Interview with Mission Cliffs Climber Karl Aguilar

 

Karl Aguilar, a 37 year old hardware store manager in San Francisco, has been climbing for 13 years at Mission Cliffs. Aguilar has traveled across the world climbing, sport climbing in Austria, making an ascent of El Capitan’s Zodiac, and clipping bolts on the sandstone of the south east with his wife, Audrey Bodisco. Aguilar took some time off his busy days at the Papenhausen Hardware to talk with the Touchstone blog about how to be a better rock climber and about his trips.

How has Mission Cliffs changed?

When I joined, there we so few active members that it was rare to see people that you didn't see regularly. Now, I am often shocked when I look around a very full gym and realize that I don't recognize most of the people there. Back then, most people climbed routes and bouldered to improve their route climbing. Now, it seems like most members primarily boulder. Mission Cliffs used to be a place to climb and possibly lift a weight or two, but it is slowly growing into a full service gym.

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Karl stepping high in Austria

What's the best way to get better at climbing?

Don't get injured. But seriously, DON'T GET INJURED. You progress much faster when you are not nursing an injury. But, if you do get hurt, be smart about it. Take some time off, your body is probably begging for some rest. Take that time to do the things that you put off. Try to enjoy it. Then, do your rehab and take the time to work back up to full strength (it takes less time than you think). You have a lifetime of climbing to do, so treat your body right.

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Karl high on El Cap's Zodiac

Now that you are injury free, you can use the following tips to get better quicker:
• Climb with someone better than you (not stronger, but with better technique).
• Watch how other people climb the climbs/problems you are having trouble with.
• Work on climbs that work your weaknesses (basically ones that make you say, "I hate climbs with...").
• Rest.
• Lastly, remember to enjoy the process. Even when the numbers are not going up, you are building a base for your next big breakthrough.

What's your favorite place to climb? Why?

Europe. The limestone, the food, and the distance between the two.

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Karl pulling down on the sandstone of the Red River Gorge's Mother Lode

But, over here it is The Red River Gorge, because it is as good as everyone says! Wait... scratch that... it has really really terrible rock and they have copperhead snakes and everyone who climbed there smells really bad, so no one should ever go there.

What else are you passionate about?

My wife.

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Karl and Audrey at the Red River Gorge

Past blog entries can be found at  http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/

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