Originally from Sunnyvale, Tanner graduated from Santa Clara University
with a degree in psychology, but her love of sports led her along another
career path. She coached soccer and worked for three years as director of
facilities for the athletic department at her college alma mater. She and
her fiance, Bryan Leipper, decided to move to Southern California more
than two years ago to open a gym.
"I left my stability and my job while I was still young to do something
like this," she said.
Leipper introduced rock climbing to her about five years ago, while they
were both coaching at Santa Clara University.
"It was different from anything I'd ever done," Tanner said.
Ever since, Tanner has been hooked on climbing.
"It's such an individual sport," she said. "Size doesn't matter, height
doesn't matter, athletic ability doesn't matter. It's just you against
Because Tanner spends so much time in the gym, she and Leipper enjoy
going to Joshua Tree, Mount Rubidoux, Big Rock and Malibu for outdoor
But rock climbing isn't the only sport she enjoys. She said she also
loves beach volleyball, surfing, mountain biking, in-line skating and
"You name it, and I've done it," she said.
Tanner's next athletic goal is to participate in a triathlon.
Besides working at the rock climbing gym, Tanner is a certified personal
fitness instructor at a health club in Long Beach.
"Between the personal training and the rock gym, I'm stretching myself
pretty thin," she said.
On top of her two jobs, Tanner has been busy planning her wedding, set
for June in Catalina. She looks forward to having children soon after.
"Hopefully, they'll have Bryan's athletic ability," she said.
Tanner has instructed some unlikely rock climbing candidates: Blind
children, a man with a prosthetic arm and a paraplegic have all visited
the gym for a climb.
"They didn't let their handicap hinder them," she said.
She has even made it onto the small screen -- a couple from the
television show "Blind Date," and its crew, visited the club.
"It was hysterical," she said of the couple's date, adding that she
doesn't think the two will be planning a second one.
Tanner instructed the couple on their climbing date and will have a bit
in the show.
"I was a little nervous to begin with because of the cameras and crew,"
she said. "So I tried to make a joke about it."
UPS AND DOWNS
Tanner said she feels lucky to be doing what she loves as her job.
"I like all the interaction with all the different people I meet," she
said.Tanner's inspiration for her jobs comes from seeing her clients
reach and maintain their goals in fitness and climbing.
"It's a reflection on me and my training ability," she said.
One frustrating aspect of Tanner's job is trying to dodge scams or being
taken advantage of by clients.
"It's given me newfound respect for the person behind the counter,
whether it's at Nordstrom during a sale or at a grocery store," she said.
"I can appreciate their standpoint a lot more. I'm much more patient."