Alive & Unedited: Tony Reynaldo

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In 2008, Tony Reynaldo transformed a small cinderblock building in an Olde North Columbus alley into Kinetic, the city's premier bouldering gym. The sponsored climber and Ohio State professor spoke more about reaching new heights.



I started climbing 19 years ago. I was living in Cincinnati, and I got introduced to it, of all places, at a restaurant. The head chef took me on his motorcycle down to Eden Park, and that's where I started.


I was never interested in team sports. I skateboarded. I freestyle biked. I never wanted someone to tell me what to do. I wanted to be more individualistic and kind of on my own. And climbing was really an extension of having a really deep passion for being outdoors.


I was scared of heights for the first five or six years. Not like in the sense that I was terrified up there, quivering - I was in check. I was putting up first ascents out in Kentucky and West Virginia, and I think it's like anything else. For me, it just became comfortable.


Three things I can't live without are Cherry Slush Puppies, oatmeal raisin cookies and rock climbing.


Kinetic is a refuge. There's no rock within three hours of Columbus. I don't make any profit. It's basically a gift to the Columbus climbing community in the sense that I donate my money to support these kids to be able to get good at climbing.


My statement all along has been to give back more than I take. I've always realized that it's more important to give back to the community that's been so good to me.


My most epic climb hasn't happened yet. I've done a lot of hard climbs, and I've done a lot of hard boulder problems. But this is a constant evolution, a progression. I'm always pushing myself to do something more challenging as I get out there.


The places I climb the most are Red River Gorge in Kentucky and Hueco Tanks in Texas. I don't have the luxury of living in my van anymore, like I did when I was younger. I have to go back to work.


I'm a design professor at Ohio State University. I oversee the first- and second-year design experience for the students entering into our major. My job is to basically give them the fundamental skills they need.


Designing rock climbing holds is the thing I'm most known for. I was trained by the guy who's probably the No. 1 holds-shaper in the world. I just rolled over 3,000 holds in December - 3,000 designs, and they're mass-produced in the hundreds of thousands. Wherever there's a climbing gym, my stuff's at it.


In my spare time, I like to go to Axis a fair bit to dance. I am a huge fan of techno and trance music, so I go to shows around the country.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at

Age: 34

Day job: Assistant professor and design foundations coordinator, Ohio State

Neighborhood: Olde North Columbus

Hometown: Cincinnati

Sponsors: Clif Bar, Five Ten Shoes, Nemo Tents, Seagull Bags


Playing Favorites

Favorite TV shows: "CSI: Miami" and "Law & Order SVU"

Favorite movie: "Rambo"

Favorite band: Bad Religion

Favorite book: "The Element" by Ken Robinson

Favorite food: Wildberry Clif Bars

Favorite drink: Cherry Slush Puppie, with a spoon

Favorite place to travel: Red River Gorge, Kentucky