EP 8 Josie McKee
The Mind Athlete


Josie McKee has been working in climbing industry for more than 15 years. She has spent years in Yosemite. She worked for YOSAR, sent gnarly routes and went fast on big walls.
Right now she lives in Lander, and has her own business called the Mind Athlete. She coaches people to harness stress and turn it into something beautiful for their own climbing.

Show Notes:

Josie’s Links:

Episode Intro:

Welcome to episode 8 of the Female Guides Requested Podcast. I’m your host Ting Ting. Today’s guest is Josie McKee. Josie is a bad ass climber and she has a booming business where she provides mindset coaching.

I first met Josie in 2009. She was already a strong climber and she climbed boldly. Back then, she often captured the moments with her DSLR wherever she traveled. Her images were expressive. I enjoyed following her journeys through her lens.

Josie has spent years in Yosemite. She worked for YOSAR, sent gnarly routes and went fast on big walls. I started to learn about her stories not only from her personal social accounts, but main stream climbing media. I knew in the past she guided some and I remembered she took her Rock Guide Course with scholarship. I thought she might become a full time  guide, but then she surprised me again.

Right now she lives in Lander, and has her own business called the Mind Athlete. She coaches people to harness stress and turn it into something beautiful for their own climbing. I think this job is perfect for her given her climbing reputation. But how did it all come together for her? And what exactly does she do?

I invited her to be on this podcast to satisfy my curiosity, and to collect insights on alternative professions complementary to guiding. This interview was also quite special because I haven’t chatted with her in the same room since more than a decade ago. Josie is doing amazing things and I’m happy to share with you all.


00:00:00 – 00:04:25 – Josie was back to Las Vegas playing on big multipitch routes and Ting Ting scored an in-person interview. Josie has an amazing climbing resume, and they talked about Josie’s career path from early days to mindset coaching.

00:04:25 – 00:08:18 – Talking about Josie’s early nickname “hardcore” and why she had complicated feelings towards the nickname. As Josie’s climbing accomplishments grew, she felt pride as well pressure bring looked up to.

00:08:18 – 00:12:19 – Josie’s many pivots as she navigated in the rock industry. She started her climbing career working in a gym and then transitioned to outside guiding and then YOSAR and teaching skill courses and wilderness medicine.

00:12:19 – 00:22:16 – However the glorious and high stress days in Yosemite made Josie start to dread about climbing. She had to re-examine her relationship with climbing and started her journey towards mindset training and mindset coaching.

00:22:16 – 00:26:58 – Josie talked about her relationship with climbing and how she now is at a much happier place.

00:26:58 – 00:33:21 – Josie moved to Lander WY so she could spend most of her climbing time on fun sport climbing and adjusted the time spent on the big objectives to a managed level. She worked for the international climbers festival and developed and taught courses.

00:33:21 – 00:38:31 – In the meantime, she started coaching other climbers on mindset work. Due to pandemic, she also started working with clients online. Gradually it reached a critical mass that Josie now decided to work on mindset coaching full time.

00:38:31 – 00:40:46 – Josie described how she decided her sessions with her clients and what trainings she decided to pursue in order to enlarge her skill set.

00:40:46 – 00:47:16 – We did a little bit of case study to learn how Josie did her intake with a potential client. Josie described three types of fear and how to process it and how to use bio signs as tools to help oneself to analyze their mental states.

00:47:16 – 00:52:35 – Come back to potential solutions and strategies to overcome our hypothetical case study – fear of falling on small trad piece. Josie also talked about things mindset training and physical training shared in common.

00:52:35 – 00:56:03 – We all know to work on our weaknesses but how can we identify that we can benefit from working on our mindset? how do we identify that perhaps right now mindset work is the most low hanging fruit?

00:56:03 – 00:59:00 – How can we measure our progression in mindset?

00:59:00 – 01:05:29 – Josie worked with climbers and guides as well. and when she worked with guides she needed to consider guides faced different kind of stress factors also guides might also want to teach their clients about mindset work.

01:05:29 – 01:10:55 – Josie described a good road map for guides to teach clients how to manage the fear of falling.

01:10:55 – 01:16:22 – When asked to describe her current relationship with climbing. Josie answered that she really loved climbing and shared how her dedicated and intentional mindset work had helped herself in the past years.

01:16:22 – 01:20:24 – Ting Ting voiced her worries on balance between guiding and personal climbing and Josie provided this insight to examine the values in addition to goals in climbing. This helped us to re-align our lives with the values we held dearly in climbing.

01:20:24 – 01:26:03 – Josie suggested to visualize your best days in climbing, find out why, so you could replicate them. Life is full of amazing moments some are to experience and some are to document. Everyone can benefit from some mindset work.