Angie: 110 lbs.
FRB: Ape Index?
FRB: Where are you from?
Angie: Cincinnati, Ohio.
FRB: How did you get into climbing?
Angie: My older brother, Dave,
started climbing first, then he took my dad to the gym, and soon thereafter
they took me. I was eleven at the time. After my first day of climbing,
I was hooked and have been ever since.
FRB: How did you end up in Boulder, Colorado?
some people probably think that I'd been planning to come to Boulder
since who-knows-how-long-ago, I actually never considered moving here
until my senior year of high school. I though I'd stay near home for
college, but after some rather spontaneous decisions, I chose the University
of Colorado as my next step. Climbing was my main motivation, and the
fact that the university was right here near all of the climbing was
very convenient. If you knew me well, you would agree that moving 1,000
miles away from home was rather out of character. But here I am, two
years later, living in Boulder and loving it.
FRB: I heard you have been climbing outside
How is the transition
Angie: It's going pretty well.
Because I spent the majority of the last nine years climbing in the
gym, I'm really enjoying all of the opportunities for outdoor climbing
that Colorado has to offer. In terms of transitioning from plastic to
real rock, I feel that I've done pretty well putting my climbing ability
to use outside. The biggest problem I seem to have with outdoor climbing
is that I don't try hard enough all of the time. When I start working
on a project, I have a tendency to think that I should be able to do
certain moves without exerting too much effort. As we all know, projects
aren't simply handed to us, we have to work for them. For one reason
or another, I think that I won't have to try very hard to complete certain
problems, and as a result I don't always push myself to the limit of
my ability. Expectations have also been a big obstacle in my transition
from inside to outside. After climbing on plastic for so long, I automatically
expect to just do certain things outside. When I don't meet my own expectations,
I get frustrated, which ultimately hurts me more than it helps me. Although
certain people still give me a hard time about being a gym rat, I'm
getting more and more psyched about climbing outside and I'm beginning
to understand the incredible appeal of climbing on real rocks.
FRB: Didn't you used to rope climb?
Why did you quit
Angie: Yes, for the first five
years of my climbing career I climbed almost exclusively on ropes. Because
I was involved in the JCCA (Junior Competition Climbing Association)
and all of the competitions were on ropes, that's the type of climbing
I stuck to. When I stopped doing the junior stuff, however, I started
to gain some interest in bouldering. Once I turned 16 and got my license,
I started driving myself to the bouldering gym. At first, I was a horrible
boulderer because I had tons of endurance, but absolutely no power.
I stuck with the bouldering thing anyway, and by my senior year I was
driving 30 minutes to the bouldering gym 3 or 4 times a week (can you
say "gym rat"?). Although I'm not opposed to tying into a rope, bouldering
is my climbing form of choice at the moment. Once I find some endurance
lying around somewhere, I could get psyched to climb on a rope again.
FRB: How many comps have you won?
Angie: I'm not sure, I really
don't keep track.
FRB: How did you get so strong?
flattered that you would ask that question, and I wish I could give
some wonderful details about getting strong, but I don't really think
that there's any specific thing that brought me to where I am today
in my climbing. If I had to name something, I'd say that simply climbing
seemed to do the trick. Although I don't consider myself to be a very
patient person, when I look back at my earlier years of climbing, I
think that I was pretty patient about getting strong. I progressed pretty
slowly and steadily in my climbing, and it took me a long time to work
my way up the difficulty ladder. While I look back and wish that I would
have pushed myself to try harder climbs at an earlier date, I also think
that my slow progression worked to my benefit. Because I got strong
gradually, my technique developed along with my strength, and I'm glad
that I have that technique now.
FRB: How do you train to compete?
don't really do anything specifically to train for competitions. Like
I said, just climbing is my preferred method of "training." I have,
however, incorporated Animal Strength Training into my schedule, and
I love it. I think that it has definitely made me stronger in general,
and it makes me realize that I can try a lot harder than I often do.
Aside from climbing and
Animal Strength, I don't do anything special to train.
FRB: What do you think about the state of
in the US today?
Angie: I think that competition climbing is in somewhat
of a transition phase. Depending on how things unfold in the world of
competitive climbing over the next few years, it seems that the sport
could take off. At the same time, it also seems apparent that some compromises
will have to be made if climbing wishes to meet with the same booming
success that other sports have found in the past. For example, if competitive
climbing wants to attract attention, events will have to appeal more
to the general public and (possibly) less to the climbers. Instead of
focusing on difficulty, it wouldn't surprise me if competitions became
more centered around entertaining the crowd with big dynos and dramatic
falls. I think that the recent rapid expansion of bouldering competitions
is proof of the shifting focus of competition climbing in the US. Because
I love bouldering, I guess I would have to say that I'm pretty happy
with the current state of competition climbing in the US today. I think
that if the ABS keeps doing what it's doing, competition climbing faces
a positive future.
FRB: What gym do you climb at and why?
Angie: Most of the time I climb
at The Spot
because I feel very comfortable there, and I like the atmosphere, the
routes, the boulders, the people, etc. For me, it's just a fun place
FRB: What is your main focus in terms of climbing?
Angie: While I wish I could
say that my main focus is simply the fun of climbing, that isn't completely
true. Although there have been times over the past nine years when I
have climbed solely because climbing is my favorite thing to do, there
have been more times when I have climbed because of expectations I have
for myself and a false perception of expectations that others have for
me. When I first started climbing, I did it because it was tons of fun.
Once I realized I was good at it, I think that I climbed for that reason.
