The swinging action of a leg as it shoots up and out to plant a foot in another gap in the rock. The careful unfolding of an arm from the shoulder all the way down to the fingertips as it stretches up to grab another hold. The intuitive way the body flows from one movement to the next, creating a seamless line up a mountainside.
For Zach Bushilla, co-founder of Stonetree Climbing Center, rock climbing is a true art form.
“I love the creativity of the sport and finding a line that looks inspiring to climb,” said Bushilla. “It’s not just a ladder straight to the top.”
A Helena native, Bushilla grew up loving the Montana outdoors and especially rock climbing. He shared that he was first introduced to the sport while shooting hoops at the YMCA one day. Bushilla noticed a man scaling a small climbing wall nearby and was immediately intrigued. Only a day or two later, Bushilla had purchased his own pair of rock climbing shoes and never looked back.
“I was hooked,” said Bushilla, smiling.
Bushilla explained that climbing is very much a puzzle that you have to piece together as you go along. The most subtle movement or body shift can either move a climber farther along their line or cause them to get stuck in their current position.
“I love the challenge of the sport,” said Bushilla. “It’s difficult, but it’s a challenge that’s always within reach.”
For the better part of 20 years, Bushilla has worked to hone his skills as a climber. For the past 10 years, he has worked at getting others excited about climbing as well.
As a member of the Helena Recreation Foundation, Bushilla was instrumental in bringing the 11-foot tall outdoor climbing boulder to Centennial Park in 2013. For the past several years, Bushilla has coached a local climbing team called the Thunder Chickens — mostly from a gym constructed in…