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Archived Interview
Chris Ryan
mid April, 2004

Chris Ryan Chris Ryan Chris Ryan Chris Ryan Chris Ryan


FRB: Chris, how long have you been climbing?

Chris: I've been climbing since I was 16, so about 8 years.

FRB: Who are you sponsored by?

Chris: No sponsors, but Eldorado Wall Company lets me take leave to go on climbing trips.

FRB: How often do you climb?

Chris: As much as possible, but only if I'm in the mood. I like to climb everyday my body feels up to it, sometimes 5 days a week but I don't like to force training days, climbing is what I do for fun and I like to keep it that way. Sometimes I'd rather just lift weights and run than go climbing.

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

Chris: Climbing the Diamond, maintaining composure on classic routes in Eldorado Canyon, bouldering in RMNP, exploring Fontainebleau, 'Thriller'.

FRB: Why bouldering instead of trad or Sport climbing?

Chris: I go back and forth between bouldering and trad climbing, depending on what part of the year it is and where my motivation is.

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

Chris: RMNP, Eldorado Canyon, Bishop, Fontainebleau, Ibex, Yosemite.

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

Chris: Thriller, Eternia, Whispers of Wisdom, Control Technique, Balance, The Mellon Patch.

FRB: What else do you like to do besides climb?

Chris: I work for the Eldorado Wall Company, designing climbing walls for all over the country. I like to read, hike, lift weights and spend time with my girlfriend.

FRB: What else do you like to do besides climb?

Chris: I work for the Eldorado Wall Company, designing climbing walls for all over the country. I like to read, hike, lift weights and spend time with my girlfriend.

FRB: How do you come up with ideas for
          indoor climbing wall designs?

Chris: I just think of what sort of object I would like to climb on, that's the most simplistic answer. I try to come up with good angles and create features that have good geometry for interesting route-setting possibilities. My favorite outdoor routes and boulder problems are the most aesthetic ones that you just really want to climb; a huge arÍte, a deep dihedral or a pretty face. When I design a wall, I think of these types of outdoor features, and try to come up with walls that have a similar visual attraction for the climber. We can build almost anything, so I try to take advantage of that by exaggerating features past what you could ever find outside. Most of the time I just think about a series of simple design concepts that would work well together, and keep working it through. I think it's important to stay positive when things don't immediately work out, these designs just take time to develop. Most importantly, I'm just trying to create facilities that when you walk in you are really excited about indoor climbing.

FRB: Where do you want indoor climbing to go?

Chris: I only climb inside when I don't have the time to get out, or the weather is no good. Most of the time I try really hard to get outside, so I try to design climbing gyms that are just fun to monkey around on when you can't get out. I like the big hand hold shapes, I like good route setting, and I like the top out bouldering. Indoor climbing can be lots of fun, and I have been fortunate enough to design some really progressive gyms. I just want to have more opportunities to try new design ideas and to expose more people to climbing.

FRB: What are some of the gyms you have designed?

Chris: Off the Boards, new BRC cave, AZ on the Rocks, Red Mountain Rock Gym, Summit Rock Gym, University of Michigan, a new gym in Frisco, TX, and about 30 others over the last 3 years I've been at Eldorado Walls.

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

Chris: People act like Black Ice is the only problem in the Front Range.

FRB: What are your current goals for climbing?

Chris: Climbing more alpine routes, and becoming a better trad climber seem to be the best things to do in early summer. After that I'm sure I'll be bouldering in the cooler fall temperatures.

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

Chris: Traveling is the best thing you can do for your climbing because each area has a unique style and every trip seems to improve my climbing. Climb a lot, climb outside, climb every day your body is up to it. Do your oppositional exercises to avoid injury. Do campus board ladders to increase finger resistance stamina. Most importantly, analyze your movement and improve your technique because the best climbers are the smart climbers.

FRB: What are your long-term goals?

Chris: To stay positive and have fun.

FRB: Thanks for the interview Chris.

Chris: You're welcome.

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