Our People & Profiles series highlights Untamed Humans who are living their lives fearlessly, as true individuals. They come from all walks of life, but what they each have in common is a shared passion to live freely and unencumbered. Here are their stories:
Today we’re profiling Sarah Coburn, an avid rock climber living in the Western Slope of Colorado.
When Sarah Coburn discovered rock climbing during her Freshman year of college, she never imagined it would be the driving force in her life. Nor did she think it would lead her to love and one of the most Untamed weddings you can imagine. But more about that later.
Looking for a new way to get her body moving, Sarah went to her first climbing class with a friend. She had always been athletic and was looking for something to satisfy her need for sport. From that day forward, an obsession was formed. It’s these types of passions that ultimately become our truth.
“I’ve always been athletic and have loved sports and using my body, so I was open to it. I didn’t really think much of it. And then I went and I was just hooked and it was like, everything else in my life took a back seat to rock climbing. I almost dropped out of college to move out west and go rock climbing.”
Sarah did manage to finish school, but as soon as she could, she packed up her truck and left the suburban life of New York City for the back range of Colorado, to chase rocks. She lived out of her truck and found jobs that would align with her passion. This lifestyle gave her the freedom to find her spirit and discover herself in ways she didn’t know she needed.
“It gives me perspective when I’m in the mountains that I’m a part of this, I’m not the center of this, and that’s really freeing for me because it reminds me that, you know, that email I forgot to send or that person I had a weird interaction with, is not really that important. And being outside, breathing the fresh air, noticing things in the environment and realizing that I am a part of nature and nature is a part of me, that I’m going to die someday; it’s an amazing thing to be a part of this”
For two years she chased this freedom and didn’t much care for anything else. Work wasn’t important and finding a partner was not even a thought. Constant pursuit of the thing that made us, nature, was her only goal. She had the mountains, her truck-house, and her climbing friends. But, as her climbing community grew, she realized she didn’t need to approach everything as a lone wolf. She discovered you can still have your individuality amongst a group of other passionate people.
“We as humans, we’re individuals and that’s beautiful and unique and should be expressed. And at the same time, being an individual, being independent, being unique, doesn’t equate to being alone, which is something that I used to think for a long time. There’s a very American attitude of, I can do it myself, pull myself up by my bootstraps. And I just think that’s kind of bullshit. It’s about remembering that both of those things are important and vital to our existence”.
As this perspective grew into her consciousness, another shift happened in Sarah’s life. One that would lead to a perfect union; climbing and love. We asked Sarah what caused this shift.
“It was probably the saga of dating my husband. We met in Utah, where we got married. We met there in, I want to say 2017, and at the time I was living my ultimate dirt bag days. I was living in my truck and all I cared about was climbing, my job was rolling burritos. We decided to climb together, and we did probably five to six days a week that first summer. We were obsessed with each other. But I wouldn’t let it turn romantic because I felt like I had a pretty cynical view of romantic relationships at that point – that they all end. If you date someone, you have to be prepared to lose them, and Ridge is the best person I’ve ever met, so I didn’t want to lose him. The process of me bringing down those walls and letting myself be a little bit more co-dependent, which has been an issue for me in the past, not being co-dependent, being independent to a fault, that kind of went away over time, and it was hard and it has been hard, but it’s been so worth it,”
With love found in the mountains, a new chapter of Sarah’s life was happening, and a wedding was planned for the summer of 2020. Then a global pandemic threw some wrinkles into to those plans. What was supposed to be a large ranch party turned into that Untamed moment we spoke of earlier. If life imitates rock climbing, then she had to adjust to what the mountain was throwing at her. So, Sarah and her husband Ridge threw her dress and his tux into a climbing bag and headed for what they knew best, the rocks.
“Yeah. I think that it honestly turned out better than it ever could have. We live on a ranch in Colorado and we originally decided to get married there so we could invite all of our friends and family and have everyone participate. Then COVID hit. We held onto that plan for a while, but then we adjusted. I didn’t want to wait to get married and neither did Ridge. We both felt like, well, the universe is presenting us with this amazing opportunity that we wanted to do anyway, so let’s fucking send it.
We chose Indian Creek, which is a world-renowned climbing mecca. It’s a really special place to both of us for a lot of reasons. We climbed up the North Six Shooter with three friends and got married on top. One friend married us, one shot film, and the other took photos. Then we came down and had a very little party in the campground where we actually met. It was such a fun day. We really milked it. Like everyone says, your wedding day goes by in a flash, which is true, but we started at 5:00 AM and we ended at 2:00 AM – so 24 hours of wedding.”
When we live our lives based on the things we’re most passionate about, we truly are Untamed. At its core, it is freedom. It gives us the ability to adapt to the world around us and share ourselves with confidence. Sarah’s journey shows us all aspects of this mindset and it culminated in a beautiful moment of individuality merging with community.