FRB: Full Name?
Dave: David Dale McAllister.
Dave: I am currently in my thirties.
FRB: Ape Index:?
Dave: A remarkably unstunning
FRB: How did you get into climbing, Dave?
Dave: Well, seeing as I'm from the wilds and mountainous regions of Iowa, I'd never really even heard of technical rock climbing. After college, though, I found myself working for an outdoor shop in Iowa City, which sold climbing gear. Still, though, I wasn't moved. It wasn't until one day at work I looked up at one of the televisions playing in the camping department and saw Fred Nicole doing a one pinkie pull-up. I continued watching these freakish displays on Masters of Stone Vol. III, and promptly went to a local climbing area after work that night, wearing my old wrestling shoes.
In a month I'd saved enough money to buy every piece of gear I'd need to lead sport in Iowa, replace my wrestling shoes with Mythos, and lend my poor flat lander, non-climbing friends a harness whenever I wanted to go climbing! My second experience with rock was on my 25th birthday, when I took about 15 of my friends out to a place called Wild Iowa. Nobody had taught me about belaying, rappeling, anchoring techniques, leading, nothing. It was one of the greatest days of my life, but to this day I'm in awe that nobody went to the hospital.
FRB: How did you end up in Colorado?
Six months after I bought all the gear, I quit my job, emptied my savings
account (a paltry post-college $200), bought two cases of Ramen noodles,
talked my girlfriend (ex now) into coming along, rented a U-haul, grabbed
my dog and moved out. No job, some living prospects, etc. Addiction
leads to haste.
FRB: Where do you usually climb, Dave?
Dave: It depends on what I'm doing, but since this is a bouldering web site...
In Colorado, I definitely love bouldering in the Flatirons area, especially in the fall. The Poudre is also great, but I neither
get there nor Horsetooth as much as I'd like. I also spend a bunch of
time in Clear Creek. Honestly, as long as I have some friends around,
I'll go anywhere. Of course, I also spend my fair share of time toiling,
cursing and blaming my friends and loved ones for my failures at Morrison.
Also, for the past five years I've spent about a tenth
of every year out in Bishop, climbing, relaxing, surfing, relaxing,
FRB: Favorite areas?
Dave: Red Cliff, Poudre and Skyland
are all so beautiful (though, again, I don't get there much), and I
love the textures of the Flatirons and Clear Creek. I'll take a weekend
with the crew up at Independence Pass, anytime. Joe's is fantastic...gotta
love a place where your forearms explode before your tips.
For my money, however, nothing beats the varied rock,
ocean proximity, and California strangeness of Bishop. You can go from
an alpine hike in the Sierras in the morning to Death Valley in the
afternoon to surfing at Point Doom as the sun sets. Of course, that
might set some sort of record, but by God, it's possible. Again, though,
as long as I have a good crew of friends around, I could have fun anywhere...
FRB: Who do you usually climb with?
Dave: Anyone who wants to go! I really don't climb with a cohesive crew, rather I just call everyone I know and head out with whomever can go that day. Also, with people constantly coming and going in and out of this state, my partners are always fluctuating to and fro as they land "real" jobs, relationships, etc. I guess right now there's the Christian Coalition (you guys know who you are), the Midwest Connection (too numerous to name), Hump, Travy, Zac T and friends, and just a motley crew of others. Either way, I'd rather climb with someone who's just learning and loves it than someone who pulls V12 and knows it!
FRB: Hardest sends?
Dave: Too few to get into...is
that oxymoronic? My most recent happiness came a couple months ago when
I sent Soulslinger, at the Buttermilks, in Bishop.
FRB: Do you rope-up?
I didn't even know what bouldering was until I moved to Colorado! I
learned how to climb toproping, leading sport and eventually trad (in
horrific places like Devil's Lake), though lately I definitely prefer
bouldering with friends to clipping bolts or plugging gear. This summer,
however, I'd love to get out to the Platte more often. Zac, you gotta
strong arm me!!
FRB: What do you do for employment?
Dave: I'm the climbing and hard goods buyer at the Mountain Miser, in Englewood. Got the job right after I moved to Denver... and here I still am!
FRB: Tell us a little about the history of Mtn. Miser.
Miser? The genesis of the name?
Dave: First of all, the Miser is the oldest privately
owned outdoor retail shop in Denver; we're celebrating our 25th Anniversary
this year! Basically, Mountain Miser started as a used gear, consignment/seconds
shop -- hence the moniker -- in some dude's basement. The shop eventually
evolved into what it is today, an excellent climbing and backpacking
shop, on of the best kayaking shops around and, I think, THE BEST telemark
skiing shop anywhere.
Why Mountain Miser?
