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
The challenge of rock climbing is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, then focusing on improving what you're weaker in to become an all-around climber able to climb any grade. Transcript: "Why does one boulder problem feel easy at a grade and another one feel impossible at a grade? This is the beauty of rock climbing is that there is an equalizer. Every type of movement happens to be someone's strength or someone's weakness. You may have the strength that your partner has no strength on, yet it's the same ability and you guys quote climb the same ability. So don't worry about the grades, identify your weaknesses and work on them and enjoy because if you're focused on the grades, sadness will come and you'll always be comparing yourself to others. But if you go ahead and address what you're good at, know that you're going to be successful at those and then focus on what you're weak at, you know that you can build yourself to becoming an all around climber that can handle any type of movement that comes at you at a particular grade."
My biggest deal breakers when it comes to trying on climbing shoes are a sloppy heel, an ill-fitted toe box, an inability to securely tighten the shoe, and a slipper that is too loose. Transcript: "My biggest deal breakers when it comes to trying on climbing shoes, for me if the heel is sloppy, meaning it doesn't fit snugly in the back of the shoe, whether it's a lace-up, a velcro, or a lace, or sorry a slipper, and then if the toe box is sloppy, meaning if my toes have room to move in there and they are slip sliding around, those are deal breakers. Another thing to consider is if you have a velcro or a lace-up system that doesn't go ahead and allow you to snugly tighten the shoe on your foot, that is a deal breaker. If you're trying to buy a slipper and the slipper is sloppy on top of the foot, then that is also a deal breaker. But ultimately I don't want any motion in my foot. I want my shoe to perform as it is my foot, not as it is separate from my foot."
The hardest rock climb in the world is constantly changing as new routes are established and challenged. Transcript: "What is the hardest rock climb in the world? I would say at this point it changes every week. Someone does another route that's harder than another route. So if you're looking to establish the hardest route in the world, good luck because someone's going to establish the next hardest route in about three to six months. And I'm not saying that sarcastically, I'm just saying that's the reality. There's so many great amazing athletes out there and finding great challenges for themselves and everyone else to try. But yeah, the hardest rock climb in the world. Wait 15 minutes and you'll find out the next post on social media about the next hardest route."
To prevent overuse injuries when climbing indoors, it is important to warm up all the muscles that will be used for climbing. Additionally, it is important to make sure the holds are not too small when starting off, as this can cause injury. Transcript: "How do you prevent overuse injuries when climbing indoors? First and foremost, you want to make sure you're doing a proper warm-up. What does that actually mean? You want to warm up your hands and your fingers, meaning opening and closing them, maybe even doing some light hangs. You want to go ahead and warm up your elbows. That could be push-ups or some band exercises. You want to warm up your shoulders and upper back. Ultimately, a little bit of leg motion is always going to be good for stretching. But you can do all this in about, I don't know, four or five minutes. You can go ahead and warm up those muscles and start preventative activity so you don't get injured. Ultimately, what are you going to do? You're going to make sure that when you try roots or boulders, that the holds aren't too small when you're starting off because that will lead to pulling too hard, which will cause an injury sooner rather than later."
A smear is when you use your foot to push against the wall in order to gain traction and hold. You keep your heel low and try to push directly into the wall for maximum surface area contact. Transcript: "What is a smear? A smear is generally a place on a wall where there's not really any kind of feature or hold to grab or place your foot onto. Maybe it might be a tiny little bump, it might be a little crack or fracture on the wall, but it's basically nothing. So what you're going to do is you're going to place your foot, your toe, kind of the ball of your foot over between the ball of your foot and your toe, and you're going to try to smear, meaning push your foot perpendicular into the wall to go ahead and get as much surface area on the rock as possible. That usually means that you're going to be keeping your heel low to the wall. So smears can be very helpful because they're the imaginary holds in between holds. So I use smears quite often and the smearing technique. Again, keeping your heel low and trying to push directly into the wall is going to be the best advice when using a smear."
I maintain training consistency by having a goal in mind and being focused on what I need to do to achieve that. When I complete it, I take a break and pick another goal and repeat the cycle. Transcript: "How do I maintain training consistency when I'd rather be outside climbing? Well, I have a full time job. I have a family and I get to climb on the weekends. Usually one day, maybe not at all, maybe every other weekend. So I'm training most of the time. So I have to just be consciously thinking about what goals do I want to achieve and how do I get there? So each of my training sessions is very focused and well intended. If I'm just in the gym for the sake of being in the gym, I don't need to be in the gym. It's a waste of my time. I'm not putting my effort towards it. I don't have a goal. I don't have an end or a light at the end of the tunnel. So I maintain that consistency by always being goal oriented and having a particular route or a challenge that I want to overcome. And then when I complete that, then maybe I take a break and pick another one and do it again."