Well Known, Unknowns: Jessie Bonin

posted by dpm on 10/15/2009

Well Known, Unknowns:  Those Who are Pullin Hard and Flyin Under the Radar. DPM takes a look at Jessie Bonin, a climber out of the Tahoe area whose last name may not be Robinson, Graham or Sharma, but the man is pulling hard and putting up some amazing lines.

We all know them, the strong silent type who pull down the big numbers and pass among us without incident.  They put up amazing lines deep beneath the canopy of the trees spending there entire day contemplating that crux move and then hanging out later to help us weaker mortals pull our complimentary V1. There are plenty of them out there if you know where to look; they may not be on the front of your latest climbing mag...but they are there...the Well Known, Unknowns.

DPM: How many years have you been climbing?

Jessie: I've been climbing for about 10 years.

DPM: What made you start?

Jessie: I started out in a climbing gym in New Orleans, Louisiana. I saw this guy traversing the wall like a lizard. That was really cool, and I wanted to learn how to do that. I've been bouldering ever since.

DPM:  The Tahoe area and the eastside seem to be your stomping grounds...why those areas?

Jessie:  I moved to Tahoe when I ran out of money on a road-trip. I heard there were jobs there, and I wasn't very impressed with the climbing at first. But as time passed I started to realize how much great bouldering was everywhere. It's nice too that Carson City and Bishop are very close for winter bouldering. Those areas also have lots of bouldering.

DPM: How do you pick a line to clean and climb?

Jessie: I pretty much like anything that has quality rock. Particularly I get amped on steep lines. When a line is pure and scenic that really inspires me as well.

DPM: You just put up Party Animal a currently unrepeated V13...describe the line, how it climbs, and how much effort you put into this line

Jessie: It's on a boulder in Erratica, a major South Lake Tahoe zone. The boulder is called the Hoedown. This line always had two solutions. Either you do big wide reaches out left and top out into a tricky slab, or you do a heinous dyno off two bad crimps and a high foot to a really bad sloper. From there the last move is probably v8 when you match this bad sloper and thrutch out to a ledge out right. It took me 6 days to do the dyno, and then by a miracle I did it from the sit moments later and called it Party Animal V13. Two days later the left version got done and that's called Hyperian V11.

DPM: What are your strengths?

Jessie: I'm good at climbs that are steep, especially compression problems. I do well when I get to squeeze and heel hook. Vertical problems and cracks give me trouble.

DPM: Do you train or simply climb outside a lot?

Jessie: I really just climb outside a lot. When it snows here in Tahoe, going to the climbing gym can be fun. If I can, I go bouldering in snow.

DPM: The Tahoe area seems to have a lot of hidden rock, how do you deal with putting up the FA's?

Jessie: There are so many areas here for the number of local boulderers. But, the people that are here are really motivated. I get a lot of help from my friends. This year I've been sending a lot of the projects that I've been trying for years. It's nice to know all that trying wasn't for nothing.

DPM: Are they kept hidden are do you want to share your lines with those looking to find something to climb?

Jessie: I would like to share these boulders with anyone who is psyched. As long as people respect the area, I'm cool with visitors.

DPM: You have climbed at the Rocklands...how does Tahoe compare to this "world class area"?

Jessie: Tahoe's potential is not as obvious as that of Rocklands. In Rocklands it's all right in front of you. In Tahoe, it's more spread out and hidden. But in both places there are really enjoyable problems.

DPM:  Who are your sponsors?

Jessie: I'm sponsored by Evolve for shoes and Metolius for everything else. To me, these are the companies that put out the most quality gear. They are also really nice people.