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Hello Hello Hello

Von Cousins
mid November, 2002

Fly through Airport Security!
Von Von Von Von Von

FRB: How did you get into climbing Vonnie?

Von: I got into climbing when I worked at a summer camp in NJ.

FRB: Who were some of your early mentors?

Von: My good friend Lindi McCarthy from Pa.

FRB: Who were some of your early partners?

Von: Lindi, another woman Wendi, Dave Liton, Paul Glover, and Mark Harris.

FRB: Do you have any 'heroes' that you
          look up to for inspiration?

Von: Alex Lowe and Wolfgang Gullich.

FRB: What brings you to the Front Range?

Von: The beautiful mountains.

FRB: Have you done any FA's?

Von: No.

FRB: Got any cool trips coming up?

Von: I am planning a trip to Tibet to climb 8,000 meters.

FRB: Why Alpine Climbing?

Von: Alpine climbing because it is a lot of fun, you have to be very efficient and precise with movement, and believe in your partners. Finally, the beauty of the mountains can keep you going forever.

FRB: What big peaks have you done?

Von: I have climbed Denali twice is the biggest peak I've done.

FRB: How do you train for big peaks?

Von: A lot of low altitude cardiovascular work, hikes with a heavy pack and a lot of leg workouts.

FRB: Alpine climbing is dangerous.
          How do you rationalize putting yourself
          in dangerous situations?

Von: Well guys, when I'm alpine climbing, I try not to think about dangerous situations because when a situation comes up, I want to be mentally clear instead of mentally drained thinking about what could happen and enjoy my partners and the route I am on.

FRB: Where do you start when you
          want to put together an Alpine
          expedition or climb?

Von: I think the best thing to do is build a team of dedicated individuals that believe in being team players because you do not want someone who will think about themselves in a tough situation.

FRB: How many alpine climbs have you done?

Von: A FEW tough ones here in Colorado.

FRB: What is your motivation to continue
          alpine climbing?

Von: My love for the overall experience and being in the mountains of life is incredible.

FRB: Does the BRC offer any
          Alpine climbing expeditions?

Von: The BRC does not, but the company (CMS) we are partnered with offers some incredible expeditions.

FRB: You work at the BRC.
          What are your duties at the BRC?

Von: My duties here at the BRC are to assist in the operations of the club and working the front desk.

FRB: Who is the 'typical' BRC climber?
          What do they want in a gym?

Von: The typical BRC climber is someone who wants to learn about climbing, get stronger, also to meet other people with similar interest. What they want from the gym is to get stronger and gain endurance so when the weather cooperates people can be ready for outside.

FRB: What is the busiest day or time at the BRC?

Von: I think the busiest days at the gym are Tuesday and Thursday nights.

FRB: What is the average skill level of
          the typical BRC climber?

Von: I truly think there is no average skill level at the BRC because all throughout the day here at the BRC we have many different skill levels at all times climbing.

FRB: What can you tell the 'average' climber
          that would improve his/her climbing?

Von: The number one thing I can tell the average climber is to be CONSISTENT! If you are not consistent with your climbing work you can lose what you had very quickly. The second thing to do is to train with Jimmy Redo. I think he knows his stuff.

FRB: What is the downside of working
          at a rock gym?

Von: For me there is no downside to working at a rock gym because I get to meet and work with some of the greatest climbers in the world and be able to work on my dreams being at one of the best rock gyms in the country.

FRB: What do you suggest to people who are
          just starting in climbing/bouldering indoors?

Von: My biggest suggestion is to warm up as much as possible because more tendon and muscle injuries happen more inside then outside.

FRB: Do you do much bouldering?

Von: Yes, I love to boulder.

FRB: What are your thoughts on Highballing?

Von: Well, I did a highball for my first time in either January or February of this year in Carter Lake and it made me a little nervous at first, but I enjoyed doing the problem. One of the biggest things that made me feel comfortable is that I had a good spotter and a pad for protection. Highballing is a little insane, but if you have the right components you will be fine.

FRB: Where are some of your favorite places?

Von: Well, the one and only favorite place for me is Flagstaff.

FRB: What are some of your hardest sends?

Von: One was a unnamed problem in Carter that I did and finished when my right arm locked up on me when topping out. V2. Also, a problem I did in Gross that was slightly overhanging with two greasy first two hold, to a lung for a pocket with no feet. The top out sucked and the landing sucks if you don't have a spotter with a pad because you fall right onto another small boulder if you peel off. V2.

FRB: Do you have any projects right now?

Von: My project right now is to get stronger and gain more ability to pull a V5/6 before the age of 34.

FRB: Do you have any favorite problems or
          ones that you thought were incredible?

Von: Yes, I think it is called Pratte's Mantel on Flagstaff and the Iron Cross also on Flag.

FRB: Do you sport climb?

Von: Yes.

FRB: Some favorite sport areas?

Von: I believe it is called Forli in Italy.

FRB: What are some of your favorite moments
          in your climbing career?

Von: Climbing in Alaska on Denali, one of the worlds greatest mountains, meeting Tommy Caldwell one the worlds strongest and very community oriented climbers I know. Climbing the classic Yellow Spur with Paul Glover in Eldorado Canyon. The second time I climbed Denali' West Buttress I almost Became The First African American to summit America's highest at 20,320. Finally, getting a job at the BRC.

FRB: What else do you like to do besides climb?

Von: I love to hear great music, learn how to play music and dance.

FRB: What changes would you like to see
          in the climbing world?

Von: More respect for the brother and sister next door and help people out where it is needed. Give everyone a chance to learn such a great beautiful sport that the climbing community is in threat of losing in some areas.

FRB: What are some things you don't like
          about the Front Range bouldering scene?

Von: The punks that leave trash, glass, and all of their smoking shit left in such beautiful areas.

FRB: Parting words of wisdom Vonnie?

Von: FRB, my words of wisdom are these. Before you listen to anyone else about what you should do about your climbing, believe in yourself and your own abilities. Climbing is not about weight, looks, gear, or who you know, it is about the continuous power of self love for the sport and self motivation to push harder when you want too.

FRB: Thanks for the interview Von.

Von: You're welcome.


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