Date: July 11th, 2016
About Joe Kinder
This is an interview with Joe Kinder, a 36-year-old climber from New Hampshire who was one of our sport’s first professional (aka paid) athletes. He’s climbed up to 5.14+ sport and 5.13+ trad, and he’s given back much to the sport by developing a whole lot of new routes all over the US. He’s well known for his consistently high level of psyche for climbing, and for being a genuinely good person and fellow climber at any crag.
Joe, Sam Elias, and Dan Mirsky recently completed the BD Training Bootcamp, where they lived and trained together in Golden, CO for several weeks at a time while being coached by Kris Peters and Justen Sjong. They all saw a lot of success after the bootcamp sessions, and I talked to Joe about what he accomplished after the bootcamp and how he’s changing his overall training because of it.
About Our Talk
In this interview we talked about his history with climbing, growing up with Dave Graham, why he develops routes, training, diet, and lots more.
- BD bootcamp results
- Route development
- Moonboard training
- Making a living as a sponsored athlete
- Diet and alcohol
- Goals of 5.15
Joe Kinder Links
- Joe’s experience with the BD Bootcamp (Video)
- Joe sending Maquina Muerte in Spain, 5.14d (Video)
- Joe in 30 Days in Norway (Video)
- Joe on Instagram
- Joe on Facebook
Training Programs for You
- Check out our Route Climbing Training Program for route climbers of all abilities.
- Our other training programs: Training Programs Page.
Please Review The Podcast on iTunes!
- Link to the TrainingBeta Podcast on iTunes is HERE.
- Please give the podcast an honest review on iTunes here to help the show reach more curious climbers around the world 😉
Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast, where I talk with climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today we’re on episode 58 where I talked with Joe Kinder.
Joe Kinder, as we all know, is a really great athlete. He’s a strong climber, having climbed up to .14+ and he’s also super generous with his time as a developer of new routes. I talked with Joe about that and his climbing and his history with climbing, but also I wanted to talk with him because he and Sam Elias and Dan Mirsky just did the Black Diamond Training Boot Camp. Well, they didn’t just do it – it was last year, but they went through three cycles of training with Kris Peters and Justen Sjong and they trained together pretty nonstop for weeks and then had a break, and then trained again and had a break, and then trained again.
During that time they also had a sports psychologist, they had a physical therapist, and they also had me as a nutritionist. I wasn’t in the videos but I did see them several times and helped them individually with their diets. We talk a little bit about his diet in this, and it was cool to see them in the midst of their training. Those guys worked their asses off, so it was cool to talk to him afterward through this interview and see how all that hard work paid off.
Before I get to the interview I want to let you know that I may be absent from the podcast for a few weeks. Seth just did a six month programming bootcamp for computer programming stuff and he is graduating – on this Thursday, actually – and we’re going to go for about three and a half/four weeks on the road, on the west side of the country, and go climbing. I may or may not do podcast episodes but I figure since I’ve been doing two a week for so long you probably have some to catch-up on.
Anyway, that’s that and I’ll get into this interview now. Enjoy Joe Kinder.
Neely Quinn: Welcome to the show, Joe. Thank you very much for being with me today.
Joe Kinder: No problem.
Neely Quinn: So, tell me about yourself for anybody who doesn’t know who you are.
Joe Kinder: Okay. My name is Joe Kinder. I am a professional rock climber, route developer, part-time movie maker. I live in California now and primarily partake in sport climbing. Maybe that can – how’s that? [laughs]
Neely Quinn: That’s a good start. And you’re actually from the East Coast, correct?
Joe Kinder: Correct. I’m from southern New Hampshire. I went to school in Portland, Maine, and like many hungry rock climbers I ventured away from home to kind of seek-out and make climbing my life. I guess I’ve been making climbing my life for over 20-some years now. It makes me feel a little old but, you know…
Neely Quinn: And how old are you?
Joe Kinder: I’m 36.
Neely Quinn: Okay, and so you started climbing when you were how old?
Joe Kinder: It kind of took over probably when I turned 17. I got really stoked.
Neely Quinn: How did you start climbing?
Joe Kinder: It was kind of funny. When we were younger – me and my sister – we would take family vacations to Colorado. They were primarily family reunions where we would get together with my grandparents and my cousins and all hang out and just do hikes and things like that. I was always really overtaken with the mountains and being in places like Colorado that gave you that sort of inspiration. The mountains in New Hampshire are a lot smaller. They’re more like massive hills and so going to the Rockies were just super-inspiring.
During those sort-of family reunions, my parents would offer me and my sister one cool activity to do, so my sister would always go whitewater rafting. I would always choose a climbing course. It was basically two times that we got to do this. I went climbing on this little guided course with a group of other people with – I think it was Colorado Mountain School? Out of Estes Park. They took us to a place, set-up a bunch of top ropes, taught us stuff. I didn’t really care about any of the anchors or anything of that bullshit – I was just really interested in, you know, the climbing part.
It overtook my interest pretty fast. When I was younger I was really into skateboarding and so I started climbing at these courses. It was basically just a day and then I would come home and just kind of jump back into the normal swing of things that my life was, like skateboarding, playing bass, you know – whatever. Snowboarding in the winters.
