Sunday, January 25, 2015

MBC2015: A Brief Chat with Inge Perkins

Inge on a v10 traverse in Schirradorf Germany. (photo: Enrico Haase)
For those who've climbed around Montana the past decade you've seen Inge Perkins grow into one of the state strongest climbers.  She's been off adventuring around the world and we got a chance to catch up on what she's been up to.

Joel: Inge, we’ve seen you crush competitions representing the Bozeman Climbing Team over the past years. How did you start climbing and then transition onto the Bozeman Climbing Team?

Inge: I became interested in climbing after watching a movie in Norway of a girl saving wolves by climbing. I had always participated in outdoor sports from cross-country ski racing, to hiking, to mountain biking with my family and the challenge and excitement of starting a new athletic endeavor that no one in my family did was very appealing. I instantly fell in love with dancing around on rocks/walls and was lucky enough to live in a town with such a welcoming, fun, and fast growing climbing team. 

Joel: You traveled on a few of the Touch the Sky BCT trips, what’s your favorite climbing travel story from those experiences?

Inge: That is a hard question, I have so many fond memories from my years of traveling with the Bozeman Climbing Team. One of my favorite memories, however, is my time in Rodellar with the team. Swimming, exploring, and goofing around in the beautiful river every morning and then climbing tufas etc. (it was my first time) amongst the roar of Spaniards trying hard was blissful and a big moment for me in falling in love with climbing. 

Joel: Favorite route in Montana? 

Inge: Why do you have to keep asking such hard questions? I need to include a few for this and the next question. Bowling for Buicks (12a) at the Gallatin Tower is definitely up there as is Canyon Fairy (not sure of the grade) at Hellgate and I might have to say Well-Heeled (11c) at the Wildecliff in Gallatin Canyon.
Joel: Lots of Bozeman love for Buick Bowling these days! Alright, favorite route in the World?

Inge:  I always feel like they keep getting better and better as I travel more and learn to climb smarter and more gracefully. Some of my recent favorites are definitely Fall of Man (13b) at the Virgin River George, Reamed Out (13c) at Wolf Point, Vesper (14a) at the Fins (I haven’t sent it yet but can’t wait to go back this spring and work on my fear of run-outs on this!), and La Guitara de Lolo (13c) in El Salto (I didn’t send this either…another reason I need to go back to Mexico soon). 

Inge on Doomsday 5.14a (photo Allen Chaney)
Joel: You’ve since graduated high school, where are you now? and what are you up to?

Inge: After I graduated high school, I went to Durango for my first year of college. It was really fun and I got to do some amazing skiing, learned how to crack climb properly, and discover the magic of the desert. I then moved to Bamberg, Germany to work as an Au Pair for the wonderful Schöffl family all of last year. We climbed a lot in the Frankenjura and took a few trips to Fontainbleau and Mallorca. The Frankenjura was a very challenging area for me, but the short, finger-intensive, and bouldery routes along with training guidance from the Germans helped me make significant jumps in my climbing. This past summer I worked as a waitress and climbed a bunch in Lander, a town I always feel psyched and happy to be in. I got to be a part of an excellent season at Wolf Point, which was such a privilege! The community I got to know from living in the City Park was almost worth it in itself. Now I am going to MSU in Bozeman for a major in mathematics with a teaching specialty and a minor in German. It is great being back in Montana and being a part of a growing and motivated climbing community (there is some exciting development going on!) but I also take every opportunity I get to travel to other areas to climb and chase warm weather. I just got back from a trip to El Salto, Mexico, which was absolutely amazing and am now hanging out in the Las Vegas area before I go back to Montana for another semester. 

Joel: Did you have to choose between climbing and school? How did you make your decision?

Inge: I wouldn’t say I had to choose between climbing and school, doing both definitely works. However, it may not be ideal as I have to make sacrifices in both (mostly climbing, though). A big moment for me, though, was after climbing a lot this summer and sending a lot of routes I was super psyched about, I started to feel a bit unmotivated and unsatisfied in august. Knowing I was going back to school to work towards other goals of mine was exciting and now that I am back in school, every day I go climbing is so much more special and my motivation to train, push myself climbing, and work hard in school all feed off each other. 

Joel: Reports drifted up out of Ten Sleep this summer that you sent a couple 5.14s. Which ones did you climb? and what was the projecting process for those routes like for you? 

Inge: I spent the last few weeks of my summer in Ten Sleep and was able to do Galactic Emperor and Doomsday (both 14a). I had been interested in trying these routes for a long time, but was always intimidated by the grade. However, after pushing myself in Lander all summer, my mindset to approaching routes changed from only trying things I was very confident I could do to trying routes that were inspiring, beautiful, and maybe not doable for me at first (I have become a big fan of stick clips). However, it turned out both routes in Ten Sleep fit my style very well and I was able to figure out beta quickly and send them both in 4 tries. So there was not much of a projecting process for those two routes. Two routes I did this summer that felt like bigger accomplishments for me were Reamed Out (13c) at Wolf Point and T.I.H.C. (13d) in Ten Sleep. Reamed Out goes to the top of the cave at Wolf Point (about 40 meters) and I fell at the last bolt more than a couple times, which was definitely an exercise in my patience. T.I.H.C. had a very bouldery crux that felt impossible to me for a few tries, so I almost gave up. But I kept trying and everything finally clicked, it was cool to move through holds I thought I could never even hold onto at first. I learned a lot about projecting, strategies, and gained a lot of confidence from those two routes. 

Joel: What is your current training schedule like?

Inge: This past fall I started working with Kris Hampton and the Power Company to develop a more systematic training program to keep me focused, productive, and fit while in school. I usually do two to three high intensity days per week and one or two easy recovery days or go outside. We planned my program in multiple phases, starting with strength, then power, then fitness. I also really enjoy trail running and skiing, so I have continuously pursued those activities while training for climbing, which is something a lot of climbers claim is not beneficial for climbing. However, I can’t give up activities that are so important to my happiness and well being. 

Inge warming up in El Salto, Mexico (photo: Jai Critchley)
Joel:  How much time per week do you spend on climbing or training and how do you balance that time with the rest of your life?

Inge: I train 3-5 times a week for 2 to 3 hours and try to get out when the weather is good at least once a week during school. Having an amazing climbing facility (Spire) that is so convenient makes training after school or work very doable and always enjoyable. I have been trying to incorporate Yoga into my training schedule this year more as well, and have been going to some classes early in the morning before school. I think Yoga is very beneficial for climbing and it is easy to fit in my schedule. I have always maintained a pretty busy schedule with work, school, and athletics and I think doing so much helps me keep my momentum going and be efficient in everything I do (most of the time). Music is always something that keeps me psyched and full of energy wherever I go! 

Joel:  Any sponsors you’d like to thank?

Inge: LOWA boots has been very supportive this past year and I am excited to keep working with them and their developing line of climbing shoes. Verve gave me some sweet attire that actually sometimes catches in the wind and helps me float up routes. I am also grateful for the guidance of Kris Hampton and the Power Company. Omnibar is also helping me stay nourished and energized in all of my activities.

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