FRB: How did you get into climbing Jamie?
4 years ago, I was a junior at Michigan State University. Todd Skinner
came to give a slide show about climbing big walls around the world.
It sounded like a cool thing so I went to check it out. I have always
been into adventure and it seemed to me, from Todd's slide show, that
climbing was the greatest adventure of all. So I was hooked right away.
For the next three years I climbed at a 30ft sandstone cliff called
Grand Ledge. In about 6 months I had done all the routes so it was very
difficult to stay motivated. But it was all I had so I had to be psyched.
It kinda made me feel like the underdog and I loved that. I still climb
there when I go back to MI. If my motivation ever wanes here in CO,
which it rarely does, I just think about those long days spent running
laps on a mossy, chossy 25ft 5.10, trying desperately to get strong.
That usually does the trick.
FRB Who do you climb with usually?
of the time I climb with this salty, anorexic, freak from Cleveland
that just wants to video tape me scraping lichen all day long. I also
climb with my boy Dave from MI who lives up in the Fort. He and I have
climbed together forever, and usually just whoever happens to be psyched.
I also have to mention Harju Jones. He was a welder and baseball player
from Grand Morais, MI. Probably the greatest climber I have ever seen
touch rock. I have to say there are numerous climbers in the area that
provide plenty of inspiration. Also my parents are wonderful and super
FRB: Have you done any first ascents?
Jamie: We have been developing
some incredible granite boulders outside of Fort Collins. There is just
miles and miles of rock and it is all untouched. Also some rad alpine
areas. I did put up a few lines in MI.
FRB: What are some of your hardest sends?
Jamie: Probably the Bushpilot
in Chaos Canyon. About a year ago I came out to CO on vacation and just
hiked up there with no map or guide. I just figured if we looked around
long enough we would find something to climb on. We hiked almost all
day and saw alot of huge boulders but no obvious lines. Right when we
were about to give up we crested a rise and there was the Bushpilot.
It was the most incredible line I had ever seen and I just couldn't
believe how big it was. It totally redefined my definition of what hard
bouldering could be and how incredibly immaculate rock can be. I tried
in vain to send that day and I remember it feeling quite impossible.
I couldn't even do the first move and it looked like it only got harder.
So when I moved out here about a year ago, that was my number one priority.
As soon as the massive snow ! drift that forms underneath (and over
top) the problem melted away I was there. Not only is this problem incredible
looking but the climbing on it is phenomenal. It is incredibly sustained,
varied, and there is a beautiful hard lunge to a perfectly square cut
hold that ends that hard climbing. All in all a classic problem and
one that I was very proud to send. It was nice too that Ben caught it
on video. I was also really psyched to do the Canopener in the Poudre.
Another really cool problem. I haven't done it yet, but Will's new problem,
Black Ice, is super cool as well.
FRB: Why bouldering instead of trad or Sport climbing?
Jamie: I have always been more
motivated by movement and difficulty, and for me that is what bouldering
is about. I also hate dealing with gear and ropes. All that stuff is
a distraction for me and takes away from actual process of climbing
on rocks. I really enjoy the athleticism of bouldering. I was really
turned off by some of the sport climbing scenes that exist in the east,
with super trampled ground, stereos at the cliff etc. For me bouldering
is about being in the mountains with a couple of friends and no one
else, trying your hardest on some crazy moves. There is little in this
world that is more wonderful than sending a hard problem and just having
that crazy flow. Wow that gets me so psyched. I want to go climbing
FRB: What else do you like to do besides climb?
Jamie: The people at The
Spot would probably say nothing else, but I love hiking and trail
run. I also enjoy reading about politics and science. I am currently
reading Einstein's "Relativity" and it is a fascinating read. Quite
challenging. I occasionally snowboard and chase girls as well. I listen
to alot of music and I think I'm the only climber in the Front Range
that likes punk music.
FRB: What brings you to Boulder, Colorado?
Jamie: My brother went to school
here and so that is how I was initially introduced to Boulder. It really
is a special place. There are so many people that are really great climbers
and really great people. The weather is amazing of course and there
are thousands and thousands of problems. It is such a great combination
of things. It is such a good environment to make yourself a better climber.
Plus the mountains are just beautiful.
FRB: Who do you think makes the best shoes for bouldering?
Jamie: I have always climbed in
La Sportiva and in particular
I love the Muira. That shoe is rad for heel hooking. And the guys that
work over there, Jonathan, Randy, and Colin are super nice.
FRB: What is the best gym in the country?
Of Course, The Spot! I have
had so many people come up to me and tell me that they hate gyms and
they love ours because of the natural features and the topouts, among
other things. I think the only time I have ever been sketched inside
was at the Spot, its just amazing. I climbed at some huge facilities
back in MI, but they just didn't have the staff experience or know how
to make for a great environment and I think that The Spot has that.
Plus Dan, Dan and Casey are so much fun to work for.
FRB: Do you compete?
Jamie: Not really. The gym is
a great training tool and fun social atmosphere but I just can't get
motivated to pull my hardest on plastic.
FRB: What are some things you don't like about
the Front Range
Jamie: It amazes me that people
enjoy climbing on sharp, pebbly poo. That stuff hurts to climb on and
it is not fun. There is so much good rock in CO. But whatever, people
can do what they want, that just leaves more FAs for me! All in all
I think it is a great scene. I have met so many wonderful people and
that alone gets me super motivated.
FRB: What direction or trend would you like
Jamie: Grades are so subjective.
Although I do enjoy talking about them it usually comes down to something
being described as V3,4,5... It's so hard to pinpoint an exact difficulty
level that I don't really see the point. I am much more concerned with
quality. Movement, surroundings, quality of rock, and friends of course,
these things will inspire me far more than any number. And because it
is these things that get me so psyched I find it hard to be uninspired.
So I would like to see more of an emphasis an quality problems, not
just difficulty. I had a brief conversation with Brain Capps about this
and I like a lot of his ideas. And Ben Scott and I talk about it almost daily. I also think that bouldering
is headed in a great direction. People are so psyched these days and
I know I have hiked upwards of 17 miles in a day to find new rock to
climb on. Certainly I am not the only one and this seems to be a trend.
People all over the country are finding new rock every day. Even here
in CO, we have found massive talus fields of untouched rock less than
an hour from Boulder. It is crazy and it gets my super psyched. There
is just so much out there and it seems like people are just now starting
to find it.
FRB: What are your thoughts on Highballing?
Jamie: Ben and Dave are really
good at it and good for them.
FRB: Parting words of wisdom?
Jamie: Shut them all down.
FRB: Thanks for the interview, Jamie?
Jamie: You're welcome.