Dan Beall: Silent Destroyer

posted by dpm on 10/27/2010

Dan Beall is a bit of a media recluse. He moves from one crag to another dispatching hard climbs and apparently no one knows who the guy is except his sponsors. He doesn’t have a blog, website, or his face on a Wheaties box, which is why everyone repeats his name in the form of a question. DPM finally caught up to Dan, (after months of stalking) and asked him how he has been able to stay under the radar for so long and why we still can’t stalk him online.

DPM: You don't have a website or long standing blog what gives? Why can't we stalk Dan Beall online?
Dan: Yeaaaah...Working on that. The problem seems to be that I don't really like being stalked.
DPM: You seem to enjoy flying under the radar. Not much of a media whore?
Dan: I guess so. I've just never really craved the attention. I've always worried a bit about being misrepresented. I would just prefer to get to know people in person than to have them think they know me from the internet.
DPM: You are sponsored by numerous companies. Do they know how strong you are or do they simply sponsor you for your winning personality? How do you get FREE gear?
Dan: At the moment I'm being sponsored by Asana Climbing, Vertical Hold Sport Climbing Center, and Five Ten. Big thanks to them for helping make it possible for me to climb as much as I do and still put in the hours at school. Obviously you need to be a capable athlete for any company to be interested doing business, but personality, reputation, and of course knowing the right people seem to be pretty big factors too.
DPM: We don’t know any of those people.
DPM: What is the scene in San Diego like? Surf, turf, and fake tans?
Dan: The community down here is just far too awesome to for me to do it justice in a couple sentences. San Diego is home to 6 climbing gyms (of which Vertical Hold is, of course, the best) and numerous home walls. There are a ton of strong motivated climbers and even more entertaining characters. Go into the gym on a weekday night and psyche basically spills out of the walls. The only thing that I haven't been able to figure out is the absolute lack of kids. Despite the wealth of gyms and climbers, there aren’t really any youth teams.
DPM: Do you own a DVD player and loads of climbing porn? Does it get you psyched or just give you massive blue balls?
Dan: I used to buy every climbing movie that came out, not so much to get psyched, but because I was psyched and needed something to get me by when I was too beat up to train. Now though, between DPM, Vimeo, and people’s blogs you can find anything you're looking for in a couple keystrokes. Not gonna lie, I do my homework and try to scope out people's beta when I go to try a new climb. For the most part though I just forget it the second I close my laptop. 
You didn't really ask, but I'm going to tell you anyways, my favorite climbing movies have been In Between the Trees and Progression. They're awesome, watch them.
DPM: So what you’re saying is you could call it an onsight because you have long term memory loss and you actually like films with a plot? Is that it?
DPM: Do climbing rags get you psyched too? Are we doing a good job or is it the same old shit different cover?
Dan: I really like climbing mags, they keep us psyched and immersed. The only problem with print media -- climbing mags, newspapers, whatever -- is that they can't keep up with the internet. Any climbing news that come out in a monthly are gonna be old news by the time it hits the stand. That said I'm still pretty keen to flip through any new climbing mags I see. I personally like Dead Point. You get the best of both worlds with the less time dependant articles in the magazine and up to date news and videos on the website.
DPM: Here is a hypothetical question. You are working a hard sequence and on the last move you break off a crucial hold and blow it onto your back. You...
 A.) Throw a pisser and launch your shoes
B.) Automatically upgrade the climb by 2 grades and then send
C.) Re-name the climb and call it an F.A.
D.) You are too skinny to break holds
E.) All the Above
Dan: E.) All of the above haha. Seriously though, I would already be laughing when I hit the ground, and after a few choice words I'd be up and at it and psyched to find a new solution. The only way I'd really be bummed would be if the breakage turned a cool move into an awkward one.
DPM: One more time what do you think about Jade? Can we just call it V12 and get it over with? If you got a 6-pack and can crimp you are prequalified for the first move so it is a gimme right?  
(Dan sent Jade in the summer of 2010.  Read his last DPM interview here.)
Dan: There's no way you're tricking me into this one. Jade's an amazing line, I thought it was pretty hard. Anyone who wants to know exactly how hard is welcome to go give it a shot. One thing though that I thought was interesting, was that as much as this is touted as an ultimate crimp line, the crux to me seemed to be the nature of the move, not the holds. I've done climbs where I've felt like I was crimping much harder. The slightly odd tension to stay on that slanting left foot and the shoulder strength to hit the left hand accurately seemed to be bigger concerns.
The holds really aren't that bad.
DPM: How do you give back to the climbing community? So many climbers forget this part.
Dan: School's pretty limiting, so all I really do is try to stay personable and open when I'm in the gym, I try and take people climbing when I can, I give technique and training tips when I can. Basically just try to give people the knowledge I've gained through rather inefficient trial and error. There are no coaches in San Diego, so I do what I can to keep people excited and get 'em strong. I suppose I do a little occasional trail work or Access Fund/ Adopt a Crag type stuff, but that's kinda rare. Between climbing and trying to graduate I can't manage much else but sleep.
Dan Beall is currently working on a blog. He is just trying to decide on a title for it, his name seems to be too original. After he figures out a title all that is left is for him to transfer years of his life from a giant ledger that he carries around to the web, it shouldn’t take him more than 3-6 months. So if you are looking to internet stalk Dan Beall you will have to wait your turn like everyone else.