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Hello Hello Hello

FRB Archived Interview
Amy Carden
late March, 2004

Amy Amy Amy Amy Amy

FRB: How did you get into climbing Amy?

Amy: Some friends of mine took me toproping in Boulder Canyon when I first moved here ten years ago. It was possibly the most pathetic attempt at climbing ever. But I really loved it, so I stuck with it.

FRB: Who do you climb with usually?

Amy: I love climbing with anyone who's motivated; constantly meeting new people is one of the coolest things about this sport. But the people I usually climb with are Will Smith (my boyfriend), Calvin Fidler, Mike Hickey, Jade Whitney, and all the girls on the Colorado Women's Bouldering Team (CWBT).

FRB: Have you done any first ascents?

Amy: Only one. It was on the extreme easy side of the V scale, and Mike Hickey was really the one to pick out the line. I think he just let me climb it first to be nice to me. Either that or he wanted to see if the holds would break (just kidding).

FRB: What are some of your hardest sends?

Amy: The hardest number I've climbed is V6, but I can't really rate my progress by numbers while there is a V2 in Hueco that is harder for me than any V6 I've ever done. My hardest sends are always the problems that don't suit me at all (aka slabs) but I manage to get through it somehow.

FRB: Do you have any favorite problems or
          ones that you thought were incredible?

Amy: Every time I go to Hueco, I'm amazed at how hard the Wannabe's are at V0. Same goes for Local Flakes at V2. Sick.

FRB: Where are some of your favorite places to climb/boulder?

Amy: My favorite is Hueco. Locally - I've been going to Castlewood lately, Clear Creek has some really compelling boulders, Redstone has my favorite rock in the state, and I'll always love Morrison. RMNP is really beautiful, but the journey to get there (since they closed the road) is kind of a mood kill for me.

FRB: Do you have any projects right now?

Amy: Too many! This year I'd really like to be able to finish Slopenstein and Melonstien in Redstone, Mavericks in Clear Creek, Roadkill in Empire, a whole slew of stuff in Castlewood...

FRB: What are your thoughts on Highballing?

Amy: A good, sporty top out always makes the problem more rewarding, but the term highball is kind of unclear to me. I'm not sure at what height a top out becomes a highball. I think it changes from climber to climber depending on what your comfort level is. A beginning boulderer could consider a 12-foot top out a highball, and a seasoned veteran could feel perfectly comfortable on a 30-foot top out. Plus, higher top outs are sometimes mentally easier on women because we generally are lighter and are much easier to spot. I would just say it's always good to have more faith in yourself than in your pads and spotters.

FRB: What are your current goals for climbing?

Amy: Right now I'm mainly concentrating on my practice sessions with my team. I've learned so much from Chris and all the other girls; it's been an incredible experience. My goal right now is to work hard on this team and to try to be a motivating person to all the people I climb with.

FRB: What do you think of enhancing, chipping
          and gluing holds?

Amy: In my opinion, the rocks should never be altered. Breaking off a loose hold is one thing, but you need to step back and re-evaluate what the hell you're doing when tools and glue become involved. I also think that anyone caught with a paintball gun near a climbable rock should be strung up by their toes.

FRB: Do you ever hit a plateau in your climbing?
          How do you overcome the plateau?

Amy: Do you really ever hit a plateau or do your expectations start to exceed your ability? If you keep challenging yourself, you'll make progress every time you climb even if it is very subtle. I just try to keep a set of realistic goals along with some unrealistic ones thrown in (no harm in trying).

FRB: What are some things you don't like about
          the Front Range bouldering scene?

Amy: Aside from the distance from Hueco, what's not to like?

FRB: Who are you sponsored by?

Amy: Through the Colorado Women's Bouldering Team (and with many thanks) I am sponsored by the Spot, the Boulder Rock Club, and Stonewear Designs. I am also proud to be sponsored by Evolv climbing shoes (also with many thanks). Evolv does a great job of representing at the comps, and it's a great situation since it demands little of me and has more to do with the fact that their shoes climb well for me.

FRB: Do you have any 'heroes' in climbing?

Adam: No… no one I could really call a hero. But every once in a while, I get inspired from watching someone. Last year when I was in Hueco, we climbed one day with a couple, Nick and Katie. Katie was working Mushroom Roof (I heard through the grapevine that she just sent it a few weeks ago), and that girl was cutting her feet loose on those little crimps on that steep angle and just fought like hell and kept on going. It was all heart and it was awesome to watch.

FRB: Do you compete?

Amy: Yes, I just started this year since I've been on the CWBT and I've totally enjoyed the comps I've gone to so far. I love the support and encouragement you get from everyone, and I love giving that back in return. I've met so many great people this year and I've learned an awful lot. Comps are a great way to make your weaknesses blare out at you, and I think I've made a lot of progress this past year because of that.

FRB: What makes for a good competition route in your opinion?

Amy: The kind of problems that interest me are ones in which I can do all the moves but have to work hard to link them. I really like higher problems if the gym can accommodate them. I'm not a fan of dihedrals and awkward movement, but in the ABS format it really doesn't matter since I can just steer clear of the problems that I know I'm weak at. I certainly don't envy route setters; it would be very hard to make sure you set routes that can appeal to all strengths and sizes. The Tour de Front series has had really wonderful problems that I think have appealed to everyone.

FRB: What are some of your favorite climbing gyms?

Amy: Paradise for the awesome angles and gazillion holds, The Spot because it's the closest to real bouldering, the BRC for it's new super steep wall (the new weight room is the BEST) and CATS for the crimps and the humbling problems.

FRB: What else do you like to do besides climb, Amy?

Amy: I lift weights in part to get stronger for climbing, but also because I just enjoy lifting. I also golf as much as I climb. Trying to swing a golf club correctly ranks as one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do. If I don't chicken out, I'm going to enter a long drive competition this summer. I also used to write music in what seems like a past life.

FRB: Parting words of wisdom?

Amy: "Don't stop believing, hold on to that feeling!"

FRB: Thanks for the interview, Amy.

Amy: You're welcome.


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