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Hello Hello Hello

FRB Archived Interview
Rob Candelaria

May, 2002

Rob Rob Rob Rob Rob


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?

Rob: 30 - 35 years.

FRB: You've climbed a long time,
          what keeps you going?

Rob: I love to climb and play. It's a great medium for staying in shape and I love the way it 'feels' to climb.

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?

Rob: Many.

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 Range?

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 with?

Rob: John Gill, Pat Ament, Heinz Mariacher and John Bachar.

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

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
          adventures, can you share some of them
          with us?

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?

Rob: 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
          climbing gym 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
          competition route?

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 range is?

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 bouldering scene?

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 its going?

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 areas.

FRB: Bouldering is popular right now.
          What prompted 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 to climb?

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 you.

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