Getting Manny Quintana, a 16-year-old crusher from Southern California, to agree to an interview was no easy task. After months of avoiding my emails, he told us that the only way he would do an interview was over Facebook messenger. Manny said that answering questions over email felt too much like homework, and that he is “too ugly” to do a Skype interview.
To prepare him for our interview, we sent Drew Ruana’s climber spotlight to Manny so he could get an idea of what kind of questions we would be asking. In response to this, Manny said,
I’m greaser compared to Drew. I’m a chossmuff.
Read on to hear about Manny’s completely uncensored thoughts on the competitive climbing scoring system, being able to climb V12 crimps but not V3 slopers, why he thinks Daniel Woods didn’t get first in a recent competition, and much, much more:
Is there anything in particular that you really want talk to about in this interview?
Idk. Comps and chuffing on rock. Being scared on a rope. Not climbing 5.14 like everyone else. Being short and finishing last in all the big comps with DYNOS?! Being able to climb V12 crimps but can’t slope V3. Something along those lines.
Manny then asked me (Georgie Abel) if I wanted to
chuff on V3 slopes
with him sometime this year, and I said sure.
K bye this is weird.
I figured that the interview was over, and scrambled to find another person to interview for this week’s Climber Spotlight. However, the next day, Manny contacted by sending me a picture of a monkey. This one to be precise …
The interview continued …
You grew up climbing mainly in the gym. Was it hard for you to transition from gym climbing to outdoor climbing?
Well the transition between the climbing gym and real rock was fairly easy for me. I was easily influenced by the climbing films my local gym would occasionally put up on a big screen in the middle of the gym.
Who do you look up to in the climbing world? Who are your mentors?
I really look up to Chad Gilbert; he is my climbing coach. I went on my first real rock climbing trip to Hueco with him and shortly after he introduced me to outside sport climbing.
What has your experience with sport climbing been like? You mentioned that you’ve felt scared on a rope. Do you have any advice for people dealing with fear while climbing?
To me, sport climbing feels like a totally different sport than bouldering. The first climbing gym I ever climbed at was a bouldering-only gym and so I became really comfortable bouldering—hard movements fairly close to the ground and going all out for a few moves. When I first began sport climbing I hated it.
I really disliked the feel of a rope and harness while climbing. But when I learned that sport climbing would ultimately better me as a boulderer, my mindset completely changed. At the start I was nervous! That year I really dedicated myself to sport climbing with the goal of competing at the youth world championships. No matter what I’m climbing—5.8 or 5.13—I’m always a little anxious.
What advice can you offer to someone who experiences fear when climbing on a rope?
I myself struggle with nerves when sport climbing. I don’t really know what it is, whether I have the route dialed and I’m on a redpoint burn or onsighting something well in my range of capability, I always feel a little anxious.
Something I had to learn was that it’s completely okay to fail. I know this sounds a little bit silly but I feel it is a really important to remember. If you want to push your own personal limits you’re going to have to break through the barriers that are stopping you.
Related: Redefining Success in Rock Climbing
You’ve created a hashtag/lifestyle called “cruxIslife.” Can you explain what this means?
So cruxIslife is everything and nothing at the same time. It makes sense if you don’t think about it.
What can you tell us about comp climbing?
How much they suck, but you gotta do them to get recognition? How they don’t accurately represent the best climbing?
But the competitions give me something to really train for. And in bouldering comps especially, I find the moves to be a bit reachy. Haven’t yet competed in many open comps because of this reason, but hey I’m 16, so I’m gonna grow a little more … hopefully. Oh and slopers, those suck.
Do you feel that comps accurately represent who the best climbers are?
USAC competitions use a ridiculous scoring system. Nobody understands it. I mean Daniel [Woods] just got 4th …
Why do you think he got 4th?
We all know that Daniel is an incredibly talented athlete and could have completely dominated for another year. But with comps, just one little slip, or if your mind is in the wrong spot, or you simply just didn’t poop before ISO and that little extra weight messed up your balance—that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Then once these minuscule but very drastic mistakes are made, the next best climber can swoop in and grab the gold.
After asking a few more questions, Manny became uninterested in giving answers, asked me how I had the patience to interview people, and then went to Hueco …
Despite Manny’s hilarious and modest answers, he is a very talented climber and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. We send a huge thanks to Manny for his candid thoughts and we can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring for him!