Don't you ever want to go back to old projects in Rumney - Superfly and Bill Clinton?
No. I think I've got too many new projects here. I can't miss old projects when I am opening new projects. I really have some amazing projects here in Cresciano, where I live now- it's incredible. I don't even know what to say it's like every day I find a new one and think: oh my... it's number 12, and I have to try and figure out how to make 12 8c boulders that are all equally incredible. It's a crazy concept. I can't miss old projects when I'm constantly inspired here in Europe.
As far as I know your routes and problems have always been totally natural. Tell me your opinion of chipping.
Chipping is a strange thing. Climbing is abstract in every sense; it's something every one does in their own way. But at the same time climbing is at least consistent - it doesn't invite new potential into the situation. The endless potential that nature provides (variations within rock) is not necessarily something to challenge. So chipping is a fundamental misunderstanding in its whole development. Chipping makes sense when you look at a route like at a training route in the gym, but at the same time chipping doesn't really have a place within a normal climbing world because it doesn't really make sense. It's just a kind of an abstract way to destroy things. It shouldn't be respected. It has nothing to do with real sport.
An even worse thing is chipping holds on established routes or problems. That's one of the things you can't believe someone can do. In an interview for us, Bernd Zangerl said that probably only he and Fred Nicole had done Dreamtime before it had been chipped. Did you know about it? Do you agree?
I would say when I did it it wasn't chipped either because I didn't do it too long after Bernd had done it, and there were no signs that it had been chipped. Now it is chipped for sure. Maybe Chris Sharma made the last natural ascent. I think it was chipped after Chris Sharma had tried it, or maybe it was already chipped when Chris tried and I didn't notice. But at the same time I would have to say that there are 2 more 'natural' ascents of it, apart from just Bernd's and Fred's. I can say that because I remember studying the route and it wasn't chipped. I hanged out with Bernd at that boulder once but we didn't notice any chipped holds - now it is obvious that there are some. Put it that way: Bernd is right as for the fact that it is chipped but it hadn't been before me and Chris climbed it.
Another 8C boulder you did was Zangerl's New Base Line. How do you remember it? Was it harder for you than Dreamtime?
It's an interesting story because I tried it a long time ago. I tried it when it was a project and it seemed really hard. I was climbing with Bernd and I just tried the moves and it was 8c for sure. Eventually, I came back to it about a year later and I did it in a couple of days. It's a really paradoxical type of a boulder problem because it seemed hard and it didn't feel easy, but at the same time I did it. So, that was a kind of a strange thing I did it and a weird situation: all kinds of people around, photographers and I did not feel like climbing. I don't know how to say it, but it seemed easier when I did it, but it had felt like 8c when I had tried it a long time ago. I don't know what to say about Base Line: it a strange one, it's either 8C or 8B+.
Rumour has it that you have tried the famous problem Slapshot done by Jim Holloway in 1977. Is that true?
No, never. I never tried that. I didn't try Slapshot, I tried 8jar, another Holloway's project. I tried it when I was 16. That was the only Holloway's project I tried.
Did you do it?
No. It was stupid because when you got the 1st hold with your left hand it was V11 and when you got it with your right hand it was V13, so... I could have done it the V13 way but at the same time just doing V13 didn't really make it worth it.
Dave is sponsored by: 5.10, Prana, Petzl
To be continued…