Level Up with the Pros Part 1: Interview with Paul Robinson
Paul Robinson started out climbing in a gym in New Jersey, and has done a lot of work around the Northeast establishing hard lines at the Gunks and Great Barrington. He got his degree in Studio Arts and Art History, and since then he’s traveled the world pushing his limits and developing new climbing areas in South Africa, Australia, Mexico, and more. We sat down with him to chat about his roots in the Northeast, traveling nonstop, and his upcoming film project, Uncharted Lines.
What’s one thing you learned from starting out in the Northeast?
[Laughs] The weather is not always amazing, and you just have to capitalize on what you’re given.
How do you balance being a climber who travels non-stop?
I think giving myself ample rest is key, and not going going going 24/7. And yeah, I might be traveling a lot, but I just trying to make wherever I am as much of a home as possible.
What’s your anti-style?
Super steep with no feet and horrible massive slopers.
Do you enjoy climbing that style? Do you try to improve it?
[Laughs] No, I don’t really like climbing that style, but I try to improve it as much as I can, even though I suck at it.
How do you go about that?
By going to the gym, because that’s kind of what gyms prefer setting.
Your every day life is a lot of other people's day off. So what is your day off?
I feel like I do so much physical activity when I’m climbing that my days off tend to be pretty mellow. If I’m somewhere that I can surf, I go surfing. But you know, just chilling, reading, watching movies, or hiking around trying to find new rock.
What are you psyched on including in your new film project, Uncharted Lines?
It’s kind of been my dream to develop a new area on each continent. And each area isn’t necessarily brand new, but the basis of the film is for every climb to be a first ascent in new areas that people maybe haven’t heard of. I just want people to realize that there’s more out there than going to the normal spots and repeating stuff. Climbing is this ever-endless thing, and there’s so much rock out there that the sheep mentality isn’t necessarily the best one.
Is there anything in the Northeast that you’re psyched on including in the film?
Unfortunately the Northeast will not be in the film, I wish! I wish it was, I love climbing in the Northeast. It was tough to pick the areas where we were gonna film, but it’s kind of all been off of word of mouth, and photos, and stuff like that. And I know there’s amazing new rock to be climbed in the Northeast, and I will for sure be back to climb more, but the North America section of Uncharted Lines will be filmed in the Southeast.
Are you working on any art projects right now? How do they play into your travels and climbing?
Doing art is pretty much impossible for me. I miss the fine art aspect of my life that I haven’t had really since I graduated college. But I’ve taken videography and photography pretty seriously since college, and that’s kind of like my artistic outlet. I want this film to not just be a documentation of climbing hard boulders. I want people that don’t climb to enjoy the visual aspects of the film and the process that went into creating it.
Favorite place you’ve been … so far?
I think my favorite country in the world is South Africa.
What’s the smallest hold you’ve ever pulled on?
[Laughs] Oh I don’t know … I don’t know! There’s definitely been some small holds but I can’t really recall.
Cake vs. Pie?
Because it’s better! I don't know, I mean pie's good, it's not like it's bad, but I prefer cake!
Okay Paul...okay. You may have some questionable taste in desserts, but we can get behind everything else you're saying! To stay in the loop with Paul's travels, follow him on Instagram @paulrobinson87 and @uncharted_lines! And look out for Part 2, an interview with Olivia Hsu, coming soon!