Christopher Burton Wall.
Chris: 5'10" 160lbs.
B.A. Environmental Science
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Climbing Level III Certified Coach.
# of years climbing?
19. FRB: How did you
get into climbing, Chris?
A high school friend of mine talked me into skipping school one day because he
had learned something at an adventure course. He had just bought a rope, some
webbing, a couple of carabiners, etc. and said that was all we needed to go climbing.
It was off to the Niagara Glenn for the sketchiest climbing experience of my life.
Chuck Taylor All Stars for climbing shoes. We should have died.
Favorite partners/Favorite climbing areas?
I will always be partial to climbing anywhere with my girlfriend, Erin. But I
would rather take her to Hueco and Font than anywhere else.
FRB: You are a trainer at the BRC. Tell us about it.
I've been working at the BRC
for the last 14 years. Either I am putting off getting a real job, or I've found
my niche. I've been training and coaching people there for the last 10 years or
so. It's a great job, and I've been there my whole adult life. Seen lots of things
change there, as well as in the climbing community in general.FRB:
You've been at the Boulder Rock club for years.
us about your perspective and
changes you've seen.
When I started, climbing gyms were still a new thing. The
BRC was in this tiny little space on Baseline and 30th, and I was still living
in the dorms. There was a lot of enthusiasm for what we were doing, but not a
lot of experience. Gyms have changed a lot throughout the country, but not many
as much as we have. I think that is interesting, considering how many changes
we've seen in the sport in that same time period. We have a much more professional
outlook than we used to.
FRB: You also train
at The Spot Gym. Tell us about that.
I coach the Colorado Womans Bouldering Team at the Spot once a week, and at the
BRC once a week. Other than that, I just recreate at the Spot.
I've been friends with Dan and Ashley for years, and I love their gym. I'm psyched
that Boulder has a climbing community big enough and diverse enough for both gyms
to coexist so well. We have a great professional relationship between both companies.
How would you describe your training techniques?
Dynamic, out of the ordinary, and constantly changing. I think that it's important
to blend art and science with something like coaching and training. Science and
numbers can show you a lot of things, but you have to have a creative mind to
apply those ideas to something as dynamic as another person trying to more profoundly
express their sport. Peoples athletic expressions are a blend of physiology and
psychology. You can't get one to bloom without considering the other. I think
that takes a great deal of creativity, as well as a knowledge of things that have
already been done. It's constantly changing for me because there is so much that
I am learning all the time, and still have so many questions to ask.
You work with the Womans climbing team.
us about it. Who is on the team?
How can anyone get on the team?
The Colorado Womans Bouldering Team is like icing on the cake in my professional
life. Let's face it, I am ridiculously lucky to be doing what I'm doing for a
living. Top it off with working with so many talented and motivated women. . .
And the talented, motivated coaches, Ian Powell and Keenan Waggoner. I'm pretty
blessed. Right now the squad consists of the veterans, Jen LeMaire (LeMerica),
Anne-Worley Bauknight (Squirrel), Vanessa Compton, Heather Perrin, Ashley Woods
(Woodsy), Aly Dorey (Dorky),
Kelly Rayburn, Caroline Treadway, as well as the rookies, Tara Brouwer, Abby Smith,
Jackie and Emily Greenwood. Getting on the team is somewhat subjective. Playing
nice with others is an absolute must. Obviously a certain amount of skill. Wanting
to put in the work and pushing themselves as individuals as well as push the others
in the group: critical. All of the women on the team were chosen because of these
qualities. They all stand out that way. There are a lot of individual differences
that got them onto the team, but those are the commonalities.FRB: You
also work with the Junior team. Tell us about that?
Our kids rule. Our team has been growing every year, and our coaching staff is
tight right now. Tony Yao
and Bree Smouse are awesome to work with, and there are a lot of kids that I think
are going to make a mark on climbing. The BRC team has some proud alumni, like
Elliot Bates, Emily Harrington,
Daniel Woods, John & Adam Stack, etc., and I don't think that we are done seeing
that caliber of people coming through the program. Just wait and see. It's going
to be sweet.
FRB: Tell us about the Climbing Lab and working with
Timmy Fairfield. Who are some of the
The Climbinglab is a performance training camp for young climbers. We are the
official provider of climbing camps for USA Climbing, and provide camps throughout
the country. Myself, Timy Fairfield, and this years US Junior World Cup Team head
coach, Claudiu Vidulescu co-own the company. Our goal is to work with the athletes
and their coaches to more effectively evaluate the athletes performance, and help
them create a framework for a training program that will help the athlete realize
their goals and potential. We have been fortunate enough to work with many of
the most promising junior climbing athletes in the country. It's a great program,
and we are having a great time doing it.
FRB: Tell us about your
own training and Jiu-Jitsu.
I really like to train, and I really
like to boulder. I'm much more interested in the movement than I am in anything
else. So for climbing, I spend most of the time bouldering, system boarding, in
the weight room, or running with my dogs. For me, more than half of my connection
to climbing is through the training I do with other people, and the other half
is in my personal bouldering. I really love to try and help other people express
themselves with their climbing. It is often more important to me than my own climbing.
But a lot of the time, I don't have the energy for both, so I turn to Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu. If I had to break it down, coaching climbers is my career, bouldering
is my love, and jiu-jitsu is my sport. Jiu-jitsu is very similar to climbing from
a sense of technical control while under physical duress.
would you suggest to anyone wanting to
get stronger for climbing?
That would depend on what they mean by stronger. Anyone can make their body stronger.
But it takes a whole lot more commitment to strengthen the bond between the mind
and the body. And it takes a whole lot of love for what you are doing to step
up to that kind of commitment. If the love is there, then the decisions about
what to do to get stronger come a lot easier.
What do you suggest to avoid training injuries?
Chris: Given the choice
between hurting myself pursuing my sport or during training for my sport, I would
choose the former. Training is meant to enhance your ability to pursue your sport.
If you get hurt doing a supplement to your sport, you time would have been better
spent climbing more. With that said, I think that most people hurt themselves
training because they confuse training performance with sport performance. It
is very hard for climbers to throttle back and work at less than maximum. The
climbing community is not very supportive of the idea of putting in a non-maximal
effort. But put simply, much of effective, disciplined training is about knowing
how to balance the maximal efforts with the submaximals efforts. Recovery is as
important as the quality of your training. Without it, you will never reap the
benefits of your training time. This is a very personal thing. In the beginning,
it will not hurt you to be more conservative with recovery. You can always up
the workouts later. If you go the opposite way, burnout, illness, or injury are
often the result, and are much more challenging to deal with.
What do you suggest in the way of food supplements
Not much of a fan of most food supplements.
Eat well, balanced, and frequently. Don't eat a lot of crap, but don't totally
abstain from the treats. Make sure you eat a lot of high quality proteins and
carbohydrates. Otherwise you are not going to recover from your workouts, and
you won't have enough energy to stay motivated.
FRB: Thanks the interview,
Chris Wall at email@example.com