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.
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.
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.
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.