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Hello Hello Hello

Scott Edwards
(past) President of Boulder Rock Club and Colorado Mountain School
September, 2004

Boulder Rock Club Boulder Rock Club Boulder Rock Club Boulder Rock Club Boulder Rock Club

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FRB: Scott, there's a lot of remodeling going on in the gym.
          Can you tell us what changes are being made and
          what it means for the members?

Scott: First and foremost, there will be 6000 sq. ft. of new state-of-the-art climbing walls. Approximately one-third of this terrain will be a dramatic, new, full-height climbing wall. There will also be 500 sq. ft. of Eldorado Wall's "Real Rock" product. This feature will give our members the most natural indoor climbing experience available.

Also, with this remodel the gym will be gaining an additional 2000 sq. ft. of bouldering (the current bouldering cave is 1600 sq. ft.) and a mezzanine instructional level complete with a half-dozen state-of-the-art crack features from fingers to fists. This mezzanine level will allow us to better meet the instructional and training needs of individuals and groups.

FRB: We noticed that the lobby and the landscaping
          in the front of the building are also being transformed.
          What's going on?

Scott: Members and staff have been asking for some time to have the lobby and locker rooms remodeled, so we're accommodating that long-time request. We're opening the lobby up quite a bit, and it will be a much nicer place to come into. The front desk staff will be able to have visual contact with the gym. Also, the addition of a meeting room adjoining the lobby will be part of this project. This room will be used for a variety of instructional classes the club is planning to offer this fall.

The south side of the building is in the process of being completely re-landscaped to include an outdoor bouldering area featuring a 500 sq. ft. boulder. This boulder will allow our members to enjoy the great outdoors while training.

FRB: What about the lighting or lack thereof at the club?

Scott: We've contracted with a lighting consultant and we have a complete plan to brighten things up quite a bit. In addition to artificial light, we're putting in glass doors where steel doors used to be on the west wall of the gym.

FRB: Are you going to have a restaurant/cafe
          at the BRC?

Scott: No, we investigated this option early on and determined that it would be best if we stayed focused on providing the very best climbing experience that we can. At some point, we may offer smoothies, etc., but there are no near-term plans for that right now.

FRB: We heard that over the last 6 months 2 talented
          route setters have chosen to move on. What is
          your position on route setting at the rock club?

Scott: Yes, we lost 2 of our 4 route setters. Terry Picotte and Von Cousin are still with us. We've recently added Eric Cutler, Tony Yao, Eli Lang, Dale Remsberg and Charlie Boas to our route setting team. All of these guys are well trained and have lots of experience in route setting. As one example, Dale Remsberg was the head route setter for 5 years at Vertical World in Seattle, one of the nation's largest climbing gyms.

Both John Bicknell, the owner of the rock club, and I understand the importance of providing Boulder Rock Club members with the very best in route setting. We've made a commitment to increasing route turnover and we're greatly expanding our hold inventory. I think we've put together the best route setting team available.

All Boulder Rock Club staff are doing our best to make sure that we're meeting the needs of all the climbers training in the gym.

FRB: Is the Boulder Rock Club up for sale?

Scott: No, the club has lost money for the last few years and it wouldn't make economic sense to sell it at this time.

FRB: Who's running the gym these days?

Scott: I am. In April I assumed responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Boulder Rock Club as well as the Colorado Mountain School located in Estes Park. Both these businesses are owned by my climbing partner, John Bicknell.

FRB: So you're a climber then?

Scott: Yes. Not so much lately though. I've been busy getting all these remodel changes in place. It will be nice to get back to it when the dust settles.

I grew up in Boulder, but I didn't start climbing till I was 30 and living in the Bay Area. Over the past 15 years, I've climbed and trekked in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and throughout North America.

FRB: Is the Colorado Mountain School
          still a part of the Boulder Rock?

Scott: Even more so than ever before. John and I are both very focused on integrating the 2 businesses. We definitely want a more unified company - a company that provides total climbing services; courses, climbs, expeditions, skill, training, and guiding. We need to think of ourselves not as the Boulder Rock Club or Colorado Mountain School, but as the total climbing solution.

Our objective is to provide a seamless climbing curriculum with as little transition as possible from the Boulder Rock Club to the Colorado Mountain School. We are calling the combined companies Total Climbing. In fact, we now own the website totalclimbing.com. The idea is that our members and clients will hardly feel the difference whether they're inside or outside. We have so much climbing expertise within this company. It's really quite amazing.

FRB: What will be the best thing about the
          new changes at the BRC?

Scott: One great aspect of the integration of the 2 companies is having the Colorado Mountain School staff much more involved in many aspects of the gym. These are some of the most highly-certified, knowledgeable people in the climbing industry. Many of our members will benefit from their knowledge and perspective.

Obviously, the physical changes to the building inside and out are significant upgrades. By modern gym standards, the Boulder Rock Club was ready for a face lift. The current remodel and our future expansion plans are really exciting. The combination of physical changes, an outstanding staff, and an active, talented membership base will continue to make the Boulder Rock Club a leader in indoor climbing facilities.

FRB: When do you expect the construction dust to settle?

Scott: The good news is that we're ahead of schedule. We originally targeted November 1 to be the completion date for all aspects of the remodel. Believe it or not, members will actually be climbing on the new high wall by the end of this month. At this point, November 1 is still our official date, but we're going to try our best to beat that.

FRB: There have been all kinds of rumors flying around
          the climbing community regarding the rock club over
          the last 6 months. Do you care to address them?

Scott: Well, there have been so many rumors it's hard to address them all. I've heard everything from "we're closing the doors tomorrow" to "we're never going to set a new route" to "I'm a bean counter". I can tell you this. Anyone who knows me would never describe me as an accountant.

However, for the past several years the rock club has lost money and its cost structure had gotten completely out of whack. For a variety of reasons, change was necessary and change is always hard for everyone involved.

The past few months have been difficult, but I think we're now beginning to work on moving forward - and that's always more positive and fun! We remain committed to the BRC - we're investing over $750,000 this year alone in facility upgrades. Most of the BRC staff is still here and remains committed to providing outstanding route setting and service.

I believe climbing is a great thing for people. I know how much it's meant and done for me. I'm excited about bringing about the changes that will allow the Boulder Rock Club and Colorado Mountain School to survive and thrive. I have an open door policy. I invite with ideas for advancing these companies to share them with me.

FRB: Thanks for the update on the Boulder Rock Club, Scott.

Scott: You're welcome. Thank you.


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