Founded by Kim & Kyle Vines
It's our responsibility to create our life's work in something we are passionate about because that is the most effective way we can create happiness in our life. A life's work in "that something" is the best path to challenge us and it's the most effective way to serve others." - ARNO ILGNER
Two years ago, Kim and I were scribbling the business plan into the back of our Joshua Tree bouldering guide book. Fingers still raw from climbing, we wrote out the details. We were starting Kush Climbing.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back.
Ours is a love story. My wife, partner in adventure, and co-founder Kim and I have been married for four years. But we go all the way back to 1993.
Twenty-four years ago we were in kindergarten together in a small North Louisiana town. We had no idea how many times our paths would cross.
Ten years ago we were going to college at LSU. This is were our real journey together began.
In 2011 we decided to cycle through Europe. It was this trip that would shape our lives together.
We were entering the mountainous terrain of Southern Germany. This leg of our eight month cycling trip through Europe started on the Rhine River at the North Sea of Holland. We followed the river all the way.
It was here that we discovered rock climbing. We had spent a considerable amount of time in the mountains. The Pyrenees and Alps. We got engaged in the French Alps while volunteering at a small chalet. Long hikes through the mountains piqued our interest. Now as we entered the Alps for the second time, we found our true mountain calling.
We shared a camp fire with three rock climbers. A German, an Australian, and an American. Two engineers and a teacher. All in their mid- to late-twenties. We shared stories over local German beer and Cuban cigars. It was then that they showed us a rock climbing guide book. It blew our minds.
Before even putting our hands on rock, we fell in love with climbing. After more than 3,000 miles we hopped back across the pond and set our sights on Colorado. The trip from New York took a few months, but we did it. We moved to Colorado and started climbing.
Now back to where we started.
Kim had sent me an email with a link for a contest. The Grand Prize was a week long rental of a Volks Wagon EuroVan. In California. I entered on the last day of the contest. The email hit my inbox the following morning. We were going to Cali.
We turned our good fortune into a climbing trip. We spent hours on the road, brainstorming and getting excited about all that we could bring to the climbing community. We left California fully charged. Climbing in Yosemite Valley and Joshua Tree invigorated our passions.
We landed in Denver and immediately registered the business. Kush Climbing was founded on April 1, 2015. No foolin’. Our name had been decided on the trip. We stopped to visit a cousin in San Francisco. At the time, he was one of two copy writers for Twitter. He liked the sound of Kush crash pads, so we went with it.
The next step was obvious. We had to move out of our downtown apartment and into a van. How else would we have extra cash to start the business? We ended up with a 1976 RV name Big Bertha. She is beautiful.
Since then we have worked tirelessly to start our business. I learned how to sew in a good friends garage. He is the OG in the OG Kush Pad. Along with having an industrial sewing machine, he also had a fully built out climbing wall.
Six months later we were in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter and had just arrived in Salt Lake City. We didn’t have badges, but we did have a friend on the inside. It didn’t take long for a friend with two passes to meet at the front door. No sooner had we set foot in the place, then two other friends called with another scheme fully hatched and ready to get us in. We have awesome friends.
We only had a few days left in the campaign and were only 35% funded. It was here that we spoke to our friend Erik, founder of Carabiner Coffee. He gave us a piece advice that pushed us to jumpstart our Kickstarter.
It came down to the last minute. As the clock ticked down to zero the number stabilized. We beat our funding goal by $31. Our Kickstarter Campaign was a success.
That is how we got here.
We now operate out of an artist studio space in North Denver. We have found local manufactures to take over the sewing. All of our textiles are sourced right here in Colorado. Even the recycled deep sea fishing net Nylon.
The scribbles in the back of our Joshua Tree Bouldering Guidebook have been realized. We make completely customizable crash pads out of the most sustainable materials available. We make the world’s first hemp crash pad. Our gear is made to be lightweight, durable, and functional. All things that we learned to value while traveling.
Kim and I have built the company that we always dreamed about working for. We are capable of making a more substantial difference in the world than we ever could have imagined. Our partnership with 1% For The Planet means that 1% of ALL sales go to environmentally focused non-profits. We give an additional 1% to social causes we are passionate about.
Join us in our journey to change an industry. Together we can make rock climbing known for its stewardship, compassion, and creativity.