This is a two-part interview with one of the Philippine's most well-known rock climbers, Miel Pahati.
Miel has been at the forefront of the country's climbing scene, from establishing first ascents to teaching the next generation of climbers. Let's read more into his climbing life.
Miel on Serpentine in Mansorella
Hey Miel! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk with you. Shall we start with how’d you get into this sport?
I'd like to believe I learned (how to climb) growing up in my grandmother's house with my cousins. We climbed the walls, roof and all around the playground. I started sport climbing in college. We had a sport climbing org which later became a varsity team. We participated in the inter-collegiate competitions and outdoor climbing activities. This helped me get exposed to the many aspects of climbing and the right people to work with to get better.
What other sports are you into? How do these other sports help your climbing?
Tried lots when I was growing up, from basketball, soccer, badminton, then later on, ultimate and downhill longboarding. Now, I just focus on tennis and climbing.
Since getting two ACL injuries I’ve had to be more aware of my weakness and balancing upper body and lower body development. Trying out other sports makes you more sensitive to your body and its capabilities but always focusing the direction towards climbing.
“The best climbers have great attitude and mental outlook towards climbing
Having been on so many routes and problems, which are those you consider to be the most memorable?
Sending my first 5.11 on lead. The route named "Sandman" in Montalban with Mackie Makinano. It was way above my level at the time. Mackie placed the draws and gave me all the beta. I took 6 tries that day and it was keeping it all together on the last attempt to red point, that taught me to focus and execute in many important moments later on. I got schooled that day.
Most of the time the best sends are the red points, when you’re on your limit. Of course, onsighting and being in the moment is also great. It’s just sometimes for onsight, you’re too much in the zone and the next thing you know it’s done.
Do you have projects you wish to send soon?
Godzilla and King Kong. I’d say King Kong is the first hard line I’ve bolted solo so I'm excited to complete that process of bolting to sending.
Building upon the last question, what is your most difficult climb to date?
Red pointed a number of 8B+ sport routes. Bouldering not sure about the hardest I've done. Tried an 8c+ sport route called Inshallah. A really powerful route which has only been done by 6 people in the world.
I feel 8C is just around the corner. Maybe in the next interview I've got some good news for you.
Top: Night Bouldering in Baguio. Bottom: Inshallah, 8C+ in Kalymnos
What are your strengths when it comes to climbing? Things you need to work on?
I’d say my strength is I’m quick to adapt and learn in climbing. Climbing with a group of pros has showed me a lot of my weaknesses. I’ve got a lot of things to work on such as finding the best method, and being open to new techniques when working on a route. Of course, getting more power endurance for the longer harder moves.
Do you follow a strict regimen before a competition or when trying to send a route or problem?
Yes. I have certain habits or routines for both outdoor and indoor competitions but let's not get into that :)
Ever been injured while climbing?
I have bruised pullies on my left ring finger twice. Strained my shoulders in bouldering competitions; forcing the wide moves thinking my shoulders can handle it.
I think the downtime is good for climbing to take a step back and enjoy doing what we do.
What do you think the best climbers have in common? What sets apart a good climber from a gifted climber?
The best climbers have great attitude and mental outlook towards climbing. Always staying positive or riding out the frustrations and staying the course. Well gifted climbers can just climb 2 or 3 times a week and they can do exceptional things. Imagine what they can do if they give it a 100%. Take Alex Megos and Ondra for example. Super talented and work extra hard as well.
Deep Water Soloing in Palawan
You also coach climbing to kids, right? How is it so far?
Yes, I’ve been coaching for 3 years now. I enjoy it a lot. I can share my passion and my knowledge to these kids. When they succeed outdoors or in competitions, it’s a great feeling that you helped them get there. Sometimes I have big dreams for these kids when we climb, but, I always have to check myself to align with their expectations and not push them too hard.
Any climbing heroes or inspirations?
At this point in my climbing life, I’d say there is too many hahaha
Young Wild & Free
YWF Series, ROX Leg
Let’s move on to YWF. For our readers not familiar with the series, can you give us a small insight into what it is?
Philippine climbing when I was starting was so focused on the open category that we forgot to develop the younger generation and ensure a natural succession of climbers. YWF series hopefully opens kids to learn how to be passionate about climbing and the outdoors.
What sparked your interest to start this series?
It was actually the guys in TS that sparked this, especially Gax "the legend" Ilanan. It's a team effort, and we've improved a lot in the last 4 seasons of running it. Now, I'm inspired to follow Yuji's bouldering circuit that has 8 to 10 comps a year that caters to youth, novice, and open climbers.
“Always stay motivated and enjoy the journey
It has definitely exposed and inspired local talent and the next generation of crushers. Do you have a message for them?
Just have a climbing goal or dream that you want to attain be it indoor or outdoor. Then you give 100% effort to achieve it. Always stay motivated and enjoy the journey.
What is the schedule for the competition? How can they contact you if they want to join in the upcoming legs?
There are two legs remaining October 10 in Centro Atletico, and November 7 in I.S. Manila. We have an FB page for all event details and registration. Just look up "ywfseries" on Facebook.
What is to be expected with this series in the coming years?
Hopefully it becomes a national youth circuit.
Catch part 2 of this interview in the coming weeks. Like us on Facebook to get updates about new interviews, updates, and our newest products.