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Hello Hello Hello

Charles Fryberger
AKA, UnderGround Chuck - early November, 2002

Charles Charles Charles Charles Charles


FRB: How did you get into climbing Charles?

Charles: When I was a kid I would climb around on almost anything that was available. Later, I started scrambling around on stuff that made my mom get a little sketched, so she steered me into the idea of climbing in a gym. After the Golden Recreation Center built their climbing wall I began hanging out there, and met the guy whom I "apprenticed" under: Brent Luchsinger. He was psyched to have an energetic belay slave with a totally free schedule, and I was psyched to get to follow his (quite bold) leads without fear of actually having to get on the sharp end. I was 16 when my parents moved out of the country, and moving in with Brent made him both my partner and very-much a "father-like" figure too.

FRB: How did you get involved with
          Paradise Rock gym?

Charles: I have been involved with Paradise in three aspects. First as a member, when Scott Ehresman (the "Hidden Dragon"...never-seen-only-heard-about V10 5.13+ climber) got his drivers license and we could go down there. Second as a competitor in the Denver Climbing League. Now I'm mainly just the janitor, and I put holds on the wall.

FRB: How did you get involved with DJ-ing?

Charles: Mark McCarron, one of the owners of Paradise sparked the interest in me. We both have an ear for highly engineered, well-produced music, and to us that means Drum n' Bass on vinyl. Mark and I, and his roommate Damian Doucette would hang out at Marks old place and rock beats till early in the a.m. That sound system still goes down as the nicest I've ever heard.

FRB: I hear you have a new album coming
          out soon. How do we get a copy of it?

Charles: The album is called Influence, and unlike my last album, Technical Trickery (which was a DJ mix), Influence is entirely written and produced by myself with an assist from the very talented Tommy Calhoun. It will be available on Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, CDStreet.com, as well as several local shops like Twist and Shout, which has a nice locals section. I'll also be selling it off the stage at local gigs like the BCS events.

FRB: What kind of music do most climbers
          like to compete to?

Charles: I've given that question a LOT of thought. I know that if climbers are anything... they're adaptable. That's been my saving grace I'm sure. But I usually select a mix of stuff that I think will appeal to and motivate the listener. It's got to be well-engineered and have clean drum-work. I like music with a twinge of darkness, but not too gnarly. Even as a lover of dance music, I get sick of DJ's who just "beat" you to death. Show me some love... some emotion.

FRB: Are you a coursesetter at Paradise?

Charles: Yep. I set routes both for customers and competitions. Even though Paradise is no longer at the forefront of the gym industry, I'm pretty proud to proclaim that I've pulled part of my powers off the same plywood as Pont. Sorry.

FRB: What makes for a good competition route?

Charles: I personally believe that all good competition routesetting stems from a firm hatred of all competition climbers. After watching Tony Yaniro fill in pockets with bondo and grind edges off of comp holds, this is really the only rational conclusion I can draw. I think a good comp route has to be (most importantly) as safe as possible. It has to be fun and friendly to climb on, and it has to be entertaining to watch.

FRB: Why don't you compete, Charles?

Charles: I actually do compete every now and again, but most of the time I'm either setting or DJing or otherwise engaged in making money and saving for my next climbing trip. I'm also not so down with the idea that I might be up on a problem and there could be someone behind me secretly hoping that I'll fall so they can win. I'm all about the "go-team" attitude, and that sort of bad vibe sucks the motivation out of my climbing quicker than feeling the pattern of a Hilti drill bit at the back of a pocket.

FRB: Been on any interesting road trips lately?

Charles: Summer 2001 was the best trip ever. I got to cruise around with Kurt Smith as his official DJ and help him raise over $30,000 for the Access Fund. This summer was awesome too. I went to France with my lady Sarah and our friends Corey Dwan and Dan Miller. Sarah and Dan had to take off early, but Corey and I went on to Switzerland and climbed there for a couple weeks.

FRB: How did you meet Fred Nicole?

Charles: Corey knows Fred from the old days in Hueco. When we went to Switzerland we just called Fred up and he invited us over to stay at his place for a while.

