Rob was born in Ohio and didn't even learn about rock climbing until after graduating high school. Having his first climbing experiences at the New River Gorge, West Virginia gave him the climbing bug and he has been at for over 20 years. He continues to travel the world for climbing and adventuring, always seeking the ever elusive perfect route. His passion is establishing new climbs big and small. His favorite places to climb are in the Italian Dolomites and in Zion National Park. He has been teaching high school science for 15 years at an alternative high school for high risk youth where he leads an outdoor program and a real life hands on science curriculum. Rob now resides in Grand Junction, Colorado where he is a proud husband and a father of two boys
When climbing, I like to carry a combination of passive Pro and active Pro so that I can access up the wall and protect the route safely. It also allows me to leave behind an anchor piece if needed, as passive Pro is significantly cheaper and works just as well when rappelling off. Transcript: "Great question about why buy Passive Pro and we have our Active Pro. For me, when I go up and adventure on things never climbed before, I don't know what is necessary to go ahead and protect the route safely. So I like to make sure that I carry a combination of Passive Pro and Active Pro. Also, if you're going out on big adventures into the unknown, if you need to leave behind an anchor piece, that Passive Pro is significantly cheaper, works just as well, and is something that you can leave behind and repel off of. So for me, the variety allows me access up the wall by having Passive and Active Pro. Now, Active Pro doesn't come into the tiniest sizes that small nuts and wires do, so you're getting some value there also as far as the size that you can actually protect in the rock."
Yes, indoor climbing is a great way to train for outdoor climbing as it offers more variety and options for progression. Transcript: "Is indoor climbing a better way to train for outdoor climbing? Let's just put it this way. All of the absolute best climbers in the world, sport trad or boulder, have spent a significant time training indoors. So yes, you can go ahead and have repetitive sequence. You can maintain the variety that you're trying to. You can get whole different differentiation, angle differentiation, difficulty differentiation, all in a hundred square foot area. And that is a big difference than going out to your local crag that may only have certain style of routes, certain difficulty of routes, whether the routes are boulders. So yeah, indoor climbing is certainly the pinnacle of training. But for me, climbing is about being outside. So my progression was significantly slower because I only climbed outside, but once I went inside, I passed the grades that I was stuck at."
To strengthen your forearm grip, practice climbing on vertical and overhanging terrain and use a finger board. Additionally, pinch heavy objects around the house or at the gym, but be sure to avoid overtraining by resting in between sessions. Transcript: "How can I strengthen my forearm grip? I'm not really sure what question you're asking because your forearm doesn't actually have a grip. Your hand has a grip. So how can I improve my grip itself? Well, climbing of course. Climbing on vertical terrain when you're starting or slappy. And then as you climb more you can move on to overhanging terrain, meaning where your feet cut off the wall if you let go with your feet. Once you go ahead and do that, you can use a fingerboard and there's a million different plans out there. I would always just say lay off the extra weight and lay off the teeny holds until you've really developed a strong grip. You can pinch things and hold them in the air. There's again 20 different things you could purchase that you can pinch and you can just pinch heavy objects around your house or at the gym. So basically just continue to use them in a manner at which isn't over training. And what does that mean? Don't do it every single day. Don't do the same exercise every day because that's over training."
I'm looking for a technical pant that is nylon, windproof, abrasion-resistant, with a reinforced knee and ankle area, a belt with a buckle, and one pocket over the thigh. Transcript: "The best pants for rock climbing? It all depends on what you want to do my friend. I want mobility so I want to be able to move and move freely without restriction. I want durability so typically that's probably going to be a nylon style or of pant rather than a cotton blend. I want windproofness. I want it to be very abrasive resistant. So I'm usually looking for a technical pant that's got a little reinforcement in the knees and around the ankles. Sometimes a little drawstring at the bottom of the pant to keep the wind out. I want it to have a waist area that is not a tight little string. I'd rather have a smaller belt with a small buckle to go ahead and hold my pants up. Usually I'd like a one pocket over the thigh to hold anything while I'm on route. So something that's durable, flexible, and has a nice pocket."
Check with the manufacturer for specific advice, but typically it is safest to retire a harness after 10 years of use or if it looks worn out. Transcript: "How many years should you keep your equipment like a harness to be safe? Well this is one of those tricky questions that there's never going to be a right answer. There's going to be what is the condition of your harness and ultimately I would check with a manufacturer and see what they suggest. If your harness is looking worn out in the belay loop and around the waist belt then that's definitely a time to go ahead and retire it. But if it doesn't look like there's anywhere and it's 10 years old that's where you want to go ahead and ask an actual manufacturer. My personal philosophy would be if it hasn't been used for a long time I don't know what condition it is even if it looks fine. I'm gonna retire it and get something new. So I would always err on the safe side because if your harness breaks you're dead so don't ever trust it if it hasn't been used."
I try to not take risks while climbing as I want to keep enjoying it without getting hurt. Transcript: "Have I ever taken a risk where it's really paid off? Realistically, climbing, I like to mitigate risk as much as possible so I'm not going to go ahead and take a risk that's going to go ahead and risk my life or my partner's life or my safety or my partner's safety. So I've really tried to make sure that anything I've done has been so prepared like I've known the outcome before trying and I've rehearsed it so that the outcomes risk went to minimal. So I've really tried to not take risks because I enjoy climbing too much. I don't want to be hurt tomorrow. I want to be climbing tomorrow. So maybe if I was a competitor and this was the last meet of the last whatever and at the end of my career maybe I'd go ahead and be willing to break my back and die or something like that but climbing is too much fun to go ahead and get hurt over."