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Hello Hello Hello

Jen Leisch
mid October, 2004

Jen Leisch
Jen Leisch Jen Leisch Jen Leisch Jen Leisch


FRB: Age?

Jen: 24.

FRB: Height?

Jen: 5'4" ( on a good day!)

FRB: Ape Index?

Jen: Negative three!!! (We joke that I have "T-Rex arms.")

FRB: Weight?

Jen: Heavy enough that there is often a large gravitational force between me and my crash pad!

FRB: Political Affiliation?

Jen: I wouldn't say I am affiliated with any one party in particular . . . I like to choose based on the values and ideas that are important to me, like civil rights, health care, education, and the environment -- all of these are issues I feel are at stake in the upcoming election.

FRB: How did you get into climbing/bouldering, Jen?

Jen: I actually got into climbing when I moved to New Mexico for school. . . I was in a tiny town there, without much to do unless it was outdoors or involved drugs! It seemed in Socorro that everyone climbed, even if they were not a "climber". It was just what everyone did for fun. . . And it didn't take long for me to be hooked! There is a surprising amount of rock in New Mexico, and Hueco was really close as well. . . So I was lucky in that respect, to learn to climb outdoors, in some pretty amazing places.

FRB: Why bouldering?

Jen: Bouldering really is my passion, though I do like sport climbing as well! I like the simplicity of bouldering. . . It's kind of like climbing "distilled"! It's just you and the rock: minimal gear with maximum exposure to movement. Bouldering can be a very social sport as well, which sometimes I enjoy, and sometimes I don't.

FRB: With whom and where do you like to climb?

Jen: I love to climb with anyone who is positive and motivated! I climb a lot with my boyfriend Tommy Calhoun (when his finger is healthy!). I like to climb with both men and women, as I think each group has a different style, different motivation, and different approach to bouldering. Some of the women I particularly like to climb with are Sarah Marvez, Mo' Baker, Heather Friend, Elaina Arenz, and Chris Robertson.

Far and away I prefer climbing outside, unless I'm in a time/weather crunch. Hueco is my all-time favorite destination! In CO, I really like Red Cliff, Guanella, and Three Sisters; all because of the setting. For sport climbing (am I allowed to say that?), I really enjoy Clear Creek, since I live at the mouth of the canyon!

FRB: What are some of your recent
          favorite moments while bouldering?

Jen: Just being out bouldering is my recent favorite! With school and work, I haven't been getting out much, so any moment I can spend on the rock I get excited!

One of my fondest, most recent moments in bouldering was earlier this year in New Mexico. I went back after a year to a problem that I had spent YEARS working on, and ended up sending it in a few tries! Tommy was spotting me, as well as lots of my old friends in NM! It wasn't just sending, but being surrounded by such awesome people, in my favorite place; that to me is really what bouldering is all about!

FRB: What are some of your thoughts on life
          as a climber living on the Front Range?

Jen: The Front Range certainly has a climbing "scene". I like that there is a lot of energy and momentum here, though I don't like when that energy can be negative. Attitude is everything. . . It all boils down to just being nice!

Bouldering has become a HUGE sport, very quickly. I am not quite used to the amount of people on the Front Range. . . Sometimes I like to be alone, or with a small group of people. With such a large influx of climbers to the sport, I think low-impact practices, good ethics, and good behavior are becoming more important. . . And it is up to veteran climbers to set that example . . . Because I simply think that a lot of newer climbers just don't know! We all had to start somewhere, and it is important to have patience and stewardship towards those who are just getting out there, and to be open and willing to help facilitate their learning. They want to have a good experience too!

FRB: Been on any bouldering trips lately?

Jen: Actually, a sport-climbing trip to the New River Gorge, which was awesome! (Thanks Elaina!) Talk about getting spanked! Pretty old school and heady for a boulderer!

FRB: Where do you climb indoors?

Jen: Paradise Rock Gym.

FRB: What else do you, Jen.

Jen: So many things! Damn that I have to sleep, you know? My second "sport" is yoga, which I both practice and teach. Yoga can bring a lot to climbing, and vice versa. Not only physically, but mentally as well. I also go to school, work in a lab, and once in a while climb!

FRB: School of Mines? Tell us what it's like being
          in Graduate School at the School of Mines?

Jen: Maybe you should ask Marcelo that question! CSM is an interesting place to be. . . It is an all science/engineering university, that is mostly men. Overall, grad school is a huge dichotomy, where I love the lifestyle, but hate the "pay". This is my fourth year in the program, and I am starting to get antsy and ready to move on with my life! Though everyone says once you're done, you'll wish you were right back in school again!

FRB: Do you consider your self politically active?

Jen: I do consider myself politically active. . . I think there are different levels of being involved, and we ALL participate in them in some way or another. Whether we are a student, a user of public lands, drive a car, vote or don't vote, we are inherently participating in the process. Every time you purchase goods of any kind, you are essentially voting with your dollar, and by default contributing to the political process. We should connect that in our minds! I think it's sad that more people our age vote for American Idol than for President!

FRB: What are some of your motivations that
          drive you to be politically active?

Jen: I think just being alive in the 21st century is good enough motivation! Not to mention being a woman, a student, a low-income earner, a public-lands user, an SUV driver, and a scientist. Each of these is affected by decisions that not only I, but other people make. Some of those decisions can catastrophically affect us directly, like closing a climbing area, lowering access to student loans, drafting friends and family into the military, etc! The direct effect of policy can be hard to see sometimes, but when put into context of things that are important to you, it becomes more dramatic. I think the most important thing we can do in the next few weeks is get out, vote, and dispel the idea that our generation is a bunch of lazy slackers! Politics is sexy! Legislators will become less likely to listen to our needs if they think we are a demographic that is apathetic. All of the old white men will eventually be gone, and then where will we be?

FRB: Favorite Quote?

Jen: Right now, it would have to be: The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own.

FRB: Favorite TV show?  (On or off the air)

Jen: This is really embarrassing. . . But I will admit that I am addicted to the Gilmore Girls. I love SNL, especially during election season. Any presidential debate is a must-see. For the most part, TV rots your brain.

FRB: How do you like to relax after
          a full day of bouldering?

Jen: Cold beer and food, of course!

FRB: Do you train for bouldering?

Jen: I wouldn't exactly call it training! Ha!

Actually, I try and train before I go on an extended trip. Which usually means running, yoga, and lots of extended bouldering sessions with pull ups, campusing, and abs at the end. During the rest of the year, I don't really have time to train, and would rather just climb!

FRB: What are some of your long-term goals in climbing?

Jen: Have fun, and stay healthy! I want to be able to climb for the rest of my life, no matter if it 5.6 or V13.

FRB: thank you for the interview, Jen.

Jen: You're welcome!

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