Clips and Chip

photo by  @kzeichmann

photo by  @kzeichmann

His name is practically impossible for people to say without hearing him first, but John Chipouras, aka one of my first friends in Denver, but the name chipouras is probably one of the most known in the denver community, as chip is one of the biggest butterflies in the social network of climbers.

So, what does that have to do with the Lander Climber's Festival? Allow me a moment of your time, if you will...

Part of Chip's Charm is that he is an insanely talented climber, and can convince you that anything is possible. He's so freaking humble, "Oh, yeah, it wasn't really my smoothest run," coming off boulder problems in the double digits, that when he says something like, "Hey, do want to do this comp (that neither of us planned on, are prepared for, know anything about) with me?" You don't really think that, "No thanks," is an appealing option.

But really though, I'm super glad I said I would. John signed us up for the 11+, not even considering that he has been out projecting without genuine rest for weeks, I'm coming off injury and haven't climbed at all in a week, what could possibly go wrong? You're expecting some dramatic response of a story, but the true answer is; Nothing. We had a rad day exploring a new place, disregarding the idea that we should be cranking out routes, and just climbing problems that locals said they loved. Looking back, yeah, it was hot, we hiked a lot, I was tired and hungry, John had to calm me down and keep me on baby grades because my head game was NOT there, but laughing after being terrified I realized I was on a rope-mind you, mama does NOT go much more than 10/15 feet off the ground often enough-the experience as a whole was definitely worth. I think John thought so too, but I'll leave that for you to decide. 



Q/    What’s the most valuable piece of information you would collect/advice you would give to prepare for an outdoor comp?

A/     Know what makes you happy and what you want from the comp, and set your expectations accordingly. If you’re hyper competitive, go all out and stash ropes, plan meals, hike efficiently, rest well the night before and go for the win. If you’re new to the area and looking for a fun, chill competition then go climb classics and enjoy the beauty of the place and take your time.

Q/    What would you say was the hardest part of the day? You can’t say naming the team, because that’s my answer!

A/    We signed up last min with the idea of fun climbing in a new area for both of us. Which sounds great! But, I’d describe myself as competitive, so switching mindsets to a fun day with a lot of climbing took some adjusting but once I was there it made for an awesome day playing in the sun with great people.

Q/   Well, I had a fun day scouting out shade, but despite having the mindset for a play-day, you still placed! Were you surprised?

A/     YES! I feel like a few locals/pros didn’t turn in scorecards which is kinda cool since they’re likely already swaged out. I will say, the winners put up some impressive #’s, the gap between first and third was comedic! But I think it’d be cool if there was footage of the winners b/c watching a local legend throw down many of the areas hardest climbs sounds like an impressive sight. 

Q/    So in a montage of the day, what would you say was probably the most beneficial consistent advantage and disadvantage for you? (We both know the heat worked in my favor since I’m from Mordor!)

A/     I’d say my advantage was experience doing volume based comps. I’ve done a handful of similar comps. 24HHH, Rocktoberfest, Triple Crown Star Chaser and a few more. I love volume comps bc I’m not the strongest but I’m willing to suffer and work hard which can sometimes level the playing field. My largest disadvantage was this was day five on and the day after a dyno comp so I was sore and beat up… I’m just happy I got away injury free!

Q/     I was actually just about to bring up the dyno comp! You placed in that as well, won a raffle, and this is after a sweet little vay-cay out in TenSleep. So, as Mr. Adventurer of the month, what’s next on your list?

A/     Haha it was a great weekend! Luck was on my side, but I wouldn’t say those are the parts of the two-week vay-cay that stick out. I got to run into a lot of old friends and have a taste of a traveling lifestyle I miss. Next, I’m back to Denver to work at a job I enjoy and hone my skills in the front range and prep for the next big trip. Best I can tell that will be sport climbing in Greece, but I’ve got an adventurous bunch surrounding me in Denver so I can almost guarantee a dozen or more spontaneous adventure between now and then so we’ll just have to wait and see!


Well, ladies and gents, you read it yourself,  the man-the myth-the legend himself,  John Chipouras!


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Stay Positive.


KariDane Matlock