Interview with Joe Kinder

Joe Kinder, aka Joe Kind Kid the Cream Puff, makes his way back east occasionally, but for a while now, he’s been out west crushing stone like Jaws crushes innocent white folk. I caught up with him a couple days before he embarked on a climbers dream trip–Europe than on to South Africa. Full of psyche and energy, here is what Joe had to say.

Dave:  So Joe, you are leaving soon, you guys taking off from the east coast?

Joe: No, we’re in Colorado, my family moved to Colorado Springs, so we’re at their house. We got all of our stuff laid out, we did laundry and everything, getting psyched!

Dave: Where are you originally from Joe? Is it New Hampshire or Maine?

Joe: New Hampshire. New Hampshaaaa. Southern New Hampshire, Manchester. My fam and I lived in Manchester, but we lived in Goffstown, Merrimack, Bedford, and Nashua for a while–all over the place I guess…

Dave: Cool, you moved around a bit. What did your parents do for work?

Joe: My dad’s a salesman-well he was, now he’s semi-retired and my mother is a social worker.

Dave: Sweet, how often do you make it back east?

Joe: Pretty much whenever there’s an event or an important meeting. I go back primarily for events or something that I need to be a part of. In terms of getting psyched for climbing, I’ve done most of the things I want to do unless there’s some amazing new cliff developed or discovered, like when Pete started developing his projects in Marshfield. I was so psyched man, we made the trip all the way out there to go climb and do some of the routes. We saw some of the new stuff at Smuggs too, which was nice.

Dave: Nice, yeah, I’ve been to Marshfield a few times. What got you into climbing?

Joe: What got me into climbing? Well, what got me into climbing was, I needed something healthy to do. I was getting into trouble by making my mother cry a lot and getting into trouble with the law–just dumb stuff man. I look back at it and I kind of chuckle a lot, but I don’t think its cool. I used to get into a lot of trouble and I needed something healthy to keep me in line. Something that I could just kinda put my energy into and I always wanted to rock climb. One day I saw Brett Myers climbing at the Londonderry Boulder in New Hampshire, he had a good style to him and a good way of delivering what climbing was like. I got super psyched, bought a pair of shoes, got a rope for my birthday, and got psyched. Then I got all my trouble-maker friends kind of got into it as well. None of them really do it anymore but they were actually kind of into it at the time. Probably just because I was the motivator. It was just something I needed to do, it straightened me out and than it turned into a complete obsession. I quit snowboarding, I quit skateboarding, I quit playing bass, I quit doing everything I used to do because I thought climbing was absolutely amazing–it took over.

Dave: Good story man, glad it worked out. Where are you currently living?

Joe: Nowhere [laughs].

Dave: Nowhere?

Joe: Absolutely nowhere.

Dave: You were out in Utah for a little while, right?

Joe: Yeah, I’m always in Utah. This time of year southern Utah is my spot, it’s my zone–probably like my second home. This year we didn’t really have a place to live, but I’m there a lot. I put up a ton of routes there. Every season I get up at least 10, totally obsessed with that too, putting up routes. It’s something that I’m excited about. I’ve got all the time in the world to do it. I needed routes to do, because I was climbing everything and now I have totally opened doors to go and make my own projects.

Dave: Do you think you’ve progressed by just climbing and keeping the psyche up?

Joe: Yeah totally, always man. The way I progress is being totally inspired by a hard route. Progression is pretty narrow and linear because I’m pretty much just progressing for my projects at hand. I wouldn’t say I’m always progressing for climbing as a whole. I’m usually a pretty focused person when it comes to climbing and I like to zero-in on something and do harder routes. I enjoy doing a bunch of 5.13s and 5.12s, but I get bored with that. Having all my attention, all my energy into one objective and investing into that–just being intimate with the route, that’s what I like. Establishing a relationship with the route, making it become my whole focus and planning everything around it, I enjoy that stuff. Its kinda freaky and messed up but its my thing.

Dave: So you’re headed out on a big trip soon, a climbers dream trip, eh?

Joe: Yeah, I really am man, I am truly living the dream, I’m pretty lucky. But yeah, we fly into Spain, where we get a car. We’ll be climbing and I have some video jobs from Sterling, Petzl, La Sportiva, and some work with Gregory Packs. So yeah, I have to tackle all these little objectives, but it’s actually really fun. It’s another objective other than just going climbing, which is a nicer creative approach. Yeah, so we fly into Spain, get a car, climb, shoot, climb, and shoot there for a month max, depending on the weather, then we’ll head up to France where we’ll climb and shoot with Enzo Oddo. After that, we’ll head to Italy where we’ll be chilling at Arco, participating in a climbing competition, and maybe climb with Gabriel Moron, who seems cool to show us around. We’ll visit places off the beaten trail, newly developed crags, and spend maybe a month there. Then, I’d like to spend a good solid month around Austria depending on what the conditions are like. There are really tall, stalactite areas of limestone. Things change too, so who knows, maybe we’ll head to the Czech Republic or something, the doors are open really. Then after that, we fly out of Barcelona and go to South Africa for two months. I’ll be doing a slideshow, video clinic tour for the South African Climbing Federation–they are kind of like the American Alpine Club. We’re doing a multi-destination slideshow tour for three weeks. Two-thirds of the time we’re just climbing and doing normal climber stuff, but then we do these gigs, its amazing to me. After that, we go to Rocklands for a month and a half, it’s nuts man [laughs], it’s nuts.

