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They are America's up-and-coming generation - but who are they, really?

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Rock and Ice profiles a dozen promising youths to see how they started climbing—and whether or not they know who Henry Barber is.
By the editors

It was 1977, and I was 13. My buddy and I had unscrewed a puck-like fixture from the urinal, and we were flinging it back and forth across the boys’ room playing a lively game of tile-hockey when a teacher walked in and busted us. As punishment, we each had to choose a library book and write a five-paragraph paper on it. The book I chose, In High Places, a biography of the great Scottish climber Dougal Haston, changed my life forever. Climbing instantly appealed to me, and I’ve been hooked on the sport for 30 years, despite the fact that today climbing looks nothing like it did then.

In 1977 there were no climbing gyms, sport climbs, or bouldering pads, no cams or sticky rubber. I taught myself to climb by tying a K-Mart ski rope around my waist and pounding railroad spikes into the chalky cliffs that lined a nearby creek. My belayer, Keith Wright, cinched the rope around his waist in a hip belay. When we fell, bones broke.
Things have changed. The 12 youths featured here are performing at levels unthinkable then. Incredible, but not surprising, given the fact that these young people have already experienced so much novelty and so much gravity. This generation is the first to have wide access to the Internet, cell phones, digital cameras, text messaging and hip-hop. Their adolescence is impacted by the economic prosperity of the 1990s, 9/11, the war in Iraq and Virginia Tech. In the realm of climbing, they have benefited from access to gyms and sophisticated training techniques, entire cliffs buffed and bolted, fields of boulders scrubbed and ticked, man-made ice flows, and companies willing to pay preteens simply to climb.
For me, however, what’s more interesting than our differences is the abundant commonality I feel with this generation of young climbers.
These folks perpetuate the values espoused by every previous generation—a love of the outdoors and a pure enjoyment, unfettered by conceptions and dogma, of moving over rock and ice.
In answer to the question, “Who is the best climber in the world?” Sierra Blair-Coyle, 13, came out with the line that was the legacy of Alex Lowe. She said, “It’s the one who is having the most fun.”
Today, some climbers who once symbolized up-and-coming youth have reached adult milestones. Emily Harrington just graduated from college; Daniel Woods finished high school. They’ll keep doing great things—Emily, always a stellar student, is about to take a year just to climb, and Daniel just crushed each round at the Teva Games for his third straight win. But have a look also at the next raft, which includes many names you may not know yet.
Because these climbers are so good, we were forced to sandbag them with some historical trivia. For the record, only one person knew a thing about the Hinterstoisser Traverse.

Restless Spirit
Name: Jon Cardwell
Age: 18
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Jon Cardwell is on his fifth day of climbing. These aren’t just regular climbing days, either. He’s not sitting around boulders and trying a few hard moves every now and then. He’s climbing long hard 5.13 and 5.14 pitches at Rifle, all day long.

“My forearms kinda hurt,” he says, after nearly firing Rifle’s hardest line, Kuru (5.14c), a linkup of two established routes.
Most people take rest days, someone reminds him.
“I usually climb six days in a row, and then rest. After that, it feels crazy. I feel like I have so much power.”
When Jon climbs, routes don’t even look hard. Two days later, he sends Kuru for its second ascent.
Jon has a mop of black hair and forearms so large as to be nearly cartoonish. He is sponsored by four companies—La Sportiva, Sickle, Flashed and Mammut. He knows it’s difficult to make a living as a sponsored climber, but he’d like to try. “I just want to pursue my true passion: climbing.”

CLAIM TO FAME. Winning the adult U.S. Nationals, says Jon, was “pretty cool,” but he was even more psyched on a day in southern Utah this spring when he sent a 5.14a at the Cathedral second try, then drove over to the Black and Tan wall and flashed two 5.13c’s.

HARDEST SEND. “There’s a bouldering traverse in New Mexico that’s V14, but it’s really long, more of a 5.14d. I spent six days on that.”

Who is Henry Barber?

He’s an older climber from the East Coast, right? Wasn’t he in that video Uncommon Ground?
Who are your heroes?

just out there having fun. Outside of climbing, Lance Armstrong. In climbing, my friend Daniel Woods. He has a really good head: no ego,

What do you think about aid climbing?

I haven’t done it. It’s a good way to pioneer new routes and see if they could possibly be freed. It seems like climbing El Cap is just something every climber should do, however.

