Monday, March 29, 2010

Interview > Jason Kehl

Jason Kehl... most people know him as a climber, some people know him as the brains behind Cryptochild, other, well others know him as "that dude with the dreadlocks that does those scary highballs".... he's all of those things! He's also a renowned shaper as well, the monstrous Growth has just been released and he's been hiding out in Hueco so lets see what he's been up to


Name and age- Jason Kehl 33
Job- Pro Climber, Hold Shaper, Videographer, Photographer, Artist

People know you as a world class climber, some as a shaper... what comes first?
Climbing usually comes first, but depending on my location it usually fluctuates between climbing and art. Iv'e been in Hueco Tanks all winter so I haven't been shaping much, but psyched to this spring.

As a climber you're sponsored by?
LaSportiva, Native Eyewear, Revolution, Blurr

What are your commitments to those company's?
Mostly to be a good ambassador for their company. Use the product as much as possible out in the field. Provide feedback about the gear and content for their websites.

Where have you been climbing this winter?
I was in Hueco Tanks for like 4 months this winter escaping the Colorado snow

What's the access like these days?
I think the access is getting better all the time, the park is slowly learning how to work with the climbers more efficiently
every year

Do you have to have a guide or are you allowed to roam freely?
No one can roam freely unless the are on North Mountain or hire a guide to take them into the back country.

Who were you climbing with?
I was mostly climbing with my girlfriend Abbey Smith, and a ton of friends that passed through during the season.

Any memorable sends?
Anything new is memorable, but even more so are the ones I didn't send and will be still waiting next season.

You shape for So Ill but under you own company (CryptoChild), was this a conscious decision to keep your shapes separate?
Yes, I originally just started with just the CryptoChild line of t-shirts, but knew eventually we wanted to do holds and much more. I'm still shaping a little for So iLL, but mostly focusing on the CryptoChild line.

What other company's have you shaped for?
Pusher, Ritual(Spain), So iLL, Revolution, ETCH, and CryptoChild

The Growth just hit the market, it's a monster for sure and you partnered up with Rockwerx to get it made... how long did the hold take to shape?
About 7 days over a month, it was a huge undertaking and seem ti have a mind of its own.

Why did you guys partner up?
Rockwerx already had the technology, so it was super easy to get things moving. All I had to do was the fun part, the shaping.

Considering the size there aren't many t nut placements, why is this?
The original concept for the Growth was just to make a gigantic hold. Something you could climb on alone, but if the wall gets steeped you still have the option to ad positive holds.

Are there more features on the way?
Yeah we are psyched to keep pumping them out! I have some ideas now that I will be fleshing out in the months to follow.

There's a huge gap compared to Europe when it comes to bolt on features, you seem to be addressing this gap. How do you approach a volume compared to a "normal" sized hold?
We too noticed the lack of features in the states and were ready to start filling that void. The biggest difference in shaping a feature versus a normal size hold is that it has to be planned out more, considering you dont want just one usable spot like most smaller holds.

You're also an artist... is it just another creative outlet like shaping for you?
Definitely, whenever I am creating anything it's a great artistic outlet, wether its shaping, video editing or sculpture it all uses the same creativity.

I've seen you climb at Allez Up and I was just staggered by the way you approach the wall... especially your fluidity between moves and your static strength... do you train or is it just natural ability? If so what's you're training regieme like?
I dont really train that much anymore, I think its better to climb hard on all types of rock rather than being trapped in a gym. I used to do a lot of campusing back in the day, which I thought was a great way to gain explosive power. If I do anything now its usually exercises to stay balanced after climbing.

Lets talk about the Iron Palm hangboard that we're putting to the test currently... shaping something symetrical must suck right?
Its definitely hard to shape something symmetrical, but thats the challenge. This is the sixth hangboard Iv'e shaped so I guess Im getting used to the process. The Iron Palm has everything that I thought was enjoyable a hangboard.

When I first saw the board I realised the ends look like some toys I have from Kid Robot called Dunny's... was this intentional?
No, but I wanted the board to stand out and not look like every other one out there. Something that would look nice hanging over a door frame.

Why aren't there any pockets on the board? Personal taste or because training on badly shaped pockets sucks?
Pockets do suck a lot of times, but pockets on a hangboard seem like a waste of space. If you want to train two finger pocket you can just do two finger pull-ups on the edges. Same, same.

You've obiously travelled the world a bunch, where would you like to go back to and why?
I would love to go back everywhere, but there are to many places to climb for one lifetime.
Some of my favorites are Japan and Fontianebleau.

Favorite climbing area?
I guess I would have to say Font, just because sandstone is my favorite stone to climb on.

You've made a bunch of videos for So Ill as well, they're always fun to watch... but probably a pain to film... can you tell us what it's like being filmed for a big production climbing movie? Do you go into the climb totally unrehearsed with no beta?
Some are harder than others for sure, but the whole process is still fun and having some to show for all the work is really worth it. The climbing films are usual just us going out bouldering and trying to capture the action.

Where have you been climbing this winter?
I was in Hueco Tanks for like 4 months this winter escaping the Colorado snow.

What's the access like these days?
I think the access is getting better all the time, the park is slowly learning how to work with the climbers more efficiently
every year.

Do you have to have a guide or are you allowed to roam freely?
No one can roam freely unless the are on North Mountain or hire a guide to take them into the back country.

Who were you climbing with?
I was mostly climbing with my girlfriend Abbey Smith, and a ton of friends that passed through during the season.

Any memorable sends?
Anything new is memorable, but even more so are the ones I didn't send and will be still waiting next season.

Any plans for 2010 that you can let us on in?
I am headed to the Himalayas in the summer to climb on the highest hardest boulders and search for the Yeti.

You can follow Jason at Deadpoint Magazine where he has a blog, you can also check out his artwork at Cryptochild and of course his holds at So Ill


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