In recent years, rock climbing and bouldering has gone from something of a niche hobby to a mainstream interest. Whether it was Free Solo that turned the sport into a global phenomenon or merely an interest to see our fitness applied to something we could take out into the natural world and connect us to nature remains to be seen. But the fact is, bouldering is big business these days and Momoa is leading the charge when it comes to singing its benefits. While most can attest that the bodies more suited to the sport are those of small, nimble people, Momoa isn’t the obvious candidate. “It’s extremely hard to climb as a big guy,” he explains. “But I’ve had this passion my whole life. I love climbing, I love the way it makes me feel - and yeah, I’ve pulled a lot of tendons and it sucks because I’m a very heavy guy and it would be a lot easier if I was smaller.”
In a recent video shared to his YouTube channel, Momoa gives fans an insight into what a session at his indoor climbing gym looks like at HUB gym in Toronto. “This is the only time I get a climb in before I head over for Aquaman 2,” he said. “Let’s see how bad I suck.”
Momoa’s enthusiasm is infectious and evident from the get-go. “I have a special place in my heart for climbing gyms just because I grew up in Iowa and I have to travel very far,” he explains. After getting hooked up to a harness and taking some runs up the wall, Momoa already starts to break into a sweat as his breathing becomes heavy. “I’m not in climbing shape.”
He’s later joined by his cousin, who Momoa says also taught him to surf. Reciprocating the favour, Momoa is now looking to introduce her to climbing as he says, “It’s so cool to teach your family.”
It’s hard not to watch Momoa taking runs up different routes up the wall and want to join a local climbing gym. The actor is using every part of his body, from legs right through to shoulders and arms, and certain efforts require explosive power and endurance. In one instance, he takes a stab at a particularly challenging path on the wall that only has tiny two-finger grips that are widely spaced out. He ultimately bails and comes down off the wall, covered in sweat and breathing heavy. “That’s why you climb, because it takes everything, full body,” says Momoa.