Dan Vinson is the Founder of Monkii.co, makers of unique, compact home fitness equipment that allow you to enjoy a full-body workout.
He has also had quite an interesting journey as a young entrepreneur and lifelong athlete. He made an improbable progression at Georgetown University from walk-on lacrosse player to earning a starting spot and full scholarship. We talk about the unique mindset attributes he displayed as a youth to persevere and continue to excel. One interesting element of that story is how Dan got just a tiny glimpse of his potential with an excellent practice performance, but then took repeat poundings and rode the bench for a long time until he got his chance.
You may be familiar with Alex Honnold’s historic ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, as portrayed in the movie Free Solo, but if you want to climb El Cap the “regular” way, did you realize that it can take days to get to the top? You have to haul tons of climbing ropes and gear, sleeping bags, food, water, and clothing, hoisting backpacks up rope lines, and continually stopping to regroup and climb a new pitch. After a couple failed attempts, Dan’s successful ascent (taking 31 hours!) was only a part waypoint in the awesome physical challenge. He and his climbing partner got hypothermic at the top. Instead of camping out, they had to hike 10 miles back to Yosemite Valley in the middle of the night with no food or water.
You’ll learn how Dan’s extreme passion for the outdoors (check out his wilderness workout video from back in the day!) was the inspiration for creating Monkii, and how he leveraged the power of Kickstarter to quickly build Monkii into a home fitness powerhouse. Enjoy the episode, and if you enjoyed learning about Dan and Monkii and want to hear more from him, check out his podcast here.
Brad’s guest has many adventure stories to tell covering fitness mentality and competitive intensity. [01:14]
Dan talks about how he was able to build his business quickly. [05:14]
What is a stoic mat? It helps balance and stabilizes muscles. [09:05]
Dan and his partner have invented many different types of equipment with nature in mind. [13:11]
What will the future be in society’s approach to fitness overall? [18:56]
If and when we do get back to the gym, the social aspect and support will be there. [19:56]
The football winning streak at his high school worked because of the way the players trained. [22:41]
Dan played lacrosse in high school and college. He kept in shape in the summer in the wilderness. [24:05]
Dan is a good example of commitment the way he kept going to practice with hope of improving enough to make the team. [27:58]
It is a challenge to leverage the skills you’ve developed in one arena and apply those to another endeavor [31:34]
When you develop commitment as a skill as an athlete, you are a good candidate for any job. [36:46]
Dan talks about his rim-to-rim-rim trip to the Grand Canyon and climbing El Capitan. [39:09]
Dan describes the ordeal of his climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. [45:01]
Can a novice climb El Capitan? [56:04]
Repelling is much more dangerous. You cannot make a mistake. [59:54]
Is there a trend in the younger generations of how they plan their lifestyle? [01:07:22]
- 360 Ball
- When the Game Stands Tall
- Live Wild or Die podcast
- Chasing Perfection (book about De La Salle high school football)
- Breaking Muscle Articles by Dan
- “The guys who could stay hungry ended up being the best players.”
Powered by RedCircleDownload Episode MP3
Check out each of these companies because they are absolutely awesome or they wouldn’t occupy this revered space. Seriously, Brad won’t sell out to anyone if he doesn’t love the product. Ask anyone.
- Almost Heaven Sauna: Affordable at-home sauna kits for the ultimate relaxation and hormonal boost on demand
- Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece: Mind-blowing, life-changing nut butter blend
- CAR.O.L bike: Cardiovascular optimized logic stationary bike for a highly effective eight-minute workout
- Male Optimization Formula with Organs (MOFO): Optimize testosterone naturally with 100% grassfed animal organ supplement
- Perfect Keto: The cleanest, purest, most potent ketone supplements and snacks
- LetsGetChecked: At-home medical testing with great prices, quick results, and no hassles
- Vuori Activewear: The most comfortable, functional, and fashionable gear, evoking the chill SoCal coastal lifestyle
This free podcast offering is a team effort from Brad, Daniel, Siena, Gail, TJ, Vuk, RedCircle, our awesome guests, and our incredibly cool advertising partners. We are now poised and proud to double dip by both soliciting a donation and having you listen to ads! If you wanna cough up a few bucks to salute the show, we really appreciate it and will use the funds wisely for continued excellence. Go big (whatever that means to you…) and we’ll send you a free jar of Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece as a thank you! Email to alert us! Choose to donate now, later, or never. Either way, we thank you for choosing from the first two options…
Brad (-1h -3m -2s): Hi everyone. Brad (1m 15s): It’s time to talk to Dan, the M O N K I I man. That’s right. His name is Dan Vinson, founder operator of the interesting fitness entity known as Monkey, M O N K I I. They designed high quality fitness tools, so you can get stronger, lose weight and be wild all from home. And he promotes living this wild ancestral lifestyle. It’s a really cool story. It goes in a lot of different directions. We talk about his athletic background, where he was a high level high school athlete at the legendary program of De La Salle in Northern California, the greatest high school football team ever with the longest winning streak. Brad (1m 59s): He was a lacrosse player and he had a long and interesting journey from scrub walk-on at Georgetown University to earning his way into a scholarship and a starting spot at the end of his college journey. And we talked a lot about some mindset and mentality aspects of, you know, fighting through things and doing things for the right reasons for the passion. And Dan has extended that, that fitness mentality, that competitive intensity, that desire to pursue and achieve goals all the way into his adult life and his business operation as well as his adventures. So we talk about very interestingly, his climbing of El Capitan, a little bit of a different journey than we’re familiar with with Alex Honnold, free soloing the thing in a few hours, but when you actually want to climb it, the, the proper way, the safe way with the ropes and all that stuff, it can take several days. Brad (2m 58s): And he talks about a couple of failed attempts and how they finally succeeded. Also talking about the double crossing of the Grand Canyon and then into his basic daily routine, which is a beautiful story. Especially he and the millennials age group, mid thirties live in this beautiful dream life. That’s so different from our generations past where you were kind of on these, these treadmills that were pretty narrow in scope where you went to college, got a degree, get your resume going, had a couple crappy jobs, got a better job, maybe went into the eventual nine to five drab existence. And he’s out there living this nice life in the wilderness and also running a proper business. Brad (3m 43s): And the interesting story of how M O N K I I got started, I think you’ll like they went over to Kickstarter, raise millions of dollars from faithful interested people that said, yeah, I’ll give you guys a shot. And then they came up with this really cool fitness equipment. He nicely enough sent me his 360 ball, which is an amazing invention. And you can do so many things right there at home, strapping it over a door. So we talk about the transitions in the fitness mindset and the fitness industry going from this, no pain, no gain gym mentality, group exercise mentality to just integrating fitness into your daily life. And I think that’s what his operation has movement at M O N K I I and the Live Wild or Die podcast is all about. Brad (4m 28s): So here we go with Dan Vinson, enjoy Dan And the M O N K I I man.We are on. And we got a lot to talk about. We had a great warmup show with me appearing on, on your podcast. So now we’re gonna turn the tables and hear what this whole exciting M O N K I I lifestyle is all about. Dan (4m 51s): Thanks, Brad. I’m glad to be, have you driving now so stoked to continue the conversation? Brad (4m 56s): Yeah. So tell me about the podcast and then the, the, the business that you guys have been building the community. And then I also want to get into your background and your athletic achievements and all that stuff, but yeah, let’s, let’s welcome. Welcome listeners to the M O N K I I world. Dan (5m 14s): We’ll thank you for having me. No, we, so we’re we’re M O N K I I and the podcast is called Live Wild or D iie. And I essentially started to, because I was listening to so many podcasts was like, well, I can, I can do that. It’s a lot harder than I originally thought. I actually had a radio show in college. It was called the Grizzlies show. I was really into like backpacking