Over time, I was always sort of getting into trouble with the law, with people, in school. I was just having issues and I needed something to kind of sort out my, maybe my social group or whatever it was. I just needed something to give me a reason to orient things in more of a positive direction. I knew that climbing was there and I knew that climbing was something that I could maybe get into, but I didn’t know how to start it or where to go.
This was before climbing gyms, man. There were maybe a few gyms in the New England area. There was the Boston Rock Gym and, like, the Plymouth Rock Barn in northern New Hampshire. Just these small, little core climber spots and so in that essence, they weren’t just places you could go and hook-up with people and have a social group there. It was a lot more ‘inside.’
There was this one moment when my mom picked me up from soccer practice or something like that and we were driving home, and on the side of the road was this big boulder in Londonderry, New Hampshire. It’s called the Londonderry Boulder. I saw this dude or maybe a couple dudes climbing on it, like, bouldering. I knew what it was and I knew what was going on because I had looked at the magazines, I had read books. I just kind of had this subtle interest in climbing up to that point.
My mom was like, “You should go talk to that guy. You should go up there and say hello.” I was like, “Seriously, mom?” She pulls the car over and is like, “Go. Talk to him. Go say hello.” I was like, “Shit. Alright,” so I jump out, run up to the dude and just start, like, rapping with him and talking like I know what’s up and talking like I know, “Oh yeah – what’s up with this, man? Ya’ll climb like 5.13s?” I just started acting like I knew what I was talking about, right? For some reason, Brett Myers, who that person was – a local New Hampshire climber – kind of liked me. He was like, “You’re kind of cool, man. You ever meet Tim Kemple? You know who that guy is? You know who this guy is? You know who these guys are? These are people you should meet. I’m kind of friends with them – you should come hang out with us or climb with us one time.”
That was this huge, open window of opportunity for me right there. This guy liked me, he said, “Yo, let’s go climbing. I’ll introduce you to cool people.” Over time, I started to hang out with those guys. I got my license and I was able to drive and I was able to integrate into their little crew, and then I met Dave Graham and Luke Parody, who were kind of in the same upbringing as I was. We were kids in high school hungry for something else. We found climbing and were just obsessed together.
It was this cool way that I could accept my obsession that it grew in to be with these guys. We were all into talking about hard climbing, really stoked to become good climbers. We were impressed and inspired by guys like Chris Sharma, a lot of the French climbers at the time like Jibe Tribout, even like Ron Kauk and these 1990s hotshots like Fred Nicole, Marc Le Menestrel, and of course Tommy Caldwell. These were the dudes we would look at and try to climb like and talk about at the cliff.
Then we became fixtures at Rumney, right? That was kind of our spot where we could try hard climbing. All of us could have this place where we could go up and meet and, over time, we kind of put Rumney on the map for maybe the nation/maybe the US – not totally internationally but we created this new school/new modern style of a community in maybe even New England proper. I think that may be safe to say.
Neely Quinn: What was the difference? What did you guys create?
Joe Kinder: We were the younger kids that took – there was a big age gap in the climbers at the time. Most of the climbers that were, like, the staple dudes and – you have to understand, the climbing community in New England at that time was small. It was really small. It was maybe 50, 80, 100 people, you know? Consistently going to cliffs, consistently that we would see over and over. It was a smaller time for climbing. It was a lot different than it is now and what we brought was this youthful, sort of exuberance of, ‘We don’t have any preconceived notions. We don’t know any better. Our perspective’s super fresh and new and hard climbing is this to us. It’s not what it used to be to you,’ you know? We were training in the gym and – whatever, it wasn’t training – we were climbing in the gym and putting our psych to work and putting that into effect. Our love and our obsession for climbing and wanting to go places and wanting to be badass climbers was definitely something that we were driven towards.
We kind of had this, I don’t know, sort of this naivete in us that I think was fresh for the community at the time. Of course, Dave was the absolute strongest. He was the one who was definitely turning heads and making these hard routes and climbing the hard projects that nobody could do. Then Dave started to travel and then became sort of a hometown hero <unclear>. We all looked up to him. We learned a lot from him.
Luke Parody was the same. He was not very far behind Dave, and then there was me, who was kind of the one learning the most, just taking the most information and seeing what was possible. Up to that point I would always skateboard with kids that were better than me and I always thought that was important for your growth and what is possible, and how you can kind of rise to a certain level. To this day, I still feel the same. It’s really important to climb with people that are a lot stronger than you because you just automatically rise to the occasion and I get a lot of that from just going to Spain and having your complete levels just be challenged. What’s normal is a completely different normality in a place like Spain, in terms of levels.
Neely Quinn: Right. You can see what’s possible. So what would you say were some of your breakthrough moments? You were really one of the first sponsored athletes in climbing so how did you get there?
Joe Kinder: Well, I just kept climbing and stayed hungry and I just would just follow suit, the way Dave and Luke would, and Tim Kemple would. It was like, pick a hard route and go to work and enjoy the process because it’s awesome. It’s the way you’re going to climb your hardest. It’s the way you’re going to learn the most. It’s the way you’re going to become a better climber. It’s something I still do today. The same principles and fundamentals that I’ve learned when I was a little kid are the same ways I go about climbing hard routes now, which is: pick a hard route and stick with it and follow through.
