The many faces of climbing: Paul

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Paul Winkler. 29 yo. Earned a BS in Mathematics and MA in Education. Lives in Albuqurque, NM. Originally from Hampton Bays, NY.

Paul Winkler
Creeping up Hooters V9.

THEME SONG: Oh gosh, I don’t know if I have one. If I did it would probably be something by Tribe Called Quest, though.

1) How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?I’ve been climbing for 6.5 years. I got started when I moved out to NM for a job. I was living on the reservation and there was nothing else to do besides run, which I hate, so a friend of mine and I decided to check out a local crag after acquiring some cheap gear. It was sketchy!!

 2) What do you enjoy the most about climbing?
Bouldering: It’s hard to pick one thing, so I’ll list the many things I enjoy. I love the problem-solving aspect, the idea of pushing myself to my physical limits and the absolutely gorgeous areas you get to go to.

Sport Climbing: It’s much more of a mental game, so I like the idea of resource management. You have to be able to climb sections efficiently and choose when and how long to rest.

3) What are some of your goals in life (climbing and otherwise)?Climbing wise, I’d love to nail down some class V13s and 14a. routes. I have a few in mind, but I need to broaden my horizons a little more to figure out exactly which ones.

Life wise, I want to go back to school and get my PhD and get a job that affords me a comfortable climbing lifestyle.

Paul Winkler
Paul on Feels Like Grit V8 slab climb in Joe’s Valley.

4) What are your favorite pre-and-post-climbing foods?
Before climbing I like to eat something fairly light, like oatmeal, cereal, or a bagel, etc. After climbing the greasier the better. A nice juicy burger, some BBQ, or even some disgusting fast food. I usually don’t each much on a climbing day, so afterward I like to pig out.

5) What are your thoughts on training?
It’s a must! I have far too many thoughts on training to share them all, but a nice regimented program can do wonders for your climbing. The best resource you can lay your hands on is The Rock Climber’s Training Manual by the Anderson brothers. That’s the basis for my training program and it’s the best one I’ve come across so far.

6) How, if at all, do you think your climbing has been affected by your gender?
I think the competitive nature of men has had some impact on my compulsion to get stronger. Otherwise I don’t think it’s had a major influence. A man in a male-dominated sport isn’t really anything new, but there is some kind of mentality that goes along with that.

 7) Who are your biggest athletic influences?
My friends Jason and Mike are my local-crusher influences. Aside from that I look to some of the greats like Wolfgang Gullich, Nalle Hukkataival, Ty Landman and others.

8) What advice would you have for someone trying to get into rock climbing?
First things first you should decide as early as possible if it’s something you’re only ever going to do casually or if you’re going to want to keep improving. If you decide it’s the latter, then you need to find a mentor. The best ones are not only the ones who have been climbing a long time, but those who also climb hard and are still trying to improve themselves. Find someone who climbs 5.13 or V9-10 on a regular basis. I promise you will be much less likely to stagnate because you’ll have someone to look to for motivation to improve. A little competition is good, just don’t get TOO competitive with your friends.

They Called Him Jordan V8
They Call Him Jordan V8

9) What are your hobbies/interests outside of climbing?
Even though I can’t do it anymore I still love surfing. I also love to play board games, frisbee, slack-lining.

10) If you were given the choice of never petting any cute animals again, or never rock climbing again, which would you choose?
I would definitely give up on petting animals rather than climb. That’s a pretty easy choice.

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