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Hello Hello Hello

FRB Archived Interview
Mike Auldridge

mid August, 2003

Mike Auldridge Mike Auldridge Mike Auldridge Mike Auldridge Mike Auldridge

FRB: You're well known in the climbing world but
          some people might not have heard of you.
          Who is Mike Auldridge

Mike: Mike Auldridge is a 24 year old single available male from Loveland, Colorado but currently living in Boulder, Colorado. I've been climbing for 11 years and have traveled to Europe, Canada, Mexico and to the Cayman Islands. I love to eat pizza and enjoy sitting down for a nice cold Guinness.

FRB: How did you get into climbing Mike?

Mike: I started climbing at the age of 13 when I was first shown the traverse wall at the middle school that I was going to just before we had to sign up for classes. From the first second that I pulled on to the wall I was hooked. It didn't take long for me to start making progress and soon I was ringing the bell at the end of the 100 foot long traverse. This was the start of my now climbing career.

FRB: Who were some of your early climbing partners?

Mike: Some of my early climbing partners consisted of Tommy Caldwell, Nolan McGregor, Christian Naisland, Richard Sandburg, Brian Harris, Mike Hickey, Ryan Clements, Greg Diamond, and Josh Heiney.

FRB: Got any good 'Horror Stories'?

Mike: My first horror story would have to be when I was climbing with Tommy Caldwell. I was on my first out door Ed climbing trip and was Tommy's partner and he had picked out this awesome three pitch route at lumpy ridge where we were camping. The route was called Renaissance Wall and it was three pitches of hand drilled bolts done by Tommy's dad Mike Caldwell. At the time I wasn't a top notch climber but I was a good candidate for a good thrill and that it did turn out to be. The climb that we were about to do is hidden in a narrow gully which takes some scrambling to get to. The route is three pitches long and was hand drilled by Tommy's dad Mike Caldwell. Tommy will be leading all of the pitches for I am not up to par and have only done some top roping. Tommy makes it to the top of the first pitch without any trouble at all, puts me on belay and off I go, I had a bit of trouble getting off of the ground for that is the crux of the first pitch (living dead 5.10a) . After I work out the ground moves I make it to the fist belay fairly easy. The second pitch is where renaissance wall starts going at 5.12b. Tommy makes it all the way through the crux when I get this really strange light headed feeling and spin out away from the wall and am looking at the wall behind me which seamed quite strange. As I start spinning back to the wall that we are climbing on I start to notice this warm sensation running down my forehead. Curious to see what this strange sensation was I take my free hand and quickly figure out that it's gushing blood and I loose my shit, and start to freak out. Screaming and yelling I grab the attention of the principal of our school as well as Tommy's dad. Tommy's dad yells up some commands to Tommy and soon he is down to where I am on the first pitch and then Tommy is able to lower me down to the ground safely but a bit shaken. Not having any water to clean the gash caused by the foothold that Tommy had broken off (about the size of a cookie) they decided to use some Pepsi to clean my wound. This is a story that I will always remember and will tell my grand kids that is, if I ever am lucky enough to have a girl friend let alone a wife.

FRB: Done any first ascents?

Mike: I haven't done many first ascents that are that substantial but I have done some in the Henry Mountains a.k.a. the Horn, a dyne problem in Clear Creak called Tsunami a problem in RMNP called White Stripes but probably my most memorable FA would be the first rope less ascent of Double Clutch on Flagstaff mountain.

FRB: What are some of your hardest ascents?

Mike: Some of my hardest ascents would be as follows. The Mandala V.12 at the Buttermilks, Dark Horse V.11 Black Mountain, Bone Collector V.11 Ibex, Utah, Finger Hut V.10 Joe's Valley, Full Service V.10 Hueco.

FRB: Where is the best bouldering in the Front Range?

Mike: Where is the best bouldering in the Front Range? Well that would be a tough question to answer because there are so many really great areas some of my favorite would be Horsetooth, the Poudre, RMNP and Camp Dick.

FRB: Who are you sponsored by?

Mike: My sponsors are 5.10 ,Verve, Petzl, and I am currently looking for some more. Possibly a pad company!

FRB: Do you compete?

Mike: I have been competing for about 9 years on and off when ever I'm not injured. I'm currently ranked 25th in the PCA and was ranked 11th the first season. Right now I'm training for the PCA in Salt Lake City next weekend during the trade show.

