Wednesday, January 28, 2015

MBC2015: A Brief Chat with Charlie Barron

Charlie on Men's Final #3 at MBC2014

Charlie. Chuck. Charles.  You've probably seen Charlie Barron send your project with only four fingers and no feet.  He was trying to be polite about it but every climber needs a warm up.  He's stood on national podiums for bouldering and speed climbing.  He's been a national finalist in sport climbing.  Last winter he won the Bozeman Full Gravity Day Bouldering Competition, the Gnar Pirate Booty Bash in Missoula, and the Montana Bouldering Championships.  He went to Nationals last year, and the year before that, and he's going again this year.  Lots of climbing for one humanoid. Yet, when you sit down and talk with him, he's polite, kind, and rooting for everyone.

Joel:  How long have you been climbing for and why did you start?

Charlie: I've been climbing for about eight or so years now.  I really just got into it because I thought it was fun and for some reason climbing called out to me.

Joel:  Nice, let's get the stock dialogue out of the way.  Favorite boulder problem and climbing route in Billings?

Charlie: That would be a lesser known v10 at Phipps park called Seasonal Changes.  It's a beautiful compression problem on bulletproof orange sandstone. My favorite sport climb in the area is probably Brown Sugar at Gregory Hills.

Joel:  Sweet, now we need a sequel to Super Sand Land.  How about your favorites in Montana?

Charlie: My favorite boulder problem in Montana is probably Vanilla Gorilla V11 at Yankee Jim and my favorite sport climb is Deadly Nightshade 5.13B at Natural Bridge.

Joel:  Righty Oh! Boulder River Valley and Paradise Valley, good locations to meet up with our Bozeman friends.  OK, favorite boulder problem and climbing route in the world?

Charlie: Probably a V10 at the rock shop in Wyoming called The Giving Tree. It climbs out this huge overhang on perfectly sculpted edges, pinches, and slopers. My favorite sport climb is Gold Member 5.13D in Ten Sleep. This climb took me a long time to climb and just has a special place in my heart.

Joel: Considering where you've climbed around the world, I'm impressed and/or surprised you're listing Cody and Ten Sleep in this category.  Last spring you received a nomination for the USA Climbing North Face Young Gun Award. You've been pretty quiet about it, but it actually was a significant event, only 15 youth climbers a year are nominated.  Competitors and coaches from all over the pacific northwest nominated you, largely due to your approach to climbing. What exactly is your approach?

Charlie: I think my approach to climbing is different from many of the kids I see at Nationals. I really love the outdoor aspect of climbing and how it connects me with nature. Competitions are great and can show progress, but climbing outside is what really pushes me to try harder.

Joel:  Interesting, a lot of your competitors come from big urban mega gyms and climbing areas where every route is YouTubed for beta.  You come from the wild and rare Billings Montana.  How do "other factors" affect your climbing? Things like temperature, mood, music, day of the week, school, those sorts of things.

Charlie: I like climbing in the cold but not when it's too cold. I think 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit is the best but sometimes I will climb in colder weather as long as the sun is out. My mood doesn't really affect me because I somehow tune everything out and just focus on how much fun I'm having while climbing that day. I like listening to music, especially in the gym, but when I'm outside I like just listening to nature. 

Charlie chuckin' above Billin's

Joel: What's more important to you and why; the route you're climbing, or the people you're with?

Charlie: Climbing with good friends is more important to me, for sure. Climbing with other people is more than half the fun, because you can all learn and connect with nature together. If I go out and can't climb my project but I was with my good friends, it would still be considered a great day in my book. 

Joel: What's more stressful to you and why? Finals at a climbing competition or a final exam?

Charlie: Finals at a climbing competition is way more stressful to me than a final exam haha. I feel like at a climbing competition I always have something to prove and it feels really good to be able to prove you are the best. This really gets in my head and sometimes causes me to do well but sometimes it makes me too nervous and I don't perform my best. A final exam in school is just a way to test knowledge, and to me I never felt like I can know everything, so why be stressed?

Joel:  Maybe these questions are your most stressful thing right now?  What's next for Charles Barron? obviously more high school, but are you starting to make plans for post high school?

Charlie:  I don't have any plans set in stone yet but I am definitely going to keep climbing after high school. I would like to go to college but I'm not sure if right after high school is the right time for me. I would like to play my life more day by day and it's hard for me to say what I'm going to do years from now.

Joel:  I like that you said, "play my life."  If you had full control of the Steepworld music playlist, what would you have us all listen to????

Charlie:  We would be listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, G-Eazy, Asher Roth, with some good Reggae thrown in every now and then, ha ha.

Joel: RAP MUSIC??!?!?!!?!?!? Get off my lawn!!!

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