P&C’s Woman of the Year Award: Vanessa Compton!
Like super hot women that are really friggin cool? So do we, that’s why we celebrate Vanessa Compton as our P&C Woman of the Year. This teacher by day, creative artist and rock climbing crusher by all other times of day or night, has been a fixture on the front range scene for some time. However, come this summer, she hits the road with a vengeance, guard your projects because she WILL hike them. We chose Vanessa as our Woman of the Year because she embodies everything that is cool to us.
Interview: Adam Peters (Bronco)
Photos: Caroline Treadway (C-Note) and Vanessa Compton
Vanessa Michele Compton
Vanarchy (high school) V-card (Joe Kinder)
V-Card? Haha, there has to be story behind that one.
I’d rather not think about that…
Hometown? Current town?
Grew up in middle of nowhere Vermont, livin’ in Boulder bubble-land now till summertime.
What’s the plan for summertime?
Seclude myself in a little art studio in northern VT and make some killer collages, climb on the east coast, then maybe Font and then climb in Hueco Nov-Feb…if anyone has a cool trailer lemme know.
That sounds like quite the perfect little plan you’ve concocted for yourself. Vermont, good. East Coast climbing, good. Font, way good. Hueco, way good. I don’t see how that can fail.
I’m so siked, never been on a climbing trip for more than 10 days. I think a 365-day trip sounds perfect right now. Um, yeah.
So, pretty much, you’re a bad-ass artist. Have you always been interested in creating art?
My dad is a professional singer/songwriter and my mom is visual artist so i guess it’s in the blood. I always was the dorky art kid. Climbing has made me actually resemble an athlete which is hilarious to me.
I can’t really see you as a dorky art kid, but whatever. Being an artist and a climber do you see any correlations between the two? And can I get a pic of you in dorky art kid mode?
Both put you into your head and both allow for creativity and personal gumption. I like how if your art sucks or your climbing sucks, there is really no one to blame but yourself. That edge keeps me on my toes. Ooooooo, a dorky art kid pic? Do I get something in return? I keep falling in love with different mediums and different music to make art to. Right now it’s making collages to La Mala Rodriguez & Sigur Ros.
That’s what’s nice about art and climbing, when you get tired of one genre you can focus efforts on a new one.
Just like friends.
Wow, does that mean you’re just going to drop me as a friend someday?
Pretty much, sorry man.
I’m a little hurt.
I’ll make it up on Whiskey Wednesday.
You’re on. What’s it feel like to be a freaking badass climber too?
Hmmm, let me use my imagination because it is so not my reality. I rather prefer to surround myself around those who are badass. That way I can be cool by association. For example, on Sunday when I was top-roping in Eldo (hot, I know) and watched Alex Honnold cruise “Evictor” while I was hanging on the anchors from above. Awesome. I went up with Pete Takeda (my new favorite American) and Caine Delacy (my new favorite Aussie) and my girls Abbey Smith and Colette McInerney.
That sounds like a fun crew and good odds for Pete and Caine. So, Eldo, traditional climbing, any interest?
I’ve done that on and off since I started climbing. Trad leading is friggin’ awesome but not something I’ve really delved hardcore into, past epicing on various Eldo moderates. I probably would’ve been safer soloing.
Well, Eldo lends itself to epics. I think everyone has an Eldo story. What are you psyched on right now, climbing-wise?
Basically just Hueco. I’m so spoiled and close-minded right now. My heart is in Hueco, bad…if you haven’t been there than I can’t even talk to you.
Hueco is, plain and simple, the shit. What is it about Hueco that makes it so good?
There is something indescribable about the way I feel when i arrive there. Oh wait, there is a word to describe it, it’s “le shit”. It takes a couple hours to get back into my Hueco-ness, but I love the climbing, and I love the people there. The locals (Charles, Gleather, Ricky-o, Trevor my beautiful angel, the crazy random Spaniards) and the vista tortilla and avocado lunches, and not having to be embarrassed about drinking Hornitos on a regular basis.
Awesome. My sentiments exactly and I learned a new French word.
Can I add one more thing?
I love how (if you don’t wanna project) you can just go off by yourself and climb sickest highball VO’s in da world.
Yep, some of my best days in Hueco have been pulling moderates and having a blast doing so.
Are you a big project person? As in, you always have an obsession over some problem or route?
I go in and out of that mode. I try to keep a healthy balance of sike-ness and just enjoying the present moment. but of course I can get wrapped up in the game, I’m still trying to work on that, like I still look at 8a when no one is looking.
Haha, who doesn’t?
A lot of people, they’re just too cool to be noticed.
So, you recently spent some time in Africa. Tell us a little about that.
Um, I went to Ghana this summer to study palm wine guitar with an amazing teacher. His name is Adja Koo Nimo. I also helped my former professor Kwasi Ampene with his sabbatical research. It was so good. I friggin’ love West Africa. The people there have the biggest hearts in the world. and the best food (check out cheebu jen and foo fuo!). I had last been there in 2003 when I did a semester studying the kora and wolof in Senegal. Dakar is the best place to go clubbing, they know what’s up.
I’m guessing that the kora and wolof are instruments?
The kora is the West African version of a harp/lute and wolof is a language spoken by lots of people, mostly in Senegal and the Gambia.
What got little girl from nowhere VT to get so psyched on West African music?
The lack of pretension and the quality of musicianship is bar none. The music exudes such sheer joy and a love of life. African music always gets lumped into the “world music” category and I hope to do my part to break that myth. Also, I love how silly white people look dancing, it’s hilarious!!!
So, sounds like you are going back to Africa in the future?
Definitely sometime in the future. I just gotta weigh that love with my love of climbing which sometimes seems so flighty in comparison. I always come back from traveling super weak but psyched nonetheless.
You run with a pretty HOT crew of female climbers. lucky!
I know, I am constantly checking out my hawt hawt friends, like seriously checkin’ them out. It must be hard to be a guy, at least you can kinda get away with it.
Or look like a complete idiot with our jaws dropped and drooling. Okay, so you are also a teacher, how’s that?
Well, it’s really cool because I’m constantly learning. It’s like being paid to be a student and I get to teach my favorite things: visual art, music and climbing. Some days you feel like you actually have changed the world for the better, that’s the shit, but it’s weird because I’m old in my kiddos’ eyes, like they are mildly horrified when they discover I didn’t grow up when there were dinosaurs or that I am on Facebook. It’s like I constantly have to prove that I’m cool.
Ever had a student with a crush on Miss Compton?
Hopefully they are stealth enough that I will never find out, but 2 of my awesome students were super psyched when they found out that I knew Jason (Kehl), and then they got to meet him, sick! Changing the world, I know…
One skullet at a time.
Shout out to his bum knee, heal up bub!
True. Did you see the Spanish version of Jason in Hueco?
No, but I heard about it. Did they really look alike?
I’ve been considering the dreadie skullet look myself, I really think it will help instill fear in my students
I just bought new clippers, so you’re in luck. what time you coming over?
Lame, you talk a big game.
So, Vanessa Compton, artist extraordinaire, rock climbing killa, West African music/culture aficionado, bomb ass teacher woman, Hot climbing female crew member, and Hueco lover, how do you feel about being P&C’s woman of the year?
What?@!#@#$^&^& Puta madre!
Haha, don’t let it go to your head, but it’s pretty fucking cool.
Tears of joy.
Sickness! Thanks buddy!
Anything you want to say to your fan base here in PimpinandCrimpin land? Last words from V-Card?
Life is our greatest resource.