motivation to climb
My motivation to climb is ever evolving and multi-dimensional. I got into climbing because I liked the physical aspect of it combined with three-dimensional problem solving. As the years went by I felt like I needed something more from climbing and began to shift my focus from sport to trad. I feel like trad climbing still has the athletic component to it and adds an extra twist to the problem solving component because you’re not only unlocking crux sequences but also working through where to place gear, what kind, etc. It also has taken me to some truly special places sport climbing alone just can’t reach – such as up El Cap, a desert spire, the jungles of South America and wild peaks
most memorable climb
I have many memorable climbing experiences, both good and bad, but one that has stayed with me over the years took place 10 years ago in Red Rocks. I was living on the road and was beginning to switch gears into trad climbing. I met a guy in Vegas who was in a similar point in his climbing career and was looking for a partner for Epinephrine. Neither of us had chimneyed before, done really any multi-pitch climbing to speak of, nor knew how to place gear very well. The night before the climb we were crashing at some guy’s house, and as a party went on my partner and I were seeing if we could both fit into a bivy sack together. We packed the food, rechecked the rack, then tried to sleep while people boozed into the night. We awoke as most of the others were going to bed and set off into the desert night. I followed the first wide pitch and immediately got fully stuck when I tried to chimney with a pack on. After much cursing and effort, I freed myself and we carried the pack between our legs instead of hauling (a term I learned afterwards). We kept replaying the horror stories in our minds of people getting benighted up top and so we climbed as fast as we could. Pitch after pitch of classic 5.9 climbing blew by in a whirlwind and despite being noobs to gear, it never seemed to bother us. We topped out with plenty of daylight but saw all these impromptu bivy coffins on top and got nervous. We started sprinting down the descent, afraid of being stuck up on top and got back in the fading light. It wasn’t an epic, and it wasn’t even close to my onsight limit. It was simply a cruiser day with a friend and it changed the course of my climbing career.
favorite climbing spot
My favorite place to climb is Joshua Tree. It’s a vast, endless desert with every type of climbing imaginable. Steep face routes, roof cracks, desperate slabs, classic bouldering, desert solitude, and a wonderfully vibrant camp scene in Real Hidden Valley. It’s the best place to just roll in and find a partner in the parking lot, or to go the other extreme and simply disappear for a few days into the desert and solo to your heart’s content.
Jason Haas, 32, originally hails from the flatlands of Michigan where he learned to climb at the soft sandstone cliffs of Grand Ledge, MI. The joke always was, if you don’t like a route, wait a week and something will break, making a whole new line. He would regularly drive the 7.5 hours to the Red River Gorge until eventually moving there. Jason now lives outside Boulder, CO where he runs Fixed Pin Publishing and teaches math and special education. Despite the move, he has never forgotten his roots and is still known as a sketchy choss-junky to all his climbing partners. This has paid off well with first ascents all across the desert as well as FFAs in the Fisher Towers. Jason has redpointed as well as established both sport and trad routes up to 5.14. He prefers climbing something new over repeating a line he’s already done, which has lent itself well to writing guidebooks, of which he has authored six. He has also climbed in 38 states and on four continents, doing at least one FA in 23 of those states and on three of the four continents.