and just the outdoors and all that stuff. So it was just me and some buddies joking around for a few hours once a week. But so it kind of had those roots that I wanted to bring back out. And it’s been, it’s been so much fun, a lot of the M O N K I I is, you know, we get to talk and just talk about kind of the culture around our company and products and training and you stoicism And all these other ancillary things, nutrition that, you know, you don’t most brands and companies, you don’t get to speak directly like that to your customers, unless it’s a medium, like a podcast. Dan (6m 9s): So it’s been awesome. I love it. And I just, I love consuming them as well. So it’s, it’s been fun to be in that scene and get to talk to folks like you. And then M O N K I I, we launched this camera. Brad (6m 22s): M O N K I, I, people . Dan (6m 27s): m had to spell it different, but yeah, M O N K I I our websites, M O N K I I.com. And we’ve launched on Kickstarter in 2014. And we raised, I think it was like $111,000 the first time. And that was for the M O N K I I bars, original, which are these guys here, which we essentially like hand assembled these things. I still have scars actually from twisting all the caps together. So to launch the product, we, we kind of forced our friends and families to back the campaign because the way Kickstarter works is it’s essentially like pre-sales. So you put up a project, you have reward levels of people back at a certain award level. Dan (7m 7s): They’ll get that physical good. At least that’s how we did it. And so we did our first one in 2014, we did another campaign from M O N K I I bars, two in 2016 that did a million dollars. And then we released pocket M O N K I I in 2017 that did a million. We did 360 in 2019. That was our biggest campaign ever. And then I’m standing on the stoic gym for your feet right now. And we just finished that campaign. That was like 750 ish. And yeah, so it’s been really fun. It’s such a cool medium and platform to just kind of invent and explore ideas and work with this community. Dan (7m 48s): That’s so engaged and excited that it’s, we’re just, we’re fortunate to live in a time where that’s possible. Brad (7m 56s): Yeah, GEEZ I, I barely knew about this thing. I’m a little bit aware of how it works now, but when you’re saying that you raise this much money or that much money and it’s a pre-sale. So that means that you just sold a million dollars worth of your 360 ball, for example. And so then you’re going to go make them, and everyone’s going to get one, but it’s great. It takes a little bit of the risk out. And also I’m sure there’s startup costs to create a fitness device or are phenomenal. And then you, you know, the general model is you’re going to cross your fingers and hope you sell one, even though there’s 2000 in your garage, that’s a tough way to, to break in. Dan (8m 34s): Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And it’s, it’s not, it’s not a hundred percent risk-free, but it’s like, you know, instead of buying a million dollars worth of product upfront, you can invest, you know, a relatively small amount into this campaign. And like, if it, if it fails, then at least you failed fast and you know, you don’t lose your house or something like that. So it’s, it’s such a cool platform and the community Is just awesome. So shout out to the M O N K I Is and Kickstarter, right? Brad (9m 0s): And you, you told me off offline that you can’t just go on there and say, Hey, here’s my, here’s my spaceship. Join my Kickstarter. You kind of have to have a following to begin with. Otherwise, who’s going to find you. And who’s going to be interested in, in pre-ordering a, a stoic mat? The stoic mat is kind of this uneven surface that you’re standing on. Like I like standing on a pebble mat. I think this is a really cool idea, but tell me what where’d that invention come from? Dan (9m 30s): So we did for the M O N K I I 360 campaign. There’s a scene where in the morning I’m doing my morning routine where I’m reading Marcus, meditation’s kind of, I’m taking an ice bath, I’m doing all these, like quote-unquote stoic things. And we just thought, it’d be fun to like, stand on a better than nails. So essentially we built like a pull-up bar and then we, it was real better nails. So I’m hanging from this pullup bar just barely kind of lowering myself onto it for just, you know, a fun scene in the video. And David who’s my M O N K I I partner. Co-founder he comes up to me one day, Hey man, what if we did like this bed nail standing map? And I said, yeah, that’d be rad. Dan (10m 11s): But what if we also did this kind of natural surface standing mat? So essentially the, what stoke is, is it’s a modular gym for your feet. So there’s a bunch of different surfaces. We have forest floor, river rock, better nails, or these uneven surfaces. And then there’s a balance beam in between. So you can kind of, I’m standing on it right now. You’re kind of like you’re standing in a much more engaged way where I’m just kind of gripping at the ground a little more. I’m shifting my weight a little bit more. And I just, I don’t have that like end of the day, fatigue that I get from just, you know, flat hard surface essentially. So it’s, it’s been awesome. I can’t wait to get it out. We should have those hopefully like April, May, 2021. Brad (10m 54s): Oh yeah. It’s a huge deal for your appropriate exception balance working the stabilizer muscles throughout the lower body. And the benefits are fantastic. Katy Bowman talks about this a lot. She’s been promoting the pebble mat and things like that for years and Move Your DNA and other books. And, Oh my gosh, all that stuff is it really makes the standup desk experience much more fun. I have one of those balanced, it’s like a, a round board that you have to balance on to make it straight. So I like standing on that or tipping it backwards and stretching the calves, but just the, the variation is I think Katy’s main point that she makes that you don’t have to stand on this thing all day long in one spot. Brad (11m 40s): And that’s kind of weird, it’s uneven, but you might be sitting down in the next hour and then back up onto the stoic forward. And that’s, what’s really cool. Or maybe reaching for a fitness device, like the 360 ball hanging off the door. And then we’re talking about a really varied and active and, you know, stimulatory day for the, the, the cells throughout the body that perceive balance and awareness of space. Dan (12m 6s): Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And I’ve been a big fan of Katy for a long time. So yeah, it was just something that we had this kind of like, it’s kind of a weird idea if you think about it. Like if we, we literally to make it David and I, we literally hot glued rocks and sticks branches ferns from, Brad (12m 27s): we got to see a picture of the original one on Instagram or something Dan (12m 31s): Oh, for sure. No, we have, we have, and we essentially, we hot glue them packed and we shipped them to Taiwan where that’s where the factory is. They 3D scanned it. And then I got, I’m standing on here. So it’s definitely a little bit out there, but it’s really cool. And my just my feet feel just, I just feel better after standing all day. And it’s, you know, Katy’s point of like, if you’re standing in the same position all day, you’re still still, so it kind of adds this like active standing element, I think into folks that are kind of already a standing desk or, you know, maybe you’re working with there, but I’m really excited. Brad (13m 11s): Oh yeah. That one’s going to be a sensation. This is so it’s such an exciting path you’re on. I mean, so you, you got into this on the heels of this long devotion to athletics and fitness and coaching CrossFit and all that. And then just one day you had the idea for the, the original, it was a kind of a portable pullup bar? Dan (13m 38s): Yeah. I mean, the idea really. So I was a college athlete and then I was, I was a wilderness ranger in 2007. So I was up in Sequoia national forest. So kind of up the Kern river area outside of Bakersfield in California, but I was a wilderness ranger. I was still in school and I, I had built this like kind of Rocky four style, wild gym out in the woods. I’d like squat logs, lift rocks do pull ups off branches. Brad (14m 5s): Oh, is that the video that’s on YouTube people? This is, this is fun stuff. What’s the title of the video? I think it’s like outdoor wilderness gym or something. Dan (14m 18s): I can kind of hear it. It’s like, I can send you the link. But yeah, I was really into, I was really into the survival shows on Discovery at the time. So I did a lot of filming when I was out there. But essentially we, I had this experience out working in the wilderness and it was such a, just, you know, I was 20, 21 at the time. It was kind of like that life-changing defining time in my life. And when I went back to school from my senior year, I ended up, I never started or I just rode the bench, basically my whole athletic career. I ended up starting and getting a scholarship to come back like an additional post-grad year, which was awesome. Dan (15m 4s): But that experience was kind of this