In retrospect of this interview, I had to think more about which part of Norah Siller’s personality was more deserving of recognition. This Las Vegas resident is a dichotomous dame:  she holds the strength of the solid granite that she so gracefully ascends and at the same time, she has a heart as soft and warm as the blanket she tenderly wraps around children born with autism; children that she so tenderly cares for.  Ultimately, I believe carrying these wide-ranging span of qualities is what helps make her so amazing and inspiring.

Unassuming and seemingly introverted, unless around friends and family, Norah works boldly to follow her passion on rock and doesn’t shy away to the challenges; problem-solving, training, putting forth the focus and concentration – it’s all a true pleasure for her as it was a true pleasure for us to be able to speak with her about it:

RRRG:  Where are you from Norah?

Norah:  I was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.  My family and I moved to the states in July of 93 when I was five. We lived in a two bedroom apartment in Rio Rico, Arizona.  I remember having to wake up early for my two-hour bus ride for school; I never noticed how long the bus ride was until my mom pointed it out years later.  Lucky for me that’s where I learned how to speak English.

RRRG:  Sounds like some humble beginnings – actually lucky for you to be bilingual!  What was family life like growing up?  Are they supportive of you climbing?

Norah:  I’m the third child out of four; two older sisters and a a little brother. I spent most of my time outside.  I didn’t like staying inside for too long and I only did it to finish chores or do homework… other than that, I was out the door and back inside before dark.  Of course my parents always kept a close eye on us; especially my mom.  She’s got the eyes of an eagle!! You can’t get anything past her; I’ve tried many, many times.  She worries about the climbing but she is very supportive. My whole family is very supportive, I’m lucky :)

RRRG:  How long have you been climbing? And what year did you start?

Norah:  I started in 2008.. it’s been two years.

RRRG:  How did you learn about climbing and get started in it?

Norah:  An ex boyfriend brought me to R2C2 and introduced me to climbing, I was hooked right off the bat, climbing was all I wanted to do from that point on. He stopped climbing and I kept on truckin’.

RRRG:  What type of climbing do you primarily partake in? And why your favorite?

Norah:  I love to boulder! I have an extremely short attention span so I find climbing gear to be very distracting… especially if it’s shiny, what can I say, bouldering is the right fit for me; it comes naturally and it just feels right. Climbing has turned my world upside-down and I love it.

RRRG:  What is your training schedule like?

Norah:  I come with a training switch.. it turns on and off depending on the project in focus. Right now, I recently made a training schedule where I climb in the gym three days out of the week; cardio and weights (nothing too heavy) then two days out of the week; I climb outside on the weekends. If my body is sore or stiff, I’ll soak in a tub full of Epsom salt to relax the muscles.

RRRG:  What areas have you climbed in and which are your favorite and why?

Norah:  I’ll climb anywhere, I don’t have a favorite place just yet. With every new climbing area that I am introduced to comes a new experience!

RRRG?  Have you ever had an incident where you felt fear when you were climbing? Please describe the incident and how did you resolve/combat the fear?

Norah:  No never.. what is this fear you speak of?… jk!! Fear can be an incredibly overpowering emotion; once I was out climbing in Paradise Forks with two friends, it was time to move and chase the shade and I was the last one left so I had to clean up the gear and climb up. At one point in the climb I got my fingers stuck in this awkward layback position, I don’t know what I did because I could not get them out. I thought about taking a fall but I probably would have left my fingers in the crack…. at that point you have to relax and reevaluate, breath and find your balance.

RRRG:  What do you do for work? Do you find it easy to manage work and climbing?

Norah:  I work as an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist….. or Autisim Therapist – pick your title :) I also work as a part-time nanny. I believe if you want to do something bad enough, you will make time for it.. so if you want more time to climb or travel.. you will make time for it.

Photo by Jason Clardy

RRRG:  What are your goals in the future?

Norah:  My goals as far as climbing are to keep climbing as much as I can and take a hell of alot more climbing trips. As far as personal is concerned, I would really like to muster enough focus to finish school and get a degree. I would love to further my knowledge in the field I work in now. I love my job and I am starving to learn more about Autisim.

RRRG:  Are you projecting anything right now? If so, which route(s)?

Norah:  I’ve got plenty of projects to work on .. I can’t fixate on just one problem. Like I said, I don’t have the attention span; wish I did. There are a few problems at Kraft boulders in Red Rocks. The ones that come to mind right now is Monkey Direct at the Monkey Bar boulder, and The Alexisizer. If I get the chance this year I would love to work the Steel Finger traverse at The Gunks Boulders in Tuolumne, CA. It’s been on my mind :)

Photo by Tom Moulin

Interview by Christine Cauble