Today's climber interview is a special one, with Canadian rock climber, Vannavee Pornsinsiriruk, aka Vanny P! Vanny is a total crusher and we found her climbing story to be so relatable. Especially the 5'3", negative ape index part! (We're also not salty. Not one bit.)
Keep reading to hear more about Vanny started rock climbing, and what it means to her.
To start, what are a few ways you identify yourself? (some examples: name, age, type of work you do.) But really, anything you believe is important.
My name is Vanny, I work in a lab. I am very emotionally attached to my unicycle (had it since I was 8) and our absolutely massive peace lily Ophelia (I will send you $2 if yours is bigger.)
Vanny P. Photo By: Andrew Cavers
How did you start climbing?
This is a fun and kinda long story. In grade 8, I joined an outdoors summer camp because I was very into hiking. But on one of the days they took us climbing in the Canadian Rockies. I went home, told my mom I liked it- she quickly shut me down ("NO, I am NOT letting my only daughter die before me!").
So I forgot about it for a few years. In grade 11, I convinced my mom that she should let me try climbing *inside*. I didn't know anyone who climbed, so I found a random partner through an ad at the gym. He meant well, but unintentionally invalidated all of my noob fears, pushed me too hard, and we didn't get along great, as it happens when you combine a 20 year age difference and one shy teenager. I found myself going to the gym just to 'get my money's worth'.
Four months later, I'd pushed my new shoes, harness, and chalk bag to the back of my closet. In my first month of university, I decided to join the Varsity Outdoor Club at UBC to make hiking buddies. The girl who signed me up told me I should come to Rock Party, their annual instructional rock climbing event, which would be in just a few weeks.
I thought sure, whatever, I just want to meet new friends- and I have the gear anyways. So I showed up, and two really awesome dudes taught me how to rappel and build anchors. They, and everyone else in our group, were patient, relatable, and so fun to be around- and I was hooked. Still friends with a bunch of people I met at that event. Have now taught at that event multiple times myself.
Vanny P. Photo by: Luc Harvey
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Oh man. It has brought me so many incredible friends. That's the first thing I think of. But it's also taught me perseverance. It constantly pushes my definition of 'trying hard' a it further. And it helps me reach beautifully remote places.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
I ski tour, I bike around, I draw birds sometimes. I am veeery into puzzles.
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Having a positive ape index is aid. I am saying this as a VERY neutral bystander. I am not AT ALL salty about my 5'3" frame and -2 ape. Zero.
Vanny P. Photo by: Andrew Cavers
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
I'm working on my crack climbing technique. I absolutely do not know how to handle offwidths, and I have turned at least 5 offwidth pitches of the past summer into 5.12 face climbs that left me shaking and swearing by the end. I swear I was flexing every goddamn muscle in my body trying to stay on this one 5.10 crack in the middle of a long alpine multi. I was a zombie for the rest of the route. Work on yo jams folks.
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
Y'all are exactly what I was looking for for years. The quality and SOFTNESS is the best I've ever found. The designs are classic, witty, and so full of personality.
Vanny P. Photo by: Eric Jamieson
You can find Vanny on Instagram at @vanny.jpg Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Interviews here. We hope you have enjoyed these sneak peeks into climbers' lives. We're on a mission to share diverse stories about rock climbing. Let's push the boundaries of who we know as climbers. Let's use our energy and passion for the outdoors to love our environment and inspire one another.