FRB: How did you get into climbing
Charles: When I was a kid I would climb around on almost
anything that was available. Later, I started scrambling around on stuff
that made my mom get a little sketched, so she steered me into the idea
of climbing in a gym. After the Golden Recreation Center built their
climbing wall I began hanging out there, and met the guy whom I "apprenticed"
under: Brent Luchsinger. He was psyched to have an energetic belay slave
with a totally free schedule, and I was psyched to get to follow his
(quite bold) leads without fear of actually having to get on the sharp
end. I was 16 when my parents moved out of the country, and moving in
with Brent made him both my partner and very-much a "father-like" figure
FRB: How did you get involved with
have been involved with Paradise in three aspects. First as a member,
when Scott Ehresman (the "Hidden Dragon"...never-seen-only-heard-about
V10 5.13+ climber) got his drivers license and we could go down there.
Second as a competitor in the Denver Climbing League. Now I'm mainly
just the janitor, and I put holds on the wall.
FRB: How did you get involved with DJ-ing?
Charles: Mark McCarron, one
of the owners of Paradise sparked the interest in me. We both have an
ear for highly engineered, well-produced music, and to us that means
Drum n' Bass on vinyl. Mark and I, and his roommate Damian Doucette
would hang out at Marks old place and rock beats till early in the a.m.
That sound system still goes down as the nicest I've ever heard.
FRB: I hear you have a new album coming
out soon. How
do we get a copy of it?
Charles: The album is called
Influence, and unlike my last album, Technical Trickery (which was a
DJ mix), Influence is entirely written and produced by myself with an
assist from the very talented Tommy Calhoun. It will be available on
Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, CDStreet.com, as well as several local shops
like Twist and Shout, which has a nice locals section. I'll also be
selling it off the stage at local gigs like the BCS events.
FRB: What kind of music do most climbers
like to compete
Charles: I've given that question
a LOT of thought. I know that if climbers are anything... they're adaptable.
That's been my saving grace I'm sure. But I usually select a mix of
stuff that I think will appeal to and motivate the listener. It's got
to be well-engineered and have clean drum-work. I like music with a
twinge of darkness, but not too gnarly. Even as a lover of dance music,
I get sick of DJ's who just "beat" you to death. Show me some love...
FRB: Are you a coursesetter at Paradise?
Charles: Yep. I set routes
both for customers and competitions. Even though Paradise is no longer
at the forefront of the gym industry, I'm pretty proud to proclaim that
I've pulled part of my powers off the same plywood as Pont. Sorry.
FRB: What makes for a good competition route?
Charles: I personally believe
that all good competition routesetting stems from a firm hatred of all
competition climbers. After watching Tony Yaniro fill in pockets with
bondo and grind edges off of comp holds, this is really the only rational
conclusion I can draw. I think a good comp route has to be (most importantly)
as safe as possible. It has to be fun and friendly to climb on, and
it has to be entertaining to watch.
FRB: Why don't you compete, Charles?
Charles: I actually do compete
every now and again, but most of the time I'm either setting or DJing
or otherwise engaged in making money and saving for my next climbing
trip. I'm also not so down with the idea that I might be up on a problem
and there could be someone behind me secretly hoping that I'll fall
so they can win. I'm all about the "go-team" attitude, and that sort
of bad vibe sucks the motivation out of my climbing quicker than feeling
the pattern of a Hilti drill bit at the back of a pocket.
FRB: Been on any interesting road trips lately?
Charles: Summer 2001 was the
best trip ever. I got to cruise around with Kurt Smith as his official
DJ and help him raise over $30,000 for the Access
Fund. This summer was awesome too. I went to France with my lady
Sarah and our friends Corey Dwan and Dan Miller. Sarah and Dan had to
take off early, but Corey and I went on to Switzerland and climbed there
for a couple weeks.
FRB: How did you meet Fred Nicole?
Charles: Corey knows Fred from
the old days in Hueco. When we went to Switzerland we just called Fred
up and he invited us over to stay at his place for a while.
