Words and Pictures by Hong Tran
If you have been climbing at Sender One LAX, you've probably seen Hong climbing around. Hong and his family have been such a delight in our wonderful climbing community. Their psych for climbing within Sender One extends back to 2017. Hong is always on the lookout to share his passions for climbing with others and always upholds our core values every time he's in the gym. Hong took some time to answer some questions and share his insights about his passions and inspirations about climbing.
Read the interview below:
How did you get into climbing?
My buddy took me out to the Greenbelt in Austin, TX. He took a whipper on the first route (Crystal New Persuasion), broke his ankle, and we had to carry him out. That was my first experience and I have been hooked ever since.
When did you start climbing?
Sport Climbing - 1998
Corporate ladder - 2002
Boulder - 2006
What's something that most people don't know about you?
I enjoy getting older. As we enter the dreaded midlife crisis age, it can suck or be awesome depending on how you approach it (I suppose this is true with most things in life). I figure that there are three pillars to happiness: time, energy, and opportunity/money. It seems like, at this stage in life, all 3 are much more achievable with the right mindset and willingness to do better.
What other hobbies do you have?
Beach volleyball, board games, and failing at Keto.
What are your favorite TV shows/ movies?
Game of Thrones! That show has allowed me to avoid weddings (more climbing time) and remember to hold the door for everyone.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to climb and would like to improve?
Balance being serious and have fun. Make sure that you put in the time and energy to get better. Focus on your technique and power/endurance training. The cool thing about climbing is that you see results in a relatively short time if you are willing to sacrifice to the climbing gods. Spend less time comparing yourself against others. Make sure to take the time to enjoy your surroundings. The lasting memories are going to be the camaraderie at the crag and the sound of the wind behind you as you are on the sharp end. The try hard struggles will merge together and are fleeting thoughts as the years go by.
What are some of your favorite climbing destinations? What makes them special?
El Potrero Chico - long sport multi pitches give plenty of opportunities for epic stories
Red River Gorge - hundreds of overhang juggy routes. Your technique is going to suffer because you have so much fun jug hauling on these bad boys.
Barcelona - I've been to Rodellar, Montgrony, and Siurana which is less than half the amazing crags in this area. So many different types of climbing, everyone is crazy strong, and the climbing culture is laid back and no ego (mostly because you are a speck compared to their super powers).
Check out his pictures below!
Please share some of your climbing goals for 2020. What are your strategies for accomplishing them?
1) Climb injury free - this includes proper warm up and warm down focusing on dynamic stretching and getting the heart rate up/down as well as getting proper rest
2) Reintroduce power to my climbing - adding hangboard, moon board training, and bouldering back into my training at a proactive specific pace
3) Being more aware of how I feel and why I feel during climbing - this includes recognizing fear/anxiety and how to overcome it
4) Getting my kids outdoors and enjoying the surroundings - not really a direct climbing goal, but it's important to my climbing experience
5) Battle age and maintain consistent in my climbing level - this is a combination of diet, endurance training, and a small amount of power improvement
Have you had any obstacles during your climbing career?
Having kids was a huge transition for us. It was hard to find time to climb and raise a family. Fortunately, I have an awesome and understanding wife that allows me to find time to climb.
Also, as I age, I struggle with keeping in climbing shape and warding off injuries. Fortunately, there is a lot of climbing specific information out there to help keep you in better shape and keep you motivated.
Would you rather only be to use a fork (no spoon) or only be able to use a spoon (no fork)? Why?
Tough question but it would have to be spoon. A fork could help you escape prison but the spoon will be more useful for jailhouse pudding.