Episode 15: Tony Yaniro — An American Pioneer

Tony Yaniro came of age as the Stonemasters were just solidifying their legendary status in the mid ’70s. In the shadows, however, climbers like Tony, Randy Leavitt, Max Jones and Mark Hudon, Ray Jardine, and a host of others were starting to shed the crotchety ethics of the day and pushing the sport in a new, gymnastic, era-defining direction. Tony and the gang hung on ropes to work out moves, bolted lines at a level previously unimagined, and developed a super-divisive style of sending. Today, we’d scoff at grumpy old coots slagging us for simply redpointing!

Tony was the first person to climb at the .13b/c level, but redpointing and hangdogging weren’t the only arrows in his quiver. He developed his own training regimens on what he called “death machines,” homemade climbing holds affixed to walls, and route-specific workouts away from the crag. Today we beat ourselves into submission twice a week at the local gym. In the 1970s, it made Tony a revolutionary.

He was one of the first and finest hold shapers on the planet. He’s a routesetter and trainer. He’s designed gyms and now owns his own facility in Prescott, Arizona. He’s stood at the vanguard of so many groundbreaking moments in climbing history that it’s hard to fathom how he isn’t the most pompous asshole in the industry. But he’s not. He’s humble and kind and hell-bent on sharing his knowledge with the wider climbing world. Fidi and I had the rare honor to sit down with Tony and rue the fact we could only steal an hour of his time. We could have listened for days…

Thanks also to Dennis Taylor, one of Tony’s employees, for jumping into the shark tank and joining us on the podcast at the last minute.

Have a question, comment, concern? Wanna write for Thundercling or have a great guest idea? Get ahold of us at thunderclingpodcast@gmail.com or on Instagram @thethundercling. We respond to every missive we get.

Finally, thanks to the old stalwart Ryne Doughty for the reliably rad tunes.

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