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Hello Hello Hello

FRB Archived Interview
Ben Scott


Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben

FRB: Ben, how did you get into climbing?

Ben: When I was fourteen I took a two day climbing course from Exum guides. I took a course from this old guy named Chuck Pratt, unfortunately at the time I had no idea who this guy was. I'm glad I got to talk to him for awhile before he was gone. I also took an Colorado Outward Bound course when I was sixteen, after that I fell in love with the outdoor lifestyle. I started climbing on my own while I was still in Cleveland, there's not a lot of climbing in the Buckeye state.

FRB: How long have you been bouldering for?

Ben: I started bouldering a lot after I began climbing full time. I have been climbing 3-4 days a week for four years. I've been addicted ever since my last year in high school.

FRB: Why bouldering instead of trad or
          Sport climbing?

Ben: I love trad sport mountains big walls whatever, as long as its technical rock it's worthy to me. I have been bouldering a lot lately because I like it more than the other realms. It fits my slacker style and I also like the minimalist aspect of bouldering. I like the focus on movement over rock as much as getting to the top.

FRB: Have you done any first ascents?

Ben: Lots of boulder problems all over northern Colorado. Later on I want to do FA's of routes and big wall free climbs. The Huber brothers are beating us to some of the best free routes in the country right under our noses.

FRB: You've done a lot of problems in the
          Fort Collins area. What can you tell us
          about the new stuff up there?
          Any specific problems?

Ben: The Fort is a serious untapped bouldering area. There's too many boulders to even explain; FA's to do all day long. Plus tons of established problems that remain unrepeated, or have had very few ascents. A couple problems stand out Canopener and Gandolf, both were FA'd by this bald guy named Will. Gandolf is a black and tan streaked 45 degree wall that climbs V6-ish moves for twenty feet to a Germ Free style mantel. Canopener is quickly becoming an area testpiece. It the obvious line in it's area climbing 14-15 moves out an open dihedral on every kind of hold imaginable. I hope someone repeats it soon because I can't climb that thing.

FRB: The Rangers at Lory State Park don't
          want a guide put on Frontrangebouldering.com
          What do you think of that?

Ben: I think it's a good idea but unfortunate. It's good because Lory is a super fragile area that must be preserved. The little bit of bouldering activity that has happened there has already caused erosion damage. Its unfortunate because even though the climbing is sharp, classic problems like Vice and Godzilla complement the endless amounts of highballs and pure power problems scattered on huge granite blocks all over Lory.

FRB: Where can people find beta about all the
          new problems in the Fort Collins area?

Ben: If you're talking about written guides your going to be waiting a while longer. Locals like myself are greedy and like things quiet. I know that's selfish but we've spent countless days hiking and searching to find these areas and sorry, but we like FA's and quiet bouldering as much as everyone else. The best idea would be to move there, the locals are more than willing to give tours, or you can just get off the couch and find your own secret spot.

FRB: Who do you climb with usually?

Ben: I have been climbing with the same crew of rock addicts for about two years now. We're real close and share the same feelings about climbing. Pat Goodman and Will Lemaire seem to talk me into skipping school to go climbing a lot, so I guess I climb with those two the most. Fat Badman is one of those guys that does it all. Whether its big wall first ascents, 5.12 roof cracks, or V-hard boulder problems, Fatman sends, even though he's handicapped with a bit of a weight problem. Will the sandbagging midget from the south of France never ceases to amaze me. Will does not appear special being old, bald, and short, then you see him fall off a problem. You've never really seen a climbing tantrum until you witness Will frothing at the mouth, spewing profanity uncontrollably, and throwing his shoes and chalkbag over thirty foot boulders. Then right when your scared he's gonna get violent he sends your project using some drop knee toe hook heel scum highstep thing that leaves you speechless. A lot of Fort Collins locals pull really, really hard, and say very, very little.

FRB: Where do you think the best bouldering
          in the Front Range is?

Ben: Everywhere! The front range itself is for sure one of the best bouldering meccas in the States. Where else can you climb sick Dakota, drive 20 minutes and be at a Granite paradise. Climbing really good problems that may have been done in the 60's or may have been done yesterday. There is no best, it's all the best. I think people forget they live in Colorado.

FRB: Who do you think makes the best
          shoes for bouldering?

Ben: I can't say. Climbing is such a personal thing everyone has their favorite pair of shoes they perform the best in. I have always climbed in LaSportiva because their shoes fit my long narrow foot better than anyone else.

FRB: Who makes the best bouldering pads?

Ben: With out a doubt Misty makes the best all around pad. Their pads are durable and never bottom out on long sketchy falls. Next in line would have to be Metolius who has been coming out with new innovations forever. Especially that handle in the crease in their new pads, I love that handle!

FRB: Do you climb indoors?

