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Hello Hello Hello

FRB Archived Interview
Brian Capps


Brian Capps Brian Capps Brian Capps Brian Capps Brian Capps

FRB: Brian, how long have you been climbing?

Brian: I first started climbing almost 8 years ago. At the time there was no gym where I lived so we would climb outside, mostly on the weekends when our parents could drive us. A year or two later I built a small home wall and began to climb more often.

FRB: How did you get into climbing Brian?

Brian: A friend of mine and his family had hired a guide to take them climbing. They had a wonderful time and recommended that my family should do the same thing. Several weekends later my dad drove me, a friend, and the climbing guide to the cliffs of southern Illinois. We had a great time and I got my first pair of climbing shoes shortly after.

FRB: What brings you to Boulder, Colorado?

Brian: In June of '95 when I was 15 years old, my main climbing partner and I went on a small road trip. We were given the grand tour of Colorado by our good friend and somewhat of a climbing mentor Jim Thurmond. Growing up in Missouri and having never climbed more that 20 miles west of the Mississippi this was a huge change. He took us to Flagstaff, Eldo, Rifle, and the Black Canyon. Boulder was a place where I could both go to school and climb outside full time. So after high school I moved to Boulder.

FRB: How often do you climb?

Brian: If I am climbing indoors I usually do not climb more than 4 days a week. Most of the year when I am climbing outside I climb about 5 days a week, but some of these days are just going to Flagstaff between classes and doing a circuit of easier problems.

FRB: What are your current goals for climbing?

Brian: I've traveled some and seen so many amazing looking boulder problems... but I have done relatively few of them. Therefore I always have tons of (boulder) problems to think about, so for now I just want to go back and finish a few of them.

FRB: What are your long-term goals?

Brian: To become more of a well-rounded climber. Someday I would like to be able to lead traditional 5.12 comfortably. Right now I have no interest in ice or mixed climbing.

FRB: How do you train for hard bouldering?

Brian: In my opinion you can get stronger climbing indoors, but being stronger isn't the only part of being a better climber. If you want to climb your best you must stay motivated, and sometimes (at least for me) it is hard to stay motivated on plastic.

FRB: How about resting. What do you recommend?

Brian: Listen to your body. I think that if you feel good you shouldn't force yourself to rest, and if you feel tired you shouldn't force yourself to climb.

FRB: What inspires you to train?

Brian: Good friends… beautiful lines.

FRB: What else do you do besides climb?

Brian: I enjoy skiing in the winter.

FRB: Who are some of your favorite bouldering partners?

Brian: I climb mostly with Herm Feissner, Theo Merrin, Curtis Gardner, Mike Auldridge (when he is in town) and Josh Heiney. We all seem to have a good time together.

FRB: Do you have any 'heroes' that you look up to for inspiration?

Brian: I am pretty inspired by people like Dave Hume (from Kentucky). He finds time to be an exceptional climber while still going to school full time, working in a lab, and making good enough grades to keep a scholarship. I am also pretty inspired by people like Tommy Caldwell who seem to have limitless motivation. He appears to always be setting climbing goals, achieving them, and then moving onto the next one without hesitation. You hear of him going from a bouldering competition straight to working on tremendously hard sport routes, then like a week later you hear about a sick new boulder problem he put up, and then he is off freeing really hard big walls in Yosemite. I think that's pretty respectable.

FRB: You're just back from Fontainebleau with Herm, Mike, Theo and Dave (Graham)...tell us about your trip, what did you send?

Brian: We had a great time. We all climbed some amazing problems. I tried to climb many of the classic lines but I barely made a dent. I cannot stress enough how many super classic lines there are in the forest. As far as difficulty I climbed a few V9s and a couple of V10s.

FRB: You showed Herm Fleshfest V10, how long did it take him to send it?

Brian: I took him there in the afternoon and showed him what beta I had worked out. A little before nightfall he topped out with the first ascent. All in all I'd say it took him about 2 maybe 3 hours.

FRB: Have you climbed with Herm much?

Brian: Yea, tons. I have been to France with him twice, Utah, Florida (sort of a climbing trip), and I climb with him in the Front Range all the time.

FRB: What is Herm like?

Brian: At first I thought that he was scary. I wasn't introduced to him; instead people at the gym would whisper to me that the big guy over there was Herm Feissner. That was several years ago, now we're good friends. Herm made me believe that it is possible to go to school, get a good job, while still being able to travel and climb extremely well.

FRB: You've been going up to Chaos Canyon in RMNP with Dave Graham, what can you tell us about climbing with Dave?

Brian: Where do I start? Dave is obviously an extremely strong climber. I think that many people get the impression that Dave climbs well only because he is lightweight and has genetically strong fingers, when in reality there is much more to him than that. Dave has an amazing ability to find the best sequences and correct body positioning on the rock, and very quickly. He also has heaps of motivation and an uncompromising belief in himself. I do not remember ever hearing him say that he couldn't do something or that a move was too hard. It's my belief that he got strong just by climbing and training extremely hard for several years straight.

FRB: Have you sent any FA's in Chaos Canyon?

Brian: I have not put up anything harder than V8… Dave did most all of those himself.

FRB: What can you tell the 'average' boulderer that would improve his/her climbing?

Brian: Do what keeps you motivated, and try as hard as you can. Think about what you want to do with climbing, or what is it about climbing that makes you enjoy it so much. Then work towards that. It is harder than it sounds, I have been trying to figure it out for years and I still don't have any answers.

FRB: Do you compete?

Brian: Occasionally. I think that competitions are an interesting part of climbing.

FRB: What competitions have you won?

Brian: Not many.

FRB: What are some of your favorite climbing gyms?

Brian: I mostly just boulder indoors. I do climb at the Boulder Rock Club, but mostly I like small/personal gyms like C.A.T.S., The Wasatch Front Gym in Salt Lake City, and my home gym in Missouri.

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

Brian: I think that a good comp route must have interesting moves, a diversity of holds (like crimps, edges, pinches, pockets and slopers) and it must be somewhat consistent. I like problems that can be done with several different sequences with all of them being about the same difficulty.

FRB: Climbing is constantly evolving, where do you think it is going.

Brian: I have no idea. Maybe extremely difficult sport routes, or really scary trad, or maybe soloing could become a trend, now that would be pretty crazy.

FRB: More people climb/boulder than ever before, what should be done to mitigate the impact to the environment?

Brian: I do not know much on the subject, especially about route climbing areas. As for bouldering, don't use excessive amounts of chalk, go easy on the tick marks and try to remember to brush them off, do not add any more bolts to the tops of boulders (I have used one, but never installed one.)

FRB: Do you think that climbing/bouldering should be banned in the Flatirons?

Brian: No, I like it up there. I did not know that was a serious issue. What are the arguments against climbers? Erosion? Chalk buildup? The killing of lichen? It seems that banning climbing in the Flatirons would be fair only if they close the area to all humans all of the time.

FRB: Do you have a favorite climbing shoe?

Brian: I am not sponsored, so what I am telling you is actually how I feel. Right now I am climbing in Five Tens. The only three that I climb in are the Anasazi Lace, Anasazi Velcro, and the Zlipper.

FRB: Who makes the best crash pads in your opinion?

Brian: Right now I am on my third Cordless pad in five years. I think that they average the best between carrying large loads comfortably, carrying capacity, cushion, and size.

FRB: Is one chalk better than another?

Brian: Probably not, but I am a chalk snob. I use Metolius Super Chalk. I have not tried the pusher chalk yet, and I do like magic (liquid) chalk.

FRB: What climbing periodical do you read?

Brian: I do have subscriptions to both Climbing and Rock and Ice. I do not know if it's that I actually enjoy reading them, looking at the pictures, or that it just gives me something to do besides study.

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

Brian: This is in no particular order. My favorites areas are Hueco Tanks, Fontainebleau, Southern Illinois, and RMNP.

FRB: You're working the pockets problems at Gross Reservoir… how is that going?

Brian: Those problems are absolutely stunning. I just recently did the right one after a small epic. Since then, I have begun working on the left one.

FRB: What hard problems have you sent in the Front Range?

Brian: Some of them, but I have a several good ones left.

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

Brian: I have favorite problems that I like to do at each area. There are so many I do not know where to start, so I will just name a few. At Flagstaff my favorites are Hollow's Way, and the Tree Slab. Other problems that I really enjoy around Boulder include Caddis, Turning Point, and the Kahuna Roof. In the Estes Park area I would include Sapp, and several problems in RMNP. Godzilla and Pinch Overhang are some of my favorite problems around Fort Collins. One super incredible looking problem that I have not done, and I would really like to do is Podophile.

FRB: Thanks for the interview Brian.

Brian: You're welcome.


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