FRB: How did you get into climbing Dan?
Dan: Ever since I was little,
my dad took me into the mountains. I got my first ice ax when I was
9 years old. With time I eventually found rock. During high school,
I took a trip to Hueco over a spring break and absolutely loved the
place. It really psyched me up for bouldering and I've never gotten
away from it for too long.
FRB: You've climbed a long time, what keeps you going?
Dan: Different types of climbing.
The great thing about our sport is that you can never get sick of it
because there is so much variety. Just recently I didn't touch a boulder
for almost two months while I went through an aid climbing phase, culminating
in a trip to the Fisher Towers in November. Last week we went to the
Ghetto and decided to solo the Third Flatiron on the approach to mix
things up. I got alot of strange looks as I passed people with a crashpad
on my back, but it was a tremendous day, combining a long, easy route
with steep bouldering.
FRB: Who were some of your early mentors?
My dad, who taught me to love being in the mountains. And when I started
wanting to climb rock, Than Hansen and especially Ryan Sayers were invaluable
partners, teaching me how not to kill myself as well as how to push
both my limits and my mind to get stronger.
FRB: Who do you climb with usually?
Dan: My main climbing partner
is my brother, Jeff. He's gotten so strong, climbing like V9 at age
17, and it's really motivating to climb with him. I also do alot of
stuff with Ryan "Hoagie" Sayers, and with Than Hansen when he can get
FRB: What else do you like to do besides climb?
Dan: I mess around with my
and I do a lot of reading and writing. I've also gotten into photography
a bit. Of course, my web site is about climbing, I usually read and
write about climbing, and most of my photos are of climbing, so I don't
know if that really answers your question.
FRB: Have you done any first ascents?
Dan: Only one good one I can
think of, this rad pocket line on the Potato Boulder at Skyland. I've
done dozens of first ascents on choss piles, but those don't really
stand out obviously.
FRB: Do you have any 'heroes' in climbing?
Dan: David Roberts is an incredible
writer, and the king of Alaskan FA's back in the day. And as much as
it's been said by others, Chris Sharma is a really motivating climber.
I wouldn't say he's my 'hero', but if everybody was as relaxed as he
is and just climbed for the sake of climbing, there would be much less
spraying and arguing. I don't know about anybody else, but I get sick
of reading all the, 'you're a moron' and, 'stay away from my secret
area' crap on the FRB
FRB: Why bouldering instead of trad or Sport climbing?
Dan: Bouldering offers the
best chance to climb the coolest features, on the most improbable holds,
in the most dynamic way. No two problems are the same, and I have yet
to get over the novelty of looking at a boulder -no matter how many
times I've seen it, and saying: 'I wonder if there would be a line over
FRB: What do you think of enhancing, chipping
and gluing holds?
Dan: There's absolutely no
place for them. That's what gyms are for, making the routes you want
to climb. Altering a hold outside is nothing short of selfish and there's
no place for it. Period.
FRB: Who do you think makes the best shoes
Dan: For me personally, the
UFO's were the best shoes ever made. Since they aren't made anymore,
I keep hoping I can get one more resole out of them. 5.10 is my choice
in general though. I've had better luck with them and they don't seem
to fall apart as quickly.
makes the best bouldering pads?
Dan: Anything that keeps my
tailbone away from a protruding block is fine with me. I happen to climb
with a Cordless.
FRB: Is one chalk better than another?
Dan: I try to always use Metolius
Super Chalk, but I'm sure that's more of a mental thing, being used
to the feel of it or something.
FRB: What are some of your favorite climbing gyms?
Dan: The best gym I've ever
been to is Vertical Dreams in Manchester, New Hampshire. I've never
felt as motivated as I did training with the guys in New England.
FRB: Do you compete?
Dan: Maybe once or twice a
year. I try to climb outside as often as possible. The best competition
I ever competed in was actually put on at Western State College in Gunnison,
CO. Every single route was fun, and the guys out there are so motivated.
It was by far the most fun I've ever had on plastic. I just recently
set routes for a comp that raised over $1,500 for charity and I had
a blast. We're going to try and start organizing bouldering comps in
Colorado Springs every couple months or so at the 8th Street gym.
