Local Crusher Spotlight: Chris Duca

Chris is a climber, runner, teacher and father currently living in Downington. He skateboards as much as his body will allow, and spends much of his summer climbing in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Gunks. When he's not in the outdoors or in the classroom, he enjoys baking bread and making chocolate chip pancakes (which his boys say are the best!).

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If you see me, ask me about...
Trail running. I love trail running almost as much as I love climbing.  And will actively seek out ways to get in a good run wherever I go climbing. 

I’m also kind of a walking guidebook for the Gunks and all points New England.  I also like punk and hardcore music...a lot, and I’m on an eternal quest to fuse DIY punk ethos with climbing.  Read Mark Twight’s Kiss or Kill to get an idea of what I’m talking about. 

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What is it like to be a climber and a parent?  How do you make that work in your life?  
Being a single father with two tiny maniacs (5 and 8 years old) following me around can be summed up as follows: It’s chaotic; it’s frustrating; it’s comical and entertaining; it’s magical; and it’s time-consuming. 

Making it work is what makes me tick.  I love planning, though admittedly, I approach it much like the Brits approach climbing—disaster-style.  I take the stance of “epic success, or epic failure”—it either works out, or we’re leaving early because of a meltdown.  

My boys come with me everywhere, and  they help me meal plan, pack, navigate, etc. Including them is elemental in stacking the odds in my favor.  They’re regulars on the carriage road up at the Gunks, and they’re always with me at the Bird heckling climbers who fail or who pilot drones.  They love bouldering at Haycocks, but hate beta spraying—go figure! 

Good friends with patience.  Yeah, without my friends, I’d be up a creek.  With these people, I honestly don’t know what I’d do.  When we moved down here from Vermont four years ago, I was scared I’d be relegated to bouldering, but I’ve been so fortunate with the gang down here.  The PA crew is tops! 

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What is your most memorable adventure?
Anytime I’m out climbing with my two boys and a good crew. Sounds pretty trite, but it’s true. 

Where is your favorite place to climb?
Index, WA. Hands down.  It’s every bit as awesome as North Conway, NH but on steroids.  The granite is still really tacky, the belays are bolted, and the approach, for the most part, is casual.