The way I became a sponsored climber was from, I guess, the same way Dave and Luke were and anybody were. You just turned a few heads, you got a little bit of attention from your hard climbing or whatever was turning heads/whatever attention you were getting, and somebody saw that as marketable. A rep in the area kind of sponsored us with Five Ten shoes, Eric <unclear>, and that was the first sponsor that I had.
I got some clothing sponsors and it’s been an evolution since I was a younger kid, but the sponsorship part was always just this cool thing I could go to my friends at school and be like, “Yo, I got sponsored, man.” They’d see it and be like, “Damn. That’s so legit. God, you’re sponsored?” and all the girls would be like, “I heard you’re a sponsored, pro climber.” I’d be like, “Yeah. That’s right. I’m the shit. Look at me.” [laughs] Even though I’m just, like, total peanuts in the big scheme of things, but they didn’t know, you know?
It was cool for my mom and my dad to say. It kind of put you in this sort of status thing, you know? But at the end of the day, dude, I just wanted to go climbing and I just wanted to be stoked on climbing. The purity is just to be a good climber and to be stoked on climbing and do it because I love it.
Neely Quinn: And that evolved. It seems that you still carry that attitude to this day.
Joe Kinder: Yeah, to this day. Straight up.
Neely Quinn: You’re probably known more than anything for being the most psyched climber, ever.
Joe Kinder: People say that – I don’t know, man. Yeah, I’m psyched on climbing but I’m no more psyched than the next guy. It’s just maybe I’m more of a spaz about it, but dude, I’m not always psyched. Sometimes I just want to go to the mall or whatever. I just want to go chill out with my girl and my dog. I don’t want to go climbing, or just do something completely different.
It’s something that’s just become so much a part of my life now that I just kind of depend on it. I put all my eggs in that basket and some people call that ‘dangerous’ but I don’t, because climbing is so much more than just going to the cliff and trying hard shit. It’s, like, a world. It’s a life. It’s a community. It’s a subculture. It’s a way/a reason to live a certain way. That’s what it’s turned into.
Neely Quinn: And you said some people think that that’s silly to put all your eggs in one basket, and by that you mean like this is your profession and you’re depending on rock climbing for your means of income?
Joe Kinder: Correct. Yeah, in a way. It’s like, you know, I could do jack shit for two years and I’ll still make a living as a climber but you need to remain relevant. It’s a business and everybody has something to offer. Your sponsors can maintain what your exchange is but my climbing life is never really revolving around how hard I’m climbing, luckily. That’s a big amount of pressure for somebody and I don’t have that sort of thing.
My brand and what I offer a sponsor really has nothing to do with the difficulty but that, to me, that being said, the most important thing is to kind of keep the respect and remember the community. The core climbing people. The people. That’s what’s important to me. That’s where respect comes from. That’s where I think the most important part of any sort of professional level of a rock climber should always retain respect from, is the people. Once you lose that, I think you’re compromising a lot of your integrity, a lot of your belief, and in the world of rock climbing, that’s where I start to doubt someone’s intentions. To me, that’s really important. I’ll never really disregard the community and the respect from the community before a sponsor’s interests.
Neely Quinn: Has that ever been tested?
Joe Kinder: No, not with me, but with other people, yeah. I see it a lot, but not with me. [laughs] I mean, of course I had controversy and that was tested but the one thing that I learned from that controversy was that a lot more people believed in me than wanted to just burn me off. That showed me that I had proven myself, or people stood by me, or they do believe in who I am and what I do and how I live my life and what I offer the climbing world. That’s a big deal to me.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and you’ve made that abundantly clear in articles and interviews, how much it means to you to have the support of the community.
Joe Kinder: Yeah. It’s vital.
Neely Quinn: You talked about your brand, and it’s cool, because your brand as you, as a climber, has many facets it seems like. So, you’re a strong climber but you’re also a developer. Can we talk a little about developing and how you started doing that?
Joe Kinder: For sure. I love this topic. The way I started putting up routes, I think, came from a conversation. I was like – I don’t know, let’s say maybe seven, six years ago or something like that. I think somebody challenged in a conversation, like, “Hey man, when you going to start putting up routes, dude? When you going to stop being, like, such a taker?” I hated that. I was like, “Ah, dude. Ouch! I’m just out here trying to climb stuff.”
I was just repeating routes and maybe climbing an open, bolted project or something like that. I felt that, in a way. I kind of took that personally. I don’t even remember who it was, to be honest, but that, for whatever reason, stuck with me and I borrowed a drill at one point and bolted my first route. It was kind of like this random line. I just saw a line and was like, “Okay cool. I’ll bolt that. I think I can do that. I can put a bolt right there, I can put a bolt right there, and I can try to climb it.” [laughs]
Over time that really developed to be something that I enjoyed, and putting up routes has become a really important part of my life as a climber. It’s become this way I can kind of provide for what I love so much and what I am totally immersed in. I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. I’ve put up routes in so many different places now and there’s this story that’s being created from each of those routes. Like a tattoo. <unclear> You’re creating/you’re putting an imprint into the climbing life/the climbing world that’s going to stay there forever. That’s huge, man. Nobody can take that away, but with that comes a lot of responsibility.