FRB: What is Fred like?

Charles: That guys is one hell of a class act. His hospitality bordered on annoying. Every time my beer glass was half empty, he would open another bottle and fill it up. I had to specifically ask him to stop on several occasions. Not that he's an alcoholic. It was the same way with the yogurt and cereal in the morning. I'm hoping he'll keep his promise and come to Colorado soon so I can repay the favor. As far as his climbing goes, I'm sure that he's the strongest climber in the world. Fred weighs about 175 lbs. The only two other climbers who have climbed V15 (Bernd Z. and Dave G.) each weigh more than 40 lbs. less. I think you would have to go a LONG way down the rankings to find another climber who is as big as Fred. In my mind, real strength is different than the ability to dangle by your fingers. Fred exhibits the kind of strength most people only see in Olympic athletes.

FRB: Are you a 'sponsored' climber?

Charles: Yes. Even though I don't really climb hard enough to earn a sponsorship based just on my climbing ability, I'm what they call a "visible sports personality". I am sponsored by Black Diamond, Scarpa, and Franklin Climbing.

FRB: Are your sponsors treating you well?

Charles: Black Diamond / Scarpa / Franklin have always treated their team well. I am lucky enough to have regular contact with a guy named Adam Abraham. He's my "Salt Lake City Santa Claus" when I need some new stuff. Being sponsored is a job though. That's something Kurt Smith is very good at personally and something he taught me. If you treat your sponsors like Mr. Moneybags and think you are some sort of charity case, well...

FRB: What have you sent lately?

Charles: I had a good summer in Font. I flashed the Big Boss (7c), and sent its neighbor Fourmis Rouge (7c+). These problems are two of what the locals call the "big four". I also did Alta (7c), and managed to send LaArrache Coeur (7c) after taking a pretty nasty (18 ft., 2 1/2 full helicopter rotations) fall from the crux. The video footage is pretty sweet. This Autumn I did Simply Read in Rifle, an awesome line I'd been looking at for several years but had never gotten on. And just last Sunday I did Singular Objective.

FRB: What are some of your favorite
          Front Range climbing areas?

Charles: I like climbing in Evergreen, at the Millennium Boulder, Eldo, and several other places. When it comes right down to it, I like climbing wherever my friends are. And if that means the Black Hole at Morrison, so be it. My climbing posse (the "Paradise Powerhouse") is the most motivating and interesting group of people I've ever been lucky enough to climb with. TJ, Sean "Big-Boy" Colaroso, Fiona, Marcello, Sarah, Stephanie, Tommy C., Mark Hobson, Robby B. These guys are pretty darn cool.

FRB: How did you hook up with Kurt Smith
          and the 'Kickin Access' show

Charles: Kurt used to work with Mark McCarron at Paradise, so when Kurt needed a DJ for his tour he called Mark, who is married and has a daughter. So he passed the job off to me.

FRB: Are you gonna do it again this year?

Charles: I HOPE SO! Kurt and I have been talking about some new ideas for the tour that would really blow the roof off of the whole slideshow medium, and probably make way more than 30 grand for the AF. Stay tuned... we're working on it.

FRB: What are you gonna do 'after Paradise'?

Charles: In a couple years I'll have a bachelors degree in recording arts. I could possibly get a job at a recording studio, TV or radio station, or several other places. First I want to see how far my own little music career will take me.

FRB: Any good training tips?

Charles: I've always said that the #1 way to get stronger and improve in the sport of climbing is to clean out your day planner. Like with an eraser. But in lieu of that, I think if you have really strong fingers and a really strong stomach you can get away with a lot. So I do some campusing and lots of sit-ups. You need healthy shoulders too, so unless you want to pull a "Rob Linnenberger" you better do some pushups too.

FRB: thanks for the interview Charles?

Charles: Thank you Mike and the crew of FRB. Seems like every time I go up to the Satellites there are a few newbies up there with printed-off guides from your site. And they're always HAVING FUN. You guys should be proud. Take care.


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