The Ard Arvin Interview


p. irwin loy

The Ard Arvin Interview

by rapmaster2000

Ard is a not so lovable jackass, my roommate, and founder of a stupid little website known as -- but I suppose if you are reading this then you know all about the latter.

What you don't know is that Ard spends way more time on his computer and playing with his records than he does buildering, so quell any romantic notions that you have of him as some sort of lone-wolf-masked-avenger stealing about in the night.

So what's with your name?

What do you mean? What's with yours?

I asked you first.

I got it from a Smith Rocks trip about two years ago. There was a girl hitting on me hard around the campfire one night. She was talking really loud and kept calling me "Arvin". No one bothered to correct her.

Your real name is?

It's a secret.

And the "Ard"?

Same trip. We were calling everything "arrrrrd". It's how the french say hard, like "that route's really arrrrrrrd". They say hockey funny too, "ockey, ockey".


Ard. London. 2003.

Sure, so you climb buildings?



Finally a real question. Ok, I think it's a common perception amongst rock climbers that buildering is just some silly pastime, something to do if the crags are wet and the gyms are closed.

But the way I see it, buildering is the first, pure center of climbing. It's climbing in whatever environment you live in. We've been doing that since we could first walk. Since I spend most of my time in the city, I climb buildings.

So it's convenient?

Convenience aside, I builder because it's fun. No one is out to prove anything. There's no rating system. There's really no real objective, other than to go out with your friends and have fun playing around on buildings. I think a lot of times when we rock climb we get too focused on the task at hand.

When did you start climbing?

When I was six years old. I used to climb my elementary school to look for balls on the roof. But I started technical climbing in high school. I had no idea how to use ropes and gear. I'd be driving along, see a chossy, blasted cliff on the side of the road and be stoked on climbing it. Inevitably I got stuck halfway up once and vowed never to try anything harder until I learned how to use gear.

But after you learn all the technical stuff about rock climbing, like the grades and what shoes to wear and whatnot, it kinda changes the game. It becomes more of a planned mission. And you get all stuck in the ratings, "I can't do that, it's 5.10c, I can only do 5.10b".

I guess rock climbing means different things to different people.

I guess. Maybe that's why I suck.

For the record, you prefer buildering to rock-climbing?

Well yes and no. I like being in nature when rock climbing, but it's not solitude. The crags are so crowded that you are much less likely to run into people when buildering.

And coming from a skater background, I've always enjoyed re-interpreting the urban environment. Like that handrail isn't for holding onto, it's for skating. Same with buildering, "oh that's an ugly sculpture, but it'd make a good lieback".

North American culture makes me so sick sometimes. How everything is so sterile and safety conscious. "Be Extreme, but just not here. Take it to the park, and don't forget your helmet and fee." Everything is designed to protect us from ourselves. Like helmet laws and seat belts. Whatever happened to free choice? If someone doesn't want to wear their seat belt, so be it. It's their life. If some kid wants to start smoking, who cares? They know the consequences. Survival of the fittest.

But recklessness makes the rest of us pay.

The burden to society argument is bullshit. Dead young people are less of a burden to society than seniors on government pension and medicare.


Knocking on wood doesn't always work.

Is buildering illegal?

I'm not sure if there is a law in Canada saying "climbing buildings is illegal". A couple states explicitly have that law. Jay Leno once did a comedy routine where he said, "the state of (I forget) just passed a law making it illegal to climb buildings". He went on to say how stupid it was that someone had to be told climbing buildings is dangerous. I guess it was supposed to be funny.

I've never been arrested or caught for that matter, knock on wood, but I hear that the cops will usually try to lay some sort of trespassing charge on you. Most cops are too simple minded to understand that you are climbing a building for climbing sake, and not for a criminal reason.

[Update: In 2006 I was caught climbing a crane. I was arrested under suspicion of break and enter, a summary offense, but was never charged. As there were no fences, no "No Trespassing" signs, or anything else blocking my access to the crane, I highly doubt a break and enter charge would've stuck. -Ard]

A polite manner will take you far in such situations.

Yeah I suppose so. I've always been a big fan of flight before fight. I guess that comes from my skating background.

The main thing is to leave no trace. Don't vandalize, use chalk, write on windows, etc. If cops don't know that people builder, there's no problem.

It's like skating, you used to be able to skate everywhere, but as more kids got into it, and the tagging and vandalizing thing became cool, it got shut down. Now the only decent place to skate is the park, which in the climbing world is equivalent to the gym.

Ok that's about it, anything else you wanna add?

Uhmm, not really.

Hair care tips?


ard climbs a crack.

Nov 28, 2001