David: 5 foot 4 inches/ 145 pounds.
David: Ft. Collins, CO.
FRB: How did you get into climbing, David?
David: I grew up in Iowa, and I was an exchange student in Australia during my junior year of high school. While in Australia, some guys took me rappelling. I liked it a lot, and during my Senior year I came out to Colorado to check out CSU. On that trip I bought a harness, rope, figure 8, and John Long's How to Rock Climb book. My friends and I were rappelling off cliffs at Backbone State Park in Iowa when we met some guys toproping. It looked like fun, so I ordered some anchor webbing, a cordelette, a locking biner and an ATC from an REI catalog. We only had one harness so we used the cordelette to tie belay anchors to trees, and we didn't have climbing shoes so we wore wrestling shoes. They were tight, and would fit in the limestone pockets, but they weren't sticky and rolled right off small edges.
FRB: Who were some of your early influences?
In the early days, I learned everything from John Long's books. During my early years at CSU I kept buying more gear, and climbed 5.6 to 5.8 trad routes. Later, I moved to CSU's Outdoor Adventure hall, and eventually met a freshman soccer player, Ashley, and got her into climbing.
FRB: Who do you climb with, David?
David: My wife Ashley is my main climbing partner. Lately we've been climbing with Amanda and Brandon Taglioli, Ricky Newman, Jacob Ojile, Aaron and Shaun Hager, and occasionally Scott Blunk.
FRB: What kind of climbing do you prefer?
David: Bouldering, trad, and sport. I discovered that I'm not cut out for alpine routes when I tried the Diamond on Longs a couple years ago. I can handle holds breaking now and then, but large loose blocks and flakes make me really uncomfortable. We've focused on bouldering ever since we've had kids.
Do you have any epic stories you can
tell us from your early days?
David: I took a 20-30 foot swinging fall from the traverse on J Crack at Lumpy Ridge, and sprained my ankle. That's my worst injury in climbing. Soloing the First Flatiron with Ashley, early in our relationship, got very intense. In the crux water groove, Ashley couldn't reach a hold, and ended up turned around and stuck. I down-climbed and Ashley pulled on my foot to get through the section. It scared us both, but we still had a lot of climbing to do. Once I drove late into the night to get to Hueco with a guy named Andy. He didn't want to pay the two bucks to camp at Pete's, so we drove down a faint dirt road into the nearby desert and pulled off. It was a nice night so we just put our sleeping bags next to the car, and fell asleep. A couple hours later I awoke abruptly. A pick-up was coming straight at me, it's headlights on, horn blaring. Not knowing where I was, or what was going on, I sat up and screamed my head off. I've never experienced such sheer terror before or since. The landowner didn't run us over, but we were sent on our way.
Where do you climb these days?
David: We keep it varied, and only go to the same place more than two weekends in a row if we have a project to finish up. Most of the time the decision of where to go is based more on weather conditions than what problems are there. Fun trumps ratings. We follow the seasons, generally ending up at Morrison, Carter, Eldo and Arthur's in Winter. Poudre and Red Feather in the Spring. Vedauwoo and RMNP in the Summer. Everywhere is good in the Fall. We take a trip to Hueco or Utah each year. I'm hoping to spend more time at Mt. Evans and Needle Peak, WY next year.
What are some of your hardest sends?
David: Iron Maiden V9, Analog V8/9, and The Hun V8 at Vedauwoo. Shambhala Traverse V8/9 at Red Feather. Hobo Cave Traverse V8/9 on Flagstaff. Air Loopis V8, Cytogrinder V8, and Full Tendonitis Traverse V8 at Morrison. Silver Dollar Traverse V9 (now broken) and Powerglide V7/8 at Horsetooth Reservoir. Sun Up to Sundown V7 at Vedauwoo, and Doughboy V7 at Carter Lake felt really committing.
FRB: Have you done any first ascents?
