Life moves fast and we believe one of the best ways to ride it is to find your own set of familiars, tune into the little things that slow you down. Our fam has a seriously diverse view of what “regular” looks like: charging waves, meditating in Sri Lanka, hanging off the side of a cliff, or hunkering down in the office designing next season. We are always on the lookout for the simple and the good. Our newest ambassador, rock climber Joe Kinder, catches up with us between trips and talks about what keeps him tethered and how he takes his coffee. Living a life on the road with girlfriend and his pup Fynn, his days are filled with epic climbs, a love of his work, and a constant lookout for what is next. We’re proud to have him as a part of the fam and eager to see what he climbs next.
You are living your dream life?! That's pretty rad. What does this dream life look like? Give me a standard day :)
My standard climbing days start with waking up in my van with my girlfriend Lindsey and my dog Fynn. We usually get going around 9am and drink coffee pretty slowly and casually. Coffee is one of my favorite things in the world and I always make the time to enjoy this part of the day. Reading, instagram and news are the usual solitary moments for about an hour or so? Then we get psyched and pack up and usually drive to the cliff. We hike in and warm-up on easier climbs and get the day going. Then it's try our harder climbs throughout the day until the sun sets. Hard climbing requires lots of tries on the climb and a great deal of patience, problem solving and sometimes slow progression. The evenings usually revolve around going out to eat or cooking in the van while we play a movie. It's a simple life and I love it.
A simple life is the good life. All of that sounds dreamy. I completely agree when it comes to coffee. Super important, how do you drink your coffee? Where is your favorite coffee spot?
I drink a 4 shot 16oz latte. Favorite spots are Pete's on 4th street and really any decent spot with a decent espresso.
Where are your top three places to climb?
Spain, Southern Utah, and Norway.
Do you sleep on the side of mountains in a hammock? Do you bivie? Surprisingly I didn't have to google that.
HA! I haven't slept on a portaledge yet, but I am sure I will sooner or later. Big wall climbing is something I am interested in for the future. It is a lot slower paced than the style of climbing I partake in so I will enjoy sleeping in my bed until that time comes.
Where is the greatest place you've ever woken up?
Perhaps on top of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. The sun rose and woke us up. The valley floor was covered in fog and it felt like we were so alone up there. Then of course drank coffee and took it all in. What a feeling...
The valley is magic, and as I learned recently a mecca for climbers. What is your favorite climb there?
I haven't climbed enough there to have a favorite but El Capitan is the most badass thing to climb there so that will surely be in my plans soon.
Aside from the needed climbing gear, what are travel essentials for you?
Puffy jacket, proper sunglasses, a cool beanie and usually my camera.
What RAEN frame is your go to?
I really dig the Arlo for the sleek and modern look and the Lyon for something classy.
You're lucky enough to work in the same vein as your true love, climbing, how did you make that happen?
A long process really. It didn't happen overnight. I got sponsored as a local climber for a shoe company and it escalated over the years. I made a name for myself by climbing well where I grew up in New Hampshire. Then traveling ensued and I started to climb harder routes all over the place. Over time I started to make more and more money and well... here I am. I grew up working odd jobs to simply go climbing. The day I was able to stop working (due to making enough from sponsors) was a pivotal moment in my life. It's been 12 years now that I haven't had a regular job. I am a super fortunate guy and owe the people and companies that believe in me.
What was the oddest of your odd jobs?
Ha! I've had so many. I sold Kurby Vacuum cleaners door to door for a while. I sold game meat at a butcher shop too. Ha! I remember slangin bison jerky, alligator meat, rattlesnake, black bear... so random of a job when I think of it. I worked at a pet store and sold pure bred dogs... awful pay but so fun to be around puppies all dang day.
What is your favorite current project?
I just finished my hardest climb. It's a first ascent called Bone Tomahawk. I will try the extension that will bump up the difficulty even more! Then of course visit the other hard routes I revisit throughout the years in the USA and in Spain. Plans are always being made around the weather, fitness and motivation. Stoked.
If you could climb with anyone, who would it be?
My girlfriend and dog! HA! I enjoy the way we vibe of course so I think that's my go-to answer. But I really enjoy climbing with Chris Sharma, Matty Hong, Carlo Traverse, Jon Cardwell, Dave Graham, Daniel Woods and people with positive and motivating energy. Anyone that brings that to the table is awesome to climb with.
Where are you right now? What do you see?
Right now I'm in Big Sur, California for a wedding. I am surrounded by massive trees and I can hear the ocean crashing way below the cafe I'm sitting in. After this I will be heading back to the desert to climb. Life is seriously good for me.
Follow Joe on Instagram @JoeKinder
Photos by: Jeff Lewis, Tim Kemple, and Cameron Maier.