Steve Mammen interview

Posted on 15. May, 2008 by in News


In the year 1999, I had been climbing for about a year and a half. I had just finished my 5th year of school at Michigan State and I drove out to Colorado to pick up my brother from CU. I was looking to check out some of the good bouldering Colorado had to offer at places like Flagstaff, Carter Lake, and Morrison. It was Horsetooth Reservoir, however, that was at the top of my list. My knowledge of Horsetooth had come from Stone Crusade, which I had read a thousand times, pouring over each page, desperate to soak up ever bit of bouldering information I could find.

I had my sights set on the Talent Scout Roof, a thin and challenging V6. I was climbing in the La Sportiva Cliff, which was produced as a rental shoe for climbing gyms. My first day there it was wet and my shoes got dirty. I remember thinking this was unfortunate because when I stepped onto the rock, the footholds would get smeared with mud. I let the dirt sit there overnight, failing to realize that other people may want to climb on clean problems.

I came back the next day to try my project and who should stroll up but Steve Mammen. Introductions were made but they were unnecessary. I recognized him instantly from Sherman’s book. “Just getting both feet on the rock is a triumph” the caption in the book states, and there is Mammen, a full page photo, fingertips underclinging nothing, both feet pasted on the rock. I knew the picture well.

“Looks like someone got some dirt on the holds” he said and I embarrassingly said nothing. He quietly cleaned up the holds. Then he pulled on with a grace and fluidity I had never seen before and absolutely walked Power Glide, the harder version of the Talent Scout Roof. No grunts, no thrutching, just perfect control. I was shocked and humbled. He cooled off by sending my project with similar ease. I saw something that was very special that day, a master in control. As an up and coming climber from Michigan few things could have been more inspiring. There is a new interview on of Steve Mammen and I recommend checking it out.

3 Responses to “Steve Mammen interview”

  1. chuffer

    15. May, 2008

    I agree with everything Jamie says. Mammen, Wilford, Blunk, the Old Man and others have been setting a good example for up and coming boulderers for more than a generation.

  2. peter

    15. May, 2008

    Good story Jamie

  3. tissue

    15. May, 2008


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