Daniel Woods Interviewed About World Cups, Sport Climbing & More

Daniel Woods Interviewed About World Cups, Sport Climbing & More

Peter Beal caught up with Daniel Woods to do an interview for Beal’s upcoming book‘s website in which they spend most of the time discussing Woods’ thoughts on the bouldering World Cups and how Americans could be more successful.  They also talk about Woods’ plans for the rest of the year, his desire to focus more on sport climbing in the future (after climbing well over 100 V13s or harder he’s getting a bored with bouldering) and the future of hard climbing:

I think the future in bouldering is hard to tell. It will probably be in power-resistance boulder problems, connecting two V14s or V15s to reach the next level. It’s going to be very hard to find something that is just one or two pure hard power moves to create something that is V16. Sport climbing has so much potential. We’ll see multiple V13s put together on a rope and Adam Ondra will be the guy to do that and I think some boulderers like Paul Robinson will want to try that as well.

Read the full interview here

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19 Responses to Daniel Woods Interviewed About World Cups, Sport Climbing & More

  1. Gelu June 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    My respect towards Daniel Woods has skyrocketed. Tons of credit, very honest guy. Great interview.

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  2. cp June 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I think that Daniel has gotten a bad rap at times in the past due to a perceived immaturity, with people often overlooking the fact that he is in fact still quite young. However, having climbed and spoken with Daniel several times, I have found him to be one of the nicest, most genuine, humble and approachable ‘pros’ in climbing. This interview highlights his continuing evolution as a climber and a person, and hopefully people will start to give him as much respect for the latter as they do for the former.

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  3. Dylan June 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    I am reminded strongly of this:

    http://climbingnarc.com/2009/09/why-chris-sharma-doesnt-boulder-more/

    I think it seems clear that as a discipline it has kind of begun to hit a wall.  If you take recent downgrades into account, then the truth is that despite all hype about the “progression” of the sport, the limit of absolute difficulty hasn’t really budged much in the last few years.  The big change that I see is a huge increase in the number of V13+ climbers, and therefore a huge increase in the number of V13+ boulder problems.  I am of the opinion that bouldering has far come no where near exhausting the potential for new problems.  By going further into the backcountry like alpine climbers do I wonder how many more Chaos Canyons or Lincoln Lakes might exist in areas, even in the Front Range, that are, say, 2-3 hours from the road, rather than 45 minutes?  Additionally, the recent surge of FA’s at my home crag, Devils Lake, which has been thought “climbed out” for a long time, proves that a fresh perspective can breathe new life into even the most old-school areas.

    Despite this, it is very telling that despite the increase in the size of bouldering as a sport, a true V16 has yet to be found and climbed.  While that will probably eventually happen, sport climbing is currently pushing the boundaries of pure difficulty at a much faster rate, and it seems like the limits have been tested less than in bouldering.  So while for weekend warriors like myself, bouldering has basically an infinite supply of stuff too hard for me, but I can see the frustration of a top-dog like Daniel Woods looking for a way to raise the bar and leave his mark on history.  So his and Chris Sharma’s attraction to route climbing makes tons of sense to me in that light.

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  4. Wise old man June 14, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Sounds like he’s making excuses… Are you asking me to believe climbing is the only sport where the US doesn’t support it’s athletes? You’re blaming US routesetting for you not being ready? Come on… you had a bad comp, much like you did at the Noreastr last year and Nationals this year. It’s ok, it happens to everyone. Foreign climbers LOVE coming to OUR world cup because its different, why should the US change the style that has made the sport of climbing so popular here. It’s been said so many times before, climbing competitions and especially World cup climbing competitions are entirely different than climbing hard outdoors. You don’t see Killian crushing v14-15s outside do you? They are two different animals and just because the US didn’t do to well this year, lets not start making excuses.

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    • Carlos Lugo June 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      He’s not making excuses, he’s giving valid reasons.

      Simply put, situations like this are WHY newer international teams (in whatever sport) lag behind teams with established infrastructure.

      And for the record, yes– you do see Killian climbing V14-15 outside.
      That’s irrelevant though.  DWoods summed it up nicely– setting style is a big factor in how the climbers fare.  The ONLY responsibility being placed here is on the AMERICANS to step up and evolve.  No one’s asking Euros to do anything.
      I’m not sure if it’s the chip on your shoulder, or reading comprehension, but he’s not blaming anyone or asking anyone to change anything.

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    • Sac June 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Yeah I’m sorry bud, but you missed it completely.  He didn’t give off the impression that he was making excuses at all.  In fact, he praises the setting and even goes to say that US climbing is can be summed up by jumping and power.

      “In the US, all we know how to do is jump so when we see a volume, we’re lost.”  Does that sound like someone making excuses?  It’s a little belittling to himself.

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    • Kccocca June 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      I dont think he is making excuses hes is just pointing a obvious point. I have been watching the world cup comps for the last 2 seasons and having a child climbing all of them this year and seeing the struggle she too is having. luckily she has been doing pretty good making it in to the top 6 at all so far. But she too would agree without having a manager a coach and a physio on hand it is really hard. The girls this year have been really lucky having a wonderful country (Austria) pretty much looking out for them . Competing at these World Cup Comps without a team there to back you is not easy so for anyone going out there and doing it on their own I highly commend them for a great job.I think Daniel is right on with him comments .And as for US not doing so well I think they are doing a great job this year have you competed at a world cup comp without a team to back you?