FRB: What makes for a good competition route
in your opinion?
Dan: One that challenges the
competitors and uses a variety of techniques. And when it finally gets
sent by someone their feet swing out and the crowd goes nuts. The atmosphere
surrounding a good comp is really cool to be a part of. Another important
thing about route-setting is making high-quality beginner and intermediate
level routes. At many of the comps I've been to it seems as though they
just slapped up holds wherever with no thought about the movement. Most
competitors aren't climbing V12, and it's important to make fun moves
on every route.
FRB: How many competitions have you set?
Dan: Just the one recent one.
I'd set routes for a gym before, but never for a competition. It will
be fun to be involved in setting for upcoming comps in the Springs though,
I'm looking forward to it.
FRB: Where do you think the best bouldering
in the Front
Dan: I'm kind of partial to
stuff in the Colorado Springs area, since I'm always trying to convince
people that not all the rock down here is as bad as Garden of the Gods.
I really like the Garden of Eden, more for the isolation you can have
up there than anything else. Sheep's Nose has so much potential it's
unreal. That place has barely been tapped. Castlewood Canyon has gobs
of unclimbed rock. The place gets a bad reputation for being overgrown
and infested, but I just don't think that's the case. It's ready right
now for some extremely hard stuff to go up for whoever wants to find
it. Farther north, I was really impressed with the Ghetto, and the little
that I've seen of Vedauwoo was very high quality.
FRB: What hard problems have you sent
in the Front
Dan: Hard for me... I flashed
Underdog (V5) at the Ghetto, and at Ute Valley here in the Springs I
finally did the Center Route. And Jeff and I repeated Heinous Gayness
after the crux hold broke at Ute Valley. I've been stuck at the V5 plateau
for a long time and am finally starting to pull out of it.
FRB: Do you have any favorite problems or
ones that you
thought were incredible?
Dan: Electric Hoe-down at Skyland
has rad holds and really cool movement. And every problem on the Tank
Boulder in Tuolumne Meadows stands out.
FRB: What are some things you don't like about the
Front Range bouldering
Dan: Too many punks who scream
and yell and throw tantrums, but that's not just the Front Range.
FRB: Bouldering is popular right now. What prompted it?
Why is it Bouldering?
How long is it gonna stay?
Where are we
gonna go after this?
Dan: Chris Sharma and Hueco
Tanks. Before the restrictions, everybody was finding Hueco Tanks and
realizing that bouldering is a tremendous sport in itself. That, combined
with all the video of Chris doing these crazy routes inspired alot of
people to get a crashpad and get strong. Now bouldering fills so much
of the magazines, so people who are just learning to climb are bouldering
right from the start. The number of boulderers will probably keep increasing
until there are access problems to every area (possibly) or aid climbing
becomes popular (probably).
FRB: What are some of your goals in bouldering?
Dan: I've spent most of the
past year and a half dealing with finger injuries and distractions.
My goal is simply to climb more and more and more. Also, to get as strong
as my punk little brother.
FRB: What do you suggest to people who are just
starting in climbing/bouldering?
Dan: Climb every minute you
possibly can. As somebody once said: 'Never miss the opportunity for
a good pump.' And build a bouldering wall in your basement or garage.
FRB: Do you ever hit a plateau in your climbing?
How do you overcome
Dan: When I've plateaued in
the past, it's usually because I'm trying so hard to get stronger that
I stop having fun. Take time off. Go do a 700-foot 5.6 or go hiking.
Realize that the best part of climbing is being outside and enjoying
the people around you. The best thing for your climbing is having fun.
FRB: Parting words of wisdom?
Dan: Come to Colorado Springs,
there's better stuff than Garden of the Gods and it's never crowded,
ever. Also, if you're getting frustrated, listen to Bob Marley. If that
doesn't work, go get yourself really scared aid climbing. After you've
contemplated your mortality while watching the tied-off pin at your
waist slowly crumble while you fumble to place an RP in that flare that's
just two inches out of reach, bouldering is immensely more fun and enjoyable
than it ever was before.
FRB: .Thanks for the interview Dan.
Dan: No problem.