Joe Kinder: Bolting for the Next Generation

posted by dpm on 03/19/2010

Joe Kinder: Bolting for the Next Generation

interview by Anthony Lapomardo

Joe Kinder has gone from simply repeating hard lines to taken the next logical step, bolting them. He is proving what can be done with a lot of psyche, imagination, drill bits, hangers, and extra batteries.
 
When most climbers begin their career they are focused on one thing and one thing only, ticking the grade. But, sometimes after they spend their “youth” traveling the world repeating the top climbs  they grow up, and by grow up and look to make their own mark on the world by establishing new hard lines. Many people fail to realize the work that goes into establishing a new line. Lichen, dirt, abandoned nests, and bee hives sometimes obstruct the path. It takes a lot of grit to scout, clean, and bolt your very own creation. Joe Kinder has recently got the bolting bug and has been pouring his energy into bolting almost as much as climbing. We caught up with Joe on one of his rest days to ask him about his evolution.
 
 
 
DPM: So you have come a long way from repeating lines to establishing your own lines? Do you feel you have evolved as a climber? How have you grown in the process?  Is bolting your next step in growth?
 
Joe: I feel like I have grown as a climber for sure, I consider it maturing in a way... even though that sounds goofy.  I think it's important to seek out other endeavors that involve my passion of climbing.  Putting up new routes has come from a necessity around here.  I have climbed most lines in the area and need more.  
 
It all started from dabbling with extensions or link-ups.  Ya know? I would get a few bolts in and feel really good about the new terrain to climb.  But, here in Southern Utah there is SO much to do.  I lose sleep over how many routes I want to bolt.  No joke.  I lay in bed with hands sweating, thinking about that line I need to bolt next and when I can do it.  There is just NOT enough time.  Believe me... I climb full-time, have no other job and cannot complete all the work, as well as climb.  It’s like this HUGE balance to manage.  But I think I'm doing ok.
 
DPM: The old classic lines you have repeated (that were not bolted by you) are they worth as much as something you cleaned, equipped, and sent?  Where does the route value lie now?
 
Joe: I would say the routes I have repeated or climbed first, that were equipped by another person are meaningful in that I respect the work put in.  I used to not think about this sort of thing, but now when I climb an established line I look at it differently.  Like, why they decided to put the line where they did, what kind of bolt they used, or what glue was used to reinforce that hold.   
But there really is a special feeling about pioneering a route and putting LOTS of work into it.  For a route to be climbed in the USA there is likely a LOT of work in terms of cleaning involved.  The Red River Gorge is the ONLY place where I put the bolts in and chalked the holds.  No cleaning!  Around here there is choss to bang off and loose holds to keep on the wall.  This is just part of the practice.  I wish it were like the RRG in every place but it just isn't the reality.
 
 
DPM: You spent some time with Dani and Chris in Spain.  Both are bolting aficionados, did they have any effect on your bolting frenzy?
 
Joe: Completely... to see those guys just bolt lines like it’s a normal and casual endeavor was huge to me.  It's just a shame there aren't many elite climbers putting up lines.  I love repeating routes as well... always have-always will, but if more elite climbers would put in some work, the USA's sport climbing could grow and be as good as anyplace.  

DPM: In a snap shot of a single route, what is the process and how long does it take you to clean and equip a line?  What is the equipment that you have to haul into the crag in order to bolt a line?
 
Joe: Drill, batteries, bolts and hangers, drill bits, big comfy harness, chalk, hammer, wrench, jumar and aider, chest harness, goggles, removable bolts, cams, hooks, brushes, sika, water, ropes, slings, carabiners, quickdraws, and a boom box if it fits.  
 
The process for me is like this.  Get the bolts in, clean it, try the line, move some bolts and clean some more, then send it.... So satisfying and WAY more work than it sounds.  I have spent 4 days cleaning one route and moving bolts.  It depends on the stone and depends on the way the moves/holds go.  
 
DPM: Where does the psyche from bolting and climbing cross over, they seem to be two different animals?
 
Joe: Well... sort of different animals.  My psyche just comes from wanting more to climb and wanting to expand rock climbing for now and the future.  When I bolt I get REALLY psyched to climb and when I climb I see lines to equip and then get REALLY psyched to bolt them.  It's never-ending man... I'm TOTALLY obsessed.
 
DPM: Bolting is not easy. Does the day to day of bolting wear on your body as much as climbing, and do you need to recover from the labor to climb your route?
 
Joe: Yes... a bolting day is more tiring than a climbing day.  I use it as my cross-training now.  It uses all of the opposing muscles like pushing and pressing rather than pulling all of the time.  And it’s a TOTAL core work-out!  It's SO laborious that I need a rest day FOR SURE after bolting.  It is really not for everyone, but the product in the end is SO bad-ass and it lasts forever.
 
DPM: Bolting is not cheap, it takes some serious cash to equip these routes does that factor into your line choice and are you getting some help from vendors to overcome some of the financial burden to further the sport?
 
Joe: I pay for everything in terms of hardware and other necessities.  I have spent a good chunk of dough on what I have gotten up so far.  It's just part of it... no big deal.
 
DPM: Now after you have seen the effort it  takes to equip a line, how do you feel about the unspoken rule of given the bolting party first crack at the FA? Is there a time limit on projecting a line you bolted?
 
Joe: Well... I have always respected someone in "the mode" on their project.  If they are involved and dedicated then I would not interfere.  It is about respect.  When there is an unclimbed line and no one is currently trying it, then I say then by all means climb it.  I see no reason being selfish in this era of climbing. I cannot understand how someone who puts up a line would never want to share it with someone else.   I see climbing as very "conversational" and the experiences of climbers and climbing is primarily shared with others by talking about it.  You can video, take photos, and try to capture the experience, but it really comes down to expressing ourselves through words.  I like the idea of someone climbing my route, then sitting down so we can talk about it together.  It's very similar to creating a piece of art.  It is there for the enjoyment, the experience and the conversation.
 
 
DPM: You are giving back in a big way man, equipping lines for future generations to enjoy...how would you feel if 20 years from now a climber gets an FA and as they give the run down in their interview to a climbing rag they say, " it was an undone line, bolted by Joe Kinder some odd years back." Has that thought crossed your mind?
 
Joe: I would be sincerely honored and proud of the climber for appreciating the work put in.  
 
DPM: Sorry one more man, most people bolt from the top down, what do you think about those guys who used to move ground up, on lead, drill and tap in hand?
 
Joe: Most lines I bolt are from the ground up.  They are either way too steep to rap down or are just plain easier to follow the features that way. When using removable bolts it is a lot safer and efficient on lead.  It is more energy draining however, but with a chest-harness on and a fully charged battery you can relax a little more.... it's the way to go for sure.   Most of the time... I go with the idea of "whatever works".
 
DPM: Shout out to those who are keeping you running in the bolting game...
 
Joe: HUGE pounds to Dani Andrada.... very big inspiration to me and many others.
 
Follow Joe at www.joekindkid.com as he works through his next frenzy of bolting in his secret local somewhere in southern Utah