EP 86: Dylan Barks — Spray Wall Sessions, RMNP Rampaging, and Recovering from an Eating Disorder


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By Steven Dimmitt. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Dylan Barks is an elite-level boulder and sport climber, and a dark horse in the climbing scene. He sent ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’, his first V16, just two weeks after this interview. We talked about how Dylan uses a spray wall for 95% of his training, how he prepares for both bouldering and sport climbing trips, and about recovering from an eating disorder to climb his hardest ever.

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Show Notes:



4:00 – Vanlife pipedreams, Dylan’s work and school, and finding his groove climbing outside

7:05 – Being in both the competition and outdoor worlds

8:30 – Bad haircut timing, and the alpine as a harsh and special place

11:32 – How Dylan prepared for his trip to RMNP, and spray wall training for both bouldering and sport climbing

14:11 – Dylan’s training philosophy, and why he uses the spray wall

16:24 – The value of benchmarks, and mixing limit bouldering with perfect repeats

17:58 – ‘A Day in Boone’, how Dylan has trained his capacity, and session format

21:40 – The line between capacity training vs. junk mileage

23:45 – Deep dive: spray wall session format

26:32 – 60 move circuits, running, and pushing through vs. resting

31:23 – Watching Dylan on ‘Wild Cat’, and his story about competing against Daniel Woods

37:00 – Internalizing the feeling of a move, and bringing intention to all of your climbing

39:17 – Sending ‘White Noise’, and finding another gear on this trip

40:20 – Taking the lower grade, and being his own harshest critic

41:32 – Where Dylan sees a lot of climbers going wrong in their training and improvement

43:44 – Coaching Jon, and coaching the team in MI

45:43 – Starting climbing at summer camp

46:33 – ‘Southern Smoke Direct’, taking a hiatus due to an eating disorder, and the light at the end of a dark tunnel

48:52 – Sharing about an eating disorder, and how Dylan’s struggle started

51:51 – Dysmorphia, and “Your body’s got it.”

56:00 – A couple of paragraphs from ‘Weighing In’

1:01:13 – Trusting the process, seeing things working, and the tricks our mind can play on us

1:04:57 – Looking at old pictures

1:06:04 – What 18-year-old Dylan needed to hear

1:08:28 – Going to the hospital, rebuilding relationships, and turning things around

1:10:48 – Mike, and “feed the beast”

1:12:14 – Untapped potential for strength, and thoughts vs. actions

1:15:08 – Navigating negative thoughts

1:17:00 – Using your climbing and training as the main driver for body composition

1:20:19 – Climbing ‘Arrested Development’ second try

1:24:15 – Mindful climbing, and being in the present moment

1:25:52 – Practicing mindfulness

1:26:52 – If you could only do one more hard rock climb…

1:28:35 – That “click”

1:30:14 – Southern sandstone

1:31:21 – Go-to climbing shoes

1:33:02 – Warming up your technique

1:34:35 – Trying ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’

1:36:04 – School, and getting out his “ya yas”

1:37:25 – Aspirations to be a pro-climber?

1:39:01 – Vulnerability and the gift of sharing

1:40:10 – Gratitude, and meaningful connections

124 episodes