FRB: What is Fred like?
Charles: That guys is one hell
of a class act. His hospitality bordered on annoying. Every time my
beer glass was half empty, he would open another bottle and fill it
up. I had to specifically ask him to stop on several occasions. Not
that he's an alcoholic. It was the same way with the yogurt and cereal
in the morning. I'm hoping he'll keep his promise and come to Colorado
soon so I can repay the favor. As far as his climbing goes, I'm sure
that he's the strongest climber in the world. Fred weighs about 175
lbs. The only two other climbers who have climbed V15 (Bernd Z. and
Dave G.) each weigh more than 40 lbs. less. I think you would have to
go a LONG way down the rankings to find another climber who is as big
as Fred. In my mind, real strength is different than the ability to
dangle by your fingers. Fred exhibits the kind of strength most people
only see in Olympic athletes.
FRB: Are you a 'sponsored' climber?
Even though I don't really climb hard enough to earn a sponsorship based
just on my climbing ability, I'm what they call a "visible sports personality".
I am sponsored by Black Diamond, Scarpa, and Franklin Climbing.
FRB: Are your sponsors treating you well?
Black Diamond / Scarpa / Franklin have always treated their team well.
I am lucky enough to have regular contact with a guy named Adam Abraham.
He's my "Salt Lake City Santa Claus" when I need some new stuff. Being
sponsored is a job though. That's something Kurt Smith is very good
at personally and something he taught me. If you treat your sponsors
like Mr. Moneybags and think you are some sort of charity case, well...
FRB: What have you sent lately?
I had a good summer in Font. I flashed the Big Boss (7c), and sent its
neighbor Fourmis Rouge (7c+). These problems are two of what the locals
call the "big four". I also did Alta (7c), and managed to send LaArrache
Coeur (7c) after taking a pretty nasty (18 ft., 2 1/2 full helicopter
rotations) fall from the crux. The video footage is pretty sweet. This
Autumn I did Simply Read in Rifle, an awesome line I'd been looking
at for several years but had never gotten on. And just last Sunday I
did Singular Objective.
FRB: What are some of your favorite
Front Range climbing
I like climbing in Evergreen, at the Millennium Boulder, Eldo, and several
other places. When it comes right down to it, I like climbing wherever
my friends are. And if that means the Black Hole at Morrison, so be
it. My climbing posse (the "Paradise Powerhouse") is the most motivating
and interesting group of people I've ever been lucky enough to climb
with. TJ, Sean "Big-Boy" Colaroso, Fiona, Marcello, Sarah, Stephanie,
Tommy C., Mark Hobson, Robby B. These guys are pretty darn cool.
FRB: How did you hook up with Kurt Smith
and the 'Kickin
Kurt used to work with Mark McCarron at Paradise,
so when Kurt needed a DJ for his tour he called Mark, who is married
and has a daughter. So he passed the job off to me.
FRB: Are you gonna do it again this year?
Charles: I HOPE SO! Kurt and
I have been talking about some new ideas for the tour that would really
blow the roof off of the whole slideshow medium, and probably make way
more than 30 grand for the AF. Stay tuned... we're working on it.
FRB: What are you gonna do 'after Paradise'?
Charles: In a couple years
I'll have a bachelors degree in recording arts. I could possibly get
a job at a recording studio, TV or radio station, or several other places.
First I want to see how far my own little music career will take me.
FRB: Any good training tips?
Charles: I've always said that
the #1 way to get stronger and improve in the sport of climbing is to
clean out your day planner. Like with an eraser. But in lieu of that,
I think if you have really strong fingers and a really strong stomach
you can get away with a lot. So I do some campusing and lots of sit-ups.
You need healthy shoulders too, so unless you want to pull a "Rob Linnenberger"
you better do some pushups too.
FRB: thanks for the interview Charles?
Charles: Thank you Mike and
the crew of FRB. Seems like every time I go up to the Satellites there
are a few newbies up there with printed-off guides from your site. And
they're always HAVING FUN. You guys should be proud. Take care.