That Jimmy, he’s so hot right now. He does what a hot day does to ice-cream if you don’t eat it fast enough, or what too much chilli powder does to an otherwise perfectly acceptable meal. He’s like a great beardy hurricane of melty hotness, and he’s tearing a strip out of the credibility of hard bouldering the world over!
Perhaps it’s the unassuming smile, the scruffy (but brand new) Prana clothing, or the unruly bear hanging off his chin that just screams, ‘I’m a loveable street urchin, but I’ll still smash your car window to steal your loose change!’ Or maybe it’s the way he casually sneaks up on poor unsuspecting boulder problems and utterly annihilates them without so much as a second glance (or second try). He’s the six foot behemoth with a monk’s calm and a dancer’s grace, and as some might say, he’s no slouch. Some might also say that he’s nothin’ but a filthy southern down-rater, but they wouldn’t say it to his face. Or rather, to his beard. Like that old guy who used to be that guy who did kung fu and Walker, Texas Rangering and stuff, he’s probably got another fist hidden under there somewhere, waiting to punch another boulder square in the suck-hole!
It’s Webb’s disarmingly honest take on bouldering’s often convoluted and contradictory ratings game that has left many a pebble-wrestler frothing into their protein shakes across the globe. ‘Why stand around working a problem for days on end,’ Webb probably doesn’t really say, ‘when I can do it first try and get on with my life?’ Why indeed? Sky, The Vice, Kings of Sonlerto, these are all fine, upstanding problems that didn’t do nothing to nobody, and have now suffered heinous treatment under Webb’s iron-like paws. Many of which have limped away with a whole digit knocked off. Sometimes two.
What makes this huge bastard such a formidable force to be reckoned with, like El Nino, or an unseasonable drought? In a series of hard-hitting, probing questions, I pierce to the very heart of this gentle, yet violent individual like some kind of really big drill, and find out what makes him tick, while at the same time providing next to no information at all! Mainly I just articulate the inane nonsense that happened to be floating around my head at the time, but the people want sensationalism and only the most tenuous grasp on reality possible, dammit, so that’s what you get! Forget other interviews and articles, which swoop around the rim and shy away from the tough questions in favour of actual journalism, the following is Jimmy Webb, exposed!
|Date of birth||November 7 1987|
|Hardest route||50 words for pump|
|Hardest boulder||The Nest|
|Hardest flash||The Vice|
|Most memorable route/boulder||The Nest|
|Ape index||+1.5 inches|
|Biggest fall||Backslap from 20ft|
|Most embarrassing nickname||Don’t really have too many nicknames|
|Sponsors||Prana, Organic, Five Ten, Giddy, Metolius|
|Favourite shoe||Team 5.10|
1) Describe yourself in five words or less.
Chill, easy going, determined.
2) How did you first get into rock climbing?
I started dating a girl in my sophomore year in high school that was on the climbing team. Went with her once and I was hooked!
3) Multi-choice #1
Pick one or several of the following, which best describes your personality:
A) White wine and dinner with friends, with Nora Jones playing in the background;
B) Brewskies and football, with the potential for fights later on;
C) Grape juice and video games, with racial slurs and offensive remarks about other players’ mothers;
D) Hard liquor out of a brown paper bag, with a sojourn in prison if the mood takes you;
E) Cocktails and house music, sneering at side-fringes and day-of-the-dead tattoos;
F) Water from pristine mountain streams, with friendship bracelets and punch-dancing alone in the woods
Answer: Definitely brewskies and football!!!
4) What would you like to achieve in 2014?
I have a lot of plans to travel this year so honestly my goals are simple. Have fun and enjoy! I have a pretty big itch to find and establish some boulders so hopefully that will happen as well.
5) How would you defeat 17 ninjas, armed with only a ham sandwich and an Elton John Christmas Special CD from 1998?
Hahahaha…. ummmmm.. I think if you pressed play on that Christmas special CD anyone would take off runnin’.
6) What’s on the JWEBXL dinner menu tonight?
Just had a good ol’ fashioned ‘merican hamburger & french fries.