catalyst that David and I had for trying to create a company around fitness and the outdoors. And our first rendition of that was called Wild Man Revivals. This was like 2011, totally crashed and burned. It was essentially like outdoor fitness retreats. They were going to be in Montana and just, you know, we just, it crashed and burned. It was a cool idea, but it never took flight. We kind of took some time off for a couple of years. And then David was in grad school here in Fort Collins, Colorado. And we tried another concept called the Wild Gym, which was essentially like these outdoor gyms, like calisthenics gyms, like they’re all over in New York, things like that. Dan (15m 48s): They were, they were that concept, but with more of a wild twist. So we were using like more natural ingredients, I guess. So it was like rocks wood, or at least things that look like wood to give it kind of this more natural wildest aesthetic. And it was essentially like an outdoor kind of CrossFit slash calisthenics park. Brad (16m 6s): It sounds cool. I like it. Dan (16m 8s): It was rad. I mean, we, we won business competitions. We were going to put one in Fort Collins. We had so much momentum, but it’s a horrible business model to be selling to like municipalities and schools and things like that. I think, I think it’d be a great nonprofit. So anyone wants to start that hit me up. Or if you want to, I think it’d be so much fun to have these. It’s like, why aren’t there more of these just simple things that allow you, you know, you’re on a run or jog or hike. You can stop at the park if you pull up. I know, I feel like it’s really common in cities, but not so much out here at least. So anyways, that crashed and burned and we’d had this concept of, well, if we can’t do these huge installations, maybe we create something that people could bring with them into the wild. Dan (16m 53s): So that was the original M O N K I I bars. So it’s a super small thing. Cool products, people liked it, but it was a little like technical to adjust like the adjuster it’s this custom thing. It just, it wasn’t super intuitive unless you were maybe like a rock climber. So when we released M O N K I I bars 2, as a kind of incremental improvement on that concept that did pretty well. And then pocket M O N K I I, I think was like, where we really started to hit our stride of like, okay, this thing go, M O N K I Is have essentially like a tiny strap system. It pretty much literally fits in your pocket. You can toss over a door or there’s an outdoor anchor. You can go for a run, get a little body weight workout in. And unfortunately we’re sold out of those. Dan (17m 34s): There was more common in spring 2021 though. So standby. And then for three 60 specifically. So that came, that concept came from paddleboarding actually. So it’s that, that stroking core flection action. It’s just, every time I paddleboard was like, gosh, this Is such a good workout. And so how could we create something that kind of mimicked that motion that was simple, easy to use. And that is kind of where that first spark for 360 came and it grew into what you have now. So it’s been a journey. Brad (18m 5s): Yeah. I guess this year with people forced out of the gyms and into their homes to work out, it’s probably good timing to be selling Homebase fitness apparatus. Dan (18m 17s): Oh yeah. I mean, we, I always preface this by, I really wish it was for a different reason because it’s just, the whole thing is such a bummer. But you know, we sold out of pocket M O N K I Is in March. We, we actually, we were really concerned because the supply chains were shutting down and it was like, how are we going to survive this? And then there was like that weekend here in the States where it just blew up and yeah, we, we sold out within a couple of weeks and we’ve, unfortunately we’ve been sold out since then, but yeah. It’s, if you’re in the fitness industry now, it’s like, it’s certainly a demand that’s for sure. Brad (18m 55s): What do you think the future will be? Are we going to see a, a shift in our society’s approach to fitness overall. When, when everything’s, let’s say over with and back to normal, if there ever is going to be a back to normal. Dan (19m 10s): Yeah. That’s I think my, if you were to ask me that maybe a couple of months ago, I would’ve said, Oh yeah, people are never going to go back. Gyms will never be the same. It’s just, everyone’s going to work out from home. I think it might be kind of a blend now where people are so sick of being kind of isolated, at least not being able to interact in the same way that there might be this backlash where more people than ever go to the gym. But, you know, I think that time could be a few years out still, unfortunately. So yeah, I think short term more home-based more outside, more like individual. Long-term, I could see this kind of backswing into these more social situations, like a gym or running club, whatever. Brad (19m 55s): Yeah. I think it kind of illuminates what the purpose of some of these, you know, foundations of our, our lifestyle are such as going to the gym and that social aspect is, is huge. That community aspect, that, that motivating sense that you walk through the door that you get, at least I get, when I walk in there, I know everyone’s getting down to business and it’s so easy to go and put my body through the motions much easier than let’s say at home where I’m already a pretty motivated guy. I prioritize fitness, so I’ll get the workout done, but I’ll be telling myself a story in my head the whole time, like, Oh, maybe I should do it later. Brad (20m 36s): I’m kind of busy. I should probably get to my emails, you know, but when you’re in the gym, you’re there and the camaraderie and all that stuff is huge. But I feel like we’re gonna, you know, hit a, a hybrid mode where you also, everyone also has an opportunity to do these miniature workouts. We call micro workouts that we’ve talked about a lot together at home. And so you, you blend that in with these forays to the gym or to the golf course or whatever, where you’re, you’re going for the full experience. But you also have this, this in-between way that’s not so logistically challenging. Dan (21m 14s): Right, right. It is. Yeah. It is my wife’s a yoga teacher and she actually, she still goes to the gym regularly. She’s probably there right now, but yeah, I think there’s something, there are those like kind of what would be the right word? There’s these other elements to things like going to a gym, meeting up with the group, the intangibles that, you know, maybe, maybe there’s a little more importance than those than we realize. And this is kind of illuminating that. Brad (21m 42s): So you talked about your athletic background. I found out you went to the, the, one of the ultimate powerhouse, high schools of all time De La Salle who had the record for the longest football winning streak in the country. Right? They won every game for years and years. It was crazy. Dan (22m 0s): That was my, so my senior year, I didn’t, I played football my freshman year, but I actually played ice hockey and lacrosse, which for kid in California, a bit unusual. But yeah, my, my senior year was kind of, I think the last year of the quote unquote streak, but it was, I think it was 13 years or something like that. And it was fun. It was a cool, it was a, I, I, it was a great environment for me just at the time, you know, I was so into sports and athletics and all that. It was just such a perfect environment. And I think one thing, those of us that weren’t in the varsity football program, what we didn’t realize is those guys trained. Dan (22m 40s): We thought they just trained up their asses off all day, all the time, which, which they did, but there was, they had an excellent strength coach and they did a really good job of not burning themselves out. So I think the outsiders looking in and you’re like, these guys just outwork everyone, they just worked so hard, but they did it in a very smart non-exhaustive way. So I think that had a, a big impact on why they were so successful. Brad (23m 5s): Yeah. I also enjoyed reading about Ladouceur , is that how you say his name? He had sort of an evolved approach to coaching high school football. If you want to put it politely where most of it’s, you know, these coaches just are screaming at the kids.They’re obsessed with winning and, you know, it’s kind of a strange environment. And he seemed like he had a more holistic approach where he wanted them to be like, sort of in the John wooden mode of, you know, growing up and being good character people and sportsmen like, and all that kind of stuff and not, not taunting and swaggering when they won their 238th game in a row. They’re just going there and getting down to business in your case, you know, being in that, you know, rigorous athletic environment, it’s a private school. Brad (23m 51s): They’re, they’re very excel in all the different sports and that launched you on a path where you had a dream of performing in college too. So tell us about your next step in your athletics. Dan (24m 1s): Yeah, so I, so I played lacrosse in college at Georgetown and my freshman year in high