Member Spotlight: Renee Hamblin

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live, what do you like to do? 

My name is Renee. I recently finished my Masters at UVM and moved back to the Boston area. I love to play outside, soak dried beans, engage in goofs, and start many projects-- sometimes even finish a few!

Do you remember the first time you stepped in Petra?

I was guest swiped by my friend Milo. I was so nervous, the walls seemed so high! I remember spending my whole time there working on this really juggy V1 with zebra tape. Milo was so supportive and made starting something so new (and admittedly intimidating) feel really accessible. 

When did you start climbing and when did you become a member of Petra?

My first time ever climbing was at UVM’s climbing wall in Patrick Gym. I don’t even know how I ended up there, but I was immediately hooked! I would beg my friends to belay me in between their workouts. Shortly after that, I asked Milo to take me to Petra. I think my first membership was a one month boulder pass. Fast forward 4 years later, and I’m still here!

Do you have anything exciting happening for the summer?

Like so many others, my plans for the summer got derailed by COVID. But because of it, I came across an opportunity to start-up a micro-farm in Massachusetts. It’s a project I’m really excited to invest my whole being into. A project I can start and maybe even finish! 

Have you been on any climbing trips recently? 

I was supposed to be coming back from the New with a bunch of lady climbers just last week, but it's not the time to be doing any climbing trips. I was able to spend a weekend out in the Daks this winter on ice, and then got a few good days in VT and NH before stay-at-home was in place. I was hoping to get out West come fall, but I’ve learned not to hold on to any plans right now. Being a weekend warrior will hold me over for now :)

Do you have any favorite routes, either in VT or elsewhere?

I don’t want to say I have favorites, but the view from Trespassing and Phantom Ticks at Upper West make me keep coming back for more. Plus I really appreciate the movement of each climb. I also love doing Work Shoes at the Dome with a good bud. My favorite routes are usually the ones done with my favorite people.

What has it been like being a part of the Petra Community?

Wow- this question is so hard to answer! The Petra Community has fostered a safe space to fall and to fail, while equally celebrating successes and progress. There’s this constant growth and learning mindset. For me, the gym itself has been a place I go to when I don’t have anywhere else to go. I know I can come across a friendly and familiar face. It has been really stabilizing to have that as a constant in my week.

What's a fun fact that many other Petra Members might not know about you?

I can sing with my mouth closed!