Phaydara Vongsavanthong


I am one of the Comp Team coaches. I started coaching at the Academy about a year ago. Initially, I joined practices weekly because I enjoyed climbing and learning from the athletes. Eventually, I transitioned into a coaching role.

My strength in coaching stems from my climbing experience. I’ve been climbing since 1996. Four months after I started climbing, I took a trip to Arizona in the winter, then to Colorado in the spring, and spent the summer in Europe climbing and backpacking. I was hooked, and I have climbed in over 35 countries since then.

Currently, I serve as a board member for the Minnesota Climbers Association (MCA) and Minnesota Climbing Cooperative. I’m also the Midwest Regional Coordinator for the Access Fund and a guidebook publisher (A Field Guide to Minnesota Bouldering).

In addition to coaching, I work as a Web/Graphic Designer. Most of my free time is spent climbing or traveling to climb. When I am home, my fiancee and I enjoy cooking, gardening, and playing with our dog Laurel.

Pi’s go-to climbing destination
I don’t have a particular go-to destination, but I do prefer sandstone climbing and new destinations.

Pi’s Academy goals
I want to be a great coach. To me, being a great coach is the ability to motivate and offer perspective while also learning from the athletes.

Pi’s secret talent
I enjoy playing ping pong.