Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet...Cole Cooper

By Aubrey Wingo

“Why do you like making videos?”
“I think it’s fun sharing what we do... because a lot of people have misconceptions about climbing and I like sharing what it’s actually about.”

Walk into Aiguille on a busy night and you are bound to see a group of climbers standing shoulder to shoulder, waving their arms in the air, climbing invisible routes, and one at a time jumping at the wall making these movements possible. Among these is always going to be Cole Cooper.

At 17 years old, this Oviedo High School student spends a majority of the time here “seshing” with his friends, sending some of the hardest boulder problems and creating some at the same time. Born in boulder, his father’s occupation has moved him all around the country, from Colorado, to Ohio, West Virginia and finally here! However, Cole’s first climbing experiences were here at Aiguille. “My dad brought me to the gym. I was afraid of heights at first, but after two or three times up one of the slab walls, it was gone. After that, I fell in love with the sport, and how unique it is.” Overall, climbing is great but Cole’s true passion is within bouldering. “Bouldering... is more social than just one other person, and you can have a group seshing on the wall and just trying it over and over again. It’s a really good feeling when somebody gets the problem and you can keep working it.” Overall, the idea of climbing to Cole is amazing; its just like “a mini obstacle course on the wall.” And while he is still trying to clean up his technique, his self-described style involving mostly “large powerful moves” seems to be working in his favor.

Cole has only been climbing about three years and has already accomplished more than most. Formerly on Team Aiguille, Cole has competed as long as he has climbed and has attended SCS Nationals in 2010 and ABS Nationals in 2011. He has also competed most recently in the first round of the 2012 Tri City Rumble Competitions and plans to continue on to finals as a member of the Aiguille All Starz team. Outside of the gym, Cole has ventured mostly to West Virginia to visit the New River Gorge and Summersville Lake, which involves deep water soloing, a type of climbing in which no ropes or pads are used so the water is a climber’s only protection. One day, he hopes visit Boulder, CO again to venture to outside boulders beyond The Spot where there are tons of other climbers and also to Halong Bay in Vietnam to grab hold of the stalactites that hang over the water for more deep water soloing action.

Cole has also taken an interest in videography. “I started out messing around with iMovie on my Mac. Then I thought about making videos of me and my friends climbing at Aiguille.” With the help of his friend and climbing idol, Davis Stewart, Cole filmed his first series of video clips to make a movie. Making movies for about five months now, he focuses mostly on filming climbing, showing interesting and innovative angles and views of indoor rock climbing while using his GoPro Hero 2. He has even built his own camera boom for bouldering films made of a broomstick and a cup holder in order to catch movement above arms reach while still moving seamlessly with the climber. Sometimes he has even climbed up in the lead room with this camera to capture lead climbing at different angles. So why movies? “I think it’s fun sharing what we do... because a lot of people have misconceptions about climbing and I like sharing what it’s actually about.” Eventually Cole is planning on purchasing some better video equipment and filming even more professional looking videos and moving into the outdoor filming world.

Outside of climbing, Cole likes to longboard around the gym with the other climbers but pretty much has his head focused to climbing. Although he would love to move out to Boulder (or anywhere to get out of Florida), he notes that college is expensive and Bright Futures is too good of an opportunity to pass up. As for his future goals in climbing? “I’m just going to see where climbing takes me. Just go with the flow.”

You can check out Cole’s video work on his YouTube channel.

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