Rock Spot in South Boston feature

rockspot.jpg Read the article here: http://rockspotclimbing.tumblr.com/post/149802322799/climbers-of-rock-spot-helen-lin

Climbers of Rock Spot: Helen Lin

Article and photos by Kim Dallas

If you’ve ever been to the South Boston gym, chances are you’ve met Helen. She started climbing less than a year ago and is now climbing V6. We caught up with Helen (at the gym of course) to learn how she got into climbing, why she loves it so much, and where you can find her when she’s not at the climbing gym (hint: it involves the beach, but not in a way you’d expect…).

Why did you decide to check out Rock Spot for the first time? What made you keep coming back?

Believe it or not, it was because of an interactive challenge called Boda Borg in Malden that made me get into rock climbing. They have a series of physical and mental challenges and one of the rooms was rock climbing.  I really enjoyed it so I thought, maybe I should actually try rock climbing. Then I googled and found that Rock Spot in South Boston is close to me so the rest is history!

You went from climbing 5.5 on an autobelay to climbing V6 pretty quickly! What do you think helped you progress so quickly?

When I love something, I really love it. I never like anything in a moderate sane amount- so if I find a new hobby, I go at it 6000% percent, and in this case that means I spend about 20 hours at the gym a week. People always comment on how good I am for a short amount of time, but I tell them, it’s really just because I spend so much time at the gym and they don’t see all those hours. One time I projected one single problem for 12 hours.  But I SENT IT!

20 hours a week at the gym!? You’re making the rest of us look bad! So what does a typical climbing session look like?

A typical climbing session for me is about 4-5 hours. Sometimes I’ll go for an 8 hour session and bring food to the gym. There’s a lot of resting though, since you can’t climb hard for that duration. I would say my endurance is good, but my power and dynamic moves are bad probably due to my lack of resting and my long sessions. I try to switch it up – some days I project and some days I’ll work on things I am bad at like overhangs. I’ll also try and do ab work, lock offs, squats, planks, etc at the end of each session.

What is your biggest climbing goal for this fall/winter?

A V7 inside would be nice, but a V4 outside would be even cooler!

We hear you can swim for a REALLY long time. Can you tell us a little bit about your history with swimming? Does it help with your climbing at all?

I’m a marathon swimmer, which means I swim for long distances in the ocean. My longest swim was last September, when I was the first and only person so far to swim from Nantasket to Nahant and back again, a roundtrip of 18 miles which took 11.5 hours. In marathon swimming, you don’t stop to rest – you have your nutrition while treading water and you just keep swimming until you are done. This means that it’s pretty easy for me to do long climbing sessions with lots of rest since I am use to swimming for hours with no rest – my body seems to be able to take a lot of physical (yet fun) misery. It takes a lot for my body to get tired. And of course, both sports are using upper body so that aspect definitely translated from swimming to climbing.

So just to clarify: you once spent 11.5 hours in the open water…that’s longer than my 8 hour work day plus a climbing session! I’m tired just thinking about it. What would you say is your greatest climbing strength? How about your weakness?

I’m good at crimps and slabs. I am terrible at dynamic moves – jumping to a hold I am absolutely abysmal.

Ditto, I think I have commitment issues. Who inspires you, in climbing or in life in general?

All the climbers at the gym inspire me because everyone is so different in their style, strengths and weaknesses. There’s so much to learn from everyone, whether they just started or have been doing it for years. You learn so much from asking questions and getting different beta.

What’s your favorite style of climbing?

Bouldering definitely! I like sports that have minimal gear (like swimming) and that you can do on your own without relying on someone. I love slabs but I do like the challenge of new climbs that are not my style and trying to learn from it.

What’s been your favorite climb you’ve ever done?

A V6 yellow slab set by Keith that was up before the most recent reset. It was so satisfying to send it because it took me a couple weeks to get it.  

What’s the best thing about being a member at Rock Spot?

