“I quickly realized that engineering school in Florida wasn’t going to work out with my newfound climbing schedule,” she says. Bisharat gave up her scholarship and transferred to the University of Tennessee to be closer to climbing, and get a degree in early childhood education.
In the last 10 years, Bisharat has risen to become one of the top female sport climbers in the U.S. while holding down a full-time job as a Kindergarten teacher.
“I love Kindergarten,” Bisharat says. “Those kids are the only people who think I’m funny.”
She is one of the few women to have ticked the elusive 5.14 grade in Rifle with her recent (second female) ascent of the 7 P.M. Show (5.14a), in addition to ticking off some difficult, sandbagged 5.13d’s there as well such as Living in Fear, Gropius, Simply Read and Slice of Life.
Before coming to Rifle in 2006, Bisharat cut her teeth in the Red River Gorge, where the steep, enduro climbing informed much of her unique and intuitive style. High heel hooks and the ability to shake out on any hold forever are her fortes. Bisharat, however, likes to say that her weakness in climbing is her “weakness,” and that “if there’s an easier way to do a move, you’ll be sure I will figure it out.” Climbing for her isn’t about competitive performance, but rather it’s a lifestyle and a way to be outdoors, testing her personal limits in the natural world.
See more from Jennifer Bisharat here, and you can also Like her on Facebook.
Soulful, Free Spirited Brand:
1. If you were to envision the perfect adventure, what would it be and where would you go?
Easy. . . perfect limestone cliffs, warm sunny weather, unlimited time, great friends, and great food!
2. What does mindfulness mean to you? How do you strive to live mindfully?
For me, mindfulness means being present and objective with myself as I strive to be the best person I can be in all aspects of my life. I try to achieve this by slowing down and focusing on what’s happening right now. It’s a constant struggle.
3. What makes you laugh and/or smile every day?
My husband and all the little 5-year-olds running around my classroom.
4. If you had one philosophy to live by, what would it be?
The choices you make dictate the life you lead.
1. What is a Soul Sport?
For me a Soul Sport is one without rules and referees. You don’t need uniforms, a playing field, or a team. It’s just your versus yourself trying to push your physical boundaries or just get outside and move.
2. Do you recall the moment when you realized your drive and motivation to follow your dreams through an activity? When and how did you realize that your passion was also your path?
I realized that climbing was going to guide my life the second I walked into a climbing gym for the first time. My first experience on real rock sealed the deal. Every major decision I’ve made since has been driven by my desire to climb.
3. Do you think your sport defines your life? If so, how?
Climbing is at the core of who I am, but I do not think it is the only thing that defines me. Many people that I work with do not know me as a climber, but I think they’d describe me much the same way as my climbing friends, just through a different lens.
Here & Now:
What does Here & Now mean to you?
To me, Hear & Now means that you only have control over this one moment. I can’t change the past, nor can I predict the future, but I can control my emotions, actions, and perceptions right now.
Yoga as a cross-over/complement to other sports:
1. Why do you practice yoga?
I hate to admit it, but I do not do yoga very often.
2. How does it complement the other activities in your life?
3. Do you mediate?
Style Meets Functional, Versatile Product:
1. How would do you describe prAna and their products to people?
prAna products are comfortable, versatile, and above all very stylish. They fit all aspects of your life from climbing rocks to a night out on the town. You don’t need work clothes AND climbing clothes. . . just prAna clothes!
2. If there was only one prAna item in your closet, what would it be?
My Ashley leggings. I love them so much that I had to buy two pairs in the same color just to get through a wash cycle. In the last week alone I’ve worn them to the climbing gym, to a crossfit workout, under a skirt to work, with a long sweater to dinner, and under my ski pants.
3. What is the oldest prAna product you own and can you tell us about on memorable adventure with it?
I have a black Quinn dress that I’ve had for at least 4 years. I wear it every year for my class picture at school and plan to continue doing so for as long as I can. I can’t wait to see all the pictures together in 20 years.