David: Not very many. I found, cleaned, and climbed a short sit-start V6 at Red Feather I call, Pressure Escape Roof. The best ones I've done were found and cleaned by Jacob Ojile, and I think he deserves most of the credit. One I named, Beta Particle and the other is named, Aesthetics. They are both really nice, tall but not highball, V4's. I may have done others in the V2 to V4 range, but it's hard to tell if you're the first at Red Feather. I think I got the first ascent of A Walk in the Park Project V7 at the Roof Ranch, Vedauwoo, and a project right of Badger Roof at Eagle Rock, Vedauwoo. It was really tricky, but ended up going at V4 once I figured out the beta. I called it, Corner Shop.
FRB: What areas have you helped develop?
David: I'd like to develop areas, but I like doing a lot of climbing even more, and I don't have the time to do both. I usually get to new areas just after they've been developed, and there are many climbers in Ft. Collins who are primarily motivated by first ascents that get to the good problems first, almost every time. I really enjoy getting directions to a new area, and climbing on a lot of problems that are already brushed and ready to go.
Tell us about climbing at Red Feather.
David: Red Feather is a beautiful area with really nice problems that are very spread out. It's a great place for exploring, but if you want to get much climbing done you need good directions to a classic problem at your limit or a tour guide to show you a bunch off stuff. Jacob has shown me so much up there. Some of my favorite sessions have been there, with him showing us around, and I'd be up there more often if Ashley liked it. Some of the rock is chossy, the boulders are sparsely featured so the holds are spread out, and many of the best problems are tall. It doesn't suite everyone. Jacob's really changed my view on bouldering development through what I've seen up there. Years ago I spent a few summer days hiking around the area looking for a perfect boulder or featured roof and didn't find anything. When Jacob looks for problems he cleans any formation that looks like it could be climbed on. Often the problems end up being a lot of fun. He spends a lot of time and effort cleaning small broken cliff bands like the Warm-up Wall, and the problems often turn out to be classic. A few years ago I walked right past the Warm-up wall while looking for a gem.
Tell us about climbing in Poudre Canyon.
David: For people like me, who haven't been to Switzerland yet, Poudre Canyon approaches the Platonic ideal of granite bouldering in the mountains. My first day at the 420's was a perfect fall day, and I felt like a kid on Christmas. Really fun, concentrated, high quality bouldering in a beautiful place. Spring and Fall are the only times I go though. Too much wind and snow in the winter, and too many mosquitoes in the Summer. You need to buy a State Habitat Stamp to climb at the 420's legally.
FRB: Tell us about climbing in Wyoming.
David: The rock formations at Vedauwoo look so strange that it often feels like bouldering in a fantasy world. I love the place. Like Red Feather, the good problems are really spread out, but the crystals are large enough to climb on, so low quality climbable lines are everywhere. If you lose all your skin on the low quality, low angle, crystal covered lines you won't have much fun. Get problem recommendations, or at least stick to the problems that have been named and you should enjoy yourself. Last fall I got to spend a day up at Needle Peak in Wyoming's Saratoga Valley. The rock quality blew me away, and I can't wait for the weather to improve so I can get back up there.
What's a typical day like for David Lloyd?
I'm a 7th grade Science Teacher with a 40 minute commute. On a typical day I'm up at 4:30 am and I get to school by 6:30. After teaching till 3:30 I pick up my daughters from school and go home or to the climbing gym. Then we have dinner, pack lunches for the next day, and get the girls ready for bed. I'll surf climbing sites for a half hour and go to sleep around 9:00 pm. It's pretty regimented, but we work really hard to get everything taken care of so we can climb outside one day every weekend. In the Summer, I'm off and we climb outside about 3 days a week. Most years we spend 75 to 80 days climbing outside.
FRB: What else do you do besides climb, David?
Family and teaching fill my time pretty well. I try to post a blog entry once a week, and I take pictures between bouldering attempts. In the summer I like to read, and I listen to a lot of podcasts while commuting or working around the house.
FRB: How do you balance climbing and having a family?
