Community Spotlight: Jon Blackwood

Feb 14, 2024

This is the first of a new series — the Community Spotlight — which is a way to celebrate everyday folks who are helping to grow the sports of ice climbing and drytooling.

You may have seen Jon Blackwood’s shipping container project on Instagram (which he is working on with Johnny Korthuis), if you’re curious like I was this chat is about what he’s up to.

For Jon, his journey into drytooling began with a quest for mental healing. The discipline has become more than a tool for therapy though, in his words, “It’s a passion, a lifestyle, and a path to personal growth”.

As a larger-framed individual, traditional rock climbing presented challenges, but drytooling opened a world of possibilities. The deeper he got, the deeper he got, and he ultimately invested in coaching and built his own training wall. In two years, he went from barely being able to hold onto tools to figure 4ing to competing at the competition level.

Through it all, it’s been the tight-knit and supportive community that Jon appreciates most. Whether it’s cheering each other on during comps or generously sharing knowledge, there’s a genuine desire to foster a love for the sport — and Jon is certainly doing his part too.

From welcoming people to climb at his home wall, The Nook, to developing a new outdoor drytooling venue, Jon wants to give back to the sport that has already given so much to him.


01:24 - Building a climbing structure with shipping containers

04:24 - The motivation behind the project

05:58 - The importance of vertical training

10:20 - Personal journey into drytooling

10:27 - The impact of climbing on mental health

15:41 - Building a drytooling community

19:52 - Asking for help


Thanks to Forecast Equipment for supporting this episode!

Jon uses their tools and has connected with the team on a personal level. That’s because they care about their customers — Marty, Zac and Brian focus on creating products for climbers like themselves which led them to develop their do-it-all Nor*easter. The tools handle everything from moderate snow gullies to steep-and-mixy to World Cup comps and they come stock with Krukonogi picks, cheeks, and hammers so you can configure them to fit your needs. To learn more about their products, check them out at

Resources and links:

Perhaps drytooling has had a big impact on your own life, and you dig what Jon is up to. If you’d like to support Jon’s projects, you can donate through PayPal. His email is Money will go towards holds and construction materials.

You can also follow along with his journey on Instagram @living.forward


Episode cover photo provided by the Jon.

Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!).

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© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.