Recently, long time Touchstone Member Lisa Feather Knee climbed her first 5.12a at the Berkeley Ironworks lead cave. Knee, who hails from Santa Fe, New Mexico, works as an artist painting large colorful oils and making serigraphs with acrylic paint. The Touchstone blog got a hold of the rock crushing artist shortly after he send. Knee began climbing 12 years ago when a friend took her out to a local crag. â€śAll was going well until the point when I realized I would have to let go and trust the rope to get me back on ground. That's when the screaming started. After that I was hooked.â€ť Knee started a membership at Mission Cliffs shortly afterwards.
Since beginning her Touchstone membership, Knee has traveled across the globe climbing in Bishop, Smith Rocks, Thailand, Squamish, Red Rocks, the Sierra, and Loverâ€™s Leap. Knee remains modest about her forays into hard climbing. â€śIndoor climbing is cushy, for the most part. The biggest danger is that someone will flirt too aggressively with your belayer and he/she will not hear the warbled cry of your "taaaake!" bird.â€ť The yellow 5.12a at the Ironworks lead cave fit her style of climbing well. â€śIt's got a lot of strange moves, and that happens to be my thing. Give me contortions over pure power any day! I'd much rather solve it with my brain then my biceps, only because my biceps is really not up to the task.â€ť
â€śAfter years of climbing a lot, regularly, in the gym and outdoors, I had pretty much accepted that I am a big lanky noodle who would never climb very hard. It seemed like a physical limitation that could not be overcome. I've never had much strength in my upper body.â€ť Knee busted through her plateau through a few different methods. â€śI learned that a lot of my weakness also came from anemia. So I worked with a naturopathic doctor, Elizabeth Korza, to build up my blood and vitamin D levels (most people are low in Vitamin D, and it affects your ability to recover from strenuous workouts). Right after that I started noticing big improvements in my overall fitness. Then I started taking yoga more regularly, doing tons of abdominal work with the aerial dancer Isabel Von Rittenburg, and joined a master's swim team.â€ť The most significant part of Kneeâ€™s ascent was the mental aspects. â€śThere's a huge component of climbing that's purely mental. That's been the hardest thing to change. I've had to face it that I need take falls, and learn to trust my body. That's way of thinking that translates into big life changes, as you start to realize other areas of your life where fear has kept you from realizing your full potentialâ€ť. Knee plans on heading outside soon for her next project, a route called Hidden Treasure (5.11d) at the Gold Wall in Sonora. She also hopes to climb more at Red Rocks, the Red River Gorge and to see Maple Canyon in Utah and visit Lander Wyoming.
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/