Saturday, October 13, 2012

Meet... Maha and Nadine Karaze

Maha and Nadine Karaze
By Aubrey Wingo

I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “it takes two” or “two peas in pod” but I’ve got a new one: the Crimping Combo. Nadine and Maha Karaze are identical twins and members here at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center.  Climbing for about five years now, the ladies have earned their reputations as some of the hardest crimpers in the gym, as their small stature as proved to be an advantage in their technical climbing but also make up for this height drawback with dynamic bursts of movement.

Born and raised originally in Columbus, Ohio, Maha and Nadine have since lived in Winter Springs, FL since they were 7 years old.  Their parents, born in Lebanon, were hesitant at first of their climbing obsessions, wanting them to practice in a more “feminine” sport and something less “aggressive” but eventually came around.  “They couldn’t say no to our reactions.  Especially when they saw my sister and I come home with huge smiles on our faces...They then realized how much we truly loved it.”  The girls were both introduced to climbing their freshman year of college when their brother, a former member of Aiguille Rock Climbing Center, took them to the gym one lazy Sunday and that’s all it took.  Almost five years of climbing has gone by and now that they have both graduated from the University of Central Florida, they must balance the start of their careers with their climbing passions.  Right now, they are both hooked primarily on bouldering, but have enjoy the rope climbing on occasion as well.

Maha, recently graduated with Bachelors in Interpersonal Organizational Communications, currently works as a Sale Lead Manager in a women’s retail shop and is pursuing a career in marketing and communications.  A boulderer by nature, indoors and out, she would feel naked without her boulder chalk bag and Five Ten Blackwings.  Venturing to many different climbing locations such as The Dump in NC and Little Rock City, TN, Maha dreams to one day climb in one of Thailand’s amazing spots and even Europe.  Maha has even seen some of the best climbers in person.  After spending a summer in New York City, she got to see Ashima Shiraishi, the now 11 year old phenom, crush at Brooklyn Boulders.  “With her dad as her belayer, “Ashima was doing laps on a 5.13 lead route and crush with little effort!  Finally, I was sitting down to take off my shoes.  She was beside me, got to introduce myself, and was surprised to see how shy and humble she was when she spoke.  She climbs like a beast and I guess I was expecting a more aggressive attitude.”  Maha tries to stay on a consistent climbing schedule and tries to add as much cardio and endurance training in as possible by cycling and running as well.  But when not climbing or training, Maha loves to dive into some tasty Middle Eastern and Thai food, seeing a good movie or checking out a show from a favorite band.

Nadine, also graduating this year, received a Bachelors in Health informatics and Information Management and is currently studying to attain her Registered Health Information Administration license, choosing this field because she was looking for something healthcare related but non-clinical.  Preferring the practice of bouldering over lead or top rope, you wouldn’t catch her without her “amazing” La Sportiva Solutions and chalk bucket.  Nadine finds her climbing home to be Aiguille, place that she started, enjoying the frequency of routesetting and the people within the community, but her favorite climbing location is still Little Rock City in TN.  Eventually, Nadine would like to climb in Europe, but anything overseas would be exhilarating.  Nadine has also been a member of the three time national champion UCF Rock Climbing Team and proud of it.  “As Floridians, we are the flattest state, so you would think people fro other states would kick butt because they have the advantage to climb outdoors.  But yet we seemed to have the strongest climbers as a team.  We continued to win nationals against other colleges from around the country.  I was always so proud of that!”  Nadine also enjoys running and cycling in her training regimen and any other extracurricular activity that will help increase her climbing skills.  Outside the gym, she enjoys Thai food and sushi, as well as going out with the gang and checking out the Saturday morning Farmers Markets on Park Avenue for more food adventures.  “I LOVE food!”

While looking alike is just a start, Nadine and Maha both share a similar climbing style.  When asked them to describe it, their answers were almost identical.  Nadine describes her style as “more dynamic”  applying technique in the best way possible.  “I usually can use my bursts of energy to my advantage to get to the next hold.  I am very short, so I have found ways to go about that by becoming a dynamic climber...I am fortunate to have small hands and the strength to crimp down hard onto tiny holds.”  Likewise, Maha  considers herself “a person who focuses more on strength to power through the route.  I use my arms a lot for power moves, to make up for height.  There is definitely a combination of strength and technique and I love utilizing small holds.”  I also questioned the competitive nature climbing can take and how that relates to the sisters and their relationship.  When they first started climbing, there was a more aggressive attitude towards the sport, always climbing and training frequently and competitions would definitely bring this out more.  But in the end, only positive feelings of pride in one another’s accomplishments would envelope, allowing them to push each other.  “When I see Maha do a more I couldn’t do...this usually motivates me to keep pushing through my crux and try harder,” as Nadine stated perfectly.  Maha loves the way they push one another and says, “Nadine was always and will always be my toughest competition”.

While Nadine flies the La Sportiva flag, and Maha flying the Five Ten, the similarities in their love for climbing and passion for adventure keep these two an inseparable pair, trusting belay partners, worthy spotters, and best friends and motivators for life.  If you ever want see them crush, check out any of our events or late night bouldering sessions and you’re sure to catch this dynamic duo!
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