There’s a lot of baggage with it that you really have to maintain because it’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s not something that I’m just going to go do and say it’s good and leave it. I have to think about everybody else that’s going to come for the generations of mankind or for the generations of however long climbing’s going to be climbing.
It gives me this reason to be creative in climbing. It gives me this mode of being a pioneer – someone who journeys into the uncharted territories to untouched pieces, and I really like that part. Being able to give that and believe in it has become something really addicting.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and I can imagine how you felt when you were first having that conversation with whoever it was, where he was like, “Why aren’t you giving back?” because most of us climbers do that. We sort of take for granted that these routes are here. Somebody put them up – who cares who? – you know? That’s just the way it is and I don’t have to do anything more than climb on them. I mean, how many people do you think should be developing? Should all of us be developing?
Joe Kinder: No. Definitely not. This is like a – you kind of take on the role. When you want to put up a route you’re kind of taking on this sort of, I like to call it a responsibility. Not everybody should be bolting. Definitely not. You know if you really want to put up a route. You know if something’s kind of speaking to you. You know if this pathway up the wall is just an amazing thing that you need to create and make a reality.
Not everybody should be bolting. It’s a very/it takes a lot of experience. It takes a lot of trial and error. You have to screw-up, and you have to screw-up, and you have to learn from screwing-up in probably a safe place. Usually, having a mentor/having a little bit of a buffer to learn is really important. It’s not like anybody can just take the drill and the hardware and go equip something perfectly for/in a good fashion. There’s a lot of variables to it [laughs] and so no, I don’t believe everybody should just pick up a drill and go put up routes. Not everybody. You should leave that to the people that really want to take on that role. I just happen to be one of those blue collar climber guys that likes to get dirty and go in and put in that crazy-ass work and leave that.
When I put up a route and I climb it or not climb it, and I step away and look at what I created and put up, what I left, that’s a really satisfying feeling. To know that people will come and touch that and feel that and have an experience with it. That is something that I think is just an awesome feeling, and that’s for someone with experience and that comes with a lot of time.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. It kinda scares me that, really, anybody can just take a drill and put up a ‘route,’ in air quotes, that is safe and it could be totally unsafe and potentially kill people.
Joe Kinder: Sure. For sure.
Neely Quinn: So you think the way around that is to find a mentor and what else?
Joe Kinder: Yep. One hundred percent. If you’re interested in bolting routes you should go with someone that’s patient, that can teach you, that can be your sort of guide and mentor, and do your research. Know the rules of where you’re climbing, know the rules of what area you’re in/what land you’re on. There’s a lot of things that we have in the US that dictate a lot of moves that you’re allowed to make and playing by the rules is the important way to do it. Trust me. I’ve learned and you want to do things the right way, so go with someone who knows. That’s it, you know? Then you will probably put up an awesome route and you’ll learn from that.
I’ve been bolting for so many years and now I’m at the point where I look at everybody’s craft. I look at what everybody does when they bolt. When I go to routes in Spain I look at how they develop crags. I look at how they reinforce a hold, how they drill a bolt, what kind of hardware they use. It’s all these things I look at and it becomes this sort of art for artists, you know? It’s this sort of construction for construction workers. It’s this kind of educated, sort of realm that you kind of appreciate and look at. You look at other people’s craft and that comes with a lot of years. The best way to get started with doing something like this is to just learn. Ask a lot of questions and really take care of it because this stuff is a lot bigger than just going to climb something.
I don’t want to scare anybody at all. Bolt. Add. Please add to the world of climbing because it’s so important, just do it the right way, you know? Take care with it.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, please. Everybody.
Joe Kinder: Everybody.
Neely Quinn: So I saw that Lindsey, your girlfriend, has started bolting.
Joe Kinder: Yeah. I got Lindsey bolting. It’s awesome.
Neely Quinn: That’s so cool.
Joe Kinder: Yeah. She’s been really stoked to try it and kind of learn. She sees me. We go to cliffs that I’ve developed and I’m tinkering around I’m putting new bolts in and changing them around, just kind of perfecting the pathway, and so she kind of comes from an artistic background as well. It’s fun to kind of do this stuff and just, like, author a little pathway of climbing. She is now/she kinda keeps talking about it. She got the bug I think [laughs] but luckily she’s got me to learn from and I think I could really kind of guide or mentor somebody really well. Hopefully I’m patient enough and chill about it, not like, “No! No! No! Don’t put that bolt there!”
She’s stoked. She’s already got plans for the fall for a few routes on the <unclear> cliffs that we’re going to. It’s cool. It’s super cute. I’m glad she’s stoked on it. Something to share.
Neely Quinn: It’s cool to see a woman doing that, too. There aren’t many women developers.
