Posted on Saturday, February 06|
If youíre at all into the climbing scene in the south, youíve probably heard of Kasia Pietras. My guess is if you havenít - you will! This 21 year old, originally from Chicago, transplanted herself to Chattanooga to attend UTC and to be closer to some of the best climbing around. Kasia started climbing indoors at a young age and grew up competing on plastic. Over a decade later, she still enjoys the rush of competition and it motivates her to train and climb hard. She climbed her first 5.13 in 2005 and has been going strong since. Kasia currently spends a little more time bouldering than on routes, but itís paid off for the ambitious climber, as she took the overall win in the Women's Open division at the 2009 Triple Crown. As much as she loves competition and striving to reach her own personal climbing goals, the apparent thing about Kasia is she just likes to get out there! She loves seeing new places and as much as she can, she does her part to ensure that these places will stay open for future climbers!Name:Kasia Pietras
Years Climbing: 12 or 13
Sponsors: Evolv, New England Ropes, Organic, Verve, World Cup Climbing Holds
Home town: Chicago, Illinois
Currently calls home: Chattanooga, Tennessee
SCC: Where are you from and how did you begin climbing?
Kasia: Iím from Chicago and I got into climbing through a kids program at the gym that I climbed at called Hidden Peaks. It was a Saturday class that I did for about a year and then I joined their pre-team and I started off there.
SCC: How did you end up in Chattanooga as your home base?
Kasia: Well, I was in high school and I was sick of driving 7 hours, 14 hours total there and back to go to the Red every weekend to climb, so I decided to apply to go to school at UTC and come down here and climb. I had heard of LRC because I had competed in the Triple Crown twice while I was in high school. That is how I found out about Chattanooga and all the climbing areas down here.
SCC: So youíre a student, what are you studying? Kasia: Iím studying to become a Math Teacher.
SCC:Are there any other sports besides climbing that you enjoy and/or excel at?
Kasia: I just started doing Yoga and I am really enjoying that.
SCC: What about when you were younger?
Kasia: Yea, when I was younger I did karate, gymnastics and swimming but eventually I stuck with climbing.
SCC:What made climbing special or how did you realize that it was your thing?
Kasia: Well, when it comes to gymnastics I was never really that flexible. I still can barely touch my toes - thatís why I started taking Yoga to try and get flexible again! Karate, well I guess I was not really an aggressive enough person to get into the whole fighting thing and continue with karate. I got through a few belts and then I didnít really enjoy it any more.
SCC:What do you do to train? How often?
Kasia: Recently, at the end of December, I hurt my knee so I havenít really been climbing too much for the last month, but usually I donít really ďtrainĒ. I really just climb train by climbing a lot in the gym (since I work there) and I try to get outside as often as I can.
SCC: Have you had any strong female mentors or inspiration along the way?
Kasia: When I was younger, when I joined the pre-team and then the team and I started competing in the JCCA which then become the USAC (now called USA Climbing) and I did the whole youth circuit and Alex Johnson was also in my region. She has become a really strong climber and everything, but before she became so well known (she would always get first at all the comps) but she was always really friendly and fun to hang out with and she is one of my friends. It is always fun to see someone you grew up with and hung out with competing and watch her now that sheís so strong and so well known.
SCC: What are some of your proudest accomplishments through climbing?
Kasia: I think itís the little things Ė like right now I work a the gym and I coach a climbing team that we have and itís really great to see how much all the kids have changed over the year that I have been there. It is really rewarding to see them improve. Also, going to all the different areas and appreciating the little things. Itís just nice to be out there and be allowed to climb in so many areas and support all the different organizations, cleaning up after myself and after others that leave stuff behind just rrying to keep the areas clean so that no one gets too pissed off and closes any of these areas.
SCC: Do you have any current goals or projects you are working on?
Kasia: Well, I do have one that Iím working but I donít really know if I want to say the name Ė itís at Rocktown. But right now there are a few things I want to start at LRC. With my knee and the weather, which hasnít been too great, I donít really have any projects because I havenít been able to get out too much.
SCC: Youíve been doing very well in comps, do you like to compete?
Kasia: I definitely enjoy it. I basically grew up competing so itís really hard to separate them. I grew up in that kind of atmosphere with the point of climbing being that you climb to get better for competitions. I definitely enjoy it and it really gets me psyched to do better, try harder and train harder.
SCC: Any other big climbing dreams? Future travel etc?
Kasia: In terms of the travel I definitely want to try to make it out to South Africa, to go to Europe for a few months and maybe to Australia and New Zealand. Just about everybodyís goal. I guess Iíd really like to see the sport of climbing thrive and see more climbing areas open and hopefully see that we arenít having any areas getting shut down.
SCC: You've helped out at several of the SCC trail days this year, why do you feel they are important?
Kasia: Well just the whole aspect of trying to keep something open, if we donít do anything and let everyone throw their trash everywhere - a lot of the time itís random people, but sometimes itís climbers. These areas might get closed. People wonít always take that into account, climbers get blamed and for the most part it isnít. I think going to trail days and helping clean up these areas and build that relationship will help these places stay open. I like to try to go out to the trail days as often as I can.
SCC: Any advice youíd give those who want to become strong climbers?
Kasia: UmmmmÖwell they could always come by TBA and take on of our classes! Besides that, Iíd say just to keep climbing. The more they climb and gain experience the more theyíll get stronger through that process.
Some other quick tidbits of information:
Favorite color: Green
Favorite food: I donít even know any more. I like a lot of different things.
Favorite type of climbing: It depends when you ask me! Iím into bouldering right now but I want to get back into route climbing.
Favorite bouldering location: HP40.
Fav sport crag: Red River Gorge
Fav climbing shoe: Evolv Talon
If you werenít climbing youíd beÖ I donít know, fat???
The Flow @ HP40
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