Monday, October 19, 2009
A Brief Chat With Legendary Rock Climber, Lynn Hill--8 days until Beats for Books fundraiser!
A conversation with Lynn Hill…
Legendary rock climber Lynn Hill will be doing a presentation and teaching a clinic at the annual Beats for Books fundraising event at The Spot Gym, Tuesday, October 27th. Funds for this event will support Girls Education International’s scholarship programs for girls in Nepal, Liberia, and Pakistan. Hill will be teaching a clinic from 5-6:15 or so and then between 7 and 7:30 she will speak and show video clips documenting her life in climbing, including footage of her doing a first ascent with Beth Bennett in 1981 and her climbing over a hot air balloon in flight for ‘That’s Incredible. Girls Education International recently sat down with Hill to chat about what she’s up to.
GEI: What are you up to these days?
Hill: Right now I’m putting together a presentation for a show I’m doing in Italy. I have slides from beginning of my life as a climber. I have pictures of Joshua Tree, climbing in Arizona and Las Vegas, and then my travels to Europe. I moved to France in 1988. I wanted to learn another language and culture. It opened my mind to a lot of things I didn’t know about climbing. Then I speak about my time in Yosemite. I decided to quit comps and apply all my skills and experience to big wall free climbing. I had no idea free climbing the Nose would be the big deal that it was. I just had this idea that I would combine traditional and sport climbing … put those things together on this masterpiece climb. That launched me on a whole new aspect of my career that I didn’t anticipate.
GEI: What did that new career look like?
Hill: I realized it wasn’t going to be as big a deal as I originally thought to be a top competitive climber. It’s a branch of climbing that isn’t as well respected as doing something significant in the real environment—the natural world. Climbing the Nose gave me a lot of opportunities to travel and do even bigger climbs, such as in Kyrgystan, Morocco, Vietnam, and Thailand.
GEI: How did that shape your climbing career and life?
Hill: It became really clear to me that I didn’t want to become an alpinist, doing the biggest mountains in the world. That was never my focus. The media wanted that from me, but I said no to it. I learned to stick with what I loved to do and not to be convinced to do something because the marketing department liked that image of me!
GEI: What are some of the most notable things you have done since you climbed the Nose?
Hill: I wrote a book as a way to document the history of climbing from a woman’s perspective. It’s good for young girls, or anybody really, to have those role models. I didn’t have many. Writing a book had a lot to do with that perspective … it was exciting to be a part of that era of climbing development. Then I had a baby. That has been a big journey.
GEI: What are you working on now?
Hill: I’m working on a climbing technique video, which will use video graphics. I’m trying to show visually how I think about climbing, and how to break down climbing so that people can better understand the mechanics of movements. It will be a teaching tool, but also entertaining and pretty to look at. Teaching climbing camps really convinced me that videoing people and going it over the video with them was a good idea. To me it’s really obvious when people are making mistakes, but it’s too hard for them to tell while they are climbing. Video gives people a conscious, rational way to look at climbing and then they can try to incorporate that on an intuitive level. They have to understand it first before it can be intuitive about it.
GEI: What else are you up to?
Hill: I’m a full-time mom, I travel for speaking engagements, I do design and events for Patagonia as an ambassador, I do one or two things for Petzl each year, and I’m working on this book thing with John Long. I teach, on occasion.
GEI: Well, thanks a lot Lynn. See you in a week!
Hill: I’m looking forward to it.
As part of her work as an ambassador for Patagonia, Lynn is also trying to rally people to join events happening all over Boulder, Colo., that are raising awareness for the issue of climate change. On October 24, people from all over the world are taking a stand for a safe climate future. For more information on Boulder activities related to this cause, please visit the 350.org Website.
For more information about what Lynn is up to, please visit her blog.