school. So that was the first year we ever had a lacrosse team. So it was kind of all the guys that didn’t make the basketball team didn’t play football. It was just kind of, we were like almost all the rejects, honestly, cause you know, the athletics were so competitive there. I also, I played ice hockey and I’m at a pretty high level. So it was an easy transition for me, but I, I got into school back in DC and I didn’t get recruited or anything like that. But I walked on my freshman year and you know, there was quite a few walk-ins at the beginning and they just, each, each practice there was less and less and less. Dan (24m 47s): And I was finally the last one and I remember they called me in one day and said, they’d call me Vinny, Vinny. We think you can help us out here? So we’re going to, you’re not going to be on the team, but we want you to keep training and come out to some practices. So I’m like, okay, sweet. That sounds good to me. I’m thinking I had to play my position was like an All-American one of the best in the country. So it’s not like I was going to be in the games anyways. So what I didn’t really realize was I wasn’t really in the program. I was like this weird kind of ancillary guy that I would go out to practices. Occasionally they call me or email me. I got my high school gear everyone’s in there fresh, you know, Nike cleats, fresh equipment, new sticks, all that I’m in my high school stuff. Dan (25m 31s): Just sticking out like a sore thumb and I’d just get beat up on for a couple of hours and then get sent back my way to the dorms. So I did that for a year and then I also just trained my ass off in the weight room and just, I got put on some weight, got just quite a bit stronger. We had a great strength coach. And then the next year I made the team and just essentially rode the bench until a few games into my senior year. And that was after I’d spent that summer in the wilderness. So, you know, I’m hiking five to 15 miles a day at altitude up and down in that I was also training. So once I realized I was going to be spending this essentially the entire summer in the back country, I immediately went to like, okay, well, how am I going to maintain my summer off season off season? Dan (26m 18s): Excuse me, training program. So I went out there and like I had mentioned built this kind of like rudimentary weight room. So I’d hike all day, do trail work, cutting out trees, you know, hiking peaks, doing all kinds of just general back country, wilderness ranger work, and then, Brad (26m 37s): Oh man. Yeah, exactly. And you go back to the battle with the fancy gear. You’re getting strong out there. Dan (26m 44s): Yeah. So it was just like this accumulated volume was huge plus doing strength work on top of that, a little more specific. And when I went, when I came back to school, I was just, it was definitely in the best shape of my life and it paid off. So I got to kind of have this mini like, like Rudy experience, I guess, where I went from essentially, no one ever heard me who the hell is this guy to having, you know, a pretty successful kind of season and a half. So it was fun. It was a really cool way to finish school. And after that I went and fought fire for two seasons up in Montana, which was awesome. Just so much fun, just getting to stay in that team environment and be outside, do the physical work, traveled the country. Dan (27m 30s): And we actually, the first fires I went on were actually in California in 2008, which was gnarly, but also super fun. So I did that for two seasons and then I was a wilderness ranger for three seasons before kind of transitioning fully to CrossFit, strength, conditioning and all that. And I’ve been in Colorado since 2013. Brad (27m 55s): So back to that, that freshman kid who walks on all the other ones get discouraged and go away. They don’t even, they don’t even have the, the charity to give you the proper gear, but you’re hanging around there the whole season that, that must’ve been kind of an extraordinary experience and also something for the coaches to observe. Like, I mean, what, what’s this kid? Do he still coming in and taking a beating every day? Dan (28m 21s): Yeah, it wasn’t like I went to, I wasn’t there every day, but I would get called for practices, like kind of a special dummy player. Cause I had had kind of a specialized position, but I was always in the weight room and I was kind of like always lurking around the team, you know? So I wasn’t necessarily like good friends with anyone on the team. Cause I was just kind of this weirdo from California, like lurking on the outskirts, you know, trying to like scrape my way in. So even once I, once I was actually like an official member, I, I just think there was a little bit of like the East coast, West coast cultural differences that some of my best friends are from, from playing on the team. Dan (29m 2s): But there’s just, it took a little bit of time to kind of assimilate, I guess. Brad (29m 6s): Yeah. They’re not pulling many recruits from the West coast, cause there’s not that many schools that even field the team I can, I imagine. And lacrosse is huge on the East coast. And I know there’s, there’s some pretty prominent programs out here on the West. My friend’s kid is playing a, he played in the Bay area and he went off to play at a, at a prominent school. So it’s there, but yeah, they, you must have been like the, you know, the outlier. Dan (29m 36s): Yeah. Just, yeah, it was looking back. It’s like, man, it was, it was one of those things where it’s like, I really had to turn off that mental switch of like, I’m definitely not necessarily wanted here right now, but I’m going to come anyways. You know? So it was, it was, I think it was more of a mental thing than physical, you know, so, but it worked out. Brad (29m 57s): And I mean, you were pretty young to be able to, you know, reason with these philosophical, you can hope crossroads there, but you kept going, what do you think was different about you than let’s say the other walk-ons that went for, went for a little foray and then just bailed? Dan (30m 14s): I think, I think I just believed I could compete. I knew, I guess I knew with enough time I had the work ethic to kind of build myself up to compete at that level. And it, it was kind of like what happened the very first, the very first practice trial, whatever went out on the field, it was like my position. We kind of went head to head and I smoked them and the whole sidelines going like, ah, you know, freaking out. I never, I never happened again. But that initial moment was like, I think it kind of surprised everyone to say the least. And what that showed me was it’s like, there’s at least like the slightest bit of possibility that I can hang with these guys. Dan (30m 58s): And that, that, that was enough motivation and encouragement to just be like, okay, well I can do this. I just gotta, I know it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to be this like incremental process of just consistently showing up and trying to consistently get better, stronger, faster, improve my skills just over. I knew I had essentially a year to do that. So that’s what I did. I just dedicated to training consistently working on my skills consistently. And the next year, like I said, things worked out. Brad (31m 29s): Yeah. Wow. That’s a beautiful story. And those elements that are so important, I think, you know, we, we might be living in an age where we’re getting puffed up with a lot of hype and with the, you know, the social media and the gurus and the messaging, especially that, you know, people in that age group get where they’re trying to form their identity and, and, and pursue their calling or even at any age where people are saying, you know, don’t, don’t work for the white man. It’s, it’s ridiculous to be stuck in a Joe Rogan says that every third show, you know, like it’s, it’s a pathetic life to live and dwindle and you know, you go for your dreams and take risks and all that. Brad (32m 11s): But I think that message can get distorted sometimes where people get sort of deluded about how much work it’s going to take to be an entrepreneur running your own business, or even a kid, you know, trying to get a division one athletic scholarship from being a walk-on. It’s, it’s no funny business. And, you know, I feel like there’s, there’s a little bit of delusion going on where people want things really quickly to happen pretty easily, not too much struggle, maybe a little and then, you know, go on with the fairy tale life. And so you had that glimpse, which I think is a really important part of the story where you smoked the starter just once and then maybe he underestimated you and then he brought his A game every time he faced you again. Brad (32m 57s): And you, but you know, when that door cracks open a little bit where someone can, you know, you can really honestly believe deep yourself that you do have a chance here rather than, Hey, I’m going to play in the NBA. Cause I scored a few buckets from my small town high school team. That’s when you’re going to get slapped around and could have some, you know, a hugely negative experience that impacts you the rest of