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Climber Interview : Narinda Heng

Written by Leslie Kim

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Posted on February 04 2020

Thanks for being here for another climber interview! This one is with Narinda Heng, co-creator of our Tender Sender tee, dear friend and climbing partner.


Q1: To start, a few ways you identify yourself... (some examples: name, age, pronouns, type of work you do...) But really, anything you believe is important.
A1: Narinda, she/her, queer, Khmer American rock climbing and backpacking instructor, writer, potter.

Q2: How did you start climbing?
A2: On MLK day 2011, I went climbing at Malibu Creek State Park with my partner at the time, who had been climbing since she was 18. I'd always climbed trees, fences, and the occasional balcony, so I was glad to give it a try. I got truly hooked after my first taste of lead climbing a few months later at Echo Cliffs.


Climbing
Q3: What impact has climbing had on your life?
A3: I began spending more and more time outdoors because of climbing, and that has shaped my choice of work/workplaces. Climbing, especially being an instructor, has pressed me to explore trusting myself and others, to think about land and place, how we interact with it, with ourselves, and with one another. I've built a cozy community of climber writer/artist folks; a few of us came together to make Lonely Together Zine, which explores our various journeys and questions around climbing.

Q4: What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
A4: I write because it's the way I've processed my experience of the world for as long as I can remember. Before climbing engulfed my life, I was active in the Asian American arts community in LA. I started making pottery in 2014, and the more I learn about the elements and process, the more I want to learn-- and it's thrilling to interact in this intimate way with the same elements that comprise the rock walls I spend time on. Instructing for GirlVentures for the last five years is incredibly fulfilling.


Q5: If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
A5: We can do things differently. More tenderly. More kindly. More slowly. Why not?

Photo 1 by @urbanclimbr
Photo 2 by @stuffmonkeysays

Ways to find out more about Narinda:

Website: Long Cool Hallway
Instagram: @narinda___

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