Who has impressed you the most this last year? Climber or Non-climber...A: Someone that has really impressed me this year (and this is rather generic) is Captain Sullenberg, the guy who landed the plane in the Hudson river. I listened to the audio tapes when they were released and it was amazing how calm and practical he was as he stated such things as “We are going to land in the Hudson.” His odds were 99 to 1 that he would kill himself and all his passengers and he just took it in stride. I think it is the mindset that any climber can appreciate and aspire to. Whether highballing, topping out over a jagged talus, high above a piece or soloing, climbers often find themselves in situations where they need to be able to keep in control and get it done. I just hope that if I’m ever faced with a much stiffer challenge, like that of Captain’s Sullenberg’s, that I will also be able to look death calmly in the face and get ‘er done. Who knows, maybe the mental challenges of climbing are even preparing me for such challenges.
Describe a time when someone helped your climbing? A: It really is hard to find one time in particular because the help from friends is constant and widespread. My friends keep me laughing, relaxed and ever motivated to get stronger. My friend Ryan S. is always challenging me to do crimp-campus problems after an already brutally long gym session at CATS (and that is before he challenges me to do extra sets of rainbow curls on the pull-up bar). My friend EZ helps me keep climbing in perspective. We often head out to do the “back 9” (a group of easy/moderate highballs at Carter Lake ) just so we can appreciate movement over rock and some air below our feet instead of flipping out over harder problems. His perspective is all the more impressive because he’s 40 and crushing V12s. My friends, like Matt Kennedy, remind me that at its heart, climbing is adventure. Or other friends, like Chuck Z., and his never satiated love of off-widths, who remind me that even the negative aspects of climbing, like pain, are really just part of the fun.
What characteristic is most impressive to you in really strong climbers? A: I would have to say that it is hard for me to respect hard climbers if they can’t keep their ninja skills in perspective. Climbing allows us moments of zen focus, pushes us to unexplored physical heights, constantly inspires us and in general, connects us to nature and our fellow climbers. But even if you are crushing, it doesn’t mean that you are curing cancer. When it comes down to it, climbing, like any other sport, is pretty ridiculous. So I really respect climbers who can turn on a legit A-game and still remain down to earth and friendly with everyone.
What developments would you like to see in the climbing community in the next 10 years? A: I really, really, really think it would be awesome if someone builds a gym that would allow deep-water soloing contests. That would be wicked… to watch and participate in. I can imagine right now a 35-foot problem with the move to the last jug being a giant, two-hand dyno. I think that would even make climbing comps fun enough to televise.
What do you see as the biggest myth out there about being famous? A: Disney World. Just because you are insanely famous from your grassroots sponsorship with Flashed, it doesn’t mean you get to go to Disney World whenever you want. Where’s the justice in that?