7) Aside from just being manlier than the manliness of ten men combined, what specific power training do you do? And is there one training thing/tip/gem/secret that you can recommend for people looking to increase their own manliness?
Really I just train like everyone else does. I just generally focus on my weaknesses and keep my routine simple. I climb a lot, work on the finger strength, and make sure to do some core at the end of it all. Everyone has their own secret recipe to success. The difficult part is finding it.
8) What’s your pre-game ritual before attempting a hard flash? Drinking the blood of sacrificed farm-yard animals, perchance? Chanting sutras? Dancing round fires? What is it?
Haha, I’m a bit obsessive. So if there’s a boulder that really gets me psyched I won’t be able to stop thinking about it. I probably run a boulder problem through my head like 10 million times before I arrive under it. So when I’m finally ready for that one attempt I already know exactly what to do.
9) I stubbed my toe one time. Literally thought I’d never walk again, the pain was so bad. What’s the worst injury you’ve ever sustained?
Popped my tendon a couple years back. Took like 9 months to feel 100% again..
10) Whose beard would win in a fight; yours, or the beard of James Litz?
Good fight there……Mine.
11) When you get a bit tired from humiliating hard boulders all day long, what do you like to do in your spare Jimmy-time?
Eat mass amounts of food
12) Reckon you could flash Gioia?
Not a chance.
13) What most motivates you to climb hard rocks and stuff?
The line itself usually gets me the most stoked. Or the thought that you’re about to be going on a cool trip with your friends. Pure psyche son!
14) The prevailing theme in a lot of the international destinations these days seems to be: poop, toilet paper, area closures, used climbing tape and cigarette butts. How have you found the impact of the sport’s increased popularity on local ecosystems and cultures in spots around the world? And how do you see the status quo in, say, five years time?
Yea man it’s unfortunate the way some areas are treated. I think the sport has just grown so much that there’s simply more people out there that are ignorant to the “pack it in, pack it out” idea. Not sure where things will end up, but hopefully people begin to step it up and take matters into their own hands when it comes to keeping your local crag pristine.
15) I’d pretty much want to win a Bouldering Word Cup just so I could say I beat Killian Fishburger. Reckon you’ll ever do the Cup circuit?
Eh, the world cup circuit just isn’t really my thing. Though I’d be stoked to compete in a couple for fun!
16) If you retired from hard rock climbing and entered the WWE (formerly the WWF, which in my opinion was a way better name), what would your wrestler name be?
17) Multi-choice #2
It’s the last day of a trip to a new area and you’re down to your last reserves of skin and strength on a project. You’re down to the bone, it’s getting dark and it’s starting to rain; what do you do:
A) Threaten your spotters’ loved ones if they don’t stay for 23 last-ditch attempts;
B) Pack your pads up and tell everyone who will listen that it was a lame problem anyway and you could’ve flashed had you been inspired;
C) Instagram it and leave, vowing vengeance;
D) Give up and find the nearest bar;
E) Throw a massive rage-quit and torch a vacant police car;
F) Say you’re richer for the experience, that failure has taught you to grow and to be a better individual, but secretly cry on the inside and then shave your beard and donate it to charity
Answer: Vengeance will be mine!!
18) Climbing media and sponsors are putting increasing pressure on climbers to perform, based on a scale of difficulty that is largely made-up by whatever people were feeling on the day. How does this affect you (if at all), and what impact do you think it’s having on the sport as a whole?
Man my sponsors aren’t really worried about how I perform. They’re just stoked to have me out there doing what I love and hopefully inspiring a few people on the way. No pressure here. I’m just in it for the love of the game!
19) If you could go back in time to any era or location, which historical figure would you most like to meet? And what would you ask?
Hunter S. Thompson no doubt, and I’d ask em where I could buy that ticket..
20) What’s the achievement you are least proud of?
Spelling B champ 5th grade?
21) And finally, how would you rate this interview on a scale from 1 to 10? And be honest, I can take it. But not too honest.
A solid 10 dawg! Not your every day questionnaire and that was refreshing. Cheers!
(For the record: I couldn’t even touch Sky. Literally. It was like zzzp! piss off!)