Tag Archives: climbing

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.

Sierra Buttes

Around 3am on Sunday, I woke up to a horn honking continuously, then loud footsteps followed by the front door slamming. I tip-toed down the stairs, soon learning that a bear had somehow managed to break into Eric’s vehicle, only to lock itself in and freak out (that’s what the honking was). Somehow Eric had to open a door to let this uninvited guest out, while also staying far enough away that he was not mauled in the process. Then he yelled at the bear to “GIT, GIT ON OUTTA HEERRE!”  and brandished a small stick. Somehow, that worked. The bear waddled off, leaving behind a torn up door and pee all over the seats. So… I guess this is bear country. I’m glad we decided to sleep inside a house instead of the minivan, or maybe we’d have been the appetizer.

I didn’t take this photo, but this is probably similar to what happened. Imagine seeing this when you walk out to your car.

But. There was no time to stress about that, because we had to get a good night’s sleep in anticipation of climbing the next day. Some French Toast and a cup of coffee later, we headed out to explore the gorgeous and highly elevated (around 8600′) Sierra Buttes. This was a little over an hour drive from Incline Village, but the scenery was worth it. Even the straight up hiking for 30-45 minutes wasn’t so awful if you stopped to look around for a moment.

Beauty as far as the eye can see (click to enlarge).

Continue reading Sierra Buttes

Top 5 Climbs Across the USA!

We thought this might be an interesting experiment:
We asked ourselves, “What have been our favorite climbs of the trip?”

It was difficult to narrow it down, but here are our five favorite climbs in each area (with heights and ape indexes shown to potentially explain preferences). Top five are listed in order of increasing grade, not order of favoritism. If someone of a more “normal” height would like to submit their favorites, please do so. Or just add your own can’t-miss climbs in the comments below! What are your favorite climbs in these – or other – bouldering areas?

tall short
The Southeast
(Rocktown, Little Rock City, Middle Creek, Zahnd)
1.Full Circle V5 (Rocktown)
2. Harvest Moon V8 (Zahnd)
3. Deliverance V10 (Middle Creek)
4. Golden Harvest V10 (Rocktown)
5. Iron Claw Sit V10 (Rocktown)
1. Asphalt V4/5 (Rocktown)
2. Little Bad V5 (Rocktown)
3. Nose Candy V6 (Rocktown)
4. Standard Deviation V6 (Rocktown)
5. Jerry’s Kids V7 (LRC)
(Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Cowell)
1.Le Beak V4 (Cowell)
2. Kung Fu V8 (HCR)
3. Jeff’s Prow V9 (HCR)
4. Ab Lounge V10 (Cowell)
5. Off the Rails V10 (Cowell)
1. Dirty Bitch V3 (HCR)
2. Le Beak V4 (Cowell)
3. Campus Card II V7 (Cowell)
4. Electrolica V7 (Cowell)
5. Orb Weaver V8 (HCR)
Joe’s Valley
1.The Angler V2
2. Notting Hill V8
3. Playmate of the Year V9
4. Eden V10
5. Ghost King V11
1. Stumble Bum Traverse V5
2. Low Tide V6
3. Planet of the Apes V7
4. Spam V7
5. Tug Boat Complex V9

Learning more about finger injuries. Yay!

With only four (now three) days left in Joe’s Valley, the heat is on. We had allotted one day per each area (Left fork, Right fork, New Joe’s, and Dairy canyon). Today was supposed to be my day to circuit New Joe’s in a last-ditch attempt to send everything we hadn’t been on yet. We headed to the Nerve Damage boulder first and I started climbing an easy V1 when I noticed pain in my left ring-finger’s A4. It was bad enough that my normally-stubborn refusal to acknowledge weakness conceded to the wisdom of not risking injuring myself any worse, and I hopped down. There’s no reason my impatience should exacerbate the situation. A real injury could end our road trip. So, what to do?


