A few words with James Kassay

The owner of Bayside Rock needs little introduction. Since his early days as a teen prodigy (with shoulders several sizes too big for his age), James has been crushing small holds into dust indoors and out. A multiple time state and national champion, he’s competed regularly on the big stage – the World Cup circuit – with numerous impressive results. But for Australians, James is probably synonymous with the Hollow Mountain Cave. As a teenager he was famous for his laps of Dead Can’t Dance (V11) in his runners, while his obsession with the Wheel of Life and climbing it all the way to what he saw as the true lip resulted in The Wheel of Life Direct (instead of exiting via Rave Heart, he finished up Amniotic World, a longer and more aesthetic finish out the highest part of the cave). Which is why it made perfect sense for us to ask James to run a HMC Masterclass – who better to learn how to polish your roof skills from than the master of the cave?

James drinking in that sweet Mana (V13).

James drinking in that sweet Mana (V13).

You’re running a Cave Climbing Masterclass – without giving too much away, what can people expect from the class?
Think of it as a great excuse to climb on some amazing rock and hopefully make some progress on some old projects with some extra beta and great psych. Otherwise, it’s a great time for people to find a project if they don’t already have one.

What do you most love about the HMC?
What isn’t there to love about HMC? Sitting up there on a sunny day with great friends, food and the view… The boulders are pretty cool too!

What’s your favourite line in the Cave?
I can’t go past Wimmelfriedhof (V5) actually. I rate that as one of my all time boulders. It doesn’t matter how many times I climb it, I always want to go back for it again!

What advice do you have for boulderers preparing for their first outdoor comp?
Like most comps, the main thing is to not take it too seriously! If you go out there to have a bit of fun with friends then you can’t go wrong. Obviously it’s worth trying hard so you can have bragging rights around the fire though.

You’re married to a former national bouldering champion (Claire Kassay), and now have a son, Harvey – is Harvey part of a secret program to breed a super boulderer?
I am going to have to keep you posted on that one… Harvey is a rather big boy for his age so knowing our luck he will probably be into a mainstream sport that neither of us knows anything about. Maybe we will have more luck with Mark II. (No, Claire is not pregnant).