The many faces of climbing: Carson

[Return to the MAIN INTERVIEW PAGE.]

carson Carson Bakker 19 yo. Studying exercise science at Appalachian State. Living in Boone, NC. Born in Shelby, NC.

THEME SONG: Where is My Mind” by the Pixies

1) How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?
I was brought into the world of climbing by my two older brothers roughly 3-4 years ago. After hearing tales of their adventures in the woods and seeing the gnarly wounds on their hands, I decided to give it a try for myself. I ventured out to the Dixon School Road boulders in 98 degree heat and I was instantly hooked like a fish. I left the park with both hands covered in tape and a determination that I had never experienced.

Carson on Four
Carson on 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse 7B.

2) What do you enjoy the most about climbing?
My love for climbing is due to a multitude of things. I love the adventure that comes with each day of rock climbing, especially in the early days. Back at Dixon, it was as though we were the only people in the world who knew about this crazy activity known as climbing, as we never saw any other climbers, and had no direction. We grabbed where we saw chalk on the wall and tried to make it to the top through whatever means necessary. Climbing was simple; yet it was the most thought-provoking physical activity I had ever done. When I found climbing, I was burnt-out from intense head-to-head competition against others, and in climbing, I was my only competitor; me against a piece of rock. It was perfect. Climbing was exactly what I needed in my life and I found it at just the right time.

3) What are some of your goals in life (climbing and otherwise)?
My main goal in climbing and in life is to find the perfect balance between the two.

4) What are your favorite pre-and-post-climbing foods?
Pre-Climb I go for the hearty breakfast (oatmeal, eggs, fruit) and most importantly, coffee. After a long day of climbing, I want a lot of food and I want it quickly; so just about anything will do.

5) What are your thoughts on training?
Training…. I am a strong believer that the best way to progress as a climber is to climb; at least to a certain point (v8ish). To continue progression into the mutant levels of bouldering, focused training is very important. If you choose you want to start training, you need to be honest with yourself throughout it. Don’t take short cuts. Train your weaknesses. Accept that climbing really hard takes really hard work and there is no way around it. If you know what you are getting into and you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to progress in your climbing, then get after it and try hard.

Carson on Po
Carson on Power Chord 7B+

6) How, if at all, do you think your climbing has been affected by your gender?
I don’t think my climbing has been affected by my gender. Back when I was a young-whipper snapper in the game, I had the skewed idea that the super strong boulderers must all be males; then I came to Boone and met Melise…  and that idea disappeared instantly.

7) Who are your biggest athletic influences?
Vince Carter and Ty Landman

8) What advice would you have for someone trying to get into rock climbing?
For someone who is just beginning their rock climbing journey, I would encourage them to keep climbing simple. If climbing is no longer fun, then stop climbing. Climb because you want to, because you love the challenge, the aesthetics, the relaxation, etc. So many people get caught up in the less important aspects of climbing and miss out on so much. Don’t get caught up in what number is attached to the climb or whether it’s known as soft, hard, sandbagged, squishy, fluffy, or terrible. If a climb is inspiring to you; go after it. Climb for yourself. Embrace the lifestyle of climbing and allow it to lead you to beautiful places and wonderful people.

Crimping his way through Mike’s Face 7B+

9) What are your hobbies/interests outside of climbing?
Outside of rock climbing, I love to play basketball and try to catch large angry snakes. I love music of all kinds and occasionally try to make my own. I like to read, write, and go on adventures of all sorts.

10) If you were given the choice of never petting any cute animals again, or never rock climbing again, which would you choose?
At this point, never climbing again is simply not an option. Sorry cute animals, but I will no longer be able to pet you.

Carson will never
Brunnick is really sad about this decision…

The many faces of climbing: Patti

[Return to the MAIN INTERVIEW PAGE.]

patti wohner

Patti Wohner
Full Name: Dr. Patti Wohner (haha).

40 yo. Earned a PhD in Quantitative Conservation Ecology in 2013. Lives in Chattanooga, TN. Hometown: Carlisle, Ontario, Canada.
THEME SONG: You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones!

