Maria Carrillo High School '06
Carlo Traversi returned to tell us about his adult life as a professional rock climber at an Assembly in November. Along with sharing photos of his workplace (simply amazing cliffs, precipices, and crevasses around the world!), he had some advice that rang as true for our younger audience in their school workplace as it does for someone engaged in Carlo’s work.
“Try, fail, learn, and succeed,” he said. “While bouldering, I know that learning from failure leads to success. So try, try, and try again.” Overcoming challenges requires Carlo to constantly engage in innovative problem-solving, research, listening to peer experts, and practice and also appreciate the value of being patient and thinking through climbing strategies in response to challenges. His advice rang true with his audience of learners, who, while not strapped in climbing gear and dangling from precipices, face and overcome challenges as students.
Carlo got some early practice in recognizing and adjusting to changing circumstances after his first year at SCDS. He began as a sixth grader at our campus at the Wells Fargo Center (then the Luther Burbank Center). However, we moved from our rented, well-used space at the LBC to our new custom-built school over the summer, so Carlo finished seventh and eighth grades on this campus. “It was a long time ago now so it’s hard to remember the first impression, but I remember being in awe at the beauty of the new campus. It was definitely a special experience to attend a brand new school campus. Everything was pristine,” he said.
He also remembers SCDS’s outdoor education trips and an especially favorable experience as a rock scrambler on the eighth grade trip to Yosemite. “It was my first time in Yosemite. I remember hiking to the summit of one of the high peaks in Tuolumne Meadows,” Carlo said. “As we reached the summit, I noticed an outcropping of rocks blocking the view of the landscape below. I knew I had to scramble to the top of them to get the best view possible, so broke away from the group and found my way to the highest possible point. The view was worth it.”
Carlo went on to learn climbing at the Santa Rosa Vertex Climbing Center, and he climbed throughout his high school years at Maria Carrillo. He became a full-time professional after his freshman year at University of Colorado, Boulder. “My performance in climbing was bordering on the world-class level, so it was a very natural transition into taking it more seriously,” Carlo said. “I started to treat myself like a professional athlete and thus, I started to perform like one.”
Since then, he has racked up the bouldering contest wins and awards that include being a two-time U.S. National Champion, ten-time member of the U.S. National Team, and ranked #1 in the world in 2013. As a professional, Carlo continues to climb and is an athlete for Adidas Outdoor, Five Ten, and Skratch Labs. Those responsibilities involve product testing, appearing in marketing campaigns, attending trade shows, and producing media.
He also is expected to serve as a positive, influential voice for the sport of rock climbing and we think his Assembly presentation gets an A-plus in meeting that expectation!