Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
Q: What’s your climbing style?
A: Sloth-like and technical
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in climbing, and outside of climbing?
A: I would have to say Proper Soul is my proudest accomplishment in climbing. I had been dreaming about that route for so many years before I was ready to try it. It was also my first 5.14a, so I’ll remember that forever! In non-climbing, Surviving Real Analysis at UNC. I have never worked that hard in a class before in my life, and it was really rewarding to learn the material.
Q: What advice would you give to your first year climbing self?
A: Well, I kinda started climbing every once in a while when I was 3, so I would probably shake 3-year-old-me’s hand and thank her for finding the thing I love most. However, if I could give young, competitive Kerry some advice, I would tell her not to stress out about competitions. I have a lifetime of climbing ahead of me and the whole point is to have fun and enjoy the ride.
Q: Who do you take advice from and why?
A: This doesn’t fully answer the question, but the best advice I have ever received was from a family friend. On my 21st birthday, he told me to “listen to everyone’s advice with an open mind, but pick and choose what works best for you.” That is what I like to do best. I listen to everyone, but I choose what works for me, and what makes the most sense for me.
Q: How has your training for climbing changed in the last year?
A: I think it’s been a little over a year, but I have started incorporating a lot of lifting into my climbing! I love it. I do bench press, deadlifts, and weighted pull-ups. I’ve been trying to get better at dips recently as well.
Q: How has climbing affected the people you choose to surround yourself with?
A: I hate to say that I only hang out with climbers…but I really mostly hang out with climbers. It’s just fun to be surrounded by people who share your passion!
Q: What have you done to give back to the climbing community?
A: I love coaching. I coached the intermediate climbing team at Earth Treks when I lived in Maryland, and now I coach kids on the elite team at Triangle Rock Club! I also helped start the Carolina Climbing Club at UNC, and I set at our wall on campus occasionally. I try my best to share what I have learned from competing and projecting with everyone in order to help them get through the process!
Q: What have you learned from failure?
A: SO MUCH. Wow, I don’t even know where to start. I have learned that you are never going to get any stronger unless you try moves that you are failing on. It is so important to fail at something in order to grow. I have learned that falling all over a route does NOT mean you can’t do it, it simply means you just have to put in a bit more time and effort into it. Most importantly, I have learned that my greatest successes have been from something that I “failed” on at first.
Q: Who are the climbers that inspire you the most and why?
A: My old coaches (shoutout to Will Anglin and Matt Jones for teaching me a lot of what I know about climbing) inspire me a lot because they are very methodical about their training. Jesse Grupper and Ben Hanna inspire me because they try so hard when they climb! You can tell they are fighting so hard to stay on the wall. Claire Bresnan inspires me because she’s really strong, but she’s also always having fun and supportive of all her friends whenever she climbs and competes. Also, my team kids inspire me because they all work so hard during practice!
Q: What is your favorite climbing location and why?
A: The New River Gorge is hands down my favorite climbing location! The rock there really inspires me, and I think a lot of the climbs there has really cool movement. There is a lot of technical-face climbing. So many of the climbs have barely anything on the wall, but as you climb them, you slowly start to unlock the sequences. Lots of deep lock-offs and hand-foot matches! It’s also where I really got into outdoor climbing, and I consider it my home-crag.
Q: Why Butora Climbing?
A: Because I fell in love with the Acro the first time I put them on! Now, I really enjoy climbing in my Narsha, but the Acro is what sold me on Butora. I also really enjoy that the ambassadors are super supportive of each other! I haven’t met some of them in person, but it feels like we are on a team together
Q: What are your favorite before and after climbing meals?
A: I feel like I usually say oatmeal but right now I’m pretty into bagel sandwiches with egg and cheese for breakfast before a big day of climbing! I also love to drink chocolate milk after climbing.
Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: Probably a sloth. Or a screw-on crimp
Questions from the Internet
Q: What differences have you found in climbing Narsha versus climbing in Acro?
A: The Narshas have a stiffer rubber, so they take a bit more time to break in than the Acros do. It took me a while to adjust to climbing in them after the Acros, but I think the Narshas perform better on tiny footholds especially outdoors. The Acros are a great all-around shoe with a softer rubber, and they feel great right out of the box!
Q: What are some tips you would give to new outdoor climbers about crag etiquette?
A: Be respectful of nature and others at the crag. It really is a privilege to get to climb outside! If you can, maybe find a mentor who would be willing to take you outside for the first time and teach you about it. My advice is to make sure you really know how to be safe, be respectful of the amount of time you are on the wall if there is a line, don’t blast your music, if you have a lot of people in your group on one climb let a smaller group mix in with you if they want to try it too, pack out your trash and pick up any other trash that someone else leaves behind, and just try to treat nature and others the way that you would want to be treated (Golden rule).
Q: Tips you would give to someone who is stuck on their project? How do you stay motivated when you are stuck?
A: Stay Positive! Sometimes, I will take breaks from my projects to try other climbs. I think it is mentally helpful to have a break from your biggest projects if you are stuck in the same spot. If I’m falling on one specific move on a route, I will rehearse it over and over again to make sure I can be 100% confident I know how to do the move when I get there on point. Also, I think it’s really important to project lines that are fun and inspiring to you in some way. When I find a route like this and I get stuck on it, sometimes I am thankful for it, because it means I get to come back to it and try again!
Q: How have you overcome fear in climbing (fear of falling, fear of failure, etc.)?
A: The fear of falling was personally a bit easier for me to overcome, and I don’t really know why. I think it’s because my old coach forced me to wait longer before I was able to start lead climbing (I was really young), and so I was too excited to be scared when I finally was able to lead climb. I also have always really trusted my belayers, so that helps, too! I’m still growing and working on my own fear of failure. That is definitely a tough one, but I like to remind myself that my friends will still be my friends no matter what. I don’t like to be around people who are judging me for failing. We are all learning and growing (no matter where we are in our climbing journey), and failing is the best way to learn something new!