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Hello Hello Hello

A brief interview with
Matt Segal

late July, 2003

Matt Matt Matt Matt Matt


FRB: How did you get into climbing Matt?

Matt: I started climbing at the gym in Miami Florida when I was 14. My first four years of climbing was spent training in a gym, since the closest climbing area was about an 11 hour drive. I started traveling and competing in all the junior comps. I was on the US Youth climbing team for four years where I got the chance to travel to Europe and compete in the Youth World Championships. For the last two years I have been traveling around climbing in most of the big 8 and PCA competitions.

FRB: Do you still compete?

Matt: At the moment I am not psyched on competitions. I competed in way to many comps this year and got really burnt out. You have to pick and choose the competitions you compete in; I picked all of them this year, and learned most of them where a disgrace to competition climbing.

FRB: How do you train for comp climbing?

Matt: To train for comps you have to climb inside. When I was living in Miami it was very easy to train because all I had was the gym. I would go in and run a bunch of laps on all the hard routes or do bouldering circuits and campus for power. I occasionally get really motivated and run or bike.

FRB: What makes for a good comp route/problem?

Matt: A good comp needs to have interesting problems. I do not like going to comps that have problems that are all the same. I would rather a problem be tricky and hard to read then just power.

FRB: What do you think of the state of
          comp climbing in general?

Matt: The state of competition climbing in the US is pathetic. Some of the US climbing organizations are really poorly organized and it reflects on the climbers. For example I was in Europe this summer climbing in the world cups, and I thought I was going to get a yellow card for not having the proper uniform [American flags on your pants] that the USCCA was suppose to provide for us. Its almost embarrassing competing in Europe as an American, because everybody knows how unorganized the US is.

FRB: What do you think of the USCCA?

Matt: I am very disappointed in the USCCA. This year I competed in some of the worst climbing competitions I have every competed in. From route comps where only a few people make it past the first bolt, to people blatantly cheating. This is suppose to be an organization for the climbers, but the climbers never get what they want.

FRB: OF the PCA?

Matt: I think the PCA is doing a great thing for competition climbing in the US. They are putting allot of money in the sport and getting good exposure. I just feel that the PCA problems are in a league of there own. I am not a big fan of all the jumps they put in there routes. I know it is for show, but I don't think every single problem needs to end in a jump.

FRB: Do you travel much?

Matt: I love to travel. If there is anything I like to do more then climbing [and other things I will not mention] it is traveling.

FRB: Got any big trips coming up?

Matt: I just got back from a 5 week Europe trip, so I don't think I will be taking any big trips any time soon. I think I may drive out to Salt Lake City for the trade show and climb at Mill Creek on the way. I want to save money this year so I can go to Australia and New Zealand next summer.

FRB: Done any new problems/routes lately?

Matt: I have not done anything new in the last 2 months. I was traveling in Europe and did not get to climb as much as I wanted to.

FRB: Did you get the 2nd ascent of Superfly in Eldo?

Matt: Yes I did. Super Fly is a really cool route. It is like a V6 or 7 boulder problem on a steep wall. The gear is pretty good in the beginning, but towards the end it gets a little dodgy.

FRB: Got any projects right now?

Matt: Yea. I have a couple things I want to do this year. There is a really cool project in Eldo that I want to do. It's just a hard boulder problem on bad gear. I also have a list of problems I want to do at Rocky Mountain National Park.

FRB: What else do you do besides climb?

Matt: I'm starting school at Naropa University. So that is where a lot of my time and energy will be going.

FRB: Where do you like to boulder at?

Matt: I really like to boulder up in the park. I think it is really beautiful up there and the rock is amazing. Hueco is also a really cool bouldering spot in the winter.

FRB: Who were some of your early or
          current climbing partners?

Matt: In Miami I trained a lot with Kynan and Derek Waggoner, the manager and owner of the climbing gym in Miami. Now I climb with a lot of people around Boulder. Usually your local Cream Team members.

FRB: You must have had many interesting adventures, can
           you share some of them with us?

Matt: On my last trip to Europe I found myself in allot of little adventures. I was trying to climb at this area called the Ratikon. It is multi pitch sport climbing that is super scary. The approaches are pretty much like soloing and its not over when you get to the base. We ended up getting lost and spent close to the whole day doing sketchy scrambling.

FRB: How do you deal with injuries?

Matt: Knock on wood, but I have not had any injuries?

FRB: Do you ever hit a plateau in your climbing?
          How do you overcome the plateau?

Matt: When I reach a plateau I take some time off. Usually it is because I am not psyched on climbing. So I just rest and do something else. I think doing all types of climbing helps, I try to traditional climb as much as I boulder and sport climb. It is a good balance.

FRB: Any words of wisdom on how to climb hard?

Matt: Always try hard and don't let go.

FRB: Thanks for the interview Matt.

Matt: Thank you.

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