Urban Ape swings into CSU

Apr 262004
Authors: Joshua Pilkington

Faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a rhinoceros, able

to leap tall buildings in a single bound; descriptions for

Superman, perhaps, descriptions of the “Urban Ape,” close


Having climbed urban open spaces since his childhood in

Philadelphia, Timmy O’Neill, aka the ‘Urban Ape’, has fostered his

affinity for climbing and turned it into a full-scale traveling

spectacle called Outside University, which comes to CSU tonight at

7 in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.

O’Neill