We are very excited that Katie Bono will be speaking Friday July 20th, 2017 at the Arc’teryx Climbing Academy in downtown Squamish! Recently coming off a speed record up the Alaska’s Mount Denali, Katie is an accomplished alpinist and climber and she will be talking about her experiences.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Katie’s first introduction to the outdoors came in cross country ski racing. This taught her many skills that she would use later on, including how to suffer for long periods of time and how to cope with absurdly cold weather. In high school, Katie travelled to the Canadian Rockies for the first time on a training trip and fell in love with the mountains. This love affair deepened while ski racing for Dartmouth College in New Hampshire when she discovered climbing. After retiring from the ski racing circuit in 2011, Katie began guiding and had the chance to pursue climbing more extensively.
We had a chance to catch up with Katie before the festival and here is what she had to say.
First off, congratulations on you recent speed record of Denali. Can you tell us a bit about the objective and what made you decide to focus on Denali?
I wanted to speed ascent on Denali because I think speed ascents are really fun and I had spent enough time on the mountain to know what I was getting into and what to expect.
For any goal like this, the preparation must be intense. What do you focus on when training for a goal like this?
I focus primarily on breaking things down into small manageable steps like just getting the day’s workout in. I also try to keep a broader strategy in mind, trying to do some kind of periodization of training. For example, I try to space out big volume weeks.
#type2fun @Regrann from @janetteheung – Full weekend chasing ice (and snow and work/study) with @katie__bono. Friend time is energizing 🙂 Now back to work, and then in a couple days it's #ourayicefest! 💫 Look forward to seeing the winter tribe and teaching a clinic this weekend! @hyperlite_mountain_gear @arcteryxdenver @eatbobos @arcteryx – #regrann
At the end of the entire experience, was there anything unique that you took away from this experience in terms of your own growth as a person and a climber?
I think I became more aware of my own motivation and of my abilities to try hard and suffer. A speed ascent is really a very stripped down objective, so it’s a lot easier to see the mental aspects of a climb like this versus a more technically distracting objective. It’s like the equivalent of comparing a track race to a trail running race.
This objective was completed on your own rather than with a partner. What do you like about a personal objective in comparison to working with a partner?
I think I actually really prefer to climb more with partners. I feel like partner climbing can be a more fulfilling type of climbing than solo climbing because it’s a shared experience. The plus side of solo speed ascents is that it can be nice because you don’t have to feel like you’re holding anyone back and vice versa.
You lived in Canmore, AB for a fair amount of time before moving to Colorado in 2015. What brought you to Canmore and what does it mean for you to live in that community?
I moved to Canmore because I thought it was staggeringly beautiful. I moved to Boulder because I think it’s one of the few places where you can get into the mountains a lot and also be able to have a really rich live outside of climbing. Having that kind of life balance is really important to me. I also really value the Boulder climbing community because I feel like it’s one of the most enthusiastic ones I’ve been a part of. Everyone is always incredibly excited to get outside and also generally really positive, which is really fantastic.
Despite being an all-around climber, you seem to have an affinity for harsh conditions. Can you tell us a bit about braving the elements and what it is like for you when things get pretty wild?
I think I’m just pretty good at being in harsh conditions- I’m sort of used to it at this point in my life. I think a lot of it is just accepting the elements and dealing with it- a lot of not-suffering in those kind of environments is just making the choice to ignore the suffer-y aspects of it.
You are taking part in this years Arcteryx Climbing Festival. What does it mean to you to be a part of an event like this and what are you looking forward to?
The climbing festival is a super fun way to get out and engage in the community. For me, there are a lot of people that I only get to see once a year, at the festival, and so its’ a really special time for me to get to reconnect with old friends. Squamish is also such a beautiful place and so different from Boulder that it’s amazing to experience that contrast.
Any other climbing plans while visiting Squamish?
I’m just going to try to get out as much as I can!
Thanks again for your time, Katie. Looking forward to your presentation on Friday night at the Academy!
Katie will be presenting Friday night downtown at O’Siyam Pavillion Park starting at 7pm. Be there!