Climbing for the clouds


Mishea Cooke rock climb extraordinaire.

Mishea Cooke has been taking on the hobby of rock climbing since the age of 7 years old. Her first climb was in her backyard on a 15-foot rock wall.

“I have broken a few bones but I don’t care,” said Cooke, a senior majoring in psychology at Chaminade.

Cooke’s inspiration for rock climbing came from a film called “The Mountain Calls,” a German movie from 1938.

She was watching the old movie with her father and brothers and realized how fun and exciting it looked. Eager to get started, she ran off to the back of the yard, stared at the rock wall with determination and started fitting her little hands into the crevices.

As she was in the middle of completing it, her father yelled at her.

“Get the hell down from there,” she recalled him yelling at her.

Startled by the scary sound of her father’s voice, she fell and broke her right arm and right wrist and two fingers (her ring and middle fingers).

Nearly 16 years and two injuries later, Cooke is still passionate about her climbing but is taking it to the next level – literally. She plans on climbing the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal in June, a challenging 160-mile trek that climbs up to 17,700 feet in elevation in daunting Nepalese mountains.

“Mishea is very driven,” said Tom Cooke, her father. “She enjoys everything challenging. Rock climbing consumes her life.”

After two months of healing, Mishea Cooke finally finished the wall. The most difficult part for her was climbing back down.

Now, her places to climb on the island are at Mokuleia, Boar’s Nest, Jagger Valley, Zombie Meadows and Sacreds.

“I have tried to do every climb that I can to get ready for summer,” Cooke said.

This skill requires lots of equipment such as a harness, rope and safety equipment such as helmets and shoes.

Consequently, she had to save about $2,000 for her equipment.

“Rock climbing requires lots of things,” Cooke said. “Like money so I had to save my money for a long time to get all my equipment.”

Finally, when she got all of her equipment she started to get right into it.

Basically, doing every climb possible on the island in preparation for her summer challenge.

Her ultimate goal is to climb Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. According to, 53 plus people have died and more than 130 have defeated it.

“Even though people have died I don’t care,” Cooke said. “I am still going to do it. Despite all my friends and family telling me how dangerous it is.”

Danger and the challenge only entice Cooke more.

The hike in Nepal is what motivates her when she is having a hard day in class or at work.  She is determined to graduate to buy a ticket and fly to Nepal in the summer of 2014.

Now, that she has been rock climbing for years and has inspired her two older brothers to do it as well.

Adrenaline is what makes the blood flow fast through her veins. She has tried other sports such as mountain biking and even UFC fighting but rock climbing is what is most appealing and drives Cooke.

It gives her a rush like no other sport.

Cooke’s advice to others is to keep trying and to never give up.

“I feel your goals in life are just like rock climbing,” Cooke said. “You fall but to reach your dreams you need to keep trying till you get to the top. As challenging as it gets it’s all worth it in the end.”