Luckily there are some really quality articles for someone in my position. And if you rock climb, you’ve probably had pulley issues. So here are some excellent articles to peruse:

1) How to heal as quickly as possible.
-Short and simple, easy to read, by a rock climbing couple who have personal experience with injuries

2) Pulley Injuries Article by Dave MacLeod, the author of the awesome “9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes”
-Slightly more extensive, with a little more Science behind it

3) Injury Management and Prevention
Longer article written by climbing coach Robin O’Leary and top physiotherapist Nina Leonfellner

My mildly-educated guess based on what I’ve read is that it’s nothing serious, just a partial tear of the A4 pulley tendon which I bet is from the strange two-tiered two-finger crimp on Black Sea V8. No biggie.

Based on the cumulative advice of these articles, my game plan is to REST (1-2 weeks until the pain subsides), ICE (putting my hands in the creek 2x day for 30 minutes), MASSAGE (once it stops hurting next week, begin a practice of massaging my fingers multiple times a day), and EXERCISE (refer to these rehab exercises from article #3).

Feel free to share more ideas/articles in the comments below!

A letter to myself

Disclaimer: I realize that I am not a professional climber. I don’t even consider myself very strong, just very determined. And yet I know that I can climb things now that I never would have imagined when I first started climbing. So somehow from the time I was struggling on V2s until right now, sending V7s, there has been progress. My muscles and mindset developed from an assortment of experiences over the past two years, but I believe I could have become a better climber sooner, had I but known a couple simple things. And thus comes the inspiration to write a letter to my beginner climber self, or rather, what I wish I had known about climbing when I first started out. 

Continue reading A letter to myself

Lowdown on Climbing and Camping in the USA

We have created a Lowdown on Climbing and Camping page which will be continuously updated as we travel, and should be a valuable resource for anyone else who plans to camp out near climbing crags. Or rest. Or just climb in a new place.

As of Feb 20, 2014, this page covers Horseshoe Canyon Ranch and Cowell in Arkansas, Rocktown and Little Rock City (aka Stonefort) in the Southeast, and Joe’s Valley, Utah.

By the end of our road trip, this page will also have info about various places between here and there that tickle our fancy (e.g. Colorado, Squamish, maybe Leavenworth).

So check it out!

And feel free to contact us if you have information to share about these – or other – climbing locations!

Hot days at HCR

Yesterday’s blog that didn’t upload for some reason:

We climbed only half the day at HCR, but the wicked sun and humidity made any super hard attempts pretty feeble. I spent almost two hours on Orb Weaver (v8) and made great progress, but my skin was raw and screaming and only getting worse, so I finally called it quits. Next cold day, I feel pretty confident about sending my first v8! I didn’t use the best tactics today, and spent too much energy repeating all the beginning moves in efforts to figure out better foot beta for the crimpy crux. It’s always frustrating to unlock your sequence after you’re too tired to perform, but that’s how it goes sometimes… Continue reading Hot days at HCR

The Road Not Taken

“The only journey is the journey within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

More than 600 miles and an ocean of colors has taken us to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Arkansas. Logistically, leaving when we did avoided the potentially hazardous snowstorm that has hit the southeast. Personally, I wasn’t prepared to leave this area quite yet. There were still boulders to climb, adventures to be had, people to see.

And yet, here we are in Arkansas. A full ten hour drive from Chattanooga. So there really isn’t much to do except chew and digest that fact. Continue reading The Road Not Taken

Mental Warfare

DISCLAIMER: This is a very climbing oriented post that will be very different from the usual peppy Meira post.

Climbing at your limit is a very difficult thing. When people watch someone climbing at a high level, the first thing that they notice is always the extreme physical abilities of the climber. “They are so strong!” is always mouthed between onlookers. There is no denying that climbing is a physical sport; It requires the human body to do be pushed to the absolute limits of what is physically possible. Continue reading Mental Warfare