That's a great question, and an easy one to answer. One thing that small,
specialty shops have over national, big box warehouse stores is the
ability to service the customer in a friendly, very personal manner
(I know, I've worked in two of the big boxes!). At the Miser you'll
never, ever find an attitude; rather, you'll probably be approached
by someone horribly addicted to their sport or sports, someone who can
give you all the knowledge and expertise you'll need, and maybe a good
joke, to boot. That's not to say that the big boxes aren't service oriented
or fine shops -- they are. However, at the Miser, and some other small,
service oriented shops in Colorado, you'll definitely feel a friendly,
community-involved vibe, which, I think, is a unique trait in this world
of fast food family dinners and corporate giant domination.
FRB: What about the Clean & Climb.
Tell us the genesis
of the Clean & Climb.
a long story. So, my bro Chris Davis, who's now climbing out in Tennessee,
and I had just come back from bouldering up on Flagstaff, and were drinking
some suds on my porch. We started talking about what a trash-can Flag
was, what with all the broken glass, car tires, cigarette butts, etc,
littering the ground. And both of us, being new to Colorado, were pretty
much flabbergasted. It took me especially by surprise, as I was also
fairly new to climbing, a sport I assumed to be in bed with the environmental
"movement." Of course, after my first C&C I realized that it wasn't
really the climbers at all making the mess... As a matter of fact, I
bet roughly 4-6% of garbage picked up at every C&C was deposited by
Needless to say, the beers continued
to go down and we decided to do something about the trashy recreation/climbing
areas that we could directly influence, namely the Front Range. Though
we were both sport and trad climbers as well, we decided to focus mainly
on bouldering areas, as that aspect of climbing also fosters the most
communal feel, which is the second most important part of the Clean
So, I wrote out a list of areas,
got on the phone to my reps, made some absolutely craptastic flyers,
and set it all up. I didn't really involve the Mountain Miser in the
process, or at least was leary from the get-go of calling it the Mountain
Miser Clean & Climb, in lieu of people judging the event as a promo
tool. So I didn't ask for a paycheck or compensation for my time, money
for garbage bags, or anything like that. And, for the most part, it's
stayed that way, except that the Miser bought the yummies for the grill-outs
last year and will again this year, as well as being the C&C's biggest
The first Clean & Climb at
Flagstaff, in May of 2001, attracted a whopping 14 people. A year later,
the Carter Lake clean up drove in three people. Me and two of my best
friends (I learned not to have it on the 4th of July weekend, that year!).
Regardless, those two clean ups, with 17 people overall and hundreds
of acres covered, nabbed around 50 full bags of trash, along with a
couple truckloads of crap that wouldn't fit in garbage bags. As the
years have gone by, the C&C has managed some good attendance. The last
two years at Morrison have brought in quite a few, as have Ute Valley
and Horsetooth. Either way, it's just great to be out there, getting
dirty amongst the boulders you love climbing. As long as a crew shows
up, no matter how big, we usually get the job done.
FRB: What is the schedule of this years Clean & Climb?
JUNE 25: MORRISON, with a shoe demo (Montrail, Mad Rock,
and hopefully La Sportiva)
JULY 23: RED CLIFF
AUGUST 27: ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, though this is still
tentative, as I've never worked with a National Park before.
SEPTEMBER 24: UTE VALLEY
OCTOBER 15: CARTER LAKE, with another shoe demo.
FRB: What is some of the oddest trash you've found?
Here's a small, small list: kiddie pools, bong tubes (no slide attached),
realty signs, 100lb spindles of copper wire, tractor and car tires,
soiled undies (a real treat, let me tell you), towing cables, a mini-refrigerator,
gutted computers, and dozens of what has come to be known as the "Sex
Scene." The Sex Scene consists of a couple bottles of usually very soft,
very horrible liquor, to set the mood of course, some abused condoms
-- likely the whole point of the "scene" -- tossed tragically next to
the bottles, and up to four cigarette butts strewn about their foul
neighbors, proof that the deed was enjoyed, completed and settled. Yeah,
you don't have to watch "CSI" to figure that one out.
FRB: What climbing area needs the most cleaning?
After four years, that's not as easy to answer as it used to be. For
instance, Flagstaff used to be pretty litter strewn, but after the Clean
& Climb and three years of Willie Mein's Flagstaff Trash Bash, which
is an incredible event, the place looks pretty good. Same with Carter
Lake and Horsetooth (though Horsetooth got some serious work over the
last two years). But there's still a lot to do at places like Red Cliff,
Ute Valley (which has tons of glass) and countless other areas. Basically,
maintenance is the issue at many bouldering destinations, and I just
think it's important to keep the environmental integrity of our climbing
areas front and center. Also, I want people to tell me where to go!
