Professional rock climber Matt Segal knew that climbing would never be enough for him. Plus, he was fed up with drinking bad coffee on climbing expeditions. As a result, Segal founded Alpine Start, an artisan instant coffee company, while continuing to raise the bar in climbing.
In this episode of the Out and Back podcast, Abby and Shanty catch up with Segal to learn how he redefines what’s possible in climbing and how he juggles sports with running a business.
Keep up with Segal on Instagram. And check out Alpine Start’s Kickstarter campaign while it’s still live throughout February.
Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page!
Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!
2:55: Segal has been climbing for over 20 years.
3:20: Segal got his start climbing in the unlikely place of Miami, Florida.
5:50: Segal moves to Boulder, Colorado, to pursue his competition climbing career and to go to college.
6:30: The allure of the rock proves too great in Boulder. Segal shifts from indoor competition climbing to outdoor sport and trad climbing.
11:00: You might assume that going to college in Boulder means Segal went to CU Boulder...wrong! Segal talks about his unique education.
15:30: Segal discusses his mindfulness practice in climbing.
17:15: Segal discusses his two National Geographic expeditions to the Mustang region of Nepal, where he helped archeologists access otherwise unattainable sites.
29:00: Segal talks about how he went about sending the first ascent on Iron Monkey, one of the hardest trad climbs in Colorado at the time. How do you go about attempting something that’s never been done before? Segal shares.
34:00: Segal shares his epiphany that led him to found Alpine Start, an artisanal instant coffee company.
37:31: Segal starts paragliding...why?!
38:35: Segal breaks numerous bones in a paragliding accident. His ice axe goes through his calf. He’s on the mountain for eight hours before he can be airlifted to the hospital.
41:10: The best alpinists have the worst memories.
42:20: Segal’s broken, goes through a really hard breakup, and a friend dies. How do you heal from all of that?
43:45: Throwing himself into Alpine Start helped Segal heal and catapulted the company.
47:20: Segal tried a lot of really bad coffee in his quest to find and make instant coffee that actually tastes good.
49:00: Segal started experimenting with functional ingredients as he was recovering from his accident. Now, Alpine Start is making coffee and matcha with these beneficial ingredients in them.
55:30: Segal discusses how he got into environmental activism with Protect Our Winters and 1% for the Planet.
59:00: Segal runs through a typical week and how he juggles training as a professional athlete with working on Alpine Start.
What is Out and Back?
In the Out and Back Podcast presented by Gaia GPS, thru-hiker Andrew “Shanty” Baldwin, professional guide/outdoorswoman Mary "Hiker Midnight" Cochenour, and professional athlete Abby Levene dive deep into conversation with long-distance hikers, record-breaking athletes, offroad travelers who sold everything to live full-time on the dusty backroads, and other awesome guests who have mastered their backcountry craft.
In every show, Shanty, Mary, and Abby tap into each backcountry expert’s superpower so you can take their experience and knowledge with you on your next adventure.