What do you think about chipping?

It’s not anything I agree with. Sometimes I see why people do it. A good amount of climbing in New Mexico is chipped. I accept that it’s done. … I enjoy climbing for the moves, not the aesthetics. Although I went to Mount Charleston and really hated it. The climbing wasn’t fun.

What’s the Hinterstoisser Traverse?

I have no idea.

Just guess.

A 5.12c in Idaho.

The Legacy
Name: Hayden Kennedy
Age: 16
Location: Carbondale, Colorado

Hayden Kennedy is unusually polite and helpful, rigging a rope for a photo shoot that he obviously would rather avoid, if “No, thank you” was in his vocabulary. When the glaring sun spoils most of the photos, he apologizes for the brightness.

But manners alone do not distinguish the rangy youth. Just when you thought that the next crop of strong and gifted youth was a bunch of sport climbers and boulderers, Hayden proclaims his love of the trad route—and almost gets our trick question right.
He boulders, pulls plastic and sport climbs—you have to, right?—but what he really loves are big, long gear routes.

CLAIM TO FAME. Last year, at 16, he onsighted, with Michael Logan, the slippery nine-pitch gear route Romantic Warrior (5.12b) in the Needles of California. In its 25-year history, the tenuous line has seen two, maybe three other onsights including a sometimes disputed solo by Michael Reardon. Asked if he believes Reardon onsight-soloed it, Hayden says only, “It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you’d solo … with all the stemming.”

Besides Romantic Warrior, Hayden also fired, with Peter Croft (who did the route’s FA), The Venturi Effect, a long 5.12+ trad line on the Incredible Hulk, the High Sierra. (He seconded the crux pitch, but the route is particularly sustained.)
On the day we meet with Hayden, his father, Michael, former longtime owner, editor and publisher of Climbing magazine, is home packing for their big annual summer climbing trip, this time to Yosemite and then to the Dolomites.

Who is more righteous, Peter Croft, John Bachar or Michael Reardon?

None of them because they are all climbers and all really cool. Croft is my role model because he’s so mellow. He’s done some of the coolest stuff in the world, but you’d never know it. I also respect the Yosemite pioneers, Yvon Chouinard, Jim Bridwell, Royal Robbins.

Your dad is a big ice and alpine climber, but you’ve never climbed ice.

I always go skiing in the winter and don’t have any ice gear. Plus, if I ever put on ice gear my mom would kill me.

Kids your age mostly seem to go bouldering or to the gym. Why?

I don’t know. Maybe they just don’t know how fun [trad climbing] is. I think the reason I appreciate trad climbing is because my dad got me thinking not just about the grade. It’s weird to me that some people just climb for the grade and don’t care about the history. Hard trad climbing is going to make a comeback and people are going to start going to Yosemite again to do the awesome trad lines.


[Laughs] By my parents.

Do you have any designs on repeating some of your dad’s big alpine routes, like the Infinite Spur, or snaking his old project, the North Ridge of Latok 1?

Maybe, in the future, I might aspire to that.

Trick question. Who is Royal Robbins?

He’s the man. FA of the Salathé with Frost and Pratt. First solo of El Cap. And has a khaki clothing line.

OK, good. Then what’s the Hinterstoissier Traverse?

Huh? No idea. … Wait, that’s on the Eiger!

The Professional
Name: Sierra Blair-Coyle
Age: 13
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Early in an interview, Sierra is asked if she wants to be sponsored.

“Oh, I’m already sponsored,” she says, “by Mad Rock, BlueWater, Omega Pacific, Zen Lizard, Khadeja, Terra Firma, Quotable Cards and Protean Capital Management.”
Protean Capital Management?
“That’s my financial sponsor.”
Sierra Blair-Coyle is part of a crew of young competition climbers that are already approaching their sport like pros. She climbs four or five days a week at her home gym, AZ on the Rocks, and is coached by Joe Czerwinski. Her parents, also climbers, take her to competitions across the country and even the globe.

CLAIM TO FAME. She competed in the European Youth Cup in Marseilles, France, in April, placing seventh, and wants to travel to Australia to compete in the World Cup later this year. Recently, she placed second among 12- to 13-year-olds, 2007 ABS Youth Nationals.


MOAB, aka Mother of all Boulder Problems (V7), Priest’s Draw, Arizona.

What is the Hinterstoisser Traverse?