If someone gives me a tip, I'll get the clean up there.
FRB: What kinds of Schwag can the participants
expect to score?
Ah, onto the really important stuff...
Well, right now I'm still in the process of scoring free stuff, but
everyone, at every C&C, will walk away with something, from a tee shirt,
a hangboard, a piece of gear or a water bottle, to a pair of climbing
or hiking shoes, free chalk, a Krieg chalk bag, free gym passes, a backpack,
guidebooks, etc. Also, you'll get a free meal for the work, as we grill
out for everyone, every time.
FRB: Who are the sponsors and contributors of this years'
Clean & Climb?
Again, I haven't secured all the sponsorship yet, but so far we have
Mountain Miser, Paradise Rock Gym, Rock'n & Jam'n, Thrillseekers, Boulder
Rock Club, (hopefully the Spot as well, but no word so far), Evolve,
Black Diamond, Franklin, Camp, Metolius, Trango, Bittersweet, Rock &
Ice magazine, La Sportiva, Liberty Mountain, Mad Rock, Montrail, Sharp
End Publishing, Camelbak, Asolo, Kreig, Extreme Angles Publishing, Big
Agnes and hopefully many others that haven't gotten back to me, as of
yet. It's a long season.
FRB: What is the future of the Clean & Climb?
actually not too sure. I don't think I'll be heading it up forever,
but who knows. I can tell you for sure that I would love for it to continue
on in the Front Range well after I've grown weary of the time and work
involved, though right now I love it and think it's incredibly rewarding
for everyone involved. I'm sure I'll be handing the C&C on to someone
infinitely more capable than myself, however, sometime in the near future.
FRB: What are Dave's future plans?
Very soon now I'll be heading to grad school in order to add some debt
to my already astounding mountain of spent, yet unpaid-for money...
Where that'll be, who knows. Other than that, mums the word.
FRB: What do you like about the Front Range
continually fluctuate in a love/hate relationship with the Front Range
scene. When I can find someone to go climbing with, I love it. When
I can't find any partners, I hate it. Overall, though, it's great. Very
chill, friendly, seldom too cocky, normally genuine climbers abound,
which is why I moved here in the first place. Except for those damn
native stickers, which is the second worst car sticker ever, right behind
the Nike swoosh. I'm gonna plug an "Iowan Interloper" sticker on my
bumper... which should guarantee me getting keyed.
FRB: What do you dislike about the FR climbing scene?
I'm not keen on any conversation, any email, any stance, any cognitive
brain fart that leads to the discussion on the discrepancy of grades,
seeing as we all have 20 different body types and 20 different talents,
but are climbing on the same boulder. It just doesn't make sense to
me. Saying that, it must follow that I am not keen on myself, as I just
accidentally started the above mentioned crappy conversation... It's
funny though, I could spend all day arguing the merits of third baseman
Wade Boggs over Mike Schmidt, but can't stand to talk about the suspected
grade of a problem. @#$* it, I'm a hypocrite -- the Front Range rules!!
FRB: What else do you do other than climb?
love foot/base/basketball, kayaking, a good trail run, almost anything
outdoors or on a field/court...hell, I love darts, lawn or bar! But
my passions above and beyond climbing are definitely music and literature
(trashy novels count). If someone gave me a choice between either reading/writing/playing
music and climbing, I'm afraid I would never again lace on another pair
of climbing shoes.
FRB: Got any 'good' 'epic' stories?
Dave: Other than that one time,
at band camp, not really. My bro once counted 53 bug bites on my back
after an hour of climbing at the Poudre, I hiked Long's Peak while I
had bronchitis, my dog recently punched and broke two windows in my
house, got six stitches, humped one of my friend's daughters and then
got sprayed right in the grill by a skunk, all in a very recent time
frame. Tomato juice most certainly does NOT work. I had to put on diapers
while down climbing off Grandpa Peabody this year, and not long ago
I had to take a friend directly to the hospital because, to my chagrin,
he bet me he could break a Plexiglas advertising sign in a bar's restroom
by getting a running start and head butting said sign. No matter how
awesome it was, and it was incredibly so, I can tell you the sign did
not break. Do any of those count as epic?
FRB: Got any heroes in climbing?
Dave: You know, I wish I did,
but I think I started climbing too late in life to have any real heroes.
Working where I do, however, has allowed me access to a great amount
of history of the sport, and I definitely respect so many climbers.
Climbers like Peter Croft are most amazing to me, so purely motivated
and prolific. I remember the first year my bros and I went to California,
we were cruising around at Von's and I saw Croft shopping for vegetables
and thought, "Jesus, this is like seeing Michael Jordan squeezing tomatoes!"
FRB: Thanks for the interview, Dave.