I recently interviewed myself for the Touchstone Climbing Gym blog that I write. Check it out:
Touchstone Blogger and Bay area rock climber, James Lucas has been climbing for more than a decade. Beginning his climbing career as a self proclaimed "punter", James quickly progressed to a dirtbag rock jock when he moved from New England to Yosemite Valley. He's constantly on the road rock climbing and recently made an ascent of his first big wall free climb- the Westie Face of the Leaning Tower (5.13 A0). Oakland Manager Lyn Verinsky made a poignant observation, stating, "James would have sent his route months earlier if he had taken my advice about apple fritters being the best pre-send food. Instead he had to use hard work and tenacity." He took a moment from his "hard work" shamelessly self promoting and being a rock climbing "Spray lord" to talk to the Touchstone Blog.
What was your recent ascent of the Wesite Face, the free variation to Yosemite Valley's Leaning West Face of the Leaning Tower like?
Well, first of all- I'd like to say that I'm kind of a big deal. If you don't know who I am then you should. I recently wrote one of the Dirtbag Diaries about being Yosemite's Next Top Idol. I'm pretty much the greatest thing to ever happen to climbing. But enough about me let's talk about you. What do you think about me?
Uhh...I think you avoided the question. How did you prepare for the route?
I am not naturally gifted in the least. My tenacity makes up for my lack of talent. I spent a couple months bouldering in Bishop, sport climbed in Sonora, and then tried the route a bunch. When I couldn't send, I took a short break, hung out in Berkeley and tried really really hard to redpoint the green 12c at Ironworks. One of the banes of my existence is my inability to climb well in the gym. I went back to Toulmne Meadows, did some hard sport climbing, then headed to the Leaning Tower. The crux for me was having enough power endurance on the 5.13 pitch. The lead cave at Ironworks really helped. I'm hoping to free El Capitan soon.
How did you get your Valley nicknames?
I have two. The first one, "Peaches" was given to me by my friend Brian "Coiler" Kay. It's after James and the Giant Peach. The second one, "Big Fall James", was due to taking a 100 foot fall in Joshua Tree while free soloing on Intersection Rock. I fall a lot. I prefer "Peaches"- makes for better pies.
You spend most of your time traveling and rock climbing. Do you have some sort of dream career along those lines?
Absolutely! I want to be on the cover of Martha Stewart's Home Living. I spend a lot of time baking pies. I just made a cherry pie for the staff over at Ironworks and I'm planning on making a pie for Lyn Verinsky, the manager at Oakland. On rest days, I really really like making pie. Either the Martha Stewart thing or I would be really into winning the lottery. Then I could buy a really nice RV and park it below some rocks for a little bit and move it when I wanted. It'd be way more baller than my station wagon.
Check out more of James' writing, published and unpublished work, on his blog- Life of A Walking Monkey