MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – Ice climbing isn’t a popular sport in north-central West Virginia, but a man from Morgantown is actually number one in the United States in the sport while still aiming to be one of the best in the world.
“It means that this goal, which in some ways was almost not even realistic or impossible, and I wasn’t even sure if I was really going to be number one for a day, motivates me to achieve this goal both in terms of To take things more seriously this season and in the future,” said Dan Koepke, a world-class Morgantown-based ice climber.
Koepke has been ice climbing for almost 10 years and has received several top awards. Selected for the USA Ice Climbing Team since 2020, he reached the finals and placed high in elite competitions around the world.
“In some of these international competitions, it’s very exceptional for an American to come into someone else’s country and take some of those spots away from them,” Koepke said.
Koepke is currently participating in the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup 2023 abroad. He just competed in France last weekend where he placed second in the speed competition against other athletes from North America. On Friday he will be in Switzerland for another round of World Cup action.
You might be wondering how someone who’s spent some time in North Central West Virginia got into ice climbing, but for Koepke, it was a dream he fell in love with.
“My dad is a professor at West Virginia University, he had a job in Seattle and while we were there he climbed Mount Rainer, one of the most frigid, glaciated mountains in the lower 48 states, so I always had that ambition and role model in terms of mountaineering,” said Köpke. “I’ve always had posters of ice climbers in extreme environments.”
“The more I started with it, the more I fell in love with it,” said Köpke.
Koepke attributes much of his success to hard work and other competitors around him who were willing to give him tips. In return, Koepke seeks to teach others lessons while appreciating his growth and the knowledge he has learned.
“I really enjoy helping other people achieve their dreams,” he said. “Sometimes I enjoy that more than my own climbs.”
If you are interested in following Koepke’s performance in Switzerland on Friday, you can do so by clicking on this link.
Koepke wanted to send words of thanks to the many people who have helped him over the years. The video is below: