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Hello Hello Hello

FRB Archived Interview
Tommy Caldwell

via cell phone while he is driving through Davis, California
June 16, 2000

Ron: Hi. This is Ron Larsen with frontrangebouldering.com
how are you doing?

Tommy: Good, how are you doing?


Ron: Is this a good time?

Tommy: Yep. I might be kinda doing stuff... I'm
driving right now! But I think I can handle it.

Ron: So Tommy, where are you right now?

Tommy: I'm in Davis, California.

Ron: What are you doing in Davis?

Tommy: Well, I've been in the Valley. And I've been climbing there. And I came To Davis with a friend who lives here. We're just hanging out trying to get an expedition organized.

Ron: What Types of Climbs were you doing? ...Trying to free 'Lurking Fear'?  (Lurking Fear is a VI 5.10 A3 on the west side of El Cap)

Tommy: God! Everybody knows that!! How does that happen?!! That's amazing?

Ron: So how did ' Lurking' treat you?

Tommy: It's treating me good. Me and Beth Rodden are doing it. We've been working away on it for awhile and it's going good, like we're getting there. We've done all the undone pitches so we just got to finish it off now.

Ron: Nice. When do you think it's gonna go free?

Tommy: I don't know, probably in the next couple of weeks.

Ron: You're staying and you're gonna finish it?

Tommy: Yep.

Ron: After freeing Lurking Fear what do you have planned?

Tommy: Well, I got some possibilities that I can't really talk about because they're not surefire yet. And I don't want to get people worked up.

Ron: How long are you gonna be OutWest? When are you coming back to Colorado?

Tommy: I don't know... Indefinitely. I probably gonna be traveling overseas and just leaving from here... pretty soon.

Ron: Didn't you just come back from Europe?

Tommy: Yep.

Ron: What did you do over there?

Tommy: A lot of rock climbing. A lot of sport climbing. We went to Spain and France, did a lot of sport climbing there. Bouldered at Fontainebleau too. It was good... I've been back for like, 2 months. So that was a little while ago.

Ron: Sorry. I'm a little outdated on that... What kind of projects did you do when you were over there?

Tommy: Mostly going to crags and doing the classic routes. Tried to do alot of onsighting. There's some pretty hard routes in Spain.

Ron: What are your next projects overseas? Do you have a hitlist?

Tommy: I'm going back to Europe. I'm going back to... Aye, I can't tell you that actually. More big adventures things, not sport climbing. More expedition-type trips.

Ron: Did you do a lot of bouldering on your last Europe trip?

Tommy: Yea. Went to Fontainebleau for 5 days at the beginning of the trip and another 5 days at the end.

Ron: You've been to Fontainebleau before, right?

Tommy: Yep. I've been there a bunch of times. I always go there for a few days and then its rains, alot, and the forecast is for more rain, so I usually don't stick around too long.

Ron: Is the attitude towards bouldering different overseas?

Tommy: In most of Europe, it doesn't seem like they're very concerned about bouldering... in France and Spain. I can't really tell you about the rest of Europe. Except for in Fontainebleau. Which is just ridiculous, it's a big family thing. Everybody from 10 year old girls to 75 year old men are pulling off V-12 and stuff. It's insane. Even the best climbers can be totally projecting something and some old guy will just walk up and hike it. It's incredible. Everyone's so strong and they got everything so wired. They come out with there families and they have picnics and they go bouldering.

Ron: Are you gonna do any more competitions?

Tommy: Nope. I don't think so. I think I'm over that scene.

Ron: 'Over that scene', wow, that's a heavy statement coming from you.

Tommy: Yea. I might not be totally over it. Like, little bouldering comps at tradeshows or whatever, that are convenient, I'm definitely gonna go to those still. Competitions really aren't what I'm doing it for anymore. I mean, I can, like, train in the gym, and go to a competition and get to climb a couple of routes or whatever, and it's fulfilling if I do good. But if I don't do good it makes it seem like I wasted all this time in the gym. Whereas, when I go outside and go on these big trips it's one helluva lot of fun.

Ron: What do you think the future of climbing is gonna be?

Tommy: I think climbing right now is definitely heading towards bouldering. Everybody should be bouldering. As far as competitions go, I think they're gonna be all bouldering competitions in a couple of years. There's not really gonna be any route competitions. It's gonna takeoff. It's already started to, and I think it's gonna continue doing it. It's always so much fun... so much more social, it's just great!

Ron: what do you recommend for training when it comes to bouldering, versus sport climbing?

Tommy: I think it's easier to train for bouldering. Just go bouldering.

Ron: That's it. Go do it?

Tommy: Yep.

Ron: What do you recommend for people who have plateaued in the midranges. How do you push through to climb harder and do harder problems?

Tommy: What helps for me if I ever reach a plateau, maybe I'll make my workouts a little more intense, my bouldering sessions a little longer. And make sure I really, really get worked each time. And also rest well. Make sure you're totally recovered. It's better to climb hard and rest hard than to just climb a little bit all the time.

Ron: When you're back home in Colorado, where are your favorite places to boulder?

Tommy: Of course, my home. Lumpy Ridge is really good. And, you know, of course, I'm partial to my home areas. Rocky mountain National Park has just taken-off, like, there's so much rad stuff up there now.

Ron: Its fabulous. And its huge too.

Tommy: Yea. There's a lot. There's a lot of it. And it's being found all over the place. And it's a good summer time area because it's cold. It's just now coming into session. It's my favorite place for sure. It's so pretty up there too. It's pristine, you get crisp conditions in like, August. Which is unheard of in most of the country.

Ron: If you could pick one place in the United States to go boulder, where would you go?

Tommy: One place in the United States... huh. I don't know. There's so many places I would never pick just one place. Oh! You know, I still love Hueco. I wish that, if it wasn't for all the restrictions, and everything. I'd love to go back there. That's gotta be the most amazing bouldering areas in the states for sure. But I don't recommend that people go there right now.

Ron: What do you think is one of the top bouldering area in the world?

Tommy: Fontainebleau. The climbing there is so rad. Oh man! it's a whole different kind of climbing. And it's so creative, you really have to think about your whole body when you're climbing there. And it's really inspiring. I mean, I got so psyched climbing there this last time. Yeah, that's definitely where I'd go.

Ron: When you go out bouldering, how many people do you go with?

Tommy: It varies. I mean, I like to go with friends. I don't like to go to areas where's there is tons of people that I don't really know. Whether it is 1 friend or 10 friends I don't really care. 1 friend sometimes you can get some really good energy, but with alot of people a lot of times, the energy gets really, really intense. And that's when I think some of the hardest stuff gets done... when tons of people are goin' at it, and everybody gets really amped, everybody's having a good time.

Ron: Right! The energy just takes you to another level!

Tommy: Yeah. And also, I like bouldering by myself a lot actually too. I get in my own little zone and I can focus really well.

Ron: You're sponsored climber right? Who are you sponsored by?

Tommy: Ah.... Five Ten, Blue Water, Marmot, Prana, Cordless. That basically covers it.

Ron: Who makes the best bouldering pad out there?

Tommy: Obviously I'm gonna say Cordless. But I really do feel that way... I really do feel that way. I like the way they feel to land on. But I haven't tried all the bouldering pads. I think as pad technology progresses, like the Evil Pad, problems are gonna start going higher. We were bouldering in the valley and we came up with all these ideas, new problems that were like, 25 feet tall. We had like, 5 Cordless Pads and a Evil Pad that was overstuffed! And when the boulderer would get high off the ground. You get four people that would lift up the corners of the Evil Pad and hold it like, 3 feet off the ground. And then you have all the other pads on top. When you fall, you get this cushion of air underneath it. It's so exciting. It gets you going, gets your heart rate going. It gives you a adrenaline rush. Especially when you're doing like, 3 arm-circles on the way down.

Ron: What are your aspirations beyond climbing?

Tommy: Beyond Climbing...? Pretty much right now my whole life is climbing. And, right now my aspirations are to do expeditions. I want to do, like, Big Wall climbing all over the world and do alot of traveling. And beyond that... I don't know. I mean, if climbing even isn't gonna work for me, I probably go back to college. Do you have many more questions because I'm kinda racking up the time on my cellphone?

Ron: We can stop now, no problems. Thanks Tommy.

Tommy: Sure no problem. Bye.

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