Meet Brooke Maushund

Brooke Maushund is a scientist, rock climber, lover of fun things outdoors, and tortoise chaser from Southern California. Brooke found a deep love for the outdoors early in life while surfing on the California coast. Being outside in the ocean was her happy place, and that passion for outside-fun-having has never stopped. Her curiosity about the natural world has also influenced her education choices heavily. She studied Conservation and Resources at U.C Berkeley and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree. Using her education, she landed an off-grid solar energy opportunity at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro. She hopped on a plane and flew to Tanzania to start her first job in her field. 

After her stint in Tanzania, she felt conflicted about her life direction. While she loved the idea of working internationally on a climate-related job, she missed playing outside. The work-life balance in Tanzania was tilted heavily to the work side. After living under Mt Kilimanjaro and dreaming about climbing it, she never got the opportunity.

Her work took away too much from her rock climbing dreams, and she was bummed. While debating going back to school to get her Ph.D. for off-grid energy, there was a strong call to just up and move to Yosemite Valley. She ultimately decided that being able to go climbing all the time was more important to her than her current career. She declined her PH.D offers and started out fresh with a minimum wage job in the park, picking up recycling in an old beat-up truck. It was the best decision she’s ever made.

Brooke arrived in the Valley and basked in the glory of climbing’s center of the universe. She climbed nearly every moment she could, squeezing in sessions after work and working on bigger climbs on her weekends. In between climbing and work, she made it a priority to hunt for other science-related careers in her new backyard. By the end of the season, she checked off her first big-wall rock climb, The West Face of Leaning Tower. She also found an opportunity interning with the Resource Management and Science branch of the National Park Service. Finding her perfect balance in a scientific career and an active outdoor lifestyle was her new mission. 

After her first summer season in Yosemite, Brooke continued the trend of working seasonally. Only this time, she put her education towards seasonal work. She found temporary jobs as an EMT, a GIS Analyst, and a Biologist. Her seasonal life gave her plenty of time and flexibility to work on her outdoor passions. She climbed, skied, ran, and biked her way all over the United States in the fall, winter, and spring seasons.

Upon returning to Yosemite in the summer, she was offered her dream job working in Tuolumne Meadows as a Physical Science Technician. Her persistence in finding a new career in her favorite place worked out very well for her. She created the work-life balance she was looking for. There was now enough time to focus on climbing while working a job she loved. She wasted no time in putting her newfound freedom to the test. At the end of her second summer in Yosemite, she completed her lifetime goal of climbing El Capitan. She scaled the 3,000 ft granite monolith twice that fall. 

Brooke continues to work seasonally to this day while progressing her climbing at an unprecedented rate. She just completed her second summer working as a Physical Science Technician in Yosemite and started working on a new career in Mountain and Snow Hydrology. She also climbed the most famous and legendary big wall rock climb in the world, The Nose route on El Capitan.

Brooke’s advice for fledgling seasonal workers is not to worry about what job you have at first. Getting there in the first place is the first step. You may work a minimum wage job, and it may not be your first pick. However, with the help of your new community, finding your dream job in your favorite place is possible!

Brooke just completed her second summer is Yosemite and is currently on the road going rock climbing. Follow her adventures on Instagram @BrookeMaush