Eagle Climbing + Fitness partners with Goat Training

How a world-class paddler and well-known climbing coach were brought together by a 4-year-old

John Mark Seelig works with an athlete seeking strength training at the new Goat Training center in Eagle Climbing + Fitness in Eagle. Seelig, a national champion whitewater rafter, says his gym has made the difference in helping him reach the top level of his sport, and hopes to apply what he has learned to those who use the Eagle Climbing + Fitness gym for training.
Rachael Zimmerman | Special to the Daily

The top athletes in the Vail Valley have a way of finding each other, so to see John Mark Seelig and Larry Moore collaborating is no surprise.

What you might not have guessed, however, is that a 4-year-old brought them together in a meeting that would lead to the expansion of Seelig’s successful Goat Training facility, a strength building center in Edwards which has helped get Seelig’s rafting team to the Whitewater World Championships on numerous occasions.

Moore, a longtime climbing coach in Eagle County, recently opened a new, 10,500 square-foot gym in Eagle, which has quickly become the premier climbing facility on the Western Slope. Eagle Climbing + Fitness has 8,500 square feet dedicated to climbing, and Moore has been looking to offer other fitness options in the building’s remaining space.

When Seelig’s daughter started showing an interest in climbing, the two were introduced, and they soon saw how beneficial Seelig’s approach to strength training could be in Moore’s climbing gym.

‘You get weaker’

Seelig discovered strength training en route to his goals of competing at the top level of the whitewater rafting circuit. In helping other athletes apply strength training to other outdoor recreational activities, Seelig has realized the benefit of the gym as a compliment to outdoor activities.

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“We started to apply strength training to endurance athletes, hikers, bikers, climbers, and figure out how to not pull them away from their sport, but add to their sport and what they like to do outside,” Seelig said. “The hardest part is realizing that as you get older, you get weaker.”

While Moore is a climber first and foremost, he too has realized that the gym can be the missing link which can help his athletes reach the next level.

“A lot of times, in the climbing world, people use climbing as their only source of fitness,” he said. “They may do some pull-ups in our training area upstairs, but primarily their focus is on grip strength. But if your legs are stronger, your dynos, your jumps are going to be bigger. If your core and the rest of your body is stronger, your endurance is going to be better, and it will enhance your ability to enjoy climbing more, and other sports more, as well. It’s not just going to enhance one facet of your life.”

Natural fit

In talking with Seelig about the need for conditioning and strength training in his sport, Moore realized Seelig had an understanding of this concept which few others can match due to his experience as a champion whitewater rafter and gym owner.

Seelig could also see that Moore’s gym was a place where his brand of strength training would be a natural fit.

Eagle Climbing + Fitness, a 10,500 square foot gym with 8,500 square feet dedicated to climbing, is located on Chambers Avenue in Eagle.
John LaConte |

And there was space available.

“I wasn’t looking to open a gym or anything like that, but it just fits so well with what we love to do,” Seelig said.

Now fully open with classes and programs available, Goat Training has been able to add a perfect compliment to the climbing facility, Moore said.

“The beauty of their model is you get personal insight in a group setting,” Moore said. “It’s almost as though it’s personal training, in a classroom with other people …  They really take that wholesome, personalized approach to address the individual needs of the athletes, and that’s absolutely on par with how we approach all of our climbing instruction workshops and classes. It’s not about pushing people beyond their limits, it’s about finding new limits.”

Seelig said for a lot of people, the benefit is something as simple as keeping up with the up-and-comers. 

“We have so many people in this valley who are recreational athletes, trying to keep up with kids who are phenomenal athletes,” Seelig said. “We want to apply what we’ve learned to everybody.”

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