Joe Kinder: Yeah. I don’t really know what to say about that. It’s one of those things. It’s hard work and not everybody likes to do hard work, guy or girl, old or young. Just some people get it and they want to do it and I get it why people don’t, because it can totally suck. It takes away from your climbing. You’re trashed at the end of the day. I get more tired bolting routes than I do climbing, trust me.
Neely Quinn: It’s an interesting topic. I’m sure we could talk about that for a while, why women haven’t been doing it as much, but I actually want to talk about your training now, so [laughs] I worked with you when you were doing the BD Boot Camp and you were training. I want to talk to you about what that experience was like for you and what it did for your climbing.
Joe Kinder: Yeah, I mean the training was my first time doing that, last summer. The BD Boot Camp thing was a prepared, sort of, mission, a prepared plan. We had three weeks on – we basically had three-week sessions throughout the summer. I didn’t really know if it was going to work for me. I just figured why not? It’s summertime and it sucks to climb in the summer. Why not hang out with these two dudes and see what we can do?
My biggest gains from climbing kind of occurred from that stint of training over the summer, so I was completely blown away at how well it worked. It was a pretty eye-opening experience. I had never trained before. I had never gone into the gym and had a plan. I didn’t know how to. I had always kind of dissed it, if anything. I always kind of thought it was a waste of time. I’d see kids always in the gym and I’d be like, “Man, that’s just such a bummer! Go climbing, man! Go pick a hard route and do it. You don’t need to go train,” but honestly, man, training will boost your strength and allow you to arrive at hard routes and allow you to do them a lot quicker than you would be doing if you just went to that hard route and just trained on the hard route by trying it.
That was always my mode of trying before. I’d pick a hard route that I was inspired by and stoked to climb, and I would just climb on it and decrease the hangs and make it, like, this process and then usually, eventually climb it. That takes a long time, man, in some cases.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it can.
Joe Kinder: Especially trying to reach your maximum level and the level beyond what you’ve done in the past. For me, personally, I have these certain projects that I revisit throughout the years and I’ve arrived at them so many years without adequate fitness, strength, whatever and training has been this sort of key to arrive to these really next-level projects for me. Maybe I forsee doing them.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so tell me a little bit about the details of the training sessions. Who were you doing it with? Who was training you? What were you guys doing?
Joe Kinder: So, it was me, Sam Elias, and Dan Mirsky who were being trained by Justen Sjong and Kris Peters. Justin is/he calls himself, or whatever – people call him “The Climbing Sensei.” He’s more of this really intuitive, in a way this head doctor of a climber. Very intune to the technical part, the breathing part, the body-oriented sensation stuff, and his style was one style that I learned a lot from. What he kind of brought to the table, I really connected with because there are certain paces and certain rhythms and certain ways to decrease – to increase focus, to decrease distraction – and these things I really took to.
Kris Peters, he is more of the fitness trainer. He is the guy who will have a solid exercise plan, put you on this crazy system of exercises, and he’s really motivating and he puts you through hell but it’s kind of this hell of enjoyment. [laughs] You just get beat up and worked by Kris Peters, whereas Justen would be more like, “Okay, here is an exercise. You’re going to try this route and you’re going to stop in this really awkward position. You’re going to breathe through it and you’re going to keep climbing.” Something as simple as that doesn’t sound like it’s going to be the most fun or the most challenging but trust me – this stuff works immensely.
The stuff with Kris was more, you know, just fitness that would break you down. Just the kind of stuff that none of us could do on our own, like, alone. You really needed a crew, this group energy, and you needed the motivation in that way. That was what kind of gave us strength and the drive to do this whole thing last summer.
What I’ve taken from that is: okay – these exercises work for me. I really connected with these components of our last summer’s training and I’m going to apply these to my own private exercises that I do alone. I’ve been exercising on them. I’ve tried other people’s programs. I’ve tried Patxi Usobiaga’s program. I’ve gone back to Kris Peters for exercises. Dan Mirsky helps me a lot with training programs.
It’s like, to start a training program or to start or educate, you really need to learn how to train. That, I think, comes from learning from somebody. I don’t think – maybe it’s easy for some people, but not for me. I had to really learn how to do it. I’d arrive to some of the sessions without having eaten anything and just screw myself. Or I’d arrive – I remember when we first started training, I went five days on. I was like, “I’m not tired! You guys are weak! I’m going to keep going another day. I’m going to keep going through the weekend too, dudes. You guys have got to try to keep up!” I’m the older one, too, man. I’m the one going for it and I kind of screwed my shoulder up at one point [laughs] so it was just learning the hard way, like always, dude. It’s like the story of my life, learning the hard way and screwing up bad [laughs] and paying for it in the lamest way.
Neely Quinn: You’re passionate. What can you say?
Joe Kinder: Yeah, I guess, man. Good or bad thing, I don’t know. It’s definitely changed my plans throughout the year. It’s changed my approach to going climbing into kind of prioritizing these trips or these hard routes that I want to do. I’ll take six weeks before a hard route or before the season comes or the trip comes. I’ll take just six weeks usually and just go for it. I’ll do hangboards, campusing, crazy climbing route intervals, and I’ll feel these gains and that stuff’s really satisfying, you know? Feeling gains with exercises and then you feel yourself getting stronger. Then, taking that to the rock has been fairly successful.
