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Climbing wise? I think my one claim to fame in the climbing world has been getting the 3rd known ascent of a Jihad, a 5.11 offwidth out in Vedauwoo, Wyoming that was put up by Bob Scarpelli. Any time you get on a climb put up by Bob you know you're in for an ordeal.
Over the past couple years, I have been working to hone my skills as a photographer. Climbers are by far my favorite subjects to shoot. As climbers, we have to opportunity to visit some really gorgeous locations and provide unique perspectives. Being able to capture specific moments and have them resonate with both climbers and non-climbers alike is always a highpoint for me. Speaking of highlights: for any of you with the new Indian Creek guide book, Creek Freak: Indian Creek Climbs by Karl Kelley, that photo of the climber on the "Let's Do This" bucket at the beginning of the book is mine! Thanks, Chase!
Indian Creek, Vedauwoo and Squamish are my top three climbing destinations. Red River Gorge, Sam's Throne, Trout Creek, Little Cottonwood and Cochise Strong Hold are also up there on the list!
I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years.
Trad climbing; specifically wide and thin cracks!
I started climbing in college at Oklahoma State University. Oklahoma isn't exactly a popular climbing destination, but we had a gym on campus that allowed a small group of us to route set. On weekends, we drove to Arkansas to climb at Sam's Throne, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, or any number of crags in the area.
For me, climbing really became interesting when a few friends and I pooled 2-3 cams each to come up with a single rack and began learning to trad climb. The physical and mental challenges of climbing combined with the technical aspects of placing and using gear are what keep me motivated and excited about climbing.
Living in the middle of the country with limited access to outdoor climbing has been a consistent struggle. Therefore, I travel for climbing as much as I can, including spending entire seasons living out of my truck in the Utah desert and the plains of Wyoming.
A couple of years ago, I was dropping my wife and a friend off at a trail head in Squamish an hour before sun up so they could get an early start on Angel's Crest. While they were unloading the car in the dark, another crew of climbers pulled up and starting doing the same. Out of nowhere they yell over: "Is that Anthony?" It just so happened a friend I'd made while living out of my truck in Moab a few season before was now living in Squamish working as a rock guide. He had recognized my dog, Violet, who was milling about next to the car. I'm always amazed by how small the climbing community is!
Not really. If there is a particular climb I am after, I may do a little more focused training to prepare for it. Otherwise, I just try to climb as much as possible and stay active with some cardio in order to keep up on long approaches.
If it's not any fun, don't bother.
Having spent a lot of time in the flat land, hours from any outdoor climbing, I appreciate a good climbing gym with quality route setting. All the more so when I find gyms that have crack climbs built into their walls! Some of the best gyms I have climb at are located in areas without any outdoor climbing. The folks working at these gyms are often some of the most passionate climbers I have met and put a great deal of effort into quality route setting to train for outdoor climbing trips. One such gym is the Kansas Cliff Club, which is the only gym in the country I have seen that has poured concrete cracks that can be led on gear!
Nope, but I can break out my Leavittation skills and make short work of some overhung #5s.
I would argue a lot of it comes down to attitude.
Current goal (for both climbing and life): MOVE WEST
I enjoy working on routes at that are at my climbing limit. Especially when they require dialing in a precise sequence and gear. More often than not, my access to these routes is generally limited to multi day climbing trips, so it may be months or even years between opportunities to climb on certain routes. But that's the best thing about climbing outdoors: aside from some soft sandstone formations, most routes hardly change and are there to come back to year after year.
More access would be great, but with that also comes the cost of protecting those areas for future generations.
Taking new climbers outdoors is one of the best parts of climbing. As climbing gains in popularity, it is increasingly important that the climbing community help new climbers grow by teaching safe climbing practices and through educating new climbers to be responsible users of our public lands and outdoor climbing destinations.