Skyler Weekes - The King of Dyno
Interviewed by Tomasz Mazur for the Góry Magazine #185 (October 2009)
When you are bouldering do you try to use holds or you don`t care about and jump as much as possible?
When I go out bouldering I usually try to climb the line in its original way, not skipping holds. If I can`t do it or if it looks funnier to me doing the climb dynamically then I`ll go with that! Many of my first ascents of boulder problems are very difficult for short climbers because they have huge reaches in them between holds.
How much you can give your record in V-grade or Font?
Wow, I’ve been asked this question so many times and it is so hard to explain how I feel about it. The dyno is very hard to rate because of its nature. In one way yes, dynoing is an extension of rock climbing (on an artificial climbing wall with climbing holds) but in another way its movement is so different and 99% of the difficulty does not have to do with specific climbing techniques (finger strength, foot work). If I had to grade it I would say V13-14. Nothing higher because I truly believe that this sport hasn`t seen its biggest jumps yet. Each day I train I can feel myself getting stronger and will only keep on training to jump further! This sport is so hard to train for because I`m really the first ever to actually specifically train for the dyno!
I suppose that your style of climbing is quite dynamic. You opened Zion with amazing jump... But can you say on which route dyno was the trickiest for you?
Zion was very special to me in that I had to learn a lot about myself along the way. I think the hardest part was that everybody I took out there said it was impossible and falling every try for days on end really starts to take its toll on you mentally. I just had to keep coming back and never give up! I started hitting about 1.5 feet below the end holds at the beginning of trying it and made tiny amounts of progression each day until I stuck it!
In the last issue, in the interview with Kilian Fischhuber we had some discussion about words by Ty Landman, who said about the end of human possibilities in the bouldering grade, that holds can`t be too smaller etc. Adding new difficult moves is rather going to sport route climbing and "kills" bouldering, which is looking for the hardest possible move (not 60-70 moves problem, but still on the small form of rock). So, do you think that dyno can be future and chance for breaking grade, which in the last time can`t be more than 8C?
Maybe, but there are so many different types of dynoing. Example, my style, which is the biggest move jug to jug. There are dynos like hale bop, which is a semi-bad crimp rail to a lip. Then there are dynos from bad holds to bad holds.
Are you working on some hard problem?
Yes I have a monster project up in the mountains at about 12,000 feet! It`s 2 juggy crimps to a football shaped end hold on the lip. About 8ft 8inches is my guess. It`s straight up hold to hold and overhanging at least 20 degrees. Super hard! It`s a whole different game when the hold is straight up and not out at a 45 degree angle because you can`t use momentum of the swing to help carry you up the wall.
In Sheffield some sponsor gave 1000 pounds for climber who will beat your record. Do you have some advices for challengers?
I didn`t even know about that! Train hard, don’t give up, and mentally prepare!
I know you have help from pro-trainers. How looks your training?
Training is getting better and better each day. I am now a Trainer for Kick-Fit Athletics, which was the company, who designed my dyno training program with me. I have tons of ideas on how to simulate dynoing and just need the money to make them happen!
How looks your training day and what workouts do you do?
I usually train 5-6 days a week. By January 2010 you will be able to download my training program off my website (www.skylerweekes.com) for only $1! My workout utilizes weights, plyometrics, Muay Thai kicking and punching, and slight cardio. I really try with each exercise to think about how I can take that specific lift or punch and relate it to exploding off the wall. Weighted negative pull-ups, hip swings with kettle balls, jenga round kicks, and toe touches are always part of my routine. My workout helped me gain almost 1 foot of height this year in the competition.
In the last issue we were described "Moon Kick" trick by Ben Moon, which of course is not the same with the martial arts trick, but you are supported by the martial arts master Muay Thai. Which of elements of martial arts do you find as useful for climbing/bouldering?
Great question! I started practicing Muay Thai because I`m so lanky and tall I have a problem getting all of my muscles to fire at once from my hands down to my feet. Muay Thai really helps you focus on your body as a whole and uses a great deal of stabilizing muscles. It also has really helped me mentally because you have to visualize each move just like in the dyno.
The next question is probably the most given you... You know, media are looking for some "bloody" news ;). So, you had very bad accident during the competition. What`s about?
Ah yes. June 4th, 2005 will always be a day that stands out for me. Warming up for finals in a dyno contest I jumped out to a jug on a VERY overhanging wall, went into a superman and went over the hold, came off and drilled the floor head first. Immediately I fractured my spine at L2 and my right knee came into my left eye and destroyed it. I smashed all the bones in my left orbit (eye socket) and check bone. My facial nerves got all messed up as well. It took 6 months in a full turtle shell back brace to be back to daily life walking but my face wasn`t so easy to heal. Over 2 years I had 7 surgeries performed for facial reconstruction. Every day I think about the accident...I defiantly should not be alive after it and I was very lucky!
You are a professional sommelier... Is it helpful in climbing? Of course, I`m thinking about days of rest ;)... Do you have some personal "set" when you are going to climbing? What can you recommend for others?
There isn`t too big of a link in my climbing life and wine. I love educating people on wine and love to drink it :) I`m a big champagne guy and love pinot noirs as well. Nothing like coming back from a hard day of dynoing and training and having a bottle of great vino! Bottle a day keeps the doctor away!
It`s quite difficult to be a pro-climber and have money for life... But, with your height (6`5``/196cm) and vertical leap (30``/76cm), have you ever thought about career in NBA?Not really. I hate running so it probably wouldn`t work out to well.