FRB: What makes for a good comp route?

Mike: I am currently one of the main course-setters at the spot bouldering gym in boulder, and am getting a lot of really good feed back form the problems that I set. I have not set for any comps but I do have some really good Ideas of a comp this winter that have never been done before and is going to be off the hook if all goes a planned.

FRB: Are you a 'professional' climber?

Mike: I would consider myself a professional climber that doesn't get paid. So am I really a professional climber, not if you go by the definition of a "professional"? There are only a hand full of "professional" climbers in the USA well at least that I know about.

FRB: What's it like living the life of a 'professional' climber?

Mike: Living the life of a professional climber isn't easy at all. Here are a couple of the challenges you get to face when being a professional non paid climber. First off you need to make some kind of living usually working at your local climbing or coffee shop or what ever it is that you do to make some money. Second you need to keep in shape meaning climbing as much as possible in order to keep strong (relative term) and to keep your sponsors happy. This means that you don't hold a full time job because if you do you probably won't have enough time to keep in shape. Thirdly you need to have a place to stay most likely your car, or a friends couch because your part time job probably won't support the cost of food, housing, car, and your typical pot smoking habit. All in all living as a professional climber is quite rough and means that you might have to do some odd jobs that aren't that pleasant, but if you want to live the life then you'll probably do what ever it takes because of course you love to climb and climb hard.

FRB: Do you train?

Mike: Training to me is quite boring so I don't call what I do training. Basically what I do is climb. Climbing is the best way to get better/stronger at climbing the more I climb the better I get. Now if there is a boulder problem that is giving me some trouble then I might focus on that specific movement weather it be campusing or working on my body tension. The best thing to do is find your weakness and do more climbing that involves that weakness.

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

Mike: My biggest complaint about the Front Range bouldering scene is that it's too small, being the community that Is. The climbing scene in general is too small. I get really frustrated with all of the gossip that goes around. I think that everyone should just keep their mouth shut and climb, that's it just go out and climb with you friends and have a good time. Isn't that what climbing is supposed to be about anyway?

FRB: Got any projects right now?

Mike: The projects that I'm currently working on are Eternia put up by Dave Graham in RMNP as well as a new problem called Barbed Wire Beard recently established by Adam Osterhoff. As far as projects there are a butt load of hard problems in the Park that will keep me busy for the rest of my life.

FRB: Any suggestions to people that are just starting
          out climbing/bouldering?

Mike: My suggestion to people that are just starting climbing/bouldering would be to go climbing as much as possible and also to take notice between the difference between indoor climbing and outdoor climbing because there is a big difference. I've found that climbing outside can transfer to inside technique that is but not always to the movement. Secondly that indoor climbing doesn't relate to outdoor climbing at all really, so don't be bummed if you're an indoor climber and go outside and get totally spanked, and likewise if you're an awesome outdoor climber and expect to do well at an up coming comp know that you had better put your time in at the gym in order to do well.

FRB: What is the future of climbing?

Mike: The future of climbing is being established this very second all over the world and is changing very rapidly considering climbing is an instinctual part of human nature. I think that climbing well forever get harder and harder the holds will get smaller and further apart. I can see the number grades going into 5.16 and V.18 or 20 within my life time because there will always be a better stronger climber that will do something that is harder than what currently at the time exists.

FRB: What else do you do besides climb?

Mike: Other than climbing I enjoy drawing, painting and doing new artwork for up coming gallery shows. I also really enjoy shaping climbing holds. I just shaped a set for my good friends at So Ill. I'll also done some shaping for Pusher. In the winter I like to go snowboarding but don't get to go as often as I'd like to mainly because of money issues.

FRB: What do your tattoos mean?

Mike: I have two tattoos one on my left bicep representing myself and those around me. Myself being in the middle and those around me being on either side of me all being equal. The second tattoo is in the middle of my back and it represents empty concepts it's of an empty melting face. Empty concepts goes along the lines that if you can empty or clear your mind you can have everything or the possibilities are limitless.

FRB: Parting words of wisdom.

Mike: My parting words of wisdom would be always be true to your self, do unto others as you would want done to you because Karma is real and it always comes back around either good or bad so be kind to others and they will be kind to you. I hope that you all enjoyed my thoughts and suggestions and if not then that's OK because it's just my opinion. Peace.



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