Interview for Book about climbers in Boulder

How long have you been climbing?
I’ve been climbing since 1975 when I was 14 years old.

What emotions do you feel while climbing?
One of the aspects about climbing that I enjoy most is the absence of the
“thinking” state. Climbing is a kind of “moving mediation” for me, in
addition to allowing me to adapt my body in a spontaneously choreographed
flow of movement. Since climbing involves moving in a infinitely variable
three-dimensional playing field, both my mind and body are fully engaged in
the immediate demands of the moment

Do you envision a day when you are no longer climbing?
I don’t imagine not climbing, but if I wasn’t able to climb, I would put my
energy into another activity appropriate for my current condition.

Have you learned any lessons in climbing that have helped in other areas of life?
Climbing is a kind of metaphor for life. It’s my time to check in with
myself to see how I am dealing with the challenges at hand. If I am too
focused on the result and not the process, I can become distracted at a
crucial moment. I perform my best when I’m able to accept my immediate
sense of fear, uncertainty, fatigue, or whatever type of distraction, and
then re-direct my attention to finding the best solution.

Do you have any regrets in life? If so, what’s the biggest regret?
I don’t believe in having regrets in my life since my mistakes have always
taught me the most and inspired significant growth.

How many minutes a day do you think about climbing?
I have no idea how many minutes I think about climbing per day but since my
lifestyle and livelihood is connected to climbing, probably spend a large
percentage of time per day either thinking directly about climbing, or
something closely connected to my life as a climber.

What was your best day climbing?
I would have to say that one of my best days of climbing was when I did the
first all-free ascent of the Nose, but for me, the more challenging and
significant day of climbing was when I climbed the Nose all free in one-

What was your worst day climbing?
My worst day of climbing was when I fell 75-feet to the ground in Buoux,
France (May 9th 1989) when I forgot to tie my knot.

Is climbing a selfish pursuit?
Climbing can be a selfish pursuit if you pursue it in a selfish way! Many
climbers are selfish in the sense that climbing takes priority over many
other responsibilities in life. I have a lot of attention to NOT being
selfish by giving back to others in the best way I can.

Why do you climb?
Why do I like the color green? It just is! It makes me feel good and fully
engaged in life. I can’t think of a better activity that climbing, which
takes place in a beautiful settings all over the world and allows me to be
connected with people all over the world.

If you could offer only one piece of advice to new climbers, what would it be?
Always double or triple-check your safety systems. Read my book, “Climbing
Free” (you can order a copy on my, and you
can learn about my roots as a climber and more about rock climbing history
and culture.

Describe your perfect climbing partner.
Someone who I love, respect, likes to laugh, heckle (laugh at themselves
and friends), and someone who values the important aspects of life.

What climber do you most respect and why?
I respect all of my climbing partners and peers! I don’t have a particular
favorite climber, since I appreciate so many different qualities in people.
What I respect most in a climber is their character: their willingness to
take the “high road” – meaning try to climb (and live) in the best style
possible. This means that instead of taking the path of least resistance,
they do whatever necessary to achieve worthwhile and meaningful goals that
are not just beneficial for themselves or their own ego, but inspirational
for everyone!