your life. Right? Dan (33m 21s): Right. And I think I should preface this or at least add the note that my, my, my whole goal going into it was just to be on the team I like starting or playing. That was never even really even considered. I just want to be on the team, you know? And I think that getting that wedge in that very first day, just that tiniest bit, it just, again, it made me realize, okay, I can at least be on the team. And I just, I love being in that environment and the training and the camaraderie and just kind of having that infrastructure, I guess. So that was the entire goal. And then beyond that, it was like, you know, if I got to play awesome, if not, it’s like, it’s not going to define the rest of my life, so Brad (34m 5s): Right. You take those incremental steps. And so, you know, once you got on the team, got a uniform, got to throw away your high school crap, then I guess is a great time to look at maybe the setting the goal of, of being a starter or taking another incremental step, but only when it’s realistic. Right? So I think that’s another part is, you know, dreaming of going from walk-on to scholarship athlete and starter that, you know, that could have been self-defeating right? Dan (34m 37s): It’s not, I guess it’s not that I didn’t want to be on the field for the games and all that, but I didn’t try any less hard because I wasn’t, you know, and I think a lot of guys actually just kinda, Oh, cause you know, you gotta keep in mind, everyone on this team was an all American. Everyone was a star, you know, it’s just the best of the best. And if they weren’t, I think a lot of guys just kind of gave up and they didn’t kind of reach their potential because of that. So, and I I’m sure that happens a lot across the sports, but just staying like the guys that could stay hungry, even the ones that weren’t necessarily the most talented, they ended up in my opinion, being the best players. Brad (35m 15s): Right. Yeah. I guess you’d probably apply that insight to business anywhere else, being a, being a, a father, a, a partner. You know, we have to, we have to try to bring our a game all the time instead of just sink into patterns and ruts. Dan (35m 34s): Oh, absolutely. Yeah. It’s the business side now I see these like competitive things come out just unexpectedly even which, and I’ve heard you talk about this, but it is, I’ve really tried the last few years to turn. I’m really good at being consistent with training and just physical things. I’ve really been trying to take that same intensity and apply it to creating, whether it be content products, whatever, but for whatever reason, I struggle with that. I don’t know if it’s just the, the nature of pounding and keys all day or what, but kind of having it framed in that kind of athletic perspective has been useful for me. So thank you for that. Brad (36m 16s): Well, shoot, I’m trying to do the same and it is, it’s a challenge to, you know, leverage these wonderful skills that you built in one arena and apply them to the other one. And I wish I could, you know, we were talking about my morning routine on your show and I’m so proud of it. And I tell people every single day I get down on the ground, I do this core strengthening mobility, flexibility sequence, and it forms a foundation of my fitness and helps me boost my performance in the proper workouts. But it’s like, am I that consistent and disciplined with turning off my email inbox when I’m supposed to be finishing a book? The answer is no, I’m, I’m a sorry ass. And I get distracted and pulled away. Brad (36m 56s): And you know, I’m talking about to-do lists and prioritizing your, your workflow and, you know, honoring the highest expression of your talents and delegating stuff that you can. And I’m getting, you know, C minuses, D plus, B minus grades in all these areas where my fitness ambitions, I’m getting an A plus. So, you know, making that, crossing that bridge over, it’s a constant battle. And then you see some athletes where, you know, if I feel like if you’re a, you know, a grade A athlete at whatever level, if you were a high school, all CIF, all section or all state player, I would take a chance on hiring that kid to work in my warehouse for my large fictional business, just because of what they brought. Brad (37m 43s): They brought the heat on the football field or any kid who graduated from Ladouceur’s program at, at, at De La Salle. If I saw that on their resume, I’d be like, Oh, okay, well, forget the interview. Let’s go, have you working on the, the boxes in the corner there because you know what this person’s been through, but then a lot of people can’t come close to leveraging that. And they have train wreck life in one area where they’re, they’re setting records in the gym, but they’re, you know, mean to their wife when they get home. Dan (38m 11s): Oh, absolutely. What’s interesting about Ladouceur. He was a religion teacher at school. He was like, he was like this dark wizard walking around campus, very kind of solemn in nature. Very like you never saw him get super mad. You never saw him get super happy, just very kind of even keel. And there’s, there’s a book actually highly recommend it. It’s called When the Game Stands Tall and it’s by Neil Hayes. And it really, it talks about it. It really talks about more of kind of the philosophical thoughts and elements to that team and of Ladouceur and how he kind of cultivated. It was really like, I think love is actually the most accurate word. Dan (38m 52s): It was really this culture of love and accountability to each other and trying to do your best because you cared for your team. So it’s, it’s not this like blood thirsty kill athletic mentality. It was, it was really based around love, which is probably not what you’d expect. Brad (39m 9s): Not for 239 wins in a row. Oh, good stuff. All right. And so you finished this college athletic experience and then, you know, you had all these, these goals, this focus, and it sounds like you turned it toward some of these extreme wilderness feeds and challenges. So I want to hear about the rim to rim, to rim climb and El Capitan hiking, the John Muir trail, for those of us who can live vicariously, boy, it’d be fun to hear about that stuff. Dan (39m 46s): So I did a race in, I was living in Montana, this as well as firefighting, I did a race in Montana called the Glacier Challenge. And it was 50, five-zero total miles combined with like some biking, some mountain biking, some canoeing, some kayaking, some running in that, just like it kicked my ass. Cause I’d never done anything close to that length. You know, it was always, you know, it was a field athlete. And then when I was a wilderness ranger, a buddy of mine, who’s a, he’s one of the chief, he’s one of the top rangers now in Yosemite. He’s like plucking people off the side of El Cap in a helicopter.. But he’s like, he’s like, Hey, you should do this hike one day. Dan (40m 28s): It’s like 34 miles out in back. And I’ve been hiking all summer and you know, I’d maybe done 15 or 20 in a day, but nothing close to that. So I did this huge hike. It was 34 miles, took like maybe 11, 12 hours, something like that. And I remember finishing and being like, Oh, it wasn’t that bad. Like I walked the whole thing. Just good pace, no big deal. And then fast forward to now. I got kind of into the ultra scene, did the rim to rim, to rim and to train for those render rim to rim specifically, I had, we just had our daughter. So just time I couldn’t go out and do these like all day training runs that I’d done previously for these other ultras. Dan (41m 11s): So essentially what I did was like micro workouts throughout the day. So I’ve thrown my weight best for my daughter in the stroller, go for a three mile walk around the neighborhood, stopped, do pull up steps, some core stuff at the little calisthenics park on the way, got a lot of weird looks from the neighbors. Cause it’s like a very tactical looking best. But anyways, so I would do that. I would just hold her, walk around the little courtyard in front and I was able to kind of accumulate and aggregate this volume that I thought was appropriate for rim to rim to rim. And then as far as like long run training, I would do instead of doing like, you know, 20, 25 mile days, I would just cluster two or three days in a row of like 10 to 15 miles. Dan (41m 53s): So I think the longest I ran for that was 15 miles. The longest like single day training run was 15. And then I was doing plenty of bodyweight training. I was doing like these focus strength sessions. That’s always been important to me, just that having that kind of solid chassis is how I describe it. Like just, I was doing a lot of dead lifts, a lot of weighted squats, Olympic weightlifting. That’s just something I’ve always felt has add to add it to just being a robust athlete for something like that, especially the Grand Canyon. And there’s so much vert. I think for me personally, I needed that strength. So we had a group of like a dozen people. We went out 3:00 in the morning, 3:00 AM in the morning, we started down the Bright Angel Trail half mile and do it. Dan (42m 38s): I popped my ankle, stepped on a rock ankle