5'5" 135 lbs.
FRB: Political affiliation?
Democrat. Through and through.
How did you get into climbing, Tony?
Tony: A college buddy and I tried to get
a job at REI for the summer. We were getting into skiing, so we wanted to get
cheap gear. Long story short he got the job, I didn't. But he did get me to start
climbing. I eventually got a job at REI too.
FRB: Where do you like
I climb mostly in Rifle, which in my opinion is the best crag in America. I still
have to go to the Red which I am doing this October. I have been climbing a little
locally. Boulder Canyon and Eldorado Canyon are not bad for being so close. I've
found that there are little gems around a pile of choss.
Where do you like to boulder?
Mt. Evans and the Park have been my two favorite places locally. I spend a bit
of time in Hueco every year too. I had to stop bouldering this year after I put
a hole in my shin on Skipper D. The hiked out sucked.
FRB: What kinds of routes and boulder problems
I am strictly about the numbers. I don't care if it is a
pile or what. Simply numbers. Seriously. I love long and beautiful lines. I don't
have a lot of power, so I have to make the problem longer to bring it down to
my level. Then maybe, maybe I have a shot.FRB: What do you do for gainful
I am one of the route setters at the Boulder
Rock Club. I set these silly contrived problems that most people dislike,
but every once in a while, I'll get it right. I also train adults and our jr.
team. I try to torture them into climbing better. Lots of torture.
What's it like working a climbing gym as a coursesetter?
Complaints, complaints, complaints.
No. It's actually been a lot of fun. I enjoy creating something out of a bunch
of seemingly random holds and make a route flow. Of course there are critics out
there that dislike my work. To them I say, "Climb CB's routes".
What the downside of working at a climbing gym?
I sometimes have to find work to
do. I don't like to doodle, so I would rather work than sit around doing nothing.
It can be slow at a rock gym.
FRB: Tell us a little about you that
most people dont know?
Hmmm… I love to climb in Rifle,
where I lost my finger? Nine finger Tony like in Locked Stocked Two Smoking Barrells.FRB:
How would your climbing partners describe you?
My Aussie friend would refer to me as a pumper. I guess that means I can hang
on for a long period of time. Short? I guess I am a 5.13 knee barrer. If there
is anything without a rest, forget about it. I need to rest. Lot's and lot's of
FRB: What's a typical day in the life of Tony Yao?
Training day or non training days still consists of setting in the morning or
teaching my morning class. On training days, I have been into climbing 4X4's lately.
Four routes a set. Four sets. It's been fantastic except the stars that I see
in my head. But it really helps me try hard even when I am tired as hell. Did
I mention I like suffering?
FRB: Tell us about the Hand.
Nine fingers. Yep. Count them. One, two, three, four… I'am kind of accident prone.
Lot's of stitches.
FRB: After working and climbing all day, how do
you like to relax?
I hang out with Jen and try to
watch movies, although we rarely have enough time for that. Have to get enough
sleep for training.
FRB: Favorite TV show?
Don't watch tv. Rots the brain.
I thought I was a dog person, but
I inherited a cat.
FRB: Favorite color or smell?
Are you religious?
I like to consider myself as a good
old fashion atheist.
FRB: What is important
to your climbing. Hardest route you've sent?
I recently sent Cryptic Egyptian
which became a little bit of an epic for me last year. Most have fallen off the
crux move twenty times. Too bad the crux move is around 80 ft. Glad to have it
over with. 13c. Like I said Mike, it's all about the numbers.FRB: What
have you been doing in Rifle?
I've been trying to climb all the obscure routes that nobody climbs on. No. But
there aren't a whole lot of routes left for me to climb other than 13c or harder…
Sigh. I did do Bone Machine, Beast with Two Backs, and Rende-spew.
Hardest boulder problem you've sent?
Not sure. V9/10? But I think Baby Face was probably the hardest problem I have
ever done, and that was only V7.
FRB: Current projects?
I kind of have a clean slate, Mike. I would go back to Rifle this weekend and
start another series of long epic projects, but it's supposed to snow. Probably
better that way. Oh. I have to go back to Skipper D with more pads.
How about the future of Tony Yao.
What are your long-term goals?
What can I say? I like to warp
young little minds. I really enjoy setting and training people, so I see myself
at the BRC for the at least the near future. Climbing, climbing, climbing. I think
that is the only thing I am ok at.
FRB: What excites you the most
Look at the last question. My girlfriend
FRB: ln your darker moments, what prowls in
the night of your discontent?
The Epic is over! THE EPIC IS OVER!!!
In your moments of reverie.
does your mind soar?
Mike. I am not that complicated.
What would you like to say in closing?
Rifle season is in full bore!!!
Did you buy your tickets?
FRB:Thanks for the interview, Tony.