An Interview with Carlo Traversi on the Future of Climbing, Gyms, and Deep Water Soloing

On Saturday, April 22nd, Carlo Traversi narrowly squeaked out a victory at the 2017 Tuck Fest climbing competition. The event, held at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC, was the first to feature permanent deep water soloing walls from Walltopia.

It’s definitely my favorite style of competition,

Carlo states on an Instagram post he shared after winning.

Crazy weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina for the @usnwctuckfest at the @usnwc. The new Deep Water Solo wall from @walltopia is the first of its kind as a permanent installation in America. These type of events are gaining in popularity after the annual @psicocomp was introduced a few years ago. It's definitely my favorite style of competition. So much adrenaline in the head to head format and it's great for spectating. I ended up in the Final against @nathaniel.coleman and just barely squeaked out a victory. This photo from @rob.pryor captures the moment perfectly. Congrats to @kyracondie for her win as well. And a big thanks to @blackdiamond and @tylerwillcutt for all the support this past week. Back to the mountains!

A post shared by Carlo Traversi (@carlodenali) on

At 28 years old, Carlo is still at the top of his game. Between sending V14 in Fontainebleau, beating young guns at Tuck Fest, and managing the construction of two climbing gyms in California, Carlo found some time to answer a few questions on the future of our sport, gyms, and deep water soloing. As always, his answers were refreshingly honest and insightful.


1. You took 1st place last weekend at the 2017 Tuck Fest—first off, congratulations! How do you think permanent deep water soloing walls will change the future of competitions and gym climbing in general?

Thanks! Very stoked.

As with any DWS competition, it was extremely stressful, but ultimately a ton of fun. How could you not have fun climbing 40+ feet without a rope over a giant pool?

What makes these events stand apart from a typical climbing competition is the “extreme” factor and the head to head format. Both of these make it really easy for non-climbers to relate and ultimately enjoy the show. In short, I see DWS comps as a great way to show off our sport to the general public. Ultimately, this will help continue to grow the sport.

2. With indoor climbing (and now deep water soloing) exploding in popularity, how do you see the relationship between indoor and outdoor climbing evolving in coming years?

Indoor climbing has more room for evolution because we have complete control over the environment. Outdoor climbing will continue to evolve at a steady rate as it has been, with continued development and more climbers exploring popular zones, but we will be faced with bigger issues because we don’t have the same control of the environment. Our control is limited mostly to the conservation of resources.

We can build more climbing gyms, but there will only be one area like the Buttermilks. As the growth in popularity continues to explode in the gyms we will continue to see that trickle into the outdoors. In some areas, it’s definitely more than a trickle. And with growth, our responsibilities as users of natural resources will continue to grow.

3. You’re set to open two new bouldering gyms in Northern California later this year. How did you decide you wanted to become a gym owner? Do you have any unique plans or designs for your gyms?

In all reality, I was searching for a way to utilize the knowledge I have gained from climbing and working in gyms for the better part of the last 15 years. I want to create a gym environment that will serve the community in the best way possible. I am less concerned about my own ambitions and more concerned with creating a place where people can realize their own.

Without giving away too much, I am confident that these gyms will set the bar high for the future of bouldering gyms; both in size, quality and amenities.

4. You’re pushing 30! Well, you’re pushing 29, technically … What do you look forward to most as you approach the next decade of life?

Shit! I haven’t really thought about it.

Staying healthy and making sure that I continue to challenge myself both physically and mentally. I look forward to taking a step back from the relentless travel in pursuit of my own accomplishments and instead dig deep into the climbing community on a local level and create something lasting.

Thanks Carlo! To follow Carlo’s journey, follow him on Facebook and Instagram.


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