Growing up in Morrison, Colorado, Dave discovered climbing in high school when he saw some people carrying funny packs up to the Dakota sandstone bluffs above town. Afraid of what his parents would think of his climbing, he hid his chalk bag under his bed but forgot to wash the chalk off his hands. Before long, his secret was out. By the time Dave graduated high school, he had started exploring the domes and cliffs scattered around the South Platte region of the state. It was during these explorations that he first saw Staunton. At that time, he had no idea that it would become a state park in the next 8 years, but he knew one thing – he had to climb those rocks! The only problem was they were off limits.
Fast-forward to 2012, the park is slated to open in 2013 and they want climbing routes established before opening day. Dave, with his expertise in climbing access trails, was one of local developers contacted about the project, along with Matt Clark, Jason Haas, Mike Morin, Amanda Peterson, Eric Schmeer, and Kevin Stricker. Together they formed the first volunteer Fixed Hardware Review Group (FHRG) for the park. The purpose of the FHRG was (and is) to assist in the management of climbing impacts and fixed hardware within the park. For more information on the FHRG visit sspfhrg.com.
Between July of 2012 and May of 2013, this dedicated group climbed and developed over 60 routes. Most of the routes were either trad or mixed, but there were a dozen or so sport routes that were also established, primarily in the Tan Corridor. On top of the development that was happening, Dave designed the climbing access trails that allow for easy access between crags at Staunton Rocks. With the help of some dedicated volunteers, he was able to build the main climbing access trail and the long section of stone steps that lead excited climbers to the base of the Tan Corridor.
Dave and Lisa met and fell in love in the winter of 2012-13. Lisa, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio learned to climb in Tahoe, CA in the early 2000’s. She attended grad school in Flagstaff, Arizona where she earned a Masters in Speech Pathology as well as an astonishing ability to climb technical basalt cracks. The latter inspired Dave’s nickname for her, “the Technical Queen.” With that being said, Lisa’s favorite crag at Staunton is the Dungeon, which is characterized by steep and burly climbing.
Together, Dave and Lisa have climbed all over the world with trips to Norway, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Argentina and Canada. With the addition of their daughter Sophie and Dave’s graduate studies at the School of Mines, their trips abroad have been temporarily put on hold, but they continue to regularly climb and develop routes at Staunton. In fact, there is a pretty good chance you will run into one (or both) of them in the park any given day in the summer.