I definitely don’t know.


Weed, because I grew really fast.

How did you get started?

I climbed on this little wall at the mall and really liked it. Then I saw an ad in the paper for a climbing gym, Climb Max, and went from there.

Ever had a job?

Nope. My parents are really good about taking me places and such, and I get some incentives from sponsors.

Favorite climbing areas?

Priest’s Draw for bouldering and Jack’s Canyon (Arizona) for sport climbing.

Is chipping bad?

I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I’m not gonna make a fuss about it if other people do it.

What do you prefer—rock, ice or plastic?

I really like comp climbing because I get to see all my friends.

The Future
Name: Ryan Roden
Age: 17
Location: Dallas, Texas

Ryan is known by the moniker “Future,” bestowed upon him by his coach, Kyle Clinkscales, when Ryan stepped up to the A-team on competitive Team Texas at only 10 years old.

“Right from the start, Future was passionate about climbing and training,” Clinkscales said. “That first June he came with [Team Texas] on a 29-day road trip. He’d only been climbing for a couple of weeks.”
Ryan has improved steadily each season despite limited opportunities to climb outside.
“There’s no good rock within three hours of Dallas,” Future says. “So basically I spend most of the year sanding plastic [climbing in a gym], getting ready to road trip again.”

CLAIM TO FAME. “The coolest thing I’ve done is Total Brutal (5.14a) in the Zillertal Mountains of Austria, but I’ve also sent Millennium (5.14a) at Maple Canyon, Utah, and Rumble in the Jungle (V12) at Hueco Tanks, Texas.”

Who is Royal Robbins?

The guy with the clothing company.


I’m sponsored by Mad Rock, but that’s not something I look for. I don’t really need it. I climb a lot with the team and we’ve got plenty of gear.

Favorite climbing area?

Hueco Tanks and the Red River Gorge.

How tall is Mount Everest?

I read a book on that. 29,000 meters?

How hard is the Hillary Step?

Dang it. It’s at the tip of my tongue. It’s an aid climb, right? 5.11?

What are ethics?

Doing what seems right in a situation.

Ever had a job?

My first job was at the Exposure Rock Gym in Dallas and I just got a job in February working at REI.

Future plans?

Going to Kentucky on a month-long road trip this summer with Team Texas, and in the spring of 2008 I’m going to Europe with my friends Daniel Woods and Jon Cardwell.

What is hard climbing?

Finding that one special run and being able to do something you thought was impossible.

Pooch in the Gym
Name: Alex Puccio
Age: 18
Location: McKinney, Texas

Last year at 17, Alex Puccio popped off a surprise win at the Teva Games. No longer a secret, she then established herself as a winning force by taking first place at the ABS Nationals. In February of this year she became the two-time ABS national champ—and, as of June 9, two-time Teva Games champ.

CLAIMS TO FAME. Alex is a gym product by geography. Since last October she has climbed outside only twice, at Thanksgiving and Christmas—about seven days’ total. Both trips were to Hueco Tanks, where she pulled a V11, Schwere Gustov; a V10, Swiss Crisp Mix; a V9; and several V8s.
We caught up with Alex as she was “working my butt off in school,” about to graduate May 25th, and turning 18 on June 15th. She planned to move to Boulder the very next day. “I’m just ready!” she said. She intends to study at community college for a year, establishing residency, then transfer to the University of Colorado.


Evolv, who pays for most climbing-travel expenses, and Teva shoes.
What is up with your MySpace introduction, “I’m Alex Puccio, bitches. You better recognize!!!!”
[Laughs] A friend made my MySpace for me. … I can’t remember if I said that or he did. Well, I think I might have. It was a long time ago. It’s pretty silly.


The Pooch, for my last name. It’s funny, but I don’t hear people call me by that name anymore.

Who is Royal Robbins?


Who is Henry Barber?

Who is who?

How tall is Mount Everest?

[Laughs] Very, very, very high.

What is your proudest achievement?

Not getting a big head. I hate to see people that get cocky and only climb with good climbers. I stay true to my friends.

What is the Hinterstoisser Traverse?

Does that even have to do with climbing?

Future climbing plans?

When I did my V11 I wasn’t too proud of it because I did it really fast. I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything because it didn’t challenge me. … I’ve never really projected anything. I never have time to. I guess that’s why I don’t climb as hard outside as I’d like to. I’d love to go outside and project something for about a month.

