Career Highlights

  • My first 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.12, and 5.13. I recently turned 50 and now I would like to climb my first 514.
  • In March of 2014, I became the first person to free solo all of the main ice routes in East Vail, CO. – in a long day. 15 pitches adding up to over 1000' of ice climbing.
  • Most recently, in mid March 2020, I sent The Comp Route in East Vail. I think it is a legitimate M13. An 80m rope was not long enough, I was on the route for 40 minutes, and it finishes on the last 25' of The Fang. Certainly, the hardest route Ive done in the winter.


  • Climbing

    Favorite type of climbing (bouldering, sports climbing, trad, etc.):

    I am an All-arounder. I regularly participate in all of the above mentioned as well as winter climbing and its' disciplines: ice, mixed, and alpine. For me, each type provides different types of problem solving, satisfaction and joy. The fact that I have always enjoyed winter plays well into being able to climb outside year round.

    When and how did you get into climbing and what kept you interested / fascinated in the sport?

    I began rock climbing in the fall of 1988 while living in Boulder, for college. I learned to climb in Eldorado and Boulder Canyon by following traditional routes and then leading them, grade by grade.

    I would have to say the mental aspect of climbing is what sets it apart from all other sports or physical activities I have done. This is what has kept my interest, my fascination and my love for climbing intact for this long. There is so much potential for thoughtfulness and focus while climbing. Being able to have these moments while also being in such a physical state creates a unique combination for me. Movement, imagination, climbing feeds my Soul.

    Who was your childhood hero and do you consider yourself a role model now? Does it influence you at all that other people look up to you?

    I am not sure about the childhood hero. Probably my Grandfather. He was always kind to people, no matter who it was. He took care of his family.

    I do consider myself a role model. Both of my children grew up playing soccer, lacrosse, and climbing. I coached them in all three of these sports and I still coach the older, competitive kids in our area. I feel strongly that these kids did not meet me just so that I can coach them. Succeeding in life will help one to become a better climber more than being a good climber will help one to succeed in life. Climbing is a bit selfish, and certainly, life success is more important. These kids need to know this earlier than later.

    I recently turned 50 and am stronger and climbing as hard as I ever have. I suppose it is good for aging people to see this. It is not necessary to keep getting stronger, but I do think it is important, very important, to keep moving and to continue to overcome challenges as we age.

    What were the most important milestones in your life so far, both in climbing and in everyday life? Did you immediately recognize them as such or only later on?

    In life... My most important milestones were the birth of my children. Schuyler (Sky), my son, is 25. Marlee, my daughter, is almost 22. I immediately recognized the importance of these two, and I put effort in every day to make sure that they know they are loved.

    In climbing... Realizing that with good footwork, one can get climbing shoes to stick almost anywhere, well placed gear in good rock or good ice, will hold falls, and that belayers should be more than just ballast are a few important milestones. These were recognized quite quickly.

    What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?

    Failures and setbacks.. I have had plenty in life and in climbing. Learning to find proper motivation to try again and then again and again if need be, has been paramount for me to keep pushing for so long. I feel strongly that if I am to succeed with my climbing, I must succeed in my life. They are connected.

    In April of 2004, my left mid-foot was crushed in a mixed climbing accident in East Vail. 7 bones in my mid foot were broken or crushed. For almost 5 months, I was in an external fixator and was not allowed to place my foot on the ground. Once the bones healed, I still needed crutches for 2 months, then a cane for a month, then a limp. 18 months later, I was cleared for all activities. Even then, it took me a couple of years to drop the irrational fears that accompanied such a horrible accident. My love for climbing is what got me through this period. Slowly, as my body healed, so did my Spirit for climbing.

    What is your favorite climbing related story / experience?

    Too many to say. Probably why climbing means so much to me... Each day of climbing has the potential to be such a good day, a day that I will remember, a day where I become more content.

  • Training

    Do you have a strict training schedule for when and how you train throughout the year?

    I have a training schedule but it is not too strict. After so many years of climbing and so many climbing related injuries, I am much better at knowing when I need to step back, ease up, and or, even stop climbing / training.

    Since I enjoy winter climbing so much, to some degree, my training changes with the seasons. Inevitably, my fingers get a break during the winter months as I train my larger muscle groups more and when the ice begins to melt, it is again time to start my finger training.

    What advice can you give to somebody looking to improve their training routine?

