Protect Our Parks: Hanging by a Pinch with Kresten Anderson
Pinch: A climbing term used to describe a rock hold that is squeezed between the thumb and fingers for grip. “Pinch” holds are usually tiny, minute features on a rock wall, not something the non-climbers’ eye would see as a support for one’s entire body weight 100 ft. off the ground.
Climbers have to make the most of what’s right in front of them. They can’t change where a foot or handhold is or how far apart the holds are; it’s up to them to solve the existing puzzle. Breathe. Assess. Go for it. Maybe fail. Innovate. Try again. Try Hard. That’s what gets them to the top. And the more they do it, the more they are able to see the rock with a different set of eyes: eyes that see possibility in what others would see as impossible.
Kresten Anderson grew up in the forests and on the river banks of Brevard, North Carolina. Noting that Brevard doesn’t have a lot going on in terms of partying and clubs to sneak into, in high school Anderson and the local crew would go camping or hang out by the river.
“Being outside is the best part of growing up,” smiles Kresten as he continues, “I remember the best part of school was being outside at recess, and after school, the best thing to do was to go play outside. I’m obviously still ‘growing up,’ but I don't know what would happen if we had a whole generation of people who didn't go outside and who just sat on their phones all day idealizing. It’s so important to have a place to go play at the end of the day; really, we literally need public lands to save ourselves.”
Try Hard: Putting everything you have into a move or climb. It’s having the brute strength and perseverance to keep trying until you get it, to dedicate yourself to your sport and your endeavor fully. It means to try hard with everything you’ve got, no matter how many times you fall.
Anderson caught the climbing bug 3 years ago while attending App State in Boone. He started climbing inside at the gym wall, and while that helped him develop strength and technique, it was when he moved that foundation outdoors that he was hit with what “it’s really all about.”
“I’m in love with it,” declares Anderson. “I found a really great community in rock climbing. It’s a nice tight knit group up here, and everyone is open and willing to help you and share info on climbs and movement. Selected Climbs in North Carolina is a great guidebook and has about 400 climbs in it, and that’s probably only a third of what’s out there.”
While initially cautious of mixing business with pleasure, Kresten took an instructor course this spring and is working as a climbing guide for Rock Dimensions. His gamble worked out, as this not only led to a re-enforcement of more consistency and competency in safety techniques for his own climbing, it also led to that indescribable something of sharing and teaching your passion to others.
Crux: In climbing, the crux is the most difficult move or hardest section of a climb. Oftentimes, the crux provides the greatest challenge and greatest reward.
“Right now, I’m working a kids climbing day camp. At the beginning, only a few kids had climbed, and now all of them are belaying, know how a rappel device works, and understand the concepts of the systems, all while of course cruising up climbs. It’s so cool because they’re only 11 or 12 years old, and really, I look around in the Linville Gorge or wherever and think I’m in the most idyllic place and I’m here for work. So lucky.”
Describing working with other clients, Kresten recounts, “They’ll ask, ‘Is this nylon rope really going to catch me?’ when the rope could hold a whole truck. I love bringing people out there. They get excited and at the end of day, they say thank you and are talking about how beautiful it is. I just get so happy and psyched for them.”
Kresten mentioned that most bouldering and climbing in the United States is in National Parks or on other public lands. “Recover has a commitment to protecting the environment and keeping it real; the Protect Our Parks Tee is just part of that.”
Whether a climber, hiker, kayaker, or backyard adventurer, our National Parks and Public Lands are “the best part of growing up” no matter what age we are, and that’s why Recover is donating $5 of every Protect Our Parks Tee sold to the National Park Foundation.
“Everybody gets enjoyment from different things,” notes Kresten. “Everybody will listen to music for different reasons or rock climb or do whatever, but at the end of the day we all do it because we enjoy what we're doing and that's all that matters. In climbing, some do it for the sport, some do it just because they want to be outside, and others climb for the movement and meditation. It’s all really really cool and as long as you’re out enjoying whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it the best.”
Whether hanging by a pinch or not, Recover is working to see the possible where others might not. It’s all in taking it one move at a time, and that good old “Try Hard.” Now, go send.
Send: A term in adventure sports for going for it. Crushing, dominating, flowing up rock, down rivers, across waves… wherever, whatever. “To send” really means to do what you love, and do it well.