As a result, my main focus of climbing became very result-oriented,
and I lost sight of the fun of climbing. When I stopped doing junior
competitions, climbing became fun again (as it always should be). Now,
although I try to focus on how much I love the pure movement of climbing
and everything that comes with it, sometimes I lose sight of the true
reason that I climb. In a perfect world, I would have no expectations
for myself and I would climb simply because it is what I love to do.
More than anything, I think that that is my ultimate goal in climbing-to
climb for the fun of it.
FRB: What are some of your hardest sends?
Angie: The Kind Traverse in
RMNP is my hardest send to date. It was my big project for all of last
summer, and I finally finished it at the beginning of this school year.
Finger Hut, Public Execution, and Bierstadt were sends that I had to
work hard for too.
FRB: Last spring you did the third female ascent of
Tell us about that?
Angie: Although Midnight Lightning isn't the hardest boulder problem I've done grade-wise,
I'm probably more proud of that send than any other. In addition to
the fact that only a few females have done the problem, the history
of Midnight Lightning also gives it a certain mystique. A few years
ago, before I really knew anything about Yosemite, I said that one of
my climbing goals was to do Midnight Lightning. Aside from those factors,
I had to work hard to do this problem, and I was pretty frustrated by
a few of the moves. The move to the lightning bolt hold was challenging
for me because I had to be more dynamic than I like to be, and the infamous
top out lived up to all of the hype it gets. After falling quite a few
times trying to mantle, I finally fought through it and managed to finish
the thing. Because it was pretty scary, doing the problem was definitely
a personal victory for me.
FRB: What do you think about all of the new
Colorado and Wyoming?
think it's very exciting that new areas are still being discovered.
Before moving to Colorado, I had no idea what went into developing an
area. I have gained a new respect for the people who tirelessly search
for fresh areas and take the effort to develop them for everyone to
enjoy. I hope that someday I have the chance to find some unclimbed
rocks myself so I can name a boulder problem (I love thinking of names
for problems…and I have a few in store in case the opportunity ever
FRB: Who do you climb with these days?
most often climb with Jamie Emerson. Ryan Olson often joins us, and
we have a great time together. Both of those guys are wonderful people
to be around--and very good rock climbers on top of that. Besides those
guys, I don't have a very concrete "crew" that I climb with, although
I definitely enjoy climbing with many other people. When I can, I try
to climb with people who are stronger than me because it pushes me to
try things that I might not otherwise attempt.
FRB: What don't you like about the climbing
Angie: I would have to say that
I don't like how the climbing community seems to be divided into a bunch
of tiny groups and, in my opinion, lacks the tight-knit feel of the
climbing community from which I moved. At the same time, I have mixed
feelings on this issue, because I do love the fact that Colorado is
home to so many climbers and people with interests similar to mine.
However, because there were so few climbers in Cincinnati, they all
congregated in the same place, which created a more cohesive community.
In Colorado, on the other hand, the huge number of climbers means that
feeling connected to everyone in the climbing community seems improbable,
if not impossible.
FRB: What is the worst area in Colorado?
Why do you think
start with the disclaimer that I haven't seen all of the areas in Colorado,
so I can't really make a fair judgment of which one is the "worst."
My least favorite area so far, however, is Golden Cliffs (I think that's
what it's called). I went there a few summers ago when it was about
98 degrees. Needless to say, the conditions weren't ideal, which undoubtedly
affected my opinion. Of course, as the saying goes "one man's trash
is another man's treasure." If you like the area, then climb there!
FRB: What are your impressions of some
of the 'old school'
Angie: The old school areas
seem very different from the newer areas in that they are (understandably)
more "climbed out." For this reason, I am sometimes turned off by the
multitude of contrivances that exist at these areas. However, I realize
that good problems can exist everywhere, and I know that the old school
areas can provide tons of good climbing. If I had my choice, though,
the older areas wouldn't be my first.
FRB: What is the best area in Colorado?
my opinion, Mt. Evans is the best bouldering area in Colorado. I think
that I prefer this area over others because the problems there are more
appealing to me. Although the rock is not as friendly as the rock in
the Park, I think that the problems at Mt. Evans are more aesthetic.
I'm sure that my preference also has to do with the fact that there
are more problems at Mt. Evans that I have done or feel that I have
a chance of doing. Basically, Mt. Evans doesn't shut me down as hard
as the Park does, and it's a beautiful setting to climb in, too!
FRB: Where do you see climbing/bouldering going?
What is the future?
see climbing getting simpler and simpler in the future. Just as climbing
has progressed from more complex forms to less complex forms throughout
the history of the sport, I see the same trend continuing in the years
to come. Since bouldering has just recently become a very popular form
of climbing, the next step seems to be some distillation of bouldering
itself. What this might entail, I don't really know, but I'd have to
guess that it might mean fewer moves at a time of a greater difficulty.
It also seems that climbing is becoming less technical (although I know
many people would argue that point). Movement requiring more power and
less technique seems to be the wave of the future in climbing.
FRB: Why isn't climbing in the Olympics?
Angie : Honestly, I don't know
why climbing isn't in the Olympics. If I had to make my best guess,
I'd say it's because the various climbing organizations of the world
haven't completely come together (although I admit that I know little
to nothing about all of the climbing organizations around the world).
Also, as I mentioned earlier, I think that climbing lacks crowd appeal,
which is a huge element of Olympic sports. Of course, the other day
I was watching TV and saw the National Scrabble Tournament on ESPN.
To the best of my knowledge, Scrabble isn't in the Olympics, but if
this board game has enough crowd appeal to be broadcast on ESPN, then
climbing must have at least a bit of public appeal.
FRB: Thanks for the interview, Angie.
It was my pleasure. Thanks!