    Tailor your training to your climbing interests / needs. There is so much information on the web.
    Be honest with self-assessment and embrace your weaknesses'.
    Honor the days when you feel strong and motivated, and train with focus and intensity.
    Honor the days when you feel tired and not ready, and move easily or rest even.
    Regularly mix up your routines in order to stay psyched and in order to continuously shock the system.
    Take care to strengthen the smaller muscle groups along the way, i.e. the rotator cuff muscles and wrist extensors.
    Rest more often.

    What do you think of indoor climbing gyms in relation to climbing on actual rock?

    I think gyms are a good place to learn the basics. They also allow folks to climb who would not otherwise have access to such a potentially, life changing activity like climbing. Gyms certainly allow for focused training and for a quick climbing fix as well. While I would prefer to climb outside, gym climbing can be fun and productive. I have built out the garage so that we have access to a small gym.

    Are you able to do a one-arm pull-up? How about a single finger?

    One arm.. No. Almost. Someday perhaps.

    I can do a few pull-ups from my two middle fingers assuming the pockets are good ones.

    How much of the success as a pro climber is due to show and how much due to actual climbing skill?

    In this current era of so much over-hyped Social Media, many "pro" climbers are perhaps a bit better than average at climbing, but are quite skilled at posting, obtaining followers and getting likes. Before SM became so popular, one's climbing achievements were the most important stat to follow. Real skill was more apparent, easier to see. Since SM seems to be part of the deal now, most "pro" climbers have built up more of a synthetic side to their climbing presence to keep their value, to stay popular, and to help sell products.

    I am a true believer of the fact that for every well-known climber who is "very good", there is a much lesser known climber who is just as good, and maybe even better. I would venture to say that without SM worries / constraints, these peoples' motivations are more pure and thereby more sustainable.

  • Psychology

    Is it possible for anybody to eventually perform a one-armed pull-up or get to the top of the Eiger/Matterhorn, or do you really have to be born for it?

    I think most people could pull off either of the above, mentioned goals if they set their minds to it and if their motivations are proper. Such is the strength of the mind.

    How important is it to set goals in professional sports? What are your goals / targets you are working towards in climbing and in life?

    Goals are paramount to forward progress, to growth, and to success: in life or climbing. To obtain an objective, one must determine a plan and then execute said plan. Goals give me something to focus my energy on.

    I would like to boulder V10 and to climb 14a. I would also like to travel a bit more in order to do some bigger, longer routes.

    I would like to grow my business in such a way so that I can help my children, so that I can support myself, and so that I might create a life where I do have the time to train and to climb as I wish.

    I would like those around me, especially my inner circle people, to see that I am working with diligence and intent to grow. To grow my life, and to grow my climbing.

    I would like to find a balance between my life and my climbing.

    How to you deal with extremely hard climbing problems? Do you ever get frustrated and give up on them or do they motivate you even more?

    If something is extremely difficult, I know straight away that patience and persistence will be key to figuring out said problem. It is the same way with life problems. With patience, comes calm. With calm, comes clear thought and access to our power. Clear thought and flowing power usually bring success. If not, try again.

    Frustration will surely arise. Accept it. Breathe. Try again.

    I find it easier to not lose motivation if my motivation is pure – my own, and not related to some external factor like who did what or Social Media. My love for climbing is so strong that while it is difficult to be motivated at times, I know my source of motivation is healthy and that it will fuel me onward to success.

  • Future of climbing

    Is there anything you would like to change about the current developments in climbing?

    I would prefer that Social Media was not so prevalent and pertinent in the climbing world. I feel that SM has led to an increase in how all of our egos' are now involved in climbing. This increase in ego-ness, has certainly led to an increase in unsustainable motivators and an increase in the dark side of competition. Too many folks drinking too much of their own over sweetened, Kool-aid. It would benefit all climbers if we could focus a bit more on having fun and climbing more for the sake of just climbing and not in order to get pictures and or likes.

    Where do you think sport will go in the next few years? What will change? And what role will you play in it?

    Climbing, both inside and outside, will continue to grow in popularity and in its' number of participants.

    Competitions will become more popular, and cutting-edge routes will become more difficult.

    I look forward to watching these changes.

    I will do what I have been doing for over 32 years now, I will continue to push my own climbing while being supportive of those other climbers around me.

    We should all be grateful and feel fortunate if climbing is part of our lives. It is a truly special endeavor