Jason Kehl has been climbing for over 13 years and an artist for just as long. Climbing has always been a good creative outlet and his vagabond lifestyle and penchant for danger have fueled his adventures over the years. Jason's evolvement in the climbing world reflects theses ideas and he is willing to share them with whoever is willing to listen.
A pro climber that has been living on the road for the past 10 years, Jason always seems to find adventure. His highballing escapades have been well documented, including some amazing first ascents like- Evilution in Bishop, Ca and becoming the first person to solo 5.14d with his boulder ascent of The Fly in Rumney New Hampshire. You can also see what he is up to via his website www.cryptochild.com.
So here I am, almost 5 months out from knee surgery. Where has all the time gone? Lots of thumb twiddling? I think not. I've been crazy busy and now that I am more mobile, I long for some of that time had locked in my room strapped to the bed and glued to my computer. It was most productive to say the least. Being more mobile is definitely a good thing though. Once I was on my feet again one of the first activities I got back to was hold shaping to expand my line of holds for Cryptochild.
I have been shaping holds 10 years, almost as long as I have been a professional climber. During this time I have shaped for over five companies and have produced hundreds of holds. To this day it has remained on of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement in the climbing industry. It's a great way to share my experiences with the people. On every climbing trip I have been on I take the time to study the rock where I am climbing. This means taking photos, caressing and sometimes licking the rock. Every area is different and each one has its own special qualities, being aware of that is just one of the many secrets to my shaping.
Climbing holds don't always have to be designed after the likeness of rock. Especially with plastic climbing, because it is really the farthest thing from real rock climbing, so why not take advantage of that concept. I'm always on the lookout for interesting shapes or formations everywhere I go. It could be some crazy fruit in the grocery store or an interesting pattern on a tire. What ever it is, it can be found anywhere, so it is most important to keep an open eye at all times.
The last holds I found myself shaping were inspired from the outdoors, but not the rock. I was at The Horn in the Henry Mountains of Utah and I kept finding myself drawn to the burnt aspen trees that seemed to have these crazy lumps all over them. I'm not sure if it was a good thing or some sort of disease that had taken over the trees, but what I did know was if they were on a climbing wall, they would be super fun to grab! Right then I new when I returned, shaping these holds would be my first order of business.
The next step is to get them molded and poured with polyurethane. It's a great feeling to have something come so full circle. From the initially discovery, to the re-creation and then finally being able to test them out on a real climbing wall. These are the reasons I love making climbing holds and I hope you all are enjoying them out there in plastic land!