Routine helps a lot. On rest days we try to do things our daughters will enjoy. We schedule weekend climbing around their friends' birthday parties, and take them places they like to go. Lately we've been bringing a picnic blanket, and the girls bring toys and outfits to play with while we climb. We're lucky that they are very good at entertaining each other.
FRB: Has having a family influenced your climbing?
Definitely. Roped climbing has been put on hold for the most part, we avoid climbing where there is snow, and it's so much more work. It's worth it though. Ashley and I both love climbing, and it's great that we can climb and spend time together. If either of us wasn't a climber things would be much more difficult.
What are some of your long term goals in your climbing?
I just keep trying to get new problems, and to visit new areas. I try to keep getting stronger. It would be nice to climb Moon Arete someday.
FRB: Do you climb indoors?
Yeah, two nights a week during the school year, and occasionally on weekends when the weather is too bad to go outside.
FRB: Do you compete?
David: Once in a while. Outdoor comps are fun. The Horsetooth Hang and Vedauwoo comps have been my favorites.
FRB: How does the (NoCo) northern Colorado
climbing scene compare to the Boulder
David: I've never been a part of the Boulder climbing scene, and here in Ft. Collins there are simply climbers I know and ones that I don't. Ashley and I climb, talk to people at the gym, and get out with friends when we can. We don't worry about the scene.
Who are the hot (competent) climbers in NoCo?
Andre DiFelice and Ian Dory have become incredibly strong climbers. Ashley, Kelly McBride and Alex Johnson have been doing a lot of FFA's. Ben Scott is still busy developing new things. Jacob Ojile is filling in the gaps at Red Feather, and Cameron Cross has established some proud lines. Jamie Emerson has been doing hard new problems at Red Feather. I know there are many I haven't mentioned, but these are the ones I'm aware of.
FRB: Who are the hot climbers (boulderers) in Wyoming?
Josh Helke and Davin Bagdonas have done some high quality climbs and boulder problems at Vedauwoo, but the climbing areas up there are so vast we almost never see anyone. I think you need to live in Wyoming to really know what is going on in Wyoming, and even then you might not know.
FRB: Who is the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition
The NCCC is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and promote climbing in Northern Colorado. We've spent some time getting established and organized, but soon we will have a lot of members.
FRB: What have they accomplished so far?
They put on the Horsetooth Hang last year, have developed positive relationships with land managers, organized trail work at Piano Ridge, and have worked on some online guides to Horsetooth and Poudre Canyon that will be released very soon.
What are some of the issues NCCC are addressing?
We're working on addressing erosion and social trails at Rotary Park, replacement of old or damaged bolts at Grey Rock and Combat Rock, spreading accurate information about local climbing areas, and promoting community through events, the newsletter, and the website.
FRB: Tell us something about you
most people don't know.
Climbers don't know how much effort I put into Science teaching and conversely my students and teacher friends don't understand how much effort goes into climbing.
FRB: Why do you write the Lloyd Climbing Blog?
David: I began reading other people's climbing blogs, and I really enjoyed them. It's fun to share photos and climbing information with interested people. One thing that has always frustrated me about climbing is just how difficult it is to express the experience to others. I've concluded that it isn't really possible for others to know what someone else experiences, but photos, videos, and written words that are thought out come closer than casual conversation. A climbing day is such a rich experience, I feel like they are worth recording. Climbing magazines push perfection in their photography and writing to the point that it can become artificial. A stylized version of the real thing. I prefer photos of real climbing, and honest accounts. That's what you find on most blogs, and that's what I put in mine. I'd like to make it funnier, but I can't be vulgar or strange because some of my students occasionally read it. When I do brutally honest humor people get offended, and when I try to be cheesy Ashley edits it out. I've met a lot of climbers through the blog, and I feel like Ashley and I are more integrated into the climbing community since I started it.
What bouldering areas are you
most psyched to visit.
We really want to boulder in Rocklands, South Africa, Switzerland, Squamish, New Zealand and Australia. We'll be working on getting to these places, but not necessarily in that order.
FRB: Thank you for the interview, David.
David: You're welcome. Thank you.
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