Dave: Sweet, I’m slightly jealous, but not really. The NE has all that cool stuff but better [laughs]. Are you headed back home after that or are you going back to Europe?

Joe: Yeah, then after that we’ll be back. I have a route at Rifle I’m psyched to attack, it’s comparable to my route last year and called Bad Girls Club. It’s probably 9a or 9a+, it’s sick man, it’s absolutely a monster route. It’s one of those walls where people are like, “there’s no holds, there’s no holds, there’s no holds!” and I’m like “forget that, there are holds, just watch!” I’m not talking about me making holds. There are holds and they’re all laid out, I’m just putting the bolts in [laughs]. I’m gluing the holes too so they don’t break off. I’m really psyched about it.

Dave: Sounds bad ass. Do you think you’ll ever move back to the Northeast?

Joe: Good question. I couldn’t even answer that. I don’t even know where I want to live. Colette and I are always like “yeah that place is great but it’s not perfect.” I’m not sure that there is a perfect place, but I know that I’d like a place with dry air and lots and lots of climbing. So I don’t know man, it’s possible. It’s always a possibility, I love it there. I feel comfortable in the Northeast, I feel normal, and it’s my home. It means a lot when I have that kind of feeling.

Dave: When you come back what do you do? What do you have to do? What is one thing that you need to do when you get back here?

Joe: Usually visit Sterling Rope and EMS and Check-in. I usually have these large meetings set up involving marketing talks. But, I usually have to get pizza from Pizza Bella or Pizza Mia, or a sandwich from Bederman’s in Plymouth! Must haves!

Dave: Any climbing?

Joe: Yeah, I usually get a chance to climb, but most of the trips I’m just in and out. They are still some projects at Pawtuckaway I haven’t done. I haven’t done Stand Up Man or Upright Man, whatever it’s called–it’s Tim Kemple’s route. And then, I never visited the Master Bedroom in New York, which sounds really cool, even though it’s mediocre stone. But it’s big and steep so it looks sick to me. So yeah, there are still places I gotta to get to, which is kind of nice. I got to climb in the Adirondacks recently so that was pretty sweet.

Dave: [laughing] Where did Joe Kind Kid come from?

Joe: Joe Kind Kid came from my buddy Mathew Moore. He used to tell me things like “Kind Kid is Kinder than yo average cream puff.” [laughs]

Dave: That’s great! [laughing] So you’ve turned 30 about to turn 31! Do you feel like your crushing power is being zapped or do you feel like you’ve got a lot more in you?

Joe: Gee man… [pauses] It all feels the same to me. I’m a little more thoughtful about my climbing days now, I’m not feeling tiptop, and I’m not gonna go thrash on my hard projects. Basically, I think being 30 as a climber, you’re just a little smarter. You approach things in a more thoughtful and intelligent way than when I used to be a little kid and try things over and over and over‚ till my fingers were bleeding and until I was totally thrashed, then I’d do it again the next day. Now, I’m just like, “man I’m not feeling very well, I”m gonna do some other routes” and get some satisfaction with that. Then try my hardest project the day after a rest day or maybe the next day if I’m feeling good. But I’m just smarter with my approach to climbing. I actually wish I were like this when I was younger. When you’e younger your ego is different. You want to improve more, you want to do more. You want to produce and you’re excited. Your whole approach to it is do, do, do, attack, attack attack. And now I’m like, “be a little more thoughtful and not just be an idiot” [laughs]. I’m way more mature about it.

Dave: That makes sense.

Joe: But the strength and everything, nothing different.

Dave: Well 30 isn’t that old, but more like a milestone right?… Anyway, have you put up any routes in the Northeast.

Joe: Yeah. I haven’t bolted that many, but I’ve had some first ascents.

Dave: Whereabouts?

Joe: I did Livin’ Astroglide. That was mine. I guess that’s like 14c, 14+, I don’t know. I called it 9a for awhile, I don’t know, It’s in that range, it’s hard. And then I did Sinister 6000, Ward Smith and Jim Mallory gave me that one. That one is like 13b or something. Then I did Tuna Fish is Ludacris, which is the janky direct start to Maui Wowie‚ it’s like 13c I think. What else did I do… A bunch of stuff, it was just a fun time for me.

Dave: That’s cool man, well in wrapping it up, you have an advice to give to the young crushers?

Joe: The best advice to give any young climbers is: make sure that climbing is always fun, make sure your friends are excited for you, you’re in love with climbing and climbing is always just a great time. When it becomes work or some stressful thing that’s just the lamest thing in the world, I would never put that on anybody‚ pretty much its just not worth it at that point. I think it’s also important that people don’t get wrapped up in sponsorship stuff, it’s important sure, but I think it’s more important to always keep climbing and love it. When that is clear to you, it’s all good man. You can enjoy the bliss of rock climbing because climbing is the best thing in the world and the last thing you need to be is caught up in the nonsense. I know it’s pretty readily available…sponsors, sponsors, sponsors, people get sponsored really easily in the sponsor world. Rock climbing is rock climbing and sponsorship is a completely different game and I think that’s also important to plug, they’re two different beasts. It’s important that you enjoy rock climbing for rock climbing and nothing else.

Dave: Good vibes Joe, nice chatting and have a blast on your trip

Joe: Right on man, thanks Dave.


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