Neely Quinn: So what happened? You did the three-week session and then what was the schedule like? Not the daily schedule. You did three weeks and then how much time off?
Joe Kinder: We did three weeks and then we’d have two weeks off, and we did that three times.
Neely Quinn: And then, when did you see the gains outside?
Joe Kinder: I saw the gains outside pretty much immediately. After the summer we went to climb in the Basque country in Spain and that was this trip to a new area. All I wanted to do was go climb. I didn’t really want to project hard things. I just really wanted to climb, climb, climb and what I noticed is that I was doing harder routes, way quicker. I was able to rest less. I was able to just go for it, man. I was doing 8c+ in like four tries or something like that, whereas normally an 8c+ would take me a minimum of four days of effort. 8c+ is pretty hard for me. It takes a lot of energy and effort, and I was just in this level up/this mode of level up, so I was like, “Dude. Time to seize the day. Let’s have some fun.” [laughs]
I didn’t really try anything super, super hard but I just did a lot of stuff. I climbed a lot of hard routes really quickly.
Neely Quinn: You did ten, .14bs or harder in that…
Joe Kinder: Yeah, something like that.
Neely Quinn: In like a couple weeks or something?
Joe Kinder: No, it was over two months.
Neely Quinn: Oh, two months.
Joe Kinder: Yeah. We were climbing at one cliff for about a month and then we changed to another cliff for about another month.
Neely Quinn: And how long do you think that would have taken you before?
Joe Kinder: A lot longer. I would have done, like, probably a third of what I did. [laughs] It was pretty satisfying, man, you know? Just in terms of climbing enjoyment, just clipping chains is so awesome and when you can do it with a little less effort or time investment, you’re just like, “Damn! This training stuff kind of worked. Alright, I’m sold!”
Neely Quinn: Okay, so now what are you doing? I mean, what kinds of training do you do on your own?
Joe Kinder: Usually, I kind of – it’s still learning. I’m still learning a lot and I am building a Moon Board next month, which is going to be really cool. I’m really excited about that, and what that’s going to be is sort of – well, what the Moon Board is, I’m sure everybody knows what the Moon Board is but I’ll just go ahead and say what it is. It’s this sort of universal apparatus for climbing, right? It’s a system of holds set to a certain degree, a certain angle, and everybody has the same one whether you’re in Europe or US. You have the same platform so we can all session on the same boulder problems wherever you are.
That’s cool. I love the concept, but what’s really cool is I love the style. It’s fingery but comfortable fingery, and really powerful and explosive climbing moves. That, to me, transfers over to a lot of the climbing that I enjoy doing really well. I’m always in need of finger strength so I mess with the hangboard, I focus a lot on strength-oriented exercises like weighted pull-ups, deadhangs, things like one-arm pulls to really get my upper body in a really strong fashion. Then, I notice that doing a lot of route intervals, just to get all around climbing fitness up, goes a long way with me.
Neely Quinn: What do you mean?
Joe Kinder: I focus a lot on those. Route intervals would be: you do, for instance, I have looked at the ‘Rock Climber’s Training Manual’ from the Anderson brothers. I read that book and it got me really stoked. It’s super thorough and super scientific, to the point where these guys have done so much research and have such an understanding of training that it’s kind of disgusting, but it’s inspiring at the same time. I’ve really taken a lot from that book.
The interval is that you climb a route. Say it takes you two minutes, then you come to the ground and you rest one minute. You rest one minute and then you do it again and then you rest one minute, so basically you do/you rest – I don’t know what the exact ratio is, but you rest half the time it takes you to climb the route, right? Then, you vary it up. You do many routes and in the end, you just decrease the time, and then you get blown, man. It’s awesome. That really helps.
It can be kind of sucky and boring or uncomfortable, but over time when you start to see the gains and you start to feel more endurance and more – less, like, energy output? You can feel it working and that’s when training becomes cool. You’re like, “Okay. I’m feeling it working.” Taking that to the rock is really fundamental and it’s not super challenging for anybody. It’s basically climbing fitness. You take that to the rock and it always transfers over.
Neely Quinn: So what are your goals now? What are your goals for 2016?
Joe Kinder: To climb – I have about five projects that I’m really eager to return to. I just left Rifle where I was super close on a 9a called Planet Garbage. I’ll return to that promptly in September, after a training cycle, and hopefully just smash it with a quickness. I really hope so.
Then, I bolted a new route called Fat Camp and it’s in the same zone. I believe that’s probably a 9a+ and probably will go to work on that and try to climb that in the same time stint.
Neely Quinn: Nice.
Joe Kinder: Yep. And then October I have one really special project. It’s called Bone Tomahawk and it’s in southern Utah. It’s in a perfect white cave in the middle of nowhere, really where no one knows where it is, and I kind of like that, in a way. This is a really special project that I’ve had for, maybe, six years. Just last season I had a consistent time frame of going to try this thing because it’s a little bit of a hike and it’s really tough to get people to go out there. Lindsey was super psyched to go out with me and I started to make really good, solid gains on this route. I think for me, it’s a next-level route and probably 9a+, so 5.15a. I’ll return to that in October. I have October just basically designated for that route so hopefully the training beforehand and the hard sends beforehand, I’m hoping, will kind of align proper fitness, mentality, and hopefully I can send it.
