Meet MoonRocks Bouldering's CEO: Rob Haro
A Navy veteran has started a company aiming to use rock climbing to help fellow veterans to overcome their mental and physical barriers. Moon Rocks Bouldering Co is the brainchild of Rob Haro, a veteran of eight years (2003-2011 OIF/OEF), who found climbing on a weekend away with friends at a time where he was struggling.
“It was great to find something that requires 100% of my focus and attention, something that has been hard for me, due to multiple injuries from eight years of Naval service, in addition to managing PTSD and depression,” he told rock climbing blog Dynamite Starfish.
“Soon after, a new climbing gym in the area opened, which really opened the doors to the sport. I bought a bunch of equipment, but my PTSD and anxiety kicked in a lot, so I didn’t go much. I was also in tons of pain due to my injuries and started to make excuses about why I wasn’t able to climb well. One day, I saw a climber who is up there in age and also an amputee, completely crushing sport climbs. After that moment, I told myself that I have zero excuses and that I just needed to try harder.”
Rob threw himself into the sport more and found a supportive community of people who quickly became friends. Not only did he enjoy the company, but the challenge of climbing was really rewarding for him, and has given him a new perspective on life.
“When I started to climb, I was at a pretty low point in life and just wasn’t sure if I had it in me to continue living. My battles with PTSD and other medical issues have really hindered me, but climbing has proven to be very effective in managing those issues. Having a new focus and goals helped me realign myself and get back on track.”
Rob built himself a climbing wall in his garage, and when climbing gyms started closing down due to COVID, a few people asked him if they could come and use his wall to train. He collected donations and used the money to gradually improve his wall, to the point where he’s about to finish a new wall with features not available in any local gyms. This lead to the creation of his Non-Profit organization MoonRocks Bouldering Co, which helps others manage mental and physical afflictions through outdoor recreation.
He’s also married his new passion with two of his former professions. An ex-personal trainer and conditioning coach, Rob is using his expertise to teach skills to fellow veterans through his Operation New Heights program.
Rob also plans on adding more programs to provide other underserved communities the chance to explore outdoor sports and their respective communities. The first program
“I have major plans to create a state-of-the-art facility training center that climbers, van lifers, and athletes can utilize when passing through the Reno area,” he said. “Complete with unique climbing walls, training areas, adaptive climbing, and more under one roof, this facility would operate on a donation basis. It would be a great way to really learn from diverse climbers from across the U.S while opening up the sport to those who cannot afford to get started in such activities.
To donate to this organization, please visit MoonRocksbouldering.org