Alpine Apprentice
Name: Spencer Salovaara
Age: 18
Location: Bernardsville, New Jersey

It is not easy to find very young alpinists or even aspirants—you need experience for these kinds of climbs. Colin Haley, flagship example with nine Patagonian summits and a new route on Robson under his belt at age 22, says every alpinist he knows is older than he.

Spencer Salovaara is considered a promising aspirant. Climbing in the high peaks is in many ways “a state of mind, a mental thing,” says Mark Synnott, a longtime mountaineer. “Spencer is dedicated, athletic and strong and he does not get scared.“
Spencer’s immediate alpine dreams are Alaskan, to do the Moose’s Tooth and Denali. At present, he strives to solidify all skills. He trad climbs and leads steep ice up to IV+, including at Lake Willoughby, Vermont, and the hard ice classic Black Dike, Cannon Cliff, New Hampshire.
Last year Spencer took an alpine course in the North Cascades to strengthen his mountaineering and glacier-travel skills. “There was no one even close to my age!” he says. “It was kind of odd. I thought there’d at least be people in their 20s.”
He recently topped off the end of his freshman year at Yale University with a 10-day trip to Yosemite.

How was Yosemite?

A mindblower and very persuasive for dropping out and moving there.

Who is Royal Robbins?

First ascent of El Cap and a badass. And then Warren Harding did Half Dome to respond to it. It was in 1957. Or do I have El Cap and Half Dome backwards?

How tall is Mount Everest?

8,850 meters.

Who are your heroes?

Charlie Porter and Steve House.

What is hard climbing?

It’s being in the big mountain arena putting up long new routes. The most super-direct line on the biggest mountain in the most extreme conditions. I used to think it mattered how you did it, whether in a push or light and fast. I’ve come to realize that it’s just getting to the top and not leaving anything behind.

Describe your average day.

At school, I’m on the rowing team and I probably wake up around 6 for practice, have school all day, have practice again in the afternoon and homework after that.

Ever had a job?

Odd jobs. I’ve pumped gas, catered and cleaned things up. The most fun was baling hay in West Virginia.

How hard is the Hillary Step?

Pretty easy. It’s on Everest, on the trade route.

What is the best climbing area in the country?

Yosemite. Indisputable. Or the roadside crag off the Garden State highway!

Let me ask you a question. Are there any youth in New England that you could tell me about and I could maybe meet and climb with?

The Sizzler
Name: Andrea Szekely
Age: 18
Location: Born in Budapest, Hungary, Lives in Bethesda, Maryland

Behind the quiet, almost shy demeanor of the wafer-thin Andrea Szekely is a white-hot combination of brains and brawn—qualities she gets from her parents.

“My mom was an Olympic gymnast, and my dad is one of the top economists in the world,” Andrea says. Her father currently works at the International Monetary Fund, and is slated to begin work at the European Commission of Economics in Brussels in June, taking the family, which includes Andrea’s brother Gabor, age 17, who has sent 5.14b. “From my mom I get the sports, and from my dad I get the whole wanting-to-excel in some sort of career.”
Andrea, who just graduated from high school, has been accepted to Stanford University and plans on attending after the year in Belgium.
She speaks fluent English and she crushes on hard routes. She has onsighted Bowser Wowser (5.13b) at the Virgin River Gorge, Arizona, and sent two 5.13c’s and Omaha Beach (5.14a) at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. She says the endurance route Omaha Beach suited her strengths, and thinks she can climb much harder.

How tall is Mount Everest?

8,850 meters. It used to be 8,848, but it has grown because of plate tectonics. I had this phase when I was 11 or 12 when I wanted to climb Everest. I read everything about it. That was before I learned I get cold below 70 degrees.

Who climbs harder, boys or girls?

A lot of girls are happy if they are sending 5.13s. If you look at Josune Bereziartu, she’s like, “I am going to climb 5.14d’s just like the boys.” I think if more girls adopted that mindset and weren’t just content, there would be a big difference in how they would be climbing.

What do you think of aid climbing?

I’ve never understood it. It seems like El Cap would be fun, a good bonding experience.

Have you ever had a job?

No. My parents have been really supportive, and the time I don’t spend climbing, I spend on schoolwork.
Who is the best climber in the world?
Chris Sharma. It seems like he can do anything whenever he wants.

What are ethics?

