Phil Carville: The aging athlete |

Phil Carville: The aging athlete

By Phil Carville | Special to The Union

Picture yourself climbing Yosemite’s famous El Capitan on a route called ‘The Nose’… 2,900 vertical feet of California granite. Your ‘nose’ is only 12 inches from the hot rock; the wind is whistling all around; the sun is beating down on your back. Your thoughts? What am I doing here!


You look down … 2,000 feet straight down… people are the size of ants and pine trees are the size of pins. You fight a sense of vertigo as you realize one small mistake means certain death. I hope you are climbing with Hans Florine!


Hans Florine (AKA as Hollywood Hans) is a world famous, 57-year-old rock climber and adventure athlete who has climbed The Nose 111 times (the record), has held the speed record on the route eight times over the past 30 years, and has won three Gold Medals at the X-Games.

Hans has developed the skills to maintain physical strength as a fitness trainer and just as importantly evolved a Zen-like philosophy — to accept life’s challenges.

MAY 26

Mike Carville and Hans are longtime climbing buddies, and Mike has convinced Hans to visit Grass Valley and lead a 5:30 p.m. Spartan-style group fitness challenge at the South Yuba Club on Wednesday, May 26.

After the workout, Hans will present his amazing multi-media show on Speed Climbing Yosemite’s El Capitan. The public is invited, enjoy some beers and tacos. The tickets are $10 at the show and that includes drink tickets. A great event with one of the world’s top climbers — the You Tube link to the movie on his 100th ascent of The Nose —


DHT stands for Do Hard Things. That is one of Hans’ mantras — but “hard” is not the same for everyone. For Hans and Mike that means long, hard climbs or skiing backcountry couloirs. But “hard” is a relative term and Hans maintains that for some people “hard” could be a slow walk on a treadmill, or three knee pushups, or striking up a conversation with a stranger or just telling special people in your life that you love them.

DHT is important for kids, too. DHT may mean doing your homework. Putting down your phone or getting off social media and getting outside to play sports, run, mountain bike or skateboard… or learning that other kids also struggle in their teenage years.

DHT is a life philosophy. It puts the everyday challenges of living right up front… and says life is a tremendous gift and it is yours to enjoy, expand and cherish — physically, mentally, and emotionally.


The premise is that “doing hard things” makes life easier in the long run. Doing the homework makes school easier the next day. The time on the treadmill builds endurance and makes the regular activities of life easier. Think of “hard” not as difficult but as “new.”

All activity helps keep you young. “When you rest (inactivity), you rust.” Think of the 80-year-old woman who discovered that the TRX straps at the club were making her stronger and more flexible. You can even do the TRX routines in a wheelchair — you have no limits except those in your mind.

Hans will be there for demonstrations, to share some stories, talk about climbing, empowerment and life. He has been a keynote speaker at major events for years —


When this world renown climber and adventurer was asked ‘What is the hardest DHT’ in the world, the answer was right on the tip of his tongue – “being a parent.”

So, there it is! You most likely already have done the hardest DHT.

Now just do hard things that are easier. Set out some goals for yourself. They don’t have to be really hard, just enough stretch so that you really do them. Remember “endurance.” Do them over and over. Make up new, hard things. Expand your life and your mind. Love yourself… you are worth it!

Phil Carville is a co-owner of the South Yuba Club. He is happy to answer your questions or respond to comments. You can reach him as

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