and I just, I couldn’t believe it. I’d spent this whole year training for this thing. I had all these friends from all over the country meet us there. And I had, I had, I had to pull the shoot man. I had to hike out. So fortunately it wasn’t like a horrible sprain, but it just, it wasn’t something you’re going to do 50 miles in the Grand Canyon where you need to be self-sufficient. So it took a month or so, and just rehabbed and was able to go back a month later. And I ended up doing it essentially alone. It was an interesting experience. Brad (43m 17s): So you started 3:00 AM. And how long has this thing take? You going from the South rim down to the bottom, up to the North rim, down to the bottom. And back back to where you started is they is a classic for those in the endurance scene. It’s kind of a classic achievement at rim to rim to rim. Dan (43m 34s): They call it right. So I’m not a very fast endurance athlete. I think I’m more of that kind of, I think my muscle fiber type is that hybrid of strength, power, and then not so heavy on the endurance, which makes sense because all the sports I played were kind of that more sprint based. And actually my parents had a genetic test and I think it came back as like elite power lifters or something like that. I’ve never done mine personally, but theirs came back. So I would assume at least similar to what they have, but I’m just, I’m not a fast endurance athlete. So I think it took me, it was like a 17 hour day. I mean, it was full on and I, you know, I stopped a lot. Dan (44m 15s): I rested quite a bit, but when we went that first time, I think the fastest guy did it and I want to say 12 ish hours. And you know, there’s guys that do it, I think five or six hours, which is just crazy fast. So, but it’s the Grand Canyon It’s the vertical man,. Just like even going downhill, trying to run at least from the North room back down to the rivers. Like it’s just brutal. So you end up hiking quite a bit. And then you actually, I ended up running more of the flats and it was pretty hot when I went, this was mid May. So I was stopping and jumping in the creek, which was fortunately there. And for me, these things it’s always been about doing it versus like how fast can I do it? Dan (45m 1s): So I’m just training in a way and approaching these things in a way where it’s more about completion versus like performance. And that’s just the reality where I’m at in life. For El cap. I failed I guess, thinking about this, I fail at these things a lot before they actually completed. I think El cap, it took me like three or four tries to, we actually topped out and the final, the final push took us. Like we climbed for 31 hours straight. We just, we kind of put as much food and water as we could in packs. And just, we started at like four in the afternoon and climb through the night climb the whole next day. And then we topped out at around, I think it was like 12:30 in the morning we topped out and this was in May. Dan (45m 46s): So it was pretty cold. There’s still quite a bit of snow up on top. This is the Yosemite. And my partner wakes me up. We kind of got to the top, got water and then we didn’t have tents or anything. So we just kind of like flaked out the ropes and laid on those just as a little bit installation from the ground ball. Brad (46m 5s): Of course you don’t have a tent cause you’re not lugging it up the wall. No way. My gosh, Dan (46m 10s): no way. So we, he woke me up, you know, maybe three in the morning at this point said, Hey man, I think I’m hypothermic. I need to go. So instead of, you know, what would take maybe like an hour at a casual pace, there’s a repel route where it takes you right back to the base. We hiked like 10 miles around. We’re out of food. We’re drinking water, just straight from the creek, which we both end up getting Giardia by the way, which is a bummer. So we ended up hiking all through the night through the snow and it turns like already an epic day into like an extra epic day. Brad (46m 50s): So that was so you went 31 hours straight climbing, slept for a couple of few and then had to hike down. Dan (46m 57s): And then we hiked down like 10 miles. I’ll never forget. I just, I was so exhausted. At one point there was this little dry patch of pine needles. I just like, Hey man, I need to take a nap and hit, I hit the ground and just was out. Never before. Never since have I ever fallen asleep like that. I was just at that physical limit, but yeah, it was awesome. Brad (47m 20s): You heard of that female ultra runner that is extraordinary. She beat everybody, including all the men in the, in the, the 200 mile race in Utah. I forget her name. I don’t know. But she, she announced to her pacer that she needed to take a nap and usually she goes straight through and that’s one of her advantages and you know, she, she laid down and then she woke up one minute later, the pacer timed the nap, you know, I wanted to keep track of all this and she felt great. She goes, wow, how long, how long was I at? How long was I out? And he said, you were out one minute. She’s like, Oh, I feel fine. Brad (48m 3s): Let’s go. So I think when that brain is, is all the way, all the way gone, it’s, it’s probably true that it’s a very, very short nap can just reset. And then, you know, I don’t know how long was your nap? I think it was maybe 10 minutes or something like that. I just remember waking up, I woke up was it was cold. I woke up shivering. It’s like, okay, we gotta go. Wow, you jet it out of there. Dan (48m 25s): So that was a wild experience. It, Brad (48m 29s): I guess you didn’t time your, you didn’t time, your start time of 4:00 PM. You know, ideally you’d get up there, you know, at nine in the morning and then, you know, have a picnic and hike down. But I guess you didn’t know how long everything would take. Dan (48m 45s): We knew it was gonna take us at least 24 hours. So we figured like, it’d be better to start in the afternoon, go through the areas that we were a little more familiar with in the dark and then, you know, be higher up, have kind of all day to top out, which almost worked, but I’m actually, I’m hoping to go back this spring with them. There’s a gentleman named Hans Florine, Tahoe resident actually he’s held the speed record on the nose with like guys like Alex Honnold and he’s probably held the record. Like, I don’t know, at least a dozen times. And he’s a, he’s a wild man doing wild things. So hopefully he’s kind of a, I guess, a rock calming hero of mine. Dan (49m 27s): So I’m hoping to get on the rope with him in 2021. Brad (49m 31s): Oh yeah. I remember when he first broke, the record was over 20 years ago. We were, we were sponsoring him with, with Cytomax located in Concord, California, down the street from De La Salle. Now the show’s coming full circle. People. You don’t know any of these strange references, but interestingly on El Cap I mean, we’re familiar with, you know, I’m familiar with the speed record set by Hans Florine back when in four or five hours. And then when we saw free solo, Alex Honnold finished in four hours. And so obviously Alex is taking less time because they didn’t have to deal with the ropes and the equipment. But take me through, you know, an ascent with the proper gear rather than being that the Spider-Man who’s gonna fall to his death. Brad (50m 18s): If he makes one false move, it’s a lot more logistically challenging than just finding a place to put your foot and climbing. Cause you gotta be working with a partner setting ropes. How does it take that long? And what are you, what are you doing with all those hours? Dan (50m 33s): Right. So the first few times that we failed, we were doing kind of a traditional big wall style where you’re you’re you’re we camped on the wall. We actually slept on a ledge about halfway up. The problem with that is you’re you’re carrying this like 80 pound bag that you have to essentially climb a pitch. So that’s roughly a row blank. So you’re climbing this pitch or putting in gear or protection as you go. So if you fall, the gear will catch your fall with the rope. So you would, the leader would climb the pitch. They get to an anchor, they fix the rope or tie it off essentially to the anchor. Then the leader has to haul this 80 pound bag up up a vertical wall, or what’s actually the problem on El Cap is the lower part of the nose, which is the kind of standard route, the easiest route. Dan (51m 20s): It’s not quite vertical. So there’s a ton of friction against the bag when it’s heaviest. Brad (51m 25s): So what’s actually in the bag, the food and the sleeping bags? Dan (51m 30s): So water is probably the heaviest thing. Actually, we’ve got a ton of water. You’ve got food, sleeping bags, sleeping pad, a poop tube, very important. And I’m trying to think what else, probably an extra rope, maybe some extra gear, you know, you try and be as minimalist as possible, but you know, if you’re, if you’re planning on spending three to five days up there, it’s like, you need a decent amount of stuff. Brad (51m 58s): So the, the route is set with anchors, you call them, right? And then some someone back when in the, in the sixties or whatever, drilled into the rock and