An Interview with Daniel Woods
Editor: First of all, congratulations on your FA of The Process, in Bishop at the Buttermilks.
Folks say the name is a rumor, so can you verify the exact name and the grade (V16?) of this mega project that will go down in the bouldering history books?
Daniel Woods: The name is "The Process" which my friend Dan Beall came up with and suggested to me. It is suiting due to the ambience of the line.
It bakes in the sun all day (forcing us to try at night), requires 15+ crash pads to make it safe, a ladder to work the upper moves on the roof, a rope to work the upper headwall, multiple lanterns and headlamps to light the 50ft Grandpa Peabody boulder, bullet proof skin to hang onto the sharp edges, and a certain thought process of positivity to distract the anxious thoughts that easily overtook our minds.
Dan had created a blueprint of how the pads were to be arranged before every session. He also had multiple friends help carry/ arrange the pads, then stand in various positions around the boulder, holding lights at the wall while we sessioned. There was a process of doing things necessary to make this giant possible to climb.
The reason why we tried this line at night was to get colder conditions. When it is hot out, your skin sweats and does not harden up, making it impossible to hang onto the small edges.
The evening temps would range from the mid 30s to lower 40s, which offered optimal friction. It was definitely surreal climbing that high off of the ground in the night.
Editor: Surreal is the right word! Night climbing is very cool. Here’s the most important question…
How does it feel emotionally to have sent something so phenomenal, so beautiful and yet so very difficult?
Your fans would love to know what you’re thoughts are.
Daniel Woods: I feel very fortunate to have climbed this magnificent piece of rock. Climbing for me is turning more spiritual rather than just a physical endeavor in which I pursue.
When I got through the crux of the climb and made it to the no hands rest, a sudden rush of emotions were released. I still had to stay present and finish the final friction slab to the top.
I remember all of my senses being activated at once. I could hear my foot rubber grind into the small crystals every step that I took. I could smell the rock and feel its energy as I ascended upwards.
I had never felt this before in climbing. At the top I was in a new world. The mental games that I had pondered on for a year and the ability to accept fear and appreciate it was a feeling that is unexplainable.
All of my serotonin was released and I took in what just happened. I believe that these natural formations are here in the world to help teach me more about my way of life. They are a lot greater than myself.
The battle is never with the rock, but rather with myself. The rock just presents the challenge for me to learn.
Editor: That is beautifully put, Daniel. I’ve interviewed climbers about how they felt about the rock, the flow, the emotional zone you enter into while going through the steps, but no one has presented their feelings about the rock in this way. Your fans will love your impressive description!
This particular project got the 2014 “Project of the Year” Ed’s Choice Award, shedding some light on the tenacity and perseverance required to send it.
What would you personally classify its grade as, considering how powerful this boulder was and how many other respectable and talented boulderers couldn’t send it, despite their best efforts? Walk us through what you did.
Daniel Woods: This one certainly is special to me. For one it is the epitome of my style in climbing. The movement is very powerful and robotic, requiring amazing finger strength on small incut edges.
The crux on this one is purely mental. I have done some highballs in the past, but nothing that tests hard double digit climbing at around the 25 foot mark.
I broke this line down into 3 boulder problems. The first is an intro 5 move v12/13 leading straight into a 3 move v14 that has a committing last move dyno to the lip of the boulder.
My feet would go nearly horizontal at the 20 foot mark and I felt like a champion every time I stuck it. Consequence for missing this move is a painful belly flop…ha ha!
The final head wall consists of a 6 move v10 finishing at a full pad crimp rail at 30ft, in which you mantel out into a no hands rest. This line is for sure the hardest boulder that I have climbed where physical ability and psychological torture have played a roll in the working process.
In order to send, both had to be equally firing and if one was off, then that session was not meant to be. As for v16, I think it is suiting for the style of climbing in which it is. Media loves grades to show the progression and that is fine, but this climb is so much more than a number.
The full value experience in which it presented me was life changing and that is all I care about.
Editor: Well, that makes total sense. Right now, everybody’s is talking about your hard work and diligence. Looks like the year started out great for you, which is fabulous.
Can you share what’s next for you?
Daniel Woods: Next on the list is ABS Nationals, then Hueco Rock Rodeo, Gioia, Bugeleisen Sit, and that’s as far as I have planned right now haha.
Editor: We’ll be watching and making interview updates on your dedicated On the Cover: Daniel Woods page in this magazine. How old were you when you saw your first bouldering or climbing session in the outdoors?
Where was it and was it beautiful?
Daniel Woods: I started climbing at the age of 5, but really got into it at 8. Luckily, I live in CO where there is an abundance of amazing climbing. This activity has always clicked in my head as making sense.
I have never gotten bored of it due to it being ever changing. No one line that you climb is the same. There are different kinds of rock and styles to sample.
There are also different forms of climbing to do. The best part is that I am always outside. No complaints there.
Editor: Yes, there isn't a part of Colorado that I've seen that isn't amazing. Thanks for sharing your FA of The Process with us and we hope to do a follow up interview with you in the future on your next FA!
Daniel Woods: No worries, anytime!
Did you enjoy our interview with Daniel Woods? Please 'Like' our Facebook Page so you'll know when we do more interviews with him. Those FAs are going to keep coming! Thank you so much. The link is below:
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Daniel Woods RAGE Sends a New V15 Highball in Mexico | Viva Peñoles, Ep. 6
Daniel Woods - Hypnotized Minds 8c
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dawoods89/timeline
Official web site: www.danielwoods.us
7 time American Bouldering Series National Champion
2nd place 2010 Sport Climbing Series Championships
Gold medal at 2010 World Cup in Vail, CO
Silver medal at 2011 World Cup in Eindhoven, Netherlands
Bronze medal at 2008 World Cup in Imst, Austria
3 time champion at the Hueco Rock Rodeo in Hueco Tanks, TX
1st place at 2010 Battle in the Bubble
1st place at the 2010 Unified Bouldering Championships in Salt Lake City, UT
The North Face, Sanuk, La Sportiva, Petzl, Organic, Clif Bar
On the Cover: Daniel Woods
Cover Date: January 28th, 2015