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Michael Gabel

KNOWS NO LIMITS


Michael Gabel

KNOWS NO LIMITS

The guy is up for anything … but don’t ask him to sing.

The guy is up for anything … but don’t ask him to sing.

Michael Gabel doesn’t play things safe. He’s not reckless, but this is a guy who likes taking chances. When he’s not scaling mountains, the athlete flexes his creative muscles—writing books, hosting podcasts and creating bold art that’s sure to raise some eyebrows. And while none of this was part of a master plan, Gabel can trace it all back to summer camp.

Michael Gabel doesn’t play things safe. He’s not reckless, but this is a guy who likes taking chances. When he’s not scaling mountains, the athlete flexes his creative muscles—writing books, hosting podcasts and creating bold art that’s sure to raise some eyebrows. And while none of this was part of a master plan, Gabel can trace it all back to summer camp.

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Desert and the Compass Pant in Carbon

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Desert and the Compass Pant in Carbon

“Every summer as a kid, I went to an incredible camp in North Carolina called Mondamin,” he says. “The whole goal of the six week program was to spend as many days in the backcountry as possible.” He hiked, biked, sailed and climbed, but getting high on rocks gave him the biggest rush. By the end of his summer, he was hooked. “I was several hundred feet up - anchored into a hanging belay on a real crag with nothing above or below me but sky,” he says. “It certainly beat anything Nintendo64 had to offer.” He caught up with him on solid ground to learn how he channels his energy.

“Every summer as a kid, I went to an incredible camp in North Carolina called Mondamin,” he says. “The whole goal of the six week program was to spend as many days in the backcountry as possible.” He hiked, biked, sailed and climbed, but getting high on rocks gave him the biggest rush. By the end of his summer, he was hooked. “I was several hundred feet up - anchored into a hanging belay on a real crag with nothing above or below me but sky,” he says. “It certainly beat anything Nintendo64 had to offer.” He caught up with him on solid ground to learn how he channels his energy.

The Olivers Field Cap in Dark Navy

It takes guts (and trust in your equipment) to climb.

Safety takes no days off, that's for sure. Ropes and gear tend to be pretty fixed variables when used correctly, but in most technical scenarios you have to rely on at least one other person as well. Building a relationship with a climbing partner and working towards a goal makes the failures more tolerable and the successes more satisfying. There's a lot of trust and maybe even more vulnerability that goes into it, which can carry over into everyday life. Plus, spectacular views and laughing fits are better when shared.

It takes guts (and trust in your equipment) to climb.

Safety takes no days off, that's for sure. Ropes and gear tend to be pretty fixed variables when used correctly, but in most technical scenarios you have to rely on at least one other person as well. Building a relationship with a climbing partner and working towards a goal makes the failures more tolerable and the successes more satisfying. There's a lot of trust and maybe even more vulnerability that goes into it, which can carry over into everyday life. Plus, spectacular views and laughing fits are better when shared.


"It's the climbs that go wrong where you really learn what you're capable of."



"It's the climbs that go wrong where you really learn what you're capable of."


Michael wears the Surge Tee in White and the Bradbury Jogger in Cobalt

Michael wears the Surge Tee in White and the Bradbury Jogger in Cobalt

What’s something that climbing has taught you?

You have a lot more in the tank than you think. It's always smart to save your energy - the top is generally only half way after all - and with the right conditions you can be back at basecamp, cooking dinner, with plenty left. But it's the climbs that go wrong where you really learn what you're capable of. When you're trying to downclimb and keep getting cliffed-out in Death Valley with the sun setting and nowhere to sleep but your tent several thousand vertical feet below you, that's when you really learn what you're capable of.

What’s something that climbing has taught you?

You have a lot more in the tank than you think. It's always smart to save your energy - the top is generally only half way after all - and with the right conditions you can be back at basecamp, cooking dinner, with plenty left. But it's the climbs that go wrong where you really learn what you're capable of. When you're trying to downclimb and keep getting cliffed-out in Death Valley with the sun setting and nowhere to sleep but your tent several thousand vertical feet below you, that's when you really learn what you're capable of.

You’re something of a modern-day renaissance man … is there anything you won’t try?

Karaoke. I've done it exactly twice in my life, but never ever again.

You’re something of a modern-day renaissance man … is there anything you won’t try?

Karaoke. I've done it exactly twice in my life, but never ever again.

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Grey Marle and the Bradbury Jogger in Army Green

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Grey Marle and the Bradbury Jogger in Army Green

How does fitness keep you balanced?

Your energy has to go somewhere. If I'm not creating or being active in a positive direction, I find that the kinetic buildup tends to come out in more trouble-making tendencies. I love the linear progress you can make in the gym and I get outside to do vitamin D activities as much as possible, but I'm too old to be knocking over mailboxes anymore. The former helps avoid the latter.

How does fitness keep you balanced?

Your energy has to go somewhere. If I'm not creating or being active in a positive direction, I find that the kinetic buildup tends to come out in more trouble-making tendencies. I love the linear progress you can make in the gym and I get outside to do vitamin D activities as much as possible, but I'm too old to be knocking over mailboxes anymore. The former helps avoid the latter.

How’d you discover your love for art?

If I wasn't running around in the woods as a kid, I would be making weird art. When I was inside, Nickelodeon was on the TV and there was a stack of paper and art supplies next to me. And not much has changed, except I can't watch cartoons anymore, even the grown-up Netflix animation stuff. I think I overdosed on Doug and Rugrats. But I'm still constantly eating up content and visuals so I can keep the ideas flowing and put my own creative spin on whatever I digest.

How’d you discover your love for art?

If I wasn't running around in the woods as a kid, I would be making weird art. When I was inside, Nickelodeon was on the TV and there was a stack of paper and art supplies next to me. And not much has changed, except I can't watch cartoons anymore, even the grown-up Netflix animation stuff. I think I overdosed on Doug and Rugrats. But I'm still constantly eating up content and visuals so I can keep the ideas flowing and put my own creative spin on whatever I digest.

Michael wears the District Polo in Ink and the Capital Short in Khaki

Michael wears the District Polo in Ink and the Capital Short in Khaki

The art itself is bold and there’s some subversive humor there. What has the reaction been?

Well, whenever someone asks about my art, I always preface my explanation by saying, "Ok, I'm not that weird, but..." Especially my Cereal Killers series. I usually make art that I personally want to see, but more often than not I find that it resonates with people more than I expected. "Oh, I'm obsessed with serial killers," they'll say, and I'm instantly relieved that they're not calling the authorities on me the first chance they get. I think the extreme ends of the human psychological spectrum are fascinating. And if I can study them and make art about them, that means I'm not one of them...right?

The art itself is bold and there’s some subversive humor there. What has the reaction been?

Well, whenever someone asks about my art, I always preface my explanation by saying, "Ok, I'm not that weird, but..." Especially my Cereal Killers series. I usually make art that I personally want to see, but more often than not I find that it resonates with people more than I expected. "Oh, I'm obsessed with serial killers," they'll say, and I'm instantly relieved that they're not calling the authorities on me the first chance they get. I think the extreme ends of the human psychological spectrum are fascinating. And if I can study them and make art about them, that means I'm not one of them...right?

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