Meet Tanner Cislaw | Paradox Sports Competitive Climbing Team

Tanner Cislaw CompCan you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah and primarily train at The Front Climbing Club and USA Climbing’s Training Center. I’ve been so hyper-focused on climbing since I started that I haven’t really dove into other hobbies. Climbing has become my entire life but I’ve recently been trying to branch out. I’m excited to get into skiing this winter and I’m always up for a game of table tennis.

How long have you been climbing for?  When you began, did you anticipate competing?

I’ve been climbing for over 5 years now. While I was still going through my initial outpatient physical rehab my PT introduced me to climbing. When I got on the wall for the first time I was still in a back brace and 4 months post-injury.

I’ve always been a really competitive person, both among others and with myself. I knew that I needed a competitive outlet in order to feel like myself again after my accident. I started this new chapter of my life with the intention of finding a sport or activity that was immensely challenging and rewarding. After the very first climb I ever did, I knew I had found exactly that. Only a few sessions into my climbing journey, I met another paraclimber named Jake Sanchez and he got me psyched about competing. He told me about Nationals and our incredible paraclimbing community, and the rest is history.

Pdx Comp team group photoWhat has your experience climbing on a team been like?
Being a part of the Paradox team has been amazing so far. The camaraderie and enthusiasm we all share for our sport and one another speaks volumes. I love that even though most of us live on opposite sides of the country, when we do have a chance to see each other those friendships pick up right where they left off. While we did know each other before the team started, I do feel like we’ve all become closer and our time together has become a really meaningful part of each of our comp experiences.
You did the full European competition circuit, correct?  What was that experience like?  How did it differ (if at all) from competing in the states?

Yes! The whole competition circuit this past summer lasted 2.5 months and was both a lot of fun and exhausting. Getting to spend all of this time with other members on the U.S. team and my Paradox teammates was incredible and I really enjoyed all of the comps.

Since there was a gap between the last world cup and the world championships, I got to spend about a month living and training with my Austrian friends who are also in the seated category. I learned a lot about myself and how I approach climbing compared to others and how even though we live relatively different lifestyles we all truly love the sport and want nothing more than to see it grow and succeed.

Competing in the states is much more relaxed than at international events. Having been to three world championships now, the nerves and anxieties are a bit more manageable but still very difficult to balance among everything else that’s happening around you. The trickiest part about competing abroad versus back home is handling all of the elements that are outside of your control (i.e. the food, transportation, lodging, etc.). All of these uncertainties and logistical nightmares never go away, it’s just a matter of learning how to better navigate and absorb them when they do pop up.

Tanner Cislaw Comp TeamDid you have a favorite part of competing this season?  If so, what was it?

My favorite part about competing this past season was being on the podium at the world championships in Bern, Switzerland. After going through a multitude of personal setbacks and injury problems, it was a massive relief that all of the work that I put into myself and my training over the past two years had meant something. While results and podiums are not everything, I was grateful to feel validated that my sacrifices had paid off.

What’s next for you?  Do you plan to compete again next year?

I do plan on competing this year even though I’m not planning on going back to Europe anytime soon. I’ll definitely be at Nationals and the world cup in SLC, but beyond that I’m not too sure. I’m really excited to find an outdoor project relatively close to home. I’ve never been able to get stuck into something like that so once next spring rolls around, I’ll be on the search for a long-term quest.

Anything else you’d like to share!

My roommate Gavin (also on the Paradox team) and I just adopted two baby kittens named Kalina and Primrose (Prim for short). They have taken over our lives in the best way possible. We’ll be prioritizing training them to be crag kittens.

Want to support our climbing team for the 2024 Competition season?  You can donate directly to the team here!  If you have questions, or are interested in donating in-kinds to our team, please reach out to us at

Photo Descriptions:

Photo 1: Tanner climbing a route during the International comp circuit.  He is climbing an overhung route and has his left hand on a hold and his right arm down by his side as he looks up at the route.  The holds on the route are yellow and blue with some triangular, small volumes near his feet.  Tanner is wearing a white USA Climbing tank top, black pants and shoes, and he has a Stich (from Lilo and Stich) chalk bag around his waist. (Photo by Jan Virt (@janvirtphotography))

Photo 2: An image of Tanner from behind as he climbs a route.  He has his right hand on a small jug at about head height and his left arm is reaching up above grabbing another hold.  The holds on the route are orange and blue and the route has some large volumes.  He is wearing his white Team USA tank top.

Photo 3: A group photo of the Paradox Competitive Climbing Team at the Paraclimbing National Championships in Austin, TX.  The group is all wearing black t-shirts and tank tops with the Paradox Sports logo on them as they smile for a photo at the podium.

Photo 4: Tanner and two other seated climbers take a picture at the podium during a competition in Europe.  They all have their arms around one another as they smile for the camera while wearing their medals.

The next 4 photos are side by side at the bottom of the page; image descriptions are from left to right.

Tanner, Gavin and Ben smile and pose for the camera.  Tanner and Gavin have their hands up and formed like claws.

Tanner mid-route on another one of his comp climbs.  He is climbing an overhung route with large blue holds.  The image is taken from behind and it appears that he is getting ready to make his next move.

A group is smiling as they all sit on Tanners lap from a competition in the states.  Tanner and 6 others look at the camera smiling.

A large group photo from one of the competitions.  Everyone is smiling at the camera and the climbing wall in the backgroud is illuminated by a blue light.