The many faces of climbing: Melise

[Return to the MAIN INTERVIEW PAGE.]

Melise Edwards
24 y.o. Graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in Biology and French. Living in Boone, NC.

THEME SONG:  “Bastille” feat. Ella by No Angels

1) How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?
I have been climbing almost 5 years. I somehow got away with doing rock-climbing as my high-school senior research project and spent a lot of time learning from my mentor in a climbing gym. I went on one outdoor trip to do a multi-pitch climb in Pisgah National Forest and have never recovered from the “climbing bug” since.

Melise Edwards
Chompin’ down on some Portobello V9.

2) What do you enjoy the most about climbing?
It seems funny that this is such a hard question to answer. I enjoy many aspects of climbing: how it can be both an individual pursuit as well as an activity to enjoy with friends, how unique the movements are, and how mentally challenging it can be just as much as physically challenging…there are plenty of things I enjoy but the main reason may be that it just seems natural to do and it’s fun.

3) What are some of your goals in life (climbing and otherwise)
Oof. I would like to do Peace Corps one day and potentially go back to school for my masters in biology. I’d also like to climb double digits and travel all around the nation for climbing. Some of these may or may not happen, but it all comes down to following my passions, helping others and enjoying what I’m doing.

4) What are your favorite pre-and-post-climbing foods?
Pre-climbing: yogurt, fruit and any sort of chocolate. Post-climbing: salad, Mexican or Thai food, and any sort of chocolate.

5) What are your thoughts on training?
Training is gud. I’ve never climbed when I wasn’t working or in school or both, so I think training is very helpful to make gains when you only have a small amount of time to dedicate for climbing. It should be an aid but not replace basic climbing techniques.

Melise Edwards
Melise Changing Lanes V9.

6) How, if at all, do you think your climbing has been affected by your gender?
This is a hard question. There are a lot of challenges I have faced that are likely personal traits rather than gender stereotypes, but I can say that height is rarely an issue. I’m 5’4 and have learned to overcome fears of falling and become more dynamic and creative when figuring out beta. Watching climbers like Jill Church, Juliet Hammer and Michelle Melton has definitely been a huge inspiration in this regard.

One other thing may be that I’ve seen people make way more excuses for girls’ successes. If I do a climb, it is usually mentioned by someone somewhere that it’s because my small fingers or some new beta that made it V2. I don’t make excuses for other people and don’t accept it for myself. I’m strong because I train hard and try hard, not because of the size of my fingers.

7) Who are your biggest athletic influences?
I look up to so many climbers, but a lot of them are people I climb with locally for their good attitudes, sense of adventure and love of climbing.

8) What advice would you have for someone trying to get into rock climbing?
My advice for someone trying to get into climbing would be to have fun with it! Be infinitely curious, ask questions, climb with people who are better than you, but don’t respect strong climbers just because they are strong. Being strong does not make you a nicer or better person. Respect people for their character and climbs for their beauty and the ways they inspire you.

9) What are your hobbies/interests outside of climbing?
I love baking treats, reading, drawing, running, birding, trying to catch snakes and dancing to T-pain.

10) If you were given the choice of never petting any cute animals again, or never rock climbing again, which would you choose?
That question is literally my worst nightmare.

"Let meh tell you bout my best friend."
“Let meh tell you bout my best friend.”