Rock Spot is the greatest place on Earth! I think we are the friendliest gym. I’ve made so many new friends this year. We all started climbing at Rock Spot as strangers and now we even have social activities like Monday night wings and climbing outside on the weekends. Everyone is so open, friendly and supportive with each other here. I think it’s a great place to meet new people. I also met my boyfriend here, so I think it’s a great place for those single ladies to meet all the ripped men.

Thanks to Helen for fitting us into her busy schedule! 

 

.

Why did you decide to check out Rock Spot for the first time? What made you keep coming back?

Believe it or not, it was because of an interactive challenge called Boda Borg in Malden that made me get into rock climbing. They have a series of physical and mental challenges and one of the rooms was rock climbing.  I really enjoyed it so I thought, maybe I should actually try rock climbing. Then I googled and found that Rock Spot in South Boston is close to me so the rest is history!

You went from climbing 5.5 on an autobelay to climbing V6 pretty quickly! What do you think helped you progress so quickly?

When I love something, I really love it. I never like anything in a moderate sane amount- so if I find a new hobby, I go at it 6000% percent, and in this case that means I spend about 20 hours at the gym a week. People always comment on how good I am for a short amount of time, but I tell them, it’s really just because I spend so much time at the gym and they don’t see all those hours. One time I projected one single problem for 12 hours.  But I SENT IT!

20 hours a week at the gym!? You’re making the rest of us look bad! So what does a typical climbing session look like?

A typical climbing session for me is about 4-5 hours. Sometimes I’ll go for an 8 hour session and bring food to the gym. There’s a lot of resting though, since you can’t climb hard for that duration. I would say my endurance is good, but my power and dynamic moves are bad probably due to my lack of resting and my long sessions. I try to switch it up – some days I project and some days I’ll work on things I am bad at like overhangs. I’ll also try and do ab work, lock offs, squats, planks, etc at the end of each session.

What is your biggest climbing goal for this fall/winter?

A V7 inside would be nice, but a V4 outside would be even cooler!

We hear you can swim for a REALLY long time. Can you tell us a little bit about your history with swimming? Does it help with your climbing at all?

I’m a marathon swimmer, which means I swim for long distances in the ocean. My longest swim was last September, when I was the first and only person so far to swim from Nantasket to Nahant and back again, a roundtrip of 18 miles which took 11.5 hours. In marathon swimming, you don’t stop to rest – you have your nutrition while treading water and you just keep swimming until you are done. This means that it’s pretty easy for me to do long climbing sessions with lots of rest since I am use to swimming for hours with no rest – my body seems to be able to take a lot of physical (yet fun) misery. It takes a lot for my body to get tired. And of course, both sports are using upper body so that aspect definitely translated from swimming to climbing.

So just to clarify: you once spent 11.5 hours in the open water…that’s longer than my 8 hour work day plus a climbing session! I’m tired just thinking about it. What would you say is your greatest climbing strength? How about your weakness?

I’m good at crimps and slabs. I am terrible at dynamic moves – jumping to a hold I am absolutely abysmal.

Ditto, I think I have commitment issues. Who inspires you, in climbing or in life in general?

All the climbers at the gym inspire me because everyone is so different in their style, strengths and weaknesses. There’s so much to learn from everyone, whether they just started or have been doing it for years. You learn so much from asking questions and getting different beta.

What’s your favorite style of climbing?

Bouldering definitely! I like sports that have minimal gear (like swimming) and that you can do on your own without relying on someone. I love slabs but I do like the challenge of new climbs that are not my style and trying to learn from it.

What’s been your favorite climb you’ve ever done?

A V6 yellow slab set by Keith that was up before the most recent reset. It was so satisfying to send it because it took me a couple weeks to get it.  

What’s the best thing about being a member at Rock Spot?

Rock Spot is the greatest place on Earth! I think we are the friendliest gym. I’ve made so many new friends this year. We all started climbing at Rock Spot as strangers and now we even have social activities like Monday night wings and climbing outside on the weekends. Everyone is so open, friendly and supportive with each other here. I think it’s a great place to meet new people. I also met my boyfriend here, so I think it’s a great place for those single ladies to meet all the ripped men.

Thanks to Helen for fitting us into her busy schedule! 

 

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