FRB: You are very well known in
the climbing world
but some folks
might not have heard of you
who is Rob Candelaria?
Rob: Born in Roswell, New Mexico
in 1952. Been in Colorado since 1966. Came to Boulder to attend C.U.
with a gymnastic & academic scholarship.
FRB: How did you get into climbing Rob?
Rob: I've always been fascinated
with cliffs and high places.
FRB: How long have you been climbing?
30 - 35 years.
FRB: You've climbed a long time,
what keeps you
Rob: I love to climb and play.
It's a great medium for staying in shape and I love the way it 'feels'
FRB: Who are some of your early mentors?
Rob: Duncan Ferguson, Jim Erickson,
Pat Ament, Roger Briggs, John Gill, Jim Holloway, et al.
FRB: Who are some of your early climbing partners?
Rob: Charles Deane, Lee Rozaklis,
Dave Bouwers, Dave Breashears, Roger Briggs, Jim Michaels, Jim Holloway
and Jim Garber.
FRB: Have you done any first ascents?
FRB: You did many ascents on FlagStaff in the 1970's.
What are some
of your FlagStaff first ascents of note?
Rob: Butt Slammer, Hollows
Way ( A problem shown to me by Jim)
FRB: Where else did you do first ascent
in the Front
Rob: Button Reservoir, FlatIrons
area, RMNP, Mickey Mouse area, Morrison and Boulder Canyon.
FRB: What are some of your hardest sends?
Rob: Deadline, Lost Horizons,
The 'Hoolihan,' the Pebble Traverse on FlagStaff, direct start to Mongolian
Cosmonaut V10-11, Center Route at Morrison, Just Right at Chateau Vert,
Direct magic Noir at Traverses, Cowboyography at Hueco tanks and many,
many plastic monstrosities at CATS.
FRB: How did you meet Pat Ament?
Rob: In the gymnastics gym
at C.U. with Bob Williams. They were practicing mantles on the wooden
trim and strength on rings and handstands on the parallel bars.
FRB: Did you train for climbing back then?
Rob: A little, but not like
in gymnastic where I trained 4-6 hours a day, 6 days a week.
FRB: I heard you used to do handstands on
top of boulder
problems. Is that true?
Rob: Yeah. As a gymnast it was
trivial, climbing was the hard part.
FRB: What famous oldschoolers
have you climbed
Rob: John Gill, Pat Ament,
Heinz Mariacher and John Bachar.
FRB: Do you have any 'heroes' you
look up to for
Rob: I've always admired the
people who do more than just climb such as John Gill, Roger Briggs,
Steve Hong, et. Al.. Although I still admire the abilities of climbers
like Stefan Glowach, Patrick Edlinger, Lynn Hill, et.al..
FRB: You've must have had many interesting
you share some of them
Rob: I have so many I don't
know where to start, but I'd love to share a few with you over a couple
of beers sometime.
FRB: What else do you do besides climb?
Road bike, trail run, Trials riding, Mtn. Biking, gymnastics, surf,
build things and read Sci-fi.
FRB: You started CATS gym. Was that the first
in the state? The country?
Rob: For sure in the state,
however, the Seattle Rock Gym opened at the same time as I did.
FRB: How many climbing competitions have you set?
Rob: Around 20 or so.
FRB: What prompted you to start CATS?
Rob: I was frustrated with others
getting credit for my work since I always worked for others and it was
time I took charge of my own destiny.
FRB: You've had many climbing competitions
at CATS. What
makes for a good climbing
Rob: Variety, excitement, no
Isolation. Just the right mixture of power and technical difficulties.
FRB: You've trained many people at CATS over
the years. Who
were some of the noted climbers?
Rob: Robyn Erbesfeld, Katie
Brown, Will Gadd, Louise Giovanni, Mia Axxon and many others.
FRB: Where do you think the best bouldering
in the Front
Rob: 'CATS'. FlagStaff is hard
to beat. Although Horsetooth and Carter Lake are also top ten! Morrison
has good problems but the ambiance is lacking.
FRB: What are some things you don't like about
the Front Range
Rob: Smokers. Loud, showy climbers
who think they are badass. Usually they just suck. Basically anyone
who interferes with my right to enjoy the serenity of the outdoors.
FRB: Climbing is constantly evolving. Where
do you think
Rob: It seems to be going to
the 'teen' set since climbing has been simplified to clipping bolts
and jumping for slopers on highball problems At least that's what the
'mags' exemplify. However there is a big world out there with many incredible
climbers that you never hear of that are pushing the limits in other
FRB: Bouldering is popular right now.
it? Why is it bouldering?
How long is it
gonna stay popular?
Rob: Climbers in general are
basically lazy and bouldering requires the least amount of effort. Besides
it's very social and fun.
FRB: Do you have any projects right?
Rob: Rehabbing my right shoulder.
Learning to Trials ride and doing an Ironman this summer. Also a Sit
Start to Smith Overhang.
FRB: What do you suggest to people who
are just starting
Rob: Be patient. Learn good
technique. Don't be in a hurry to climb overhanging routes, learn to
use your feet. Have a good strength and flexibility base and have fun.
FRB: Any words of wisdom on how to climb hard?
Rob: Set goals, short and long
term. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Travel! Experience! Enjoy!
FRB: Parting words of wisdom?
Rob: Don't get stuck in a rut.
Get out of your local stronghold and explore. Don't be afraid to make
mistakes. And always climb with 'Passion'!
FRB: Thanks for the interview Rob.
Rob: You're welcome, Thank