Being honest about what you do. Doing it in a style where you don’t cheat the moves, or lie about what you send.

Do you see that often?

Quite a few times. Maybe they don’t blatantly lie, but they fluff their résumés, especially on [the website]

What do you think of 8a?

I like it. It’s a good way to keep track of what you and your friends have been up to, where they’ve been climbing. Also, if other females have sent routes at a certain area, it gives me a good idea of what to get on.

Who is Royal Robbins?

That’s a clothing company.

Miami Heat
Name: Kara Caputo
Age: 17
Location: Florida Keys, Florida

At 17, Kara Caputo can’t even begin to tally the number of comps she has been to.

“I don’t know, maybe 100,” she says.
Kara started climbing at age 10, but didn’t actually climb outside until she was 13, when she traveled to the nearest climbing area to her Florida home—Rock Town, outside Atlanta, Georgia, a 14-hour drive away.
“I’m stuck at almost the most southern tip of the United States,” Kara explains. She just graduated from high school, and plans on attending the University of Colorado at Boulder this fall.
She began climbing when she and her father (since deceased) would go to Xtreme, the indoor gym in Miami.
“We’d go on Sundays. It was a father-daughter thing. It started as something to do on rainy days when we couldn’t go out on our boat.”
Now Kara has climbed all over the world, even recently at Indian Creek, Utah, with fellow Floridian Matt Segal.
“I thought it was so much fun, but I fell all over 5.10s. When I got my first one … well, for the guys I was with, it was nothing. But for me, it felt like quite an accomplishment.”

CLAIM TO FAME. Second at this year’s ABS Nationals, an adult event.

FAVORITE CLIMBiNG AREAS. Kalymnos, Greece, or Rodellar, Spain.

Do you want to compete in Europe?

I would love to, but that’s a whole other level. I’m not there yet. If I’m representing our country, I would want to be in the best shape I could be in.

Ever hear of Henry Barber?


Who climbs better, boys or girls?

That’s a trick question.

Well, do you have an answer?

I don’t think there is an answer. I’ve seen girls that crush boys … boys have their strengths, though, too.

Any nicknames?

Karibou … like the animal, but with a K like my name.

How often do you go climbing?

When I was training, I would drive an hour and a half to the gym after school four days a week.

Does that get old?

Yes. I’m psyched to go to Boulder and climb outside all the time.

What are ethics?

That’s tricky. … Sketchy situations, forgetting gear or maybe taking a bad fall.

No, ethics, not epics.

Ha! Sorry. That’s trying to lead everything as clean and natural as possible.

What is the best climbing area in the country?

The coral rock in my backyard.

Huh? What do you mean?

You know … coral? That was a joke. I live in the Florida Keys and people have coral in their yards.

Comp Stomper
Name: Sasha DiGiulian
Age: 14
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

It’s not every day the Virginia Legislature commends a 14-year-old, but Joint Resolution #533 was drafted to congratulate Sasha DiGiulian for winning the 2006 Youth Bouldering Championship in her age group.

CLAIM TO FAME. Sasha is dominating the 14- to 15-year-old division in youth competitions. She recently won both the French Junior Open in Serre Chevalier, France, and the International Junior Open in Marseilles. She was also first overall in the Mammut Bouldering Series in 2006 and second in the Triple Crown, adult events.
Sasha has bouldered V11, with a new problem at Red Rocks, Nevada, and on-sighted confirmed V10s like Zero Zero at Squamish, B.C., Canada. Her hardest sport-climbing send is Bazooka (5.13c), at Maple Canyon, Utah, and she has on-sighted up to 5.13a/b.

How tall is Mount Everest?

I know it’s really, really tall. 29,000 kilometers?


Mad Rock and Sickle.


My parents used to call me Punky, for Pink Monkey.

Who climbs harder, girls or boys?

Depends on the person. Overall, if you’re dedicated enough, a girl can climb harder than a guy if she wants to.

Describe your average day.

Get up at 7 a.m., go to school, play sports. Right now I’m doing track and field. I run the half- and quarter-mile and long jump. In the fall I play field hockey, in winter I do conditioning and weights. After sports at school, I get home at 4 p.m., do homework, then go climbing at my home gym, Sport Rock II. I have a comp each Saturday.

Who is the best climber in the world?
That’s tough. When I was in France, I saw Paxti Usobiaga and he looked pretty amazing. Lisa Rands is really, really good.

