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Archived Interview
Chris Rogers
late December, 2003

Chris Chris Chris Chris Chris

FRB: How did you get into climbing Chris?

Chris: I started "climbing" while attending school at Florida State University in Tallahassee. One of my roommates was the president of the vaunted FSU Climbing Club and hooked me up with the towns' hot spot --Toxic Park. Toxic Park was a park that had been closed due to unsafe levels of radiation in the soil (nobody was quite sure how it got radioactive). The 15 ft. high rock wall they built to keep people out had some decent holds on it for monkeying around. So we would sneak in and make up all sorts of crazy traverses and problems --barefoot and usually inebriated, mind you. After six months of this I met someone who had a backyard wall (eureka!), and about a year later realized that people did this kind of stuff on real rock (what a crazy concept!). Definitely meager beginnings.

FRB: Who were some of your early climbing partners?

Chris: My buddy Sean Pierce got me started. Then I tapped into the intimate Tallahassee climbing scene and learned to trad climb from Walt Donaldson, Tom Lorino, and a few other guys. We actually built the Tallahassee Rock Gym to have somewhere to play.

FRB: Who do you climb with usually?

Chris: I like to climb with anybody who is psyched to get out and play. It really doesn't matter to me if someone pulls V0 or V12, if they have fun climbing and can put up with my bizarre (and often offensive) sense of humor then I enjoy climbing with them. Some of the folks I've been bouldering with a good bit lately are Steve Geinitz, Brad Dean, Seth Lytton, Pat Kelly, Matt Sonke, Brian Solano, Ken Center, Brian Sweet, Mike Sakas and tons of other cool cats I've met at the gym and at the boulders. And I always enjoy getting out with my wife, Amanda.

FRB: What brings you to the Front Range?

Chris: I had to get out of Florida. I landed a sweet job with Rock'n & Jam'n and Amanda and I thought Denver sounded like fun. We were right.

FRB: Have you done any first ascents?

Chris: Not really. I'm really pretty lazy and would much rather have someone else find, clean, grade and suss out any trick beta for me (it would be nice if they would just carry me to the top, too, but so far no takers). I have always enjoyed setting boulder problems inside, and maybe this is where all my creative energy goes... but I'm probably just too lazy.

FRB: Do you have any projects right now?

Chris: Not really. I've got craploads of unsent problems that I want to send one day, but nothing I'm working actively.

FRB: How do you deal with injuries?

Chris: I usually climb through them. Eventually my body gets tired of hurting and it sort of stops (NOTE--this is definitely not recommended, do not try this at home!) Now that I'm getting a little older I seem to be feeling the effects of ten years of not-quite-healed injuries, but I don't seem to be getting any smarter so I just plow ahead.

FRB: Who are you sponsored by?

Chris: I just recently got sponsored by Mad Rock and I'm really excited about it. I couldn't be happier with my Mugens --they work great on all terrain and allow me to pull some crazy-sick heel hooks that other shoes wouldn't (gratuitous plug #1). Everybody should give them a try.

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

Chris: Placing my first solid gear placements, taking my first fall on my gear, rescuing a dog from the middle of the second pitch of a 5.8 slab, getting to the top of sketchy highballs, watching my friends freak out on sketchy highballs, sticking any move that I didn't think I could, sprinting down trails in the dark to catch the last shuttle, when Steve stuck Left of Les, when Prairie laughed her way up Stinkfoot, any trip to Hueco --the list goes on and on. Climbing has left me with so many awesome memories I could go on all day.

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

Chris: It depends on what kind of a mood I'm in that day. I've become a big fan of the Park, but also enjoy Carter Lake, the Satellites, and I can even dig on a good 'ol fashioned Morrison workout.

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

Chris: For the most part I think it's awesome. Coming from the flatlands I was intimidated at first, but I've found the climbers to be supportive, generous and welcoming. I do get pissed off when I see boulderers trashing beautiful areas, though. This summer I was constantly picking up used tape, chalk-block wrappers, etc. under the boulders in Rocky Mountain National Park. I'm not usually one to push my ethics on others, but that is some major bullshit! Here we are in the middle of one of the most majestic playgrounds in the world and some moron can't even put his tape in his pocket when he's done climbing!!! Don't get me started...

FRB: Well, not all of us can get out to climb when we want to.
          And we have to somewhat train. What do you got for
          secrets, tips? What do you recommend?

Chris: Train with somebody who psyches you up. If you can get some good energy going then it doesn't feel like work anymore. I prefer a lotta smack-talking, and threats of physical violence ("get your fat ass to the top of that campus board or I'll rip your f#!*ing throat out!", and supportive stuff like that).

FRB: What else do you do besides climb?

Chris: I enjoy mtn. biking, snowboarding, skiing, soccer, basketball, snowshoeing, hiking, scuba diving, hacky-sack, battle hack, slacklining, and geeking out with a video game. Or that's what I like to think--in reality, I don't do much but climb.

FRB: Tell us about the new Rock'n & Jam'n Gym?

Chris: We're building a new gym down in way-south Denver. I think it's gonna be the bomb (but of course I'm biased since I helped design it). It's got some sick angles, and lots of cool new terrain that I can't wait to play on. The walls are about 40ft. tall. We've got almost 1500 sq.ft. of bouldering and loads of roped climbing for all abilities (gratuitous plug #2). We're working furiously to finish up the building and hope to open sometime in the next couple of months, but I'm finding the construction business is hard to predict, so we can't say for sure. Check out our website rocknandjamn.com for updates and pictures.

FRB: What is the new facility going to concentrate on?

Chris: We will always concentrate on providing you guys with the best indoor climbing environment possible(gratuitous plug #3). Most of our current customers are psyched to climb on the ropes, so that's still our priority, but we're definitely going to have some cool bouldering terrain. I spend most of my time in the bouldering cave, so I'll make sure it stays fresh and challenging. My personal philosophy about the gym is to make it a friendly place where everybody can have a good time climbing 5.5's or thrutching up V10's.

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

Chris: Something that I can send in three or less tries. Seriously, good comp routes are hard to set cause you want to entertain your audience without favoring one type of climber over another. This is all but impossible, but you still have to try. For bouldering comps, I try to set a wide variety of problems so everybody can find something they excel at. I'm also a fan of throwing in an extra footer here and there to help the short folks make long moves (go short people!).

FRB: Any words of wisdom on how to climb hard?

Chris: I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I guess I would recommend not taking climbing too seriously--as obsessive as it can become, it's still a game we've created for our own enjoyment--try and enjoy it.

FRB: What do you think about the Tour de Front bouldering series

Chris: What do you think about the Tour de Front bouldering series? It's one of the coolest experiences I've been a part of in nine years of working in climbing gyms. Every one of the comps has been a blast, and they're still going strong. Having setters from all of the gyms set at each comp has resulted in a beautiful variety of challenging problems. The competitors seem to really enjoy the fresh scenery each month. And I personally have enjoyed meeting so many new people from the gyms around the front range. Hats off to Scott Rennak (Mr. ABS) once again for getting things rolling. Make sure you check these events out--4 more to go!

FRB: Thanks for the interview Chris.

Chris: My pleasure. Thanks for providing us with such a cool website, guys.


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