Daniel Woods’ rise to climbing eminence is comparable to the early career of a certain golf legend with the same last name. Both started at a very young age—Daniel began climbing when he was five. Both share a long list of championships. Also, it’s likely that at least one person has described Daniel as a real “Tiger” on vertical rock.
Born in 1989, Daniel Woods tackles some of the climbing world’s toughest routes while many others his age are thinking about prom night. It’s not that he is oblivious to life away from the world of limestone, chalk, and finger holds; he just calls it “multi-tasking” and also points out that he is an “A” and “B” student at Colorado’s Longmont High School, about 40 miles north of Denver and a 15-minute drive to the nearest climbing.
Daniel entered his first climbing competition when he was eight years old and has since become a standard fixture at many top-level championships. Most recently, he took the North American Bouldering Championship and won his second consecutive USAC/ABS National Championship, beating out a bevy of more experienced, adult challengers. He has also notched noteworthy routes like Echale (V14 FA, when he was 15); Livin’ Astro (5.14c) in Rumney, New Hampshire; Esperanza (V14) in Hueco Tanks, Texas; and Mandalion (V14) in Bishop, California. Through it all, he aims to keep a healthy perspective and a balanced approach toward climbing, relationships, family, and everything else life has to offer. “I am a fun person to be around and a lot like anybody else,” he says. “I love music, snowboarding, eating, and pretty much any physical activity.”
While even the biggest walls top out somewhere, the sky is the limit with Daniel. These days, he is thinking beyond high school (“I am planning to take a year off before college to travel, climb, and compete as much as I can. Afterward, I want to go to school in California.”) and has some big climbs planned. “My next big climbing project is to push my limits to the next level,” he says. “I want to be able to flash V13 or 8B, climb 14d to 15a route, and win World Cup competitions.”
Woods adds, “I am most inspired by how there is no limit to what can be done. It’s the exploration involved in finding a new FA or the physical and mental side of achieving a hard piece of rock that has already been done.”
And, how about many years from now? With youthful exuberance, Woods rapid fires through a number of goals, “In 10 years I want my life to be climbing. I want to push my limits and the sports limits. I want to be climbing the impossible and also competing in many World Cups both for bouldering and rope climbing. My goal is to help people become better climbers as well.”
Then, he seems to stop and think, before adding, “I just want to climb.”