1. How tall are you? Ape index? (if you know yours)
I’m 5’1.5 and my ape index is +5.5 crazy right?!
2. How long have you been climbing for?
I’ve been climbing consistently and seriously for 6.5 years now. I started working at Manhattan Plaza Health Club Climbing Gym after being a member for 2yrs which is when I really started to learn about technique, setting and competitions.
3. What got you into climbing?
My mom works at a hospital which has a recreational top rope wall for staff and family, so she took us both to try it when I was 15. I was really really terrible at it which spiked my interest because I’m usually a natural at sports.
4. What are some of the physical and/or mental struggles you face while climbing?
The biggest struggle I face with climbing is my fear of heights and the fact that I’m so competitive, it gets pretty difficult to turn that part of me off. It helps for pushing myself through scary and difficult activities, but I sometimes set the bar unrealistically high. Especially when I have to slow down for either an injury or lack of time during the school year. When I started out, I complained mostly about being too short for climbs and to this day that still affects my climbing but by focusing on technique specific for my strengths and deciding when to choose my battles I have way less chances to blame my height.
My coworker Jim Hardy and I are actually in a video put together by CRG’s Creative Director climbing the exact same routes and comparing beta. It’s awesome because he’s 6’3.5 and we get to the same endpoint in different ways!
5. (From a follower in the community) How do you get better at shouldery moves?
That’s a great and pretty common question. I just built up my back, shoulder and pectoral muscles like crazy. I focused mainly on stabilized pullups, lockoffs, negatives, pushups and planks. With the help of my strength coach, Anastacia, this past year and a half I learned how to use my entire body for these exercises which made them way easier. I could do more reps, more difficult variations, and transfer those to even tougher moves on the wall. Lastly is practice. Try shouldery moves on less difficult climbs or simulate them and slowly increase the difficulty as you get comfortable.
6. We see that you are a dyno QUEEN! How did you get to where you are today? How can some of us who are scared / not a fan of dynos overcome them?
I’m actually very surprised at my ability to dyno. Up to the summer of 2018, there was no one who could get me to even do a dynamic deadpoint. My fear of heights, embarrassment at how terrible I was, and hate for the fact that I have to work so much harder to get the same height as other individuals kept me from trying. It’s been a process lol. The headsetter of CRG Manhattan at the time, along with Jim Hardy put time aside to give me drills. They would make short distances to jump and then increase the length, technique and fear factor. Another major factor was a friend who teaches parkour and also climbs gave me a long and detailed session on how to bail, the actual technique to jumping and landing. The rest was support from so many friends in the community and being fed up with my fear. I told myself it was the one thing holding me back from winning at competitions and unless I work to get better, I’ll keep missing out on all of my potential. Its sort of the answer to everything ever, but practice makes perfect.
7. Any dyno tips and tricks?!
Yes! So much of the movement comes from your legs, so you have to commit to jumping. Pull with both your shoulders and back, then when you launch lead with your chest and jump as hard as you can. Also, “throw” the holds your using in the opposite direction you want to move. There should be a lot of momentum and power if you relinquish control on purpose. I would suggest flinging yourself in a direction and seeing what its like to fall. If you know you won’t get hurt then you can start focusing on what your body is doing.
8. Do you have any climbing goals for 2020?
In all this time, I’ve never been climbing outdoors. So I’d like to get some of my physical goals checked off like a 10 second 1 arm lock off at 90-degrees, a one-arm pullup, a successful 1-3-5 reach on the campus boar and a 5.13 flash on lead. Then go climb on some real rocks.
9. (Optional) What is your career like? What are your career goals?
As a climbing instructor and team coach, my job is awesome. I love influencing youth and giving them whatever confidence and other life skills I can. It’s also incredibly gratifying to help children with physical challenges and let climbing be a fun and exciting to improve their quality of life. However, my main career path is Veterinary Science and Conservation which I’m currently studying in school. I’ve gotten to experience so many things and interact with so many different animals. It’s the one and only thing that could pull me away from climbing. The best experience so far was my internship at the Staten Island zoo.
10. (Optional) Do you enjoy any other hobbies besides climbing?
I enjoy amateur calisthenics, aerial silks, athletic pole (new hobby), yoga, ANIME, knitting, crocheting, playing piano, and eating.
11. (optional) Who do you think we should feature next?
Definitely Melise Edwards!
12. What advice can you give to the shorty climbers out there?
Honestly, think of the setter’s intended beta as just a suggestion. Do the climb the way that fits you best, and if you’d like to do it the intended way to learn more technique or take on the challenge then go for it. It’s difficult to set routes that work for both short and tall climbers, believe me I’ve tried lol. However, if you do come across a setter that makes each move feel smooth like butter and its above a v4 then you can at least count on their climbs to be pretty fair for you.
13. Any other special words you would like to say to our short and sweet community?
Thank you so much for looking to me as an ambassador for the short but mighty. Its the entire intent of my instagram page. This is why I share my successes, my challenges, and any tips I have. It’s humbling and encouraging to know that there are people who believe in me and let me be a helping hand in their success! I’ll keep doing my best to reach new heights, so keep your eyes on me and also let me know how your journey is going!!