Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet… Jessica “Jess” Jenkins

By: Tara Ziegler

Jess is the type of climber where you can’t help but think, “Yeah, she was meant to do this”. Though fairly new to the sport, she has already made an impressive amount of progression and continues to challenge herself by setting new goals everyday. This, plus the fact that Jess delivers an ultra humble and positive attitude towards climbing, help make her the ideal climbing partner and some friendly competition.

Jess was first introduced to rock climbing by her brother Chris when he brought her to Aiguille a little over two years ago. A ballet dancer of over 14 years, she was already well seasoned in a mentally demanding and physically challenging sport. Unfortunately, she was not presented with very much opportunity to advance in ballet due to her petite physique. Growing increasingly weary with a situation she couldn't alter, Jess decided it was time to retire her slippers.

Though Jess didn’t have much issue in developing her climbing technique, she did find herself training muscles she wasn’t quite used to focusing on.“Ballet is all your legs pretty much, that’s why I had no upper body strength when I started climbing. I couldn't even do a pull up.” Up for the challenge, Jess began training and has since made an impressive amount of progress for the short amount of time she has been climbing. Part of her growth is also credited toward the motivation she receives from her fellow climbers. “Climbing was a flip flop from what dance was, more encouraging and challenging. People like to help. Dance wasn't like that as much. I wanted to contribute to the environment that you guys have here."

Despite a moderate fear of heights, Jess prefers to lead climbing to bouldering or top-rope. “Once you start leading, top-roping gets kind of boring. Top-roping is good for training but lead is definitely more exciting.” However she doesn’t discredit bouldering, her only two outdoor climbing trips were to HP40 and Rocktown. Jess’s current climbing goals include training for more outdoor climbing of all sorts.

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