When I first met Ryan, I didn’t know what to think about him. All I really knew was that he had recently sent a V10 boulder problem at our local gym (Rock Quest) and he seemed like a nice enough guy. I never saw him rope up, but that’s OK, people rarely saw me without a harness (I still get a reaction when people see me bouldering).
His longtime climbing partner was already a fast friend of mine and as the climbing friendships go, I got to know him better and became to appreciate him as a person more and more.
Ryan is an incredible specimen of a human being. He is one of the most generous climbers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and one of the strongest boulders I’ve ever personally known. The encouragement that he provides to, well, everyone, is unparalleled. It seems to be a really fluid combination of amazing support and selective encouragement.
One thing he isn’t, is in your face. If he sees someone struggling, he might ask if help is needed after a 3rd or 4th go, but he respects the work that others are trying to do and understands that some climbers really enjoy the process.
On the RARE occasion that I’ve seen him in a harness (almost as rare as me bouldering), he still carries both versions of the grigri. I asked him about it once in a fairly mocking manner and his response put me in my place: “I like to carry 2 so that if someone has a question about the differences, I can have a visual aid to show and explain.”
Oh, and he taught me how to use my angle grinder for chopping stuck bolts. Can’t forget that!
(For those of you who know Ryan… drawing him with a shirt ON is kinda a deviation from the norm, and I’m aware. However, I needed to render some spots in color and the shirt was required for that to take place… that, and I also needed something that had at least PART of his face in it. *sigh*)