Paul Robinson makes the first ascent of The New Chapter (V15) in Arkansas. Robinson will compete at the Go Pro Mountain Games this weekend in Vail, which include the only bouldering world cup on U.S. soil. Photo by Fernando Jimenez
If you go

What: Go Pro Mountain Games

When: June 6-9, various events all weekend

Where: Vail

More info: http://mountaingames.com/

When Paul Robinson graduated from the University of Colorado in 2010, he spent the next few years traveling around the world, living the professional climber’s life.

After visiting 31 states just by April of this year. Robinson signed a one-year lease in Boulder and intends to make it his home base for a bit.

He’s been climbing locally and training for the bouldering world cup at the Go Pro Mountain Games this weekend. After that, he’ll head to Australia for June and July, but he caught up with us first.

Remind us, how did you get into climbing in the first place?

Basically I started climbing when I was 11 or 12. I grew up in New Jersey and there was a climbing gym five miles from my house. I went to a birthday party there and just got addicted from then on out. I quit all the other sports I was doing. Basically I kept climbing, started going on climbing rips and I knew that Colorado was the place to be if you wanted to excel and be a professional.

So that’s how you ended up at CU?

I wanted to go to school, but I wanted to be able to climb as much as I could, so I chose CU-Boulder for school. I turned into a professional climber around 18 or 19, and then graduated at 22. Now I’m 25 and I’ve just been living the professional climbing dream.

How does this world cup in Vail fit into your competition schedule?

Over the past three years and while I was studying at CU, I was doing a lot of competitions just because travel was so much harder and I had to be at class. Competitions were easy. You fly somewhere for the weekend and come back and be at school Monday morning. I almost got burnt out on that over the course of college, and over the past three years I’ve just been climbing outside and not so much in the competition circuit. This is kind of, not necessarily my comeback, but I’m just trying to do both now. A little more competition and obviously still my main focus is outdoor bouldering. But I’m definitely looking forward to this competition and competitions in the future.

You’ve got a laundry list of first ascents and accomplishments, but which are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my outdoor accomplishments and some of the harder first ascents that I’ve done over past couple of years, as well as indoor accomplishments. I won ABS nationals a couple years back, and placed on the podium at the Vail world cup in 2009–I got 3rd.

Which first ascents do you look back on fondly?

Three main ones come to mind. My ascent of Lucid Dreaming in Bishop, Calif., that was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That hasn’t seen a repeat yet. And also this thing I put up in Las Vegas called Meadowlark Lemon, and that is confirmed at V15. And then just this past April I established another V15 in Arkansas that I called The New Chapter that hasn’t been repeated.

It seems like first ascents are really what drives you as a climber.

Outdoor climbing has always been my main focus, and now that I’ve got this unlimited amount of time to climb outside, I’ve traveled the world and I’ve repeated many of the hardest established climbs. I feel like I’m establishing my own climbs and creating something for the future generations to climb on.

Any projects you’re working on now?

I have this one project in Guanella Pass right outside of Georgetown that I’ve been working on a bit recently. It’s a sit-start to this V15 that I did a week ago. It could definitely be one of the hardest climbs in the world. It probably — when it gets done will be about V16. Other than that, this summer I’m traveling to Australia with a bunch of friends to explore and try and find new lines.

Do you have a goal for this world cup?

My goal is always the same — do the best I can. I’ve made finals in a couple world cups now, and it would be awesome to make finals, but my main goal is stay uninjured and climb the best I can climb. Whatever that is, I’ll be happy.

–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.

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