made a nice holder for your, your clips where you clip the rope. And so I guess the route is set, but each new climber has to put their own ropes in there as, as you ascend. And so I guess this is what takes all day. Dan (52m 22s): Exactly. Yeah. So we’re, you know, you’re having to, it’s not like, it’s not like when Honnold soloed, he’s climbing exceptionally fast. It’s just that he doesn’t have to stop. Whereas we’re constantly stopping because you have to take out gear. You have to haul the bag. There’s, it’s just like the snowball effect. But so that, that’s kind of the big wall style where you’re hauling the bag. You’re camping on the side of the cliff face, which is really fun. Actually. That was one of the coolest nights of my life. Actually it was sleeping up there. It’s called El Cap tower waking up in the morning and it’s, you know, beautiful, sunny, Yosemite. It’s just such a wild experience. But when we actually did it, when we completed it, we just, we went ultra light. Dan (53m 3s): So we had like probably a little 20 liter kind of nylon SAC backpack, which just, I think it had four liters of water and just a bunch of bars essentially. And just, you know, we essentially were out of food and water for a day more or less and just had to kind of suffer through the top part of it. But you know, people, I’m not, I’m not that great of a climber there’s guys that do it in 12 hours. No problem. And the fastest time now is under two hours by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. So they broke the two hour threshold, which is just incredible. Brad (53m 41s): So they are just, I mean, they’re not rushing through any of the, the safety measures they have to, they have to clip in, but I guess they’re probably taking way more risks than Alex did without rope. And so they might be falling seven times and then getting back on because they’re, they’re climbing like my like monkeys, so to speak. Dan (54m 5s): It’s definitely a safety third scenario where it’s style safety. I mean, the way like, so when Honnold and Tommy Caldwell set the speed record, like very, very, very few climbers would do it in that style. I mean, they’re risking huge falls. And a lot of times they’re in situations where they’re in a death fall situation, even though they have a rope on, they’re just, they’re kind of whittling down the safety factor to such a thin razor sharp margin. That there’s tons of situations where it’s like, if they fell, they’re going to, there’s a high likelihood they could die for sure. Brad (54m 41s): Oh, so they’re putting in fewer and more distant, free fall options there, as opposed to the person with the 80 pound pack. You’re probably clipping into every single, every single hole, but what’s come. What, what, how, how often are those things there on the rock? Dan (55m 2s): So you can bring, they’re like these little aluminum nuts that you can wedge into the crack. And then there’s another thing called a cam, which you might’ve seen has a triggers. So we brought, gosh, we probably had like 20 pieces of protection. So we can essentially put in gear every five to 10 feet. So the biggest fall I would ever take is maybe 10, 15 feet, which I did. I actually take a couple of nice falls and I screamed. Like, I would never want anyone to hear me. Brad (55m 30s): Some of these you’re, you’re just looking down 2000 feet, right? When you fall. I mean, this is that, that can’t be too fun even though the rope catches you. Dan (55m 41s): Yeah. It’s at the top actually it’s the bottom is a little bit more dangerous, cause it’s not as steep. So if you fall, you actually have the potential of hitting the rock, but at the top it’s vertical or overhanging. So you’re essentially falling into air, which is what you want. But it’s just, man, it’s a, it’s not a comfortable feeling to say the least. Brad (56m 4s): So if a novice went out there on a dare and you know, it was with an experienced climber, do you think someone could do it out of the blue or do you have to have some pretty good climbing skills and knowledge? Or how do you prepare for something like that? Dan (56m 22s): There’s definitely some just technical. Like there’s kind of like this base level of technical knots and just just systems. I think you would, someone would need to know, but you know, Hans has taken up like super novices and you know, he’s climbed the nose over a hundred times. So if you’re going to do it with someone, he’s for sure who you’d want to do it with just cause he knows every little nook and cranny of that route. But I mean, I wouldn’t want to climb with someone that, you know, hadn’t done something comparable or at least I felt could do it, you know, just, and not just me. Cause I’m again, I’m, I’m not Hans. I’m not Honnold. I’m not Tony Caldwell. But from like a fitness standpoint, you could climb the nose with not, you don’t need to be like crazy fit because the way, the way it’s typically done is the person that goes up second. Dan (57m 11s): So the leader’s actually climbing, they’re putting in gear and climbing. The second person is using what are called GMRs, which they’re essentially these mechanical ascenders that clip to the rope. You slide them up and they don’t pull it down. So you’re essentially like climbing up the rope with these ascenders and their stirrups for your feet. So it’s not like you’re doing one arm pull-ups, you’re kind of like stepping up like a ladder essentially. So it’s, it’s actually not that, that the difficult, is not that difficult. Especially if you can get a little bit of practice and you know, it’s just, it’s not a super technical thing. It’s just, there are these situations where it’s like, you got to know your knots. Dan (57m 52s): You need to understand like the systems, I guess, is the best way to describe. Or if you unclip from something that means you might swing 50 feet slam into a ledge. There’s this, there’s all these little things you constantly have to be evaluating and know someone that has doesn’t have, you know, a solid base of just general climbing wouldn’t necessarily recognize. Brad (58m 14s): So the attempts that didn’t succeed, what happened on those occasions and what do you do about it? You just thumb your, stick, your thumb out for a helicopter ride from your, your ranger buddy, or you have to go all the way back down? And what was the, what was the turnaround point? Like what does that look like? Dan (58m 34s): So we, the first time I went, my buddy Butts we’d slept on El cap tower. We climb, it took us way longer than we thought we had the huge heavy bag. We slept on the ledge, which was awesome. But we woke up in the morning, we dropped some kind of critical gear. And by we heated wrapped off the, off the earth, there was a special, it’s called a cam hook we dropped. And then we’d also somehow left a rope. You need something important as you need these lower out ropes. Cause there’s these situations where you’re, you’re in a pendulum situation where, where the anchor is, the rope is coming off, maybe like 45 degrees. Dan (59m 14s): So if you just kind of jump off, you’re going to swing and get the full effect of gravity. Whereas the way you mitigate that, as you use a lower outlines to you’re essentially like slowly lowering yourself out with this additional rope. And that we’d left on a ledge. So we just were kind of a shit show, man. We just, we weren’t as prepared as we could have been. But so we’re sitting, we’re about halfway up. We’re about 1500 feet up. It’s a 3000 foot route. We’re pretty much halfway. Exactly. We’re sitting on this two foot wide ledge, this gal and her partner come flying by us. They were climbing in like 10 hours and we’re just sitting there feeling bad about ourselves. And eventually we’re just like, Hey, we gotta repel. Dan (59m 57s): So repelling off El cap is for sure the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It’s just, you’re, you’re just in this sea of granite on two bolts that are they’re, they’re solid, they’re strong. They’re meant to be using this way, but it’s just the way you repel down El Cap. You don’t just follow the line back down or the route back down. You’re, you’re kind of in this ocean of granite. There’s just nothing it’s vertical. It’s smooth. Brad (1h 0m 22s): Is this a actual repel route for? Dan (1h 0m 26s): So I can establish repel route for the nose specifically, but it’s just, you’re so exposed out there and repelling is you don’t really, there’s no chance for missed or there’s no option for mistakes. So it was like, you know, when you’re lead climbing, when you’re rock climbing, you can fall and you have 20 pieces of gear below you that, you know, even if one fails you’re, it’s likely you’re going to be fine. Whereas repelling it’s like, you can’t screw up or else you’re dead. You wrap off the end of your rope. You know, you don’t clip into an anchor properly. Just weird repelling is what kills way more climbers than like just falling climbing. So it’s just a very tenuous situation. And then you add on this extra 80 pound bag that you essentially have to clip to your harness. Brad (1h 1m 9s): Oh, why don’t you just leave that? Forget that man, like Mount Everest climb or just leave