Future plans?

This summer I plan to go to Rocky Mountain National Park before the [Outdoor Retailer] trade show. I’m going back to France after U. S. Nationals. Junior Worlds in Ecuador at the end of August.

What is the Hinterstoisser Traverse?

Pardon? Is that a book?

How hard is the Hillary Step?


El Cap at 11
Name: Scott Corey
Age: 17
Location: Brentwood, California

At age 7, in Red Rocks, he onsighted Yak Crack (5.11d) and redpointed Fear and Loathing (5.12a) second try. He climbed The Gift (5.12d) at 9. But Scott Corey may always be best known as the 11-year-old who climbed the Nose of El Capitan with Hans Florine.

”I don’t remember ever being scared at all,” Scott says. “I was swinging around on the ropes.”
A week later the world changed with 9/11, and three weeks after that he climbed the route again, in a day with Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden, as a fundraiser for the families of the lost firefighters and police.
At 14, Scott, with Steve Schneider, climbed the 13-pitch 5.13a Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha, on La Esfinge (17,470 feet) in Peru. He’s competed on the USA national climbing team for seven out of the last eight years, with many podiums. In April, still 16, he redpointed Surf Safari (5.13d/14a), at Mickey’s Beach.

CLAIM TO FAME. Scott participates in fundraisers for Climb for Yosemite and also for the Windsong Foundation, to help a young climber with a rare lung disease. Last summer he hosted a climbing comp in Peru, collecting serious booty from his sponsors, including 50 pairs of Montrail shoes and 50 pairs of Bollé shades, to give away; he handed out prize money from his own pocket. Along the way, he honed his Spanish-speaking skills.


The North Face, Bollé, Petzl, Montrail, Cytosport and Sterling Ropes.

What are your climbing plans?

Stick with it. I am so lucky. It gave me experiences that kids my age don’t get, to travel, visit other countries and see how different people live.

Is chipping bad?

I don’t like it, I don’t approve. If people did it a long time ago, I don’t see any need to still be mad at them.

Who is Royal Robbins?

One of the first two people to climb El Cap.

Who is Henry Barber?

I don’t know that one.

Ever had a job?

No. If it’s a trip for one of my sponsors, they’ll pay. Or I use prize money, and my parents help me.

What are ethics?

Being respectful. Being polite. Not talking about other people. In climbing, if you want to be respected, be respectful. It’s kind of like real life.

What is your climbing future?

I really enjoy fundraisers, helping people. If I could travel and climb and help other people, not just climb for myself, that would be just amazing.

Do you ever look back and think of the roads not taken?

I would never go back and ever change a thing.


Cicada Jenerik
Name: Cicada Jenerik
Age: 13
Location: San Francisco, California

In an age when being little seems a marketable commodity—the youngest to pilot a plane, or climb the seven summits!—you might be tempted to dismiss Cicada Jenerik, best known for having bouldered V10 at age 10.

A member of the Zero Gravity Team, coached by her athlete- musician father, Scott, Cicada has been the youngest climber ever to boulder V10, V9 and on down through V5.
She is the North American Continental champion and U.S. National champion in both difficulty (lead) and bouldering in her age group.

How hard is hard for you?

V8 or V9. V10 or 11 would be projecting for me. I don’t really do routes so I don’t know how strong I am on them. I think I would probably like working on a 5.13.

Have you led a trad route?

I’ve led since I was 8, but I haven’t done trad yet. Maybe someday. I’m not really into it—it’s kinda scary.

Who blings you out?

I’m sponsored by Mad Rock and PMI.

How hard will people climb?

I’m not sure if they can find something hard enough, maybe V17.

Who do you look up to?

I was inspired by Lisa Rands for a while, and yeah, I look up to all of my climbing friends who are stronger than me.

Who is stronger than you?

Well, sometimes I’m stronger.

Will you ever drop out of climbing?

I’m not sure. I think I will climb for a long time, but don’t think I’ll do it forever.

Who is John Gill? Yvon Chouinard?

Umm, I’m not sure.

John Bachar?

Uh, no.

You are about to start the eighth grade. What’s your favorite class?

I don’t like school right now. I’d rather go climbing.

Do you go to bed thinking about climbing?

I go to sleep thinking I should do my homework, and what I’ll need to do tomorrow. Oh, my favorite class is English.