Our second climber interview features Joshua Suson. We first met Joshua a few years back during a local competition in Tacloban. By then, Joshua was already one of the strongest climbers out there for his class. We caught up with him to listen to his views and progress in his climbing life.
Photo by: Arjun Actub
Hello Josh! For our readers, please introduce yourself, as well as, what you do in and out of climbing
Joshua: I’m Joshua Suson, 22 years old and just recently graduated from college. I spend most of my time climbing; been doing that for almost 6 years now.
When and where did you first get into climbing?
Joshua: I started climbing back in 2009 in Vertigo Climbing Center. I had difficulty starting out wherein I couldn’t even climb the red wall, a level 3 wall in the gym. It took me weeks just to finish it.
Aside from climbing, what other sports are you into?
Joshua: I used to skate a lot before, but I stopped since I got attached to climbing. There is a basketball court in front of our gym. Basketball plus jogging before climbing. Its like our warm up haha!
At The Worlds 2015. Photo by: Jonas Apurillo
Any projects you are working on right now?
Joshua: We are working on a route called “Lord Voldemort”, which my other brother, Pets, just made the first ascent.
I also have been working on another project in Mansorela together with my brother, JJ. We started working on the route last February when the Spot Project was here in Cebu. We’re really psyched to get back on our projects especially the one in Mansorela since no one has made the first ascent of the route yet.
Cantabaco is really nice because of its accessibility, a house with wifi, and stores just by the roadside
Of all the crags you’ve been to, which one is your favorite?
Joshua: I have only been to five crags but I would say Cantabaco and Mansorela. Cantabaco is really nice because of its accessibility, a house you can live with wifi hehe, and stores are just by the roadside. But the best part of the place is the awesome limestone cliff with pockets, slopers, crimpers, tufas and overhangs. If I'm not mistaken, I think there are 60 or more routes in the area.
As for Mansorela - its a world class climbing area and has lots of hard, long, and quality routes. The routes motivate you to improve your sport climbing. It has the first ever 8c in the country, as well as, a possible 9a. Plus, there is a clean river near the crag with a falls.
The Cliff of Mansorela
You have siblings who are climbers too. How is it being in the same household with brothers who share the same passion for climbing as you do? Any advantages or disadvantages? :)
Joshua: It’s really nice to share the same passion with your siblings. Our bond grows stronger because of climbing. It motivates me to be better especially when they are getting better than I am haha!
You were at last year’s Boulderactive in Singapore, can you share some of your experiences with our readers? Any tips for climbers who wish to compete internationally?
Joshua: Singapore has lots of amazing climbing gyms. I'm really amazed to see the population of their climbing community. When we climbed at their gym we got really amazed on how strong and many they are. In fact, the wall was full of climbers.
During the competition, we were really shocked by the number of competitors. It feels really great that me and my brother won. It was a really good experience for us. Good thing Toots, Jose and Pam allowed us to crash at their place. Habagat sponsored us on that trip too.
Joshua and his brothers with Yuji Hirayama
You compete at almost all the national legs, do you have a preference for indoor climbing, or are you more into the outdoors?
Joshua: I'm trying to balance my competition and outdoor climbing, especially right know that all my psych is directed at climbing outside and working on my projects.
How do you prepare for comps or even redpoints?
Joshua: I just climb hard, join mini comps to get psyched for a major comp. If I want to redpoint a route in the outdoors, I put up holds in the gym that are almost the same as the hold on the rock, and do the crux that are exactly the same, or almost the same as my project.
It’s really nice to share the same passion with your siblings
What’s on your climbing calendar in the next few months?
Joshua: I will attend the Monster Hunt during holy week, the first ever rock trip in Mansorela. The week after that, my brothers and I will be bouldering in Hong Kong. When we get back, I will spend a week in Cantabaco with the climbers from Cebu. I will try to join the competition this April in Dumaguete, and in Tacloban on June to prepare myself for Boulderactive in Singapore this July.
So, What’s the most memorable climb for you so far?
Joshua: Every climb I do is memorable so its really difficult for me to choose one.
In recent years, there has been so much development in terms of sport climbing in Cebu, how do you feel about all the attention given to your island?
Joshua: I feel really lucky that Cebu is the mecca for sport climbing and I have the opportunity to try out the best routes in the country.
Its like youtube, but it’s live!
We missed out on the rock trip held in Cebu recently, so, how is it climbing with the likes of James Pearson, Caroline Ciavaldini, and Yuji Hirayama in your local crag?
Joshua: I learned a lot climbing with those world class climbers. We were very lucky because we used to watch these guys on the internet or tv, then suddenly we were already climbing and spending time with them. When we watched them climb, I’ll quote my friend Dexter: “Its like youtube, but it’s live!”.
There will definitely be more climbers flocking to the crags of Cebu within the coming months, do you have tips for those new to your area?
Joshua: If you want to climb plenty of hard routes, have a real outdoor experience, and swim in a river, Mansorela is the place for you. There are also lots of easy routes in Poog, it’s just 20 mins drive from Cantabaco. Don’t forget to try out the classic Vino Kulafu drink :)
What’s next for climbing in Cebu and the Cebu Rock Climbing Community?
Joshua: There is actually a new crag in Danao. You have to travel almost 2 hours (depends on traffic) from the city to get to the area. Bolting is ongoing, and I think there are already about 15 bolted routes.
Habagat is actually planning to have a comp a week before Lust For Lime, the same as last year. The Cebu Rock Climbing Community (CRCC) will be hosting a summer clinic in Vertigo Climbing Center this coming April 13 to May 13.
Thanks again for accepting our invitation, any closing remarks you want to say?
Joshua: If you want to climb the awesome cliffs of Cebu, want a local to go with you or you want more details about climbing in Cebu, you can contact the Cebu Rock Climbing Community. The official website will be made soon. Cheers!