1) How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?
I was first introduced to climbing in my first year at the University of New Brunswick by my girlfriend Heather Lam in 1995. I started out top-roping and soon began leading trad at a small crag called Welsford near St. John NB. I bouldered in the University’s small squash quart gym. I was very bad at traditional climbing being too impatient to find good gear, and began sport-climbing. I soon after discovered bouldering when I went to Hueco Tanks TX for the first time in 2000. I’ve been a boulderer ever since.

2) What do you enjoy the most about climbing? 
What I enjoy most about climbing is the intense challenge and the never-ending quest to progress. There seemingly is no end to developing mastery of the sport and with each new boulder-problem, there is something new to be learned and acquired.
Continue reading The many faces of climbing: Patti

Following the golden path

The juicy green mountains have called us back to the southeast. It’s crazy to think that we were across the country in Lake Tahoe only two weeks ago. We’ve been following our whims, trusting that whatever feels right is probably legitimately “right” for us. And so far, it’s worked out! After one last day of climbing in Sugar Pines, we departed Tahoe and made our way east. We swung through Albuquerque and saw the awesome Michaela and Paul (climbers we met in Joe’s Valley), and still made it to Boone in time for our friends’ graduation weekend. The warm weather is here, but we still had a fun day at Blowing Rock greasing off of our old projects.

Our plans changed somehow, and we decided to move to Asheville (versus Chattanooga). Why? (a) It’s closer to Boone for weekend climbing trips or visiting friends. (b) It won’t be AS hot and humid during the summer months at Chatty. And (c) I should be getting my LPC-A in the state of North Carolina in a matter of weeks, while all I could do in TN is something minimum wagey. Oh, and (d) we’ll be a lot closer to our friend Jesse’s farm in Fletcher, NC where we can play with bunnies and fry up some fresh-caught catfish.

BUNNIES!!! Num num num. They get a huge pile of greens to munch on every single day.

Continue reading Following the golden path

The many faces of climbing: Alexa

[Return to the MAIN INTERVIEW PAGE.]



20 yo. Junior at ASU studying Nutrition and Foods. Lives in Boone, NC and  originally from Walkertown, NC.

THEME SONG:  Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’. No doubt. This song always gets me movin’ and groovin’ and feeling swanky. It’s a prime strutting song, but also perfect for chilling or dancing. Sometimes I like to pretend the lyrics are about me, and Queen Pen’s verse reminds me that I am in fact in the baddest clique up on the scene.

1) How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?I’ve been climbing for almost two years now, but I was introduced to the addiction of rock climbing when I was in high school visiting a university out in Pocatello, Idaho. There was a local park that held open climbing every Wednesday for $5, so I gave it a try and immediately became hooked. I didn’t really start climbing until I came to ASU though, since my hometown is not populated with any climbers.
Continue reading The many faces of climbing: Alexa

The many faces of climbing: Olivia

[Return to the MAIN INTERVIEW PAGE.]


20 yo. 2nd year Civil Engineering student at the University of Tennessee.  Moving to Boulder next summer to major in Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado.
THEME SONG: Cat Stevens is playing on repeat in the very back of my head always, but not Peace Train.


1) How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?

I started climbing my freshman year of high school on my high school climbing team, so like six years?

Continue reading The many faces of climbing: Olivia

The many faces of climbing

There is no such thing as a “typical climber.” People are drawn to rock climbing for various reasons and develop unique relationships with this sport.  Stay tuned to this page as we interview climbers from a variety of backgrounds and life experience. Click a climber below to learn more.

Olivia Cecil
Knoxville, TN
Alexa Zakula
Boone, NC
Patti Wohner
Chattanooga, TN
Carson Bakker
Carson Bakker
Boone, NC
Melise Edwards
Boone, NC
PaulPaul Winkler
Albuquerque, NM
Flannery Shay NemirowFlannery Shay Nemirow
Incline Village, NV
Coming Soon
Andrew Matsumoto
Andrew Matsumoto
Boone, NC
Coming Soon


[Contact us if you’d like to be a featured climber.]