I guess I should have published this interview with Lynn Hill a while back. You probably remember, in December last year, Lynn repeated Chablanke at Hueco Tanks, TX. Anyway, here it is:
- How long did it take you to do the problem?
I tried this boulder problem a few years ago when I was in Hueco for a brief period to become a Texas State Park guide and another time when I was there to instruct at one of my climbing camps, but I hadn't tried this boulder problem since last year.
- What drew you to it in the first place?
It's a beautiful boulder with interesting moves and it looked like something I could do if I came up with some creative solutions. On the crux move, I had to do four set-up moves to get my feet underneath me before moving my hand up to a small crimp on an extremely overhanging face.
- Do you feel this the hardest boulder problem you?ve done to date?
According to the rating given to it - yes - but for me, the difference between Midnight Lightning and Chablanke does not seem like 3-4 grades. My unusually small size makes certain routes or boulder problems seem much harder than given the grade, but occasionally my size can be advantageous.
- Do you agree with the grade?
Since I'm not used to the bouldering rating system it's difficult for me to say. The rating system is based on the perceived difficulty by people of average size, so I'm not a good judge of what the grade should be. I am used to accounting for my own perception outside the bell curve.
- Do you feel stronger now than you were 15 or 20 years ago?
I don't think I am stronger now than 15 or 20 years ago, but I'd like to believe that my technique and mental problem solving skills have improved over time. I also think that working on my climbing technique video this year (Elements of Technique) has not only inspired me to improve my own efficiency on the rock, but it has provided the opportunity to go climbing on a more consistent basis than I have in years.
- Does it bother you that people point out your gender, age, or mom status when talking about your sends? Do you think that stuff is relevant or irrelevant? Why?
I am not bothered by comments regarding my age, gender, or status as a single mother. These are all significant factors in my life. I've never been a number chaser or else I would have done hard ticks long before now. For me, the most relevant factor in my ability to perform well on the rock has to do with my love of climbing. After nearly thirty years of climbing, I still love to do it whenever possible! The fact that I have a child and consequently more responsibilities now than ever, has inspired me grow in new ways and has given me a more balanced view on life. A child can be one of the best teachers in life.
- Any other comments you might like to add?
I don't think that climbing Chablanke was just a lucky fluke since I nearly sent another V10 called Loaded with Power that doesn't particularly suit me on my sixth day of bouldering on my one week trip. I was exhausted and fell on the last move but I'd like to go back to Hueco again this winter or spring if I can find the time?