it on the rocks somewhere. Dan (1h 1m 16s): Yeah, that would have been nice. And just come get it the next day or at least yeah. Leave it at our base camp. But no, so we, and it takes time, you know, it took us like, gosh, when we bailed, it took like, I want to say six or seven hours to repel. And that’s just, you know, being careful taking your time, just again, you can’t make mistakes. So after that, we, that was in 20, I believe that was 2015. So we, we just, we called it called it quits. Brad (1h 1m 48s): Yeah. It’s an incredibly long time to get back down to the ground. Dan (1h 1m 52s): Yeah. It’s not a pleasant experience. Brad (1h 1m 55s): I have so much more appreciation now for, for anyone who’s climbed it. And especially for, for Alex doing the free solo. When you think about all these logistics that he’s leaving behind and, and doing that, wow. There’s a lot of ways too. There’s a lot of ways to get up to the top of that. That’s a huge accomplishment. Dan (1h 2m 14s): Oh yeah. I actually, this was in 2011. I actually worked in Yosemite for, it was a strange occurrence where the federal funding got cut for where I was a ranger. So I ended up going to Yosemite and spending like half a season there. It was awesome. But I was climbing with a friend. It’s a big route. It’s across the Valley from El cap. So you’re, you’re looking at okay. Habitat from where we were, it’s called middle cathedral. But I just, I happened to look down where maybe two-thirds of the way up. I happen to look down at Alex Honnold, it’s like 20 feet below me fiddling with my gear. Cause I was like, Hey, this thing was kind of rubbing. So I’m fixing it for you. I’m just going, Oh, thanks man. Dan (1h 2m 56s): Appreciate it. And I happened to be at this ledge and just kind of stepped off out of the way. And he just like, like Spiderman, just kind of like cruised on by. And then he was like down below at one point he was like all over this face. It was, it was a really bizarre experience. But just seeing him up that high on that particular route, it’s it made me, it made me uncomfortable being in that proximity where he’s just like, you know, it’s just a casual day for him. Brad (1h 3m 27s): So he roped in or was he doing his free solo practice? Dan (1h 3m 31s): He was just solely just on a couch. Brad (1h 3m 34s): Yeah, it was front row seat. Dan (1h 3m 38s): Yeah. It was wild. So, and I actually was on top of El Cap when him and Hans did a speed lap in 20, I think it was 2011 as well. Yeah. That was the same season. So I’ve gotten to see him kind of up close and personal a few times, which is really cool. And there’s, there’s hundreds of other climbers that have, I’m sure had similar experiences, but it’s, it’s pretty cool to see in person and a little, I just, it makes your palms, sweat, man. It really does. Brad (1h 4m 3s): Dang, Dan you’re living the M O N K I I lifestyle, but it’s very awesome. I think we should close with just the, the, the thing you asked me, like a typical day in your life of how you make this all work and this, this huge commitment to fitness. How do you fit that into normal, everyday busy life dad business operator? Dan (1h 4m 26s): What I’ve been doing the last several months, maybe two or three months. So I’ll wake up. I do yoga and it could be five minutes. It could be an hour just kind of it’s it’s all by feel. So I’ll just do kind of like a sun salutation, just very simple flow. Maybe some foam rolling. If I’m I need to work out something. And then from there, I’ll do either a calesthenics workout with like a pocket M O N K I I for example, or I’ll do what I’ve been playing around with is this quick and the dead program by a pebble strong first. So it’s a very simple program. It’s kettlebell swings and pushups, high power output, high intensity, but full recovery and rest. Dan (1h 5m 11s): So I’ll do that. And that’s maybe the first hour to two hours of the day, then what I’ve been doing is going for a walk. But my train is not very sexy. It’s very simple. It’s very like casual I’ll I’ll hike a trail right out the back door here in Colorado. You get a huge view of the mountains. It’s awesome. All listen to a podcast, like get over yourself, take notes, things like that. I’ll usually do four or five miles. And then that puts me back home by usually between nine and 10, I’ll have my four, four eggs, whole avocado hop on the bike, had a mile down to the office, hopefully record a sweet podcast, do some M O N K I I business, whatever. Dan (1h 5m 51s): And then it’s, it’s kind of like a focus, maybe two to five hour work session. I’ll try and do little movement breaks throughout the day. Then I’ll head home early afternoon. This is typically between four and five. And I’ll do kind of like I’ll play with my kids. Cause my wife usually has maybe she’s teaching yoga or something. I’ll I’ll play with the kids. And then I’ll also, I have a, a weight rack in the garage, so I’ll be playing with them. I’ll bring my older one out. She helps count reps while, you know, maybe you do some dips, pull ups, squats, whatever. So it’s kind of like this, this slow workout program where I’m not like rushing through something, she gets to be a part of it. Dan (1h 6m 32s): I’ll hold her up on the bar and she counts and all that. And then huge dinner, try and get in the bed by nine or 10. I’ve been reading fiction before bed recently, The Border Trilogy, Cormac McCarthy. Awesome, awesome book. And there’s something I typically was reading nonfiction, like, you know, technical training stuff or whatever business books, but then nonfiction. It puts me in such a different sleep state than in the Brad (1h 7m 5s): It’s recommended to read instead of, instead of, instead of the other stuff, I just, probably, for that reason that you’re, you know, less stressful, you’re not having to try to remember things or processed it in the same way that you would reading a business book or something. Dan (1h 7m 22s): Right. Right. Brad (1h 7m 22s): You’re livingthe dream here. I love it. And your generation, you’re your mid thirties now? Dan (1h 7m 28s): I’m 35. Yeah. Brad (1h 7m 29s): Yeah. So do you see sort of a trend among your peer group or people are pursuing these alternative career paths and lifestyle practices that are so devoted to health? I mean, I’m hoping that there’s a good segment of the population in every age group, but especially the, I guess you call yourself a millennial. I forget the cutoff points, but you know, we’re, we’re watching crappy TV series of young people frolicking and going to bars and you know, you know, partying a lot through those through those years and now you’re on it. You’re on a different path. So that’s kinda cool. Dan (1h 8m 9s): Yeah, no, it’s gosh, I’m trying to think about what are my peers doing and you know, to be honest, I think as Joe Rogan frequently pointed. So I think there’s a lot of people living these lives of kind of this quiet desperation where they make plenty of money. They don’t, there’s really no reason why they couldn’t do something else, but for whatever reason, they just, they can’t cross that chasm to do something different. So that being said, I think there’s definitely a lot of people that are recognizing kind of how the internet flattened the world in a sense where it’s so easy to start a podcast or have a YouTube channel or create content or, you know, talk to a factory on the other side of the world to make a product. Dan (1h 8m 56s): You know, there’s just the ability to communicate is, has really, I think flattened a lot of things from a business perspective. So I guess I would encourage anyone like try it out. It’s not that yeah. Brad (1h 9m 10s): Why not give it a shot? Yeah. So how do we join the M O N K I I tribe? What do we, what do we do next, man? Dan (1h 9m 18s): So you can become a M O N K I I@ourwebsiteisM O N K I I.co. So M O N K i.co typically do most of our social media on Instagram. So we’re just@M O N K I I.co and live wild-eyed podcasts. That’s on pretty much all the channels, Spotify, Apple, I think I’ve got everywhere. So yeah. Check us out, drop us a line and live a little bit wild. Brad (1h 9m 45s): Dan Vinson, everybody doing the wild thing. Thanks for a great show. Thanks for listening everybody. Dan (1h 9m 55s): Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support please. Email email@example.com with feedback, suggestions and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list of Brad kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bi- monthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list. Brad (1h 10m 28s): And if you could go to the trouble to leave a five or five star review with Apple podcasts or wherever else, you listen to the shows that would be super, incredibly awesome. It helps raise the profile of the be read podcast and attract new listeners. And did you know that you can share a show with a friend or loved one by just hitting a few buttons in your player and firing off a text message? My awesome podcast player called overcast allows you to actually record a soundbite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off with a quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember be rad.