Neely Quinn: Fat Camp, September. Bone Tomahawk, October.
Joe Kinder: Correct.
Neely Quinn: Nice. 9a+ isn’t something that you’ve done before, right?
Joe Kinder: No, I haven’t. I haven’t. I’ve gotten close but no dice yet. It’s not like I’m just after this grade. I’m after this next level. That next level is very personal. That’s a very personal thing and I have maybe four projects that represent that next level to me and these are projects that I have revisited throughout the years, and what training will help me try to align for completing these routes. Hopefully.
Neely Quinn: Do you think that you will ever ultimately want to climb something like Jumbo Love or .15b? Is that on the tick list?
Joe Kinder: For sure, man. Jumbo Love is just, like, heinous. Jumbo Love is cool. It’s brilliant and I, honestly, am a little bit discouraged by the whole approach to get to that thing. It takes a major effort, man. It’s a big effort just in itself to get up there and have it be a consistent, sort of, endeavor. That kind of discourages me. I have projects, personal projects, that I think are just as cool, you know? There are routes in Spain that I visit frequently that are just as cool that I prefer going to try.
This coming, I think December, I’m going to try Chilam Balam, the massive roof. That’s 9a+/9b. It’s weird. Certain styles suit certain people differently, and when you’re choosing your next level and you’re really, really challenged in all of your climbing facets, you’ve really got to choose the thing that fits you most. I believe that. Otherwise, you’re just going to create this big, prolonged headache of an effort. Chilam Balam, to me, it suits me really well. I did the first part, tried the middle part, tried the top, and it’s all awesome to me and I can do it. I know I can do it.
That’s where grades become really weird. It’s just like, whatever fits me better than some little, techy, face climb. Little mini-hold climbing kind of thing.
Neely Quinn: Dawn Wall.
Joe Kinder: Yeah, Dawn Wall? No thanks. [laughs]
Neely Quinn: Okay, so we don’t have that much time left and I really want to talk to you about your food and alcohol, I actually want to ask about, too. I’ve had a bunch of people say, “Why don’t you ask any of your interviewees about how much they drink and how much that affects their climbing?”
First, let’s start with your food. We worked together so of course I’m interested in how you feel nutrition affects your climbing now.
Joe Kinder: I believe that – okay, so there are two things I would look at in terms of, I guess, nutritional approaches. So like, when I’m doing a training program, you’re activated for these really intense amounts of time. Hours on end. That, to me, has turned into the point where it takes a lot of attention to eat right, to keep fueled, to keep hydrated, to really consistently feed yourself what you need to keep going, right? That has turned into this point that I’ve put a lot of concern into it.
When I’m going to the cliff, it’s still what it used to be like for old Joe. I’ll eat a little bit in the morning. My normal, daily food intake for the climbing day. I sampled with changing this, but my normal way is: I like a lot of coffee in the morning. I’m like a four-shot latte guy. When I’m home or near a coffee joint I get a large, four-shot latte. Boom. I’m a happy dude. Then, I eat a little bit. Nothing like/I don’t do a big breakfast. I just can’t. It makes me feel sick and just gross, so I eat something small like maybe a rice cake with peanut butter, banana, and honey, like that. That seems to do the trick until maybe four hours, then I’ll just kind of eat little bits throughout the day, nothing crazy/nothing big, and then usually just, like, a grande dinner.
In terms of alcohol, I have eliminated a lot in my weekly/monthly/daily routine. It’s something that – I love to drink, man. I love booze. I love beer. I love wine and whiskey. I love it. That’s great, it’s fun times, but in terms of feeling and recovery and just simple health-oriented kind of sensations, I find that drinking less is better for me. There’s a time and a place. When I’m in a training mode, I drink a lot less. When I’m at the cliff and it’s, like, I’m sending and I’m having success and I’m really relaxed, I’ll drink more. It’s kind of/you kind of judge it based on either experience or maybe you’re trying something or, you know, you already know. [laughs]
I don’t know if that’s super vague, but my whole diet is vague. Shit, I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a program. When I train I eat a lot more and I get bigger. My whole body gets bigger. It’s crazy. Then, when I’m at the cliff I just turn flacko and all of a sudden I’m eating a lot less but still have enough energy. I try to eat a lot of protein, I eat a lot less sugar and bullshit food. Bullshit food including just junk, like I don’t eat a lot of sugar and candy and cookies and stuff like that. I think eliminating sugar and eliminating a lot of alcohol helps me a lot with staying fit, staying good feeling, and these are things I’ve probably learned in the last year, to be honest. I guess I’m still figuring it out. I don’t have it dialed, by any means. Trust me.
Neely Quinn: Are there any foods that you avoid?
Joe Kinder: No. Yes. I don’t mess with Hostess cupcakes and gas station food.
Neely Quinn: Right, like the candy and…
Joe Kinder: No slurpees and shit like that.
