Date of Birth:
Originally: Oakton, VA Currently: Denver, CO
What is your primary means of adventure, AKA what gets you most psyched?
Hard mixed climbing. I don’t know why it is, but something about being on steep lines with ice tools just hooked me from day one. Don’t get me wrong, though, I love all types of climbing, especially splitter cracks, sunny alpine rock, and clipping bolts on the coasts of Southeast Asia!
Invent your dream adventure by combining five places, disciplines, pitches, peaks, environments, etc. and stacking them together into a combination. Why did you pick each part?
I’m probably not going to be the guy who’s up for enduring cold and hardship, for days or weeks on end; I love to suffer for 30 minutes to an hour at a time! I have my routines, my rituals if you will. The day starts with coffee and a soulful breakfast, listening to music and thinking about the day ahead, always packed and ready the night before. Getting to the climbing area is sacred time for me, it’s time to reflect, set the mood, and catch-up with that person, or people, that are with me for the day. Somewhere along the way; I get a dose of butterflies deep down; something that has never subsided regardless of the number of ‘try hard’ days I’ve had in my life, and I love it. Each day I am out there, I want to learn something, I want to push forward and grow. Being in a space where I have to fight hard, both mentally and physically, is quite intoxicating to me; perhaps there’s a touch masochism in there! If I can do that, if I can support my friends in their goals, and if we can all share laughter from start to finish, then it’s the best day I could imagine. Take that, put it anywhere in the world, from a sport crag in Thailand, to a mixed or drytooling cave in Europe, that’s my dream adventure.
Describe 3 climbs, trips, or moments that have defined you as a mountain athlete:
Saphira (M15-): Saphira, a radically overhung pitch in Vail, CO, is a route that I set eyes on immediately following climbing the nearby route Mustang (M14-). As the route finished on the same curtain of ice as the iconic Jeff Lowe route “Octopussy,” it created a sense of coming full circle; having the hardest route in the US sharing the last bit of ice with the route that started modern mixed climbing back in 1994. I still remember lowering off the climb after redpointing it, thinking “yeah, this is just the beginning, let’s get to work.” I guess I realized in this moment that no matter what, the second I reach one goal, I don’t like to stay in that space, but want to start searching for the next level.
The Mustang (M14-): I’d already done a few other hard routes before this one, but something felt different with “The Mustang,” and it really set the stage for the seasons to follow. It felt like I’d ‘arrived’ in a sense, and that only motivated me to work harder.
A Line Above the Sky (D15): My current project and what’s driving me the most. I’m mildly obsessed with it; from the style to the endurance needed, it’s just incredible. My most recent trip to Italy was to start work on it with the support of my friend Angi, who sent the route a few months prior. Extremely cold temperatures meant that we spent more time eating pastries and sipping espresso than climbing, but that’s part of the game (and let’s face it, not a terrible part). I will be heading back soon! In late 2018 Chris complete A Line Across The Sky and became the first American to climb a route confirmed at the D15 grade.
Describe your most memorable night in the mountains:
Two nights on Broadway, sleeping below the Diamond on Long’s Peak. There’s something special about waking up to a sunrise over Chasm Lake, feeling worlds away from the flickering lights down in the valley. The first night led into a beautiful day on the wall, and the second night, altitude sickness. Both equally memorable.
What has scared or intimidated you as a mountain athlete?
I’m always intimidated by my new projects. Even when I’ve put the work in, it’s still difficult to calm those nerves when it counts.
What would your adventure partners be most surprised to learn about you from before the time when they met you?
That there is so much I value in life outside of climbing, from reading about history to the deeply analytical and challenging nature of my career. But probably the most unusual for me would be that I raced sports cars for several years, and still instruct at High Performance Driving Schools.
What are your all-time favorite pieces of CAMP equipment?
Why are you a CAMP athlete?
I’ve always had an agreement with myself that I’d never work with a company that didn’t share my values. I believe that the community is the greatest part of climbing, and CAMP fosters that; they go beyond just being a company that makes cutting-edge climbing gear. CAMP has created a family-like atmosphere, where anyone can come to them for gear, advice, or guidance. Purely as an athlete, I appreciate the multi-generational, close-knit nature of the company, and their insatiable desire to be innovative and produce the finest gear available.
Things I want to climb!
- “Ascension” in (proposed D15+) Wuhan China
- “Storm Giant” (proposed D16) in Canada
- “Oświecenie” (proposed M16) in Poland
The route I had to train the hardest for was:
A Line Above the Sky
The route that wrecked me the most was:
My training routes/routine. I’ve gotten to the point of nearly throwing up, multiple times.
I most want an all-expenses-paid trip to:
Around the world starting in Fall. I’d start in Europe in for hard mixed and drytooling climbing in L’Usine in France and the Dolomites in Italy, followed by rock climbing in Kalymnos, then heading over to Asia for more rock in Yangshuo, Laos, Northern Vietnam, and Thailand. The variety of climbing styles, landscapes, food, and cultures would be immense to experience over the course of a few months.
My short list of climbing or adventure goals this year:
- Getting out there and coaching more climbers who are excited about mixed climbing.
- Get back to Asia in May/June for some sunny sport climbing and deep water soloing.
- Make the most of alpine rock climbing season.
- Have fun and be present. Every single day.