better.
Kyle is a senior at The University of Las Vegas studying Kinesiology. He plans to attend grad school for a Doctorate of Physical Therapy so that he can help more people not only heal from but also avoid injury so they enjoy activities outside.
We are so impressed by Kyle’s zest for life, ambition, and kindness. Read on for more about Kyle’s goals, gear list, fun facts, and giving-back plans.
You can follow Kyle’s adventures here at Gear.com or on Instagram at @kyle.banzon.
Being outside makes me feel: delighted
My hero: My parents for their unwavering support in all of my endeavors
Can’t-live-without outdoor gear item: A carabiner
Tell me more about your gear wish list. What kinds of adventures will this gear make possible?
I largely based my wishlist around my adventures both urban and in the mountains. As a city kid, most of my time is spent in an urban environment or my local indoor climbing gym. Due to the nature of indoor climbing gyms, I'm constantly looking for another pair of shoes and the new gear has given me that. This goes along with other tools that allow me to push limits every day.
How will you pay it forward to your community? What organizations are you involved with currently?
As someone who was born and raised here in my community, I've seen its progression and problems. I am an aspiring physical therapist, and I feel that gaining knowledge and putting that knowledge to action is the best way to give back. I am currently involved with the Biomechanics Lab here at UNLV to learn more about the research side that feeds into evidence-based practice. I believe as humans we are all looking for a way to leave our mark on the world. For me, PT is the way I can improve the lives of myself and my community. I look forward to the days I can help people both in my professional career and abroad.
In five years, I want to be: A physical therapist, able to travel, lead 5.14, and boulder ~V12.
Bagels or Donuts?: Lox n' bagels
Ocean or mountains: Mountains for sure!
Three things on your bucket list:
- Climb El Cap (need to learn how to trad climb first).
- Go to Japan.
- Be able to look back on my life and be proud of it.
Three words my friends would use to describe me:
Favorite book: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Favorite movie: Princess Bride
Favorite cause: Wounded Warrior Project
Outdoor misadventure story, and what did you learn from the experience? Well, I think the craziest story would be getting sucked off of a little waterfall in Yosemite. It was a swimming area, and I got stuck in the current and pulled over. I landed on a flat rock, but needless to say, it hurt. Just stay far away from the edge with fast-moving water and you'll be fine! I hiked Nevada and Vernal falls a couple of days later so it wasn't too bad haha.
If I’m not at school or outside, I am: Climbing away in my local gym with my climbing community.
Anything else? I just want to extend another big thank you to gear.com for their amazing scholarship which will go a long way in my local community!