Neely Quinn: But you’re an omnivore. You can eat every kind of food.
Joe Kinder: Totally, totally.
Neely Quinn: Any last words on, like, what works and what doesn’t for you for diet? What would be your ‘grande dinner,’ just out of curiosity?
Joe Kinder: Oh! Okay. I love Mexican food. I like enchiladas, I like carnitas, I like – if you were going to talk about some of the places I love, there’s Picante in Berkeley, California. There’s Mua in Oakland, California. There’s places that I’m obsessed with. I like good barbeque. I’ve been eating a lot of rice lately. I don’t know why. My girlfriend loves it. I like eggs. Dude, I love food, man.
The thing is, people need to experiment with this. If you notice problems, if you notice things that aren’t working for you, you really need to kind of take the time and maybe eliminate or do a little education. Most of my nutritional education has come from me just asking friends, or me just observing a conversation. It’s not something I’ve really done my research on. I haven’t really read a lot of articles or read a lot of books or educated on personally, but I ask questions and a lot of people have friends that are a lot more attuned to diet than maybe they are themselves.
Neely Quinn: One last question about that, speaking of that, because I know when you were training with Dan and Sam, they were really into having protein drinks and stuff while they were training. Is that something that ended up working for you?
Joe Kinder: It is something I’ve experimented with and I haven’t really noticed much, but the one thing that I do notice – and this is a weird thing, actually – Gnarly nutrition, they make this powder called BCAAs and something something amino acids. I don’t even know what it means but Dan suggested, “Yo, try this. It’s the jam. You might really benefit from it,” so they – whatever, they sent me a box and the box came with this tub of the BCAA powder. Just to kind of spruce up my water I’ll add a couple scoops because it tastes good, right? And drinking it while I was training I definitely noticed that my muscles were recovering, my muscles were relaxing, my muscles were all just feeling a little more supple and less, like, raw throughout the training sessions, and then the next day I would be less sore.
This is something that – yeah, that’s a good question. This is something that I definitely noticed but with the protein powder and the protein shakes, I haven’t maybe experimented extensively so I haven’t/I don’t have much of an opinion on it. The BCAA powder and the hydration powder I would mix and use together, and those I definitely noticed things in terms of energy and my muscles feeling like they were just working better throughout these hardcore sessions.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s kind of what they’re supposed to do so it’s good to know it’s working.
Joe Kinder: Yeah, it was kind of rad. I was like, “Oh my god, I’m noticing.” It maybe took a week to kick in but I just kept it consistent, just because I liked the taste, really. That was my initial reason to drink the stuff. I was like, “Oh, that’s the powder,” but yeah, that was something I’ve continued to use to this day.
Neely Quinn: Nice. Alright. Well, I think that’s our time so any last words for people about climbing, training, anything?
Joe Kinder: Geez. You know, no. Just make sure you’re having a good time. I think that’s the most important thing with climbing whatever age you are, whatever style you do, is just to kind of remember that it’s fun and it’s the coolest thing in the world and to enjoy it for that. It’s not always about being the best, being this or being whatever status, blah blah blah, just remember that it’s the coolest thing and have fun. [laughs] That’s something that’s always important to tell yourself.
Neely Quinn: Always. And last thing, do you want to give a shout out to your sponsors?
Joe Kinder: Sure. Black Diamond, Sterling, La Sportiva, Friction Labs, everybody – Smith. I’ve got the best sponsors on the planet, man. I really do. They have provided me the way of life I live and thanks, guys. Love you.
Neely Quinn: Alright, well thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.
Joe Kinder: Yeah, Neely, absolutely. Thanks a lot.
Neely Quinn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Joe Kinder. If you want to hear more from him you can find him on Instagram @joekinder and on Twitter and Facebook at – I think he’s Joe Kind Kid or Joe Kinder.
Coming up on the podcast I have, like I said, Sam Elias and Dan Mirsky, if we can get our schedules straight. I’m also going to do a second follow-up with Jonathan Siegrist, after his sending spree in Europe this summer. He’s actually coming home so I’m going to be able to see him and do a live interview with him this week, I think.
Other than that, if you need any help with your training, other than what these podcasts and what our blog posts and our training videos can give you, we have training programs for you. Whenever you purchase a training program from us it helps me continue to do this podcast. They are basically our biggest sponsor of this podcast, so we try to make them as effective and efficient as possible so that people with busy schedules and who have other interests in life besides climbing can follow our programs.
If you want to train route climbing and try to be strong like Joe Kinder, we have our route training program. It’s three days a week. It’s a subscription program so you get three unique workouts every week and we focus on power endurance and finger strength and endurance, and we have projecting cycles. You go through six-week cycles. We always give you a week of rest between cycles and you’re always kind of maintaining what you gained in the last cycle while gaining something else from the new cycle.
It’s about $15 a month and you can cancel it anytime. You get a two-week free trial. You can find those at www.trainingbeta.com and at the top there’s a ‘Training Programs’ tab, and you can click that and find all of our programs there.
Thank you very much for listening. Thanks for your support, and I will talk to you next week. If not next week, in a few weeks, so happy training, happy climbing. Talk to you soon.