Ben: Ha! I remember one time last year, it was real shity out, Pat and I were planning on going to the gym. We decided to go exploring instead and found a huge pile of Granite eggs. So in other words I try not to. I hate the idea of paying to climb, I will climb on home walls occasionally when its snowing. Being outside in the mountains has always been better than being inside to me.

FRB: What do you think of the
          Pusher S7 Cordless crew?

Ben: I have been talking to someone associated with them a little bit and the impression I have gotten is that they're very focused on monetary gains. I don't like turning climbing into a money making scheme. It seems like their bringing all the big trendy climbers together to make a ton of money, meanwhile bringing climbing closer to the masses by creating teen idols or heroes or whatever. On a positive note I like the stuff Lowell and Mike Call are doing with video. I hope climbing films become more creative and in depth.

FRB: What direction do you see bouldering
          going? What direction would you like
          to see it go?

Ben: I think bouldering is going to become climbing for the masses. All you need is shoes, chalkbag, and an imagination. The dangerous side to bouldering is much less than other realms of climbing, which also appeals to a greater majority. Personally I hope bouldering keeps on going where it's going. I don't agree with grades a lot of the time but I do think V19 will happen. Guys like Dave, Klem and Fred have taken us to the limits of today. But imagine when my kids are climbing, there will be millions of guys cranking V13, what will be the limits then.

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

Ben: I think it's simple arrogance. The boulders we climb on have existed for such a long period of time that the human mind can't even comprehend it. When someone drills a pocket they take the arrogance to change that rock for the rest of time. Admittingly climbing on the boulder period also changes the boulder for the rest of time. But ripping off a loose flake that could hurt another climber and drilling a three finger pocket to make a move easier is two completely different things.

FRB: What about terraced landings?

Ben: Hard to say. Terraced landings are ugly eyesores that break the leave no trace ethic but at the same time they stop erosion and lessen impact on the environment. I don't build terraced landings but I have built structures to stop erosion around problems.

FRB: Do you train for bouldering?

Ben: Upon meeting me for the first time most people have the same impression: "Holy crap, that guy definitely has a eating disorder. Will I break his arm if I try to shake his hand?" I don't train for climbing really unless, you count tree boulder problems, stupid human tricks and falling off the slackline as training.

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

Ben: I go to school full time and spend a lot of time in my car driving. Other than that I spend my time eating a lot because I'm trying to get fat (it's not working), keep searching for that gorgeous little blond who's single and flashes V8, and inhabiting as many fine pubs as I can find in the greater Denver area.

FRB: Do you have any projects right now?

Ben: Pat and I have been trying these couple of finger crack problems in the Poudre. Both are nearly horizontal and world class. One is just linkage and the other has two hateful moves on tips jams. Other than that there's a couple highballs I have been trying. One's at Lory, it will be the best highball I've ever done if it doesn't break me first. Then there's this tall arete thing at DamNation, Will and I have been trying. Terrible slaps up a blank arete with a lot of air at your feet. So many problems so little time.

FRB: What are some of your goals in bouldering?

Ben: I used to want to be the strongest man on the earth. Then I met guys like Dave who climb harder than I can imagine for fun. After that I stopped trying to climb the hardest stuff on the planet. Now I'm really into doing FA's and developing new areas. I just want to push my own limits in body and mind. I like tall hard problems because you have to be strong and keep your head focused. That focus or zone you get in on really tall highballs appeals to me the most.

FRB: What are some of your favorite moments
          in your climbing career?

Ben: One that stands out was watching Lisa do the first female ground up ascent of Midnight Lightning. She was so strong and committing on the rock giving 130 percent. She would have cut off her left toe to send that problem. But at the same time she wasn't all testosteroned out either, she still wanted a big hug from Will every time she fell and got scared. Bouldering is for everyone! Personally my favorite moment was sending a problem called Childbirth at Lory. I had worked the problem for a few months and new I was close. My friend Doug had been working another hard problem right near Childbirth. We decided it was time to have one project in the bag. We both made the 45 minute hike, got right on our projects, sent both our projects first try, packed up and left fully satisfied. We each climbed one problem but it was all worth it. The focus we had that day was amazing, I wish I could have held on to it and put it in a bottle. It was a great day.

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

Ben: I hate all the grading stuff, which is a real trendy way to feel nowadays, but I think it's good to talk about. I like grades because I can track my progress but I hate obsessing over them. Can anyone honestly sit down and pick every move of a problem apart into each individual grade? I sure hope not but if someone could then I think grading would be easier. But right now dyno's have the same rating system as every other boulder problem. And there's no way a problem done by 7 foot tall Mike Mandingus would be the same difficulty if short ass Will Lemaire tried it. There are so many other aspects to bouldering besides who's climbed the hardest thing. I think we should start obsessing about quality, instead of V8 versus V9 what about a four star problem versus a five star problem.

FRB: Thanks for the interview Ben.

Ben: You're welcome.

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