The many faces of climbing: Patti

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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.

3) What are some of your goals in life (climbing and otherwise)?  
My goals in life are to live life to the fullest. I believe this is the only life we have so I want to have as many experiences as I possibly can to get the most out of life. I will have many different goals throughout, moving on to new things when I become bored with what I am doing. As I have an open mind, it is impossible to know what new things may call to me. I would like to write and publish a novel though.

patti wohner 2

4) What are your favorite pre-and-post-climbing foods?
Patti’s Specials are a must to begin the day. The only thing that never changes in my diet is Patti’s Specials .They are a piece of toasted sprouted grains bread topped with melted shredded cheddar cheese and a runny poached egg, with sliced avocado and Dave’s Insanity hot sauce. I am a pizz-a-holic. Any kind of pizza; Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s, Mellow Mushroom, Papa John’s, Lupys, home-made, store-bought, gas station, I love it all, especially after climbing as eating carbs replenishes glycogen stores for recovery.

5) What are your thoughts on training?
Training. Read 9 out of 10 climbers by Dave MacLeod and really be honest with yourself when you read it. The book is a gold-mine.

patti wohner 3

6) How, if at all, do you think your climbing has been affected by your gender?
I think it’s impossible to think that climbing is not affected by gender. I was hindered in the beginning by not even being able to do a chin-up. But while that was a hindrance, I developed very good technique and finger strength while I slowly built upper body strength.

7) Who are your biggest athletic influences?
My biggest athletic influences right now are the women at the top who are powerful. I always lacked power and now that I am working on that, I am developing as a climber much more rapidly.

8) What advice would you have for someone trying to get into rock climbing?
My advice for women is to start working on upper body strength, power, and dynamic movement early on. It doesn’t need to be the focus, but I wish I had slowly worked on these things throughout the years. Power is very difficult to attain rapidly without developing injuries. I just can’t seem to get power fast enough and have to pace myself very slowly. Start getting strong early while focusing on technique.

9) What are your hobbies/interests outside of climbing?
I love playing with birds, catching them, banding them, finding their nests, following them, identifying them and all the better if they are species of conservation concern.

10) If you were given the choice of never petting any cute animals again, or never rock climbing again, which would you choose?
If there were no cute animals to pet, humans, being cute animals themselves, would be in very big trouble and I wouldn’t be worrying about little things like what the next boulder problem I want to climb is. I would probably be fighting for my life if I were still alive.

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