They say home is where the heart is. For Jordan Cannon, that means somewhere near the mountains.

The queer climber has traveled the world, from some of the most remote spots in the U.S. to far-flung outposts in Pakistan. And he’s experienced most of his adventures living out of his car or a duffel bag.

That’s right: Cannon has been a serious climber for 10 years, and lived on the road for nine of them. Having just turned 30, he now sets up his home base in Las Vegas, but he’s only there for a couple of months out of the year. Then it’s back to the van!

“I’ve been climbing for 10 years, and I’ve been living in my car for nine of those years,” he said. “It’s taken different forms, from a Honda CRV to a minivan to a small cargo van. Now, I have a nice big cargo van that I can stand up in and have a kitchen and all of that.”


When Cannon first started climbing, he didn’t feel the need to seek out like-minded LGBTQ+ folx. But that’s changed with time. Since publicly coming out in 2021, he’s started to form his own queer circle. Earlier this year, he even attended Aspen Ski Weekend, one of the hallmark annual events for gay outdoor and winter sports enthusiasts.

“Just the value of hanging out with other gay people that I didn’t think would matter that much, because I was used to being the only gay person in my friend group,” he said. “That’s changed over the past few years.”

We would say so! Later this month, Cannon is spearheading Arc’teryx Queer Ascent, a two-day event (May 31-June 1) for LGBTQ+ climbers of all stripes. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Eastern Sierra in Truckee, California, Cameron is expecting around 200 attendees. There will be five clinics, and a big closing party Saturday night.

While Cannon hopes attendees can walk away with some tips, he wants to build community. “Hopefully this leads to people feeling the same way that I do,” he said.

With a rare break in his climbing schedule, Queerty recently caught up with Jordan to talk about life on the road, his wildest adventures and whether he would ever try out for the Olympics. Here’s what he had to say…

QUEERTY: What about climbing do you love so much?

JORDAN CANNON: So many things! I like how it provides you with a very interesting way to interact with the world, interact with nature. It pulls you into all of these incredibly beautiful places like Yosemite, Pakistan, Joshua Tree, all over Europe. You can climb all over the world in some way, shape or form. So it takes you to a lot of incredible places. It also introduces you to a lot of people. Once you’re a climber, you can meet climbers from all over the world, and have this connection point that you’re both passionate about. I like the places it takes me, the people it introduces me to. But I also like how empowering it makes me feel personally to be able to go out and have these adventures and do hard things and problem solve. You have this full range of experiences. 

What do you enjoy about living on the road?

I appreciate the simplicity it gives you. You generally have what you need with you. Then the freedom is the main thing it gives you. It allows you ease of access, ease of transportation. You don’t have to feel stuck in one place for too long if the weather changes, or your motivation changes, or your partner leaves. The next climbing area generally isn’t that far away. It’s the simplicity and the freedom.

What are some road essentials?

Some form of wet wipes, for one, because showering is not always accessible. You’ve got to get good at the “dirtbag shower” with some wet wipes out of the sink, or whatever. But personally, for me as an athlete, sleeping well is really important. So I don’t travel anywhere without my earplugs or an eye mask, especially if I’m traveling somewhere noisy. 

How about food? What do you eat?

I’m a big fan of protein shakes, especially if I don’t think I can meet the nutrition requirements I have for myself. But besides that, I eat a lot of oatmeal or overnight oats or porridge. Then I eat a lot of salads. I love to pick up baked tofu, or a can of sardines. Patagonia has amazing packaged fish that’s easy to buy and take with you and throw into any meal. I add that to my dinners a lot of time.

What’s the craziest adventure you’ve had?

Pakistan was definitely my craziest. Every day was almost completely different.

We flew into Islamabad in northern Pakistan. Then the following day, we flew to Skardu, which is a smaller mountain town like Boulder, Colorado, which has access to the mountains. Then a full-day jeep ride to get through the valley where the road essentially ends and the mountains begin. Then three days of hiking to get to base camp, and then once we’re in base camp, climbing up on the mountain we set our sights on. Day-to-day was new scenery. But I had my climbing partners, and our guides and cooks. We had a little six-person unit: three Americans, three Pakistanis all traveling and navigating and hanging out and cooking together. It was wild in the sense that nothing was familiar: the language, where we were, the food we were eating. … Well, that’s not entirely true. They did make a lot of nice American and Italian food that was familiar to us!

What are your favorite places in the U.S.?

Definitely Yosemite Valley, which is where I am now. This is where I spend the most time. As a climber, this is where I feel most inspired. I learned how to climb in California, and though I don’t live in California now, I’m still very close, and still spend a lot of time here

Would you ever consider climbing in the Olympics?

No! I would not be able to qualify even if I wanted to! I have friends who go to the Olympics, but I can’t do what they do, and vice versa. I’ll be cheering from afar!

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