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  5. Carlos Lugo June 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    I think it’s time for American companies with more resources like The North Face to step up and do the right thing here.

    A legit Team USA sponsor would be HUGE for us…

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  6. Carlos Lugo June 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    I think it’s time for American companies with more resources like The North Face to step up and do the right thing here.

    A legit Team USA sponsor would be HUGE for us…

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    • Spro1 June 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

      I’m not certain why “the right thing” is for companies to sponsor elite level athletes for climbing competitions.  Personally, I would rather American climbers play second fiddle on the World Cup Circuit and see more corporate dollars spent procuring and maintaining access or promoting ethics and user responsibility. 

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  7. Dave June 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    It would be huge for like 30 people.  If big corporate dollars have to go into climbing, I’d rather see it supporting things like that climbing in Chad expedition the North Face did, rather than pay teenagers to gym climb so they can compete with other gym climbers in a gym.  gym gym gym.  sweet!

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    • Carlos Lugo June 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

      You’re right.  An all expense paid photo expedition for Alex Honnold is far more important than the US’ team’s ability to compete at the world level.

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      • Dave June 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

        I have zero interest in a US plastic climbing team or their ability to compete on a world level.  

        And while the likelihood that I’ll ever go to Chad to climb is basically non existent, the stories and the photos are a lot more interesting to me.  It’s about exploration, travel and adventure.  It’s not some silly interview about why some guy didn’t podium in a competition that will be forgotten in two weeks… right after the next competition.

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        • Carlos Lugo June 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

          “It” is about whatever the climber wants it to be.

          And this article is about a climber on the USA plastic team, discussing why he felt the US is falling behind on the world stage.

          I get your sentiment, but why bother?  Is reading and pining through pictures of other climbers on alpinist.com having adventures from your desk chair really any better than having a discussion about the state of world cup competitions?Is pretending you’re better than others because you think the pictorials you like are better than someone else’s “what it’s about?”Seriously– get over yourself.  A discussion about Daniel Woods’ reflection on the failure of the US climbing team in a World Cup event on home soil isn’t really a place to discuss why you think being a adventure loving hardman for the cameras is better than being a competitive athlete.

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        • Carlos Lugo June 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

          “It” is about whatever the climber wants it to be.

          And this article is about a climber on the USA plastic team, discussing why he felt the US is falling behind on the world stage.

          I get your sentiment, but why bother?  Is reading and pining through pictures of other climbers on alpinist.com having adventures from your desk chair really any better than having a discussion about the state of world cup competitions?Is pretending you’re better than others because you think the pictorials you like are better than someone else’s “what it’s about?”Seriously– get over yourself.  A discussion about Daniel Woods’ reflection on the failure of the US climbing team in a World Cup event on home soil isn’t really a place to discuss why you think being a adventure loving hardman for the cameras is better than being a competitive athlete.

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  8. Dand June 15, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    From time to time people lose sight of the fact gym climbing and hard bouldering is essentially a means to the end of climbing routes. There will be a progression in bouldering and sport (and trad! think Dave McLeod!!) but I think it will be much more long term as trends move between the various disciplines.
    He summarised the difference between European and U.S bouldering well, it clearly makes sense to assess the problem solving, spatial awareness aspects of climbing more than power when you get to the world cup level. The more creative world cup setting also sees a greater range of movement, which is the joy of hard bouldering i think.
    The WC events also seem like they’re finding a unified style and as long as this is allowed to evolve over time i think this will be a good thing on the way to the olympics

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  9. Dand June 15, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    oh, and btw Narc. That blog where the interview’s at is AWESOME!!!!!

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  10. Dave June 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    Well Carlos, half of that article/interview did not concern the World Cup.  I didn’t read the first half, but I was interested in the second half, the bit about moving to roped climbing.  I thought it interesting that he thinks that the future of difficulty is in sport climbing not bouldering, where pure difficulty is sort of the idea.

    What does that mean?  Obviously part of the problem is finding the right problem, a short series of moves that really is a true v16.  The other part may be that he just can’t pull much harder?  So I thought about that some, what is he, 22 or so?  It looks like it may be a lack of patience.  If sharma climbed .15 a in 2001, and is now getting to .15c ten years later…  And Esperanza, a v14, was climbed in the late 90s or so?  And we are one grade past that (although with a lot more guys doing that grade).

    So those are the thoughts that I took away from the article.  I’m sorry my comment offended you, as it was a direct response to your opinion that ‘the north face et al need to step up, do the right thing, and support a team.’  Well, I personally disagree with that, and I will now get over myself.  

    You are correct that climbing is big and there is room for lots of different passions within it.  Personally, passion for gym climbing is unfathomable.  I do gym climb though, and I enjoy it.  I guess  you could say I find the ‘man vs nature’ aspect way more appealing than the ‘man vs. man’ aspect.  It’s all voyeurism on the internet though.

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  11. Mark1294 June 17, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    All sports have coaches and training plans, the USA does not. This would be a disadvantage in any sport and climbing is no different. How could you be as well prepared without a coach or a plan. The euros look well coached and well trained when they climb. I know Sharma is the best the last 10-15 years, but who knows how good he might be with coaching or how good will Woods get with solid coaching and support.

    The world cup setting is much more technical then American setting which is generally a strength contest. This is why certain males and females almost always win American comps. Coaching and training could help USA climbers greatly as they would have better technique and problem solving skills.

    I think Woods was honest and spot on with his comments, not sour grapes at all.

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