Category Archives: Interviews

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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The many faces of climbing: Melise

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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.”

The many faces of climbing: Carson

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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
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

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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.
Continue reading The many faces of climbing: Patti

The many faces of climbing: Alexa

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alexa

ALEXA ZAKULA

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

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olivia
OLIVIA CECIL

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
Olivia Cecil
Knoxville, TN
**READ INTERVIEW**
alexa
Alexa Zakula
Boone, NC
**READ INTERVIEW**
patti1
Patti Wohner
Chattanooga, TN
**READ INTERVIEW**
Carson Bakker
Carson Bakker
Boone, NC
**READ INTERVIEW**
Melise
Melise Edwards
Boone, NC
**READ INTERVIEW**
PaulPaul Winkler
Albuquerque, NM
**
READ INTERVIEW**
Flannery Shay NemirowFlannery Shay Nemirow
Incline Village, NV
Coming Soon
Andrew Matsumoto
Andrew Matsumoto
Boone, NC
Coming Soon

 

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