I first met Lloyd King ages ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth, bouldering pads were thin and expensive, and John Sherman still had a moustache. In the late 1990s, I had moved from Prince George BC to Edmonton in order to finish writing my MSc dissertation, and was fortunate enough to rent a house in south-central Edmonton near the Vertically Inclined Rock Gym (VIRG). I rented the house with a handful of other quasi-employed and unemployed climbers, including my wife Shelley, Dan Gable, and Colin Dorward. The house - referred to as 'the cabin' by its inhabitants - was virtually a shack (it was torn down soon after we moved out), but it allowed me to freedom to climb in the evenings and work on my dissertation long into the night.
In those days of training at the VIRG, we fell in with a great group of climbers who were already established at the gym, including Lloyd, Greg and Irene Tos, Mike Cummings, Aaron and Yvonne Pellerin, and a large handful of others. Rather than forming separate groups at the gym, we were welcomed by the commuity there, and what followed was several very successful months of training before the denizens of 'the cabin' moved to Vancouver and the boulders of Squamish.
Since that time, I have taken every possible opportunity to climb with Lloyd. Lloyd is one of those rare individuals who effortlessly combines the social, cultural, and physical aspects of climbing, but remains perfectly humble and approachable. "Where is the best place to buy coffee in Bishop? Which brand of climbing holds are most durable? Should I camp or stay in a gite when I visit Fontainebleau? Should I cut my feet on this dyno?" Ask Lloyd, and you'll get a friendly, genuine, and worthwhile answer.
In addition to being a terrific ambassdor for the sport, Lloyd also possesses a remarkably complete set of climbing skills. Mad skills. When climbing with Lloyd, I came to realise I had to prepare myself for two eventualities. First, that I would see movement that was inevitably smoother than my own. And second, that I would only rarely be the first to top out a given boulder problem. As a result, it is always a pleasure to climb with Lloyd outside, whether at sport crags in the Rockies or in the boulders of Squamish. Lloyd has gone on to translate his climbing successes into professional success, and is now a program coordinator in the climbing program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Bishop CA.`14 from Lloyd King on Vimeo.
Lloyd's latest climbing forays include two that I am particularly excited about. First, he has taken determined strides into the world of climbing film-making. The humorous styling, crisp framing, and skillful editing of his short films rival that of most professional adventure film-makers. Secondly, he has begun to explore the backcountry boulders of the Canadian Rockies, discovering a hidden trove of quality problems. Vive la difference!
Lloyd has graciously answered my grueling 'Top Three' Questionnaire. Read on!
Name...? Lloyd Donald King
Where from...? Born and raised in Trenton Ontario now residing in Edmonton Alberta
Top three favourite climbing areas...?
3) Bishop California
2) Fontainebleau France
1) Wherever my last trip happened to take me
(ed. note: not Squamish? What gives?)
What do you consider
to be your three most important and significant climbing
3) Climbing a 25 foot indoor vertical tower and down climbing it
(because I was to scared to sit back in my harness to be lowered) on my
first day ever climbing birthday party experience
2) Maintaining a healthy relationship with the Canadian climbing
1) Inspiring others to challenge themselves through hard work by
Teaching, Instructing and Coaching climbing since 2001
What do you consider to be your most important and significant non-climbing accomplishments...?
3) Not going to jail when I was a grommet
2) Owning a beautiful home in a great neighbourhood that`s walking distance from a job I love
1) Meeting and marrying the women of my dreams
Top three favourite routes and boulder problems...?
3) Solitaire - Buttermilks, Bishop California, USA
2) Cortomaltese - Bas Cuvier, Fountainbleau, France
1) Heisenberg - Rockbound Lake, Banff, Alberta, Canada
(ed. note: the latter is a proud Lloyd King FA, and is an amazing line high in the Rockies. Definitely on my To-Do list!)
3) Bistec de Biceps - L'Olla Sector, Suirana, Spain
2) I Por Dios Abigail - Mariella, Mt. Pellegrino, Sicily
1) Stay Gold - Echo Cave, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
And finally a quote from Lloyd, something he's learned while on the long road between 'then' and 'now'...
You can tell a lot about a person`s character and personality by what they do and where they go in their spare time.
Slab from Lloyd King on Vimeo.
Lloyd is perfectly correct; slab is NOT "So Lame and Boring"!
Now, if Lloyd would just come down to Frank Slide this summer, and add to Southern Alberta's growing collection of high-quality problems... and maybe bring his video camera.
Until next time, happy climbing!