This weeks blog post can't be brought to you by our normal writer, cause ... well it's awkward to interview yourself and write about yourself. "Meet Caillin: by Caillin. As dictated by Caillin, About Caillin. #imawesome" So I'm (Retail Manager Trevor) stepping in for the week so you can meet the lady behind the scenes. Chances are you have seen her pecking away on her laptop at the different gyms, but maybe never knew what she did or if she even actually worked there, (I mean, does she?) She does and her are some things you should know!
As many of you that have visited our newly remodeled Carrollton location have probably noticed, we have changed up the way we rate problems there. And no, we didn't do it to confuse you guys or be annoying. We've switched over from the classic V-scale widely used in most American gyms, to the circuit system many gyms in Europe utilize. We swear the switch-over was not arbitrary — the circuit system is a more efficient training method, and gives you a more accurate idea of where your skill level is at. Here's the history of this particular system, and why we decided to integrate it into our gym.
She's been a GM of two gyms now, but she is also the GM that has been with the company for the least amount of time. She is also the source of GIRL POWER within the company (excluding myself, but I barely count because I am fairly "unfeminine," we'll say). She came to us fresh from working the climbing wall at TCU, and you probably know her as the bubbly chatterbox that is always at the gym — either working, climbing, or getting in her fitness at Climb Fit. Here's the basics of this neat little lady, so yo can have yet another topic of conversation to have with her. Like you could ever run out of things to talk about with her, anyways.
As we tore down the panelling to begin our reconstruction project at Summit Carrollton, the dust, chalk and God-knows-what-else from the past 22 years came pouring out of the gym's walls, like smoke from the microwave after you accidentally nuke a fork. (Similes are not my strong suit.) Besides giving us the anticipation of potential future lung problems, the dust brought with it some very strong feelings of nostalgia from a lot of us who have been climbing at this old climbing gym for the past few years. This gym — now Summit, but formerly Exposure — is one of the oldest climbing gyms in the state, as well as the country. A lot of people have graced its walls, (Climber Jack Mileski, who coined the term "beta," actually got his start at Exposure back in the day), and it's seen many, many changes throughout its 22-year history in the Dallas area.
We're very excited about the brand new GM at Summit Carrollton! He's been an employee of Summit Grapevine, but we shipped him off to Summit Carrollton, so we could steal Mackenzie and relocate her to GM of Grapevine, and ship Franny off to pursue his dream of being a bearded lady at the circus. (Or he's been promoted to Regional Manager. He's still a bearded lady, though.) David's a pretty quiet guy, known for his tattoos and swoopy blonde hair — which did you know, used to be crazy super long? But I sat him down and managed to get him to talk about himself long enough to get this blog post done. So here's a little Q&A so you can better know our newest GM and resident super-nice-guy, David.
Your body is a machine. A finely-tuned burl-monster that crushes crimps into dust, alters the forces of gravity with every dyno, and mantels so hard the wall topples over. Or something like that, right? Like any machine, your body needs a proper warm-up before performing its mind-bending feats of strength. I mean, you can jam your foot on the accelerator straight after starting up your car, but your rig would go a lot faster a lot sooner if you let the engine warm-up a bit. It's science.
You all know him — you love him — he's the bearded mountain man who makes rude commentary during the Summit Series Bouldering comps — it's Summit Grapevine GM Alex "Franny" Francis! Or Franny Panties if you are trying to annoy him, which I would personally recommend doing. But it's definitely not because he let out the most rancid fart of my life as I collected this info from him, and not because my questions were choked out between gags and tears. If you know Franny, you're not surprised — but if you don't, here's a quick little Q&A I put together so you can better know the tall, hairy dude standing behind the counter at Summit who is probably farting as you read this. How long have you been a manager with Summit?
I started managing Summit Carrollton from October to May 2013/2014 and then I managed Grapevine from May until now. So about a year and a half.
How long have you been climbing?
I've been climbing for 11 years. I was the first person on Kids Club. Me and Tiny (the Team Texas nickname given to Franny's younger brother, Kyle) went to a boy scout camp at Carrollton back when it was Exposure, and we liked it so much that my mom called the gym and asked about an after school program, which they didn’t have at the time. A couple days later, she got a call back from Kyle, because Kyle thought it was a great idea and wanted to start it. When we started out it was basically me, Tiny and Kyle doing lessons and then it kind of grew from there. (It's probably only fitting that Franny is in charge of the Kids Club at Grapevine now then, right?) Then I was on Kids Club from January to May and then did summer camps in the summer, and then joined Team Texas in the fall of 2003 and I was on team until I graduated in 2009. I continued to work for the team as a Summer Trip guide until 2013 and then I started working for Summit as the GM of Grapevine.
Favorite climbing area?
Red Rocks in Nevada.
Choir Boys in Hueco Tanks.
Favorite Summit memory?
Making short jokes about Lindsay Murray while she’s climbing in finals at the Dallas Summit Bouldering Series competition. (To be fair, she is pretty short. Glad I'm not that short, that's for sure.)
Little known facts about Franny:
He has a degree in Zoology from Team A&M. Despite Franny's insistence that it is pronounced Zoh-ology, it's probably actually pronounced Zoo-ology. Probably. I read it in a book once. Which I'm not sure was a book. It might have been nothing.
Also, he once set himself on fire during a team trip to the Red. He set his baggy emo teenager jeans aflame by standing too close to a space heater, but still continued to climb for the rest of the trip with second and third degree burns on his knee. One particularly sensitive team mother (Hi mom!) referred to him as "Sparky" for many years after that.
His biggest claim to fame might just be his ability to clap with one hand.
Well there you have it. Everything you need to know about Alex Francis, and maybe a bunch of stuff you didn't need to know, but are definitely glad you learned. So next time you see him, say "Hey Franny! How are you? How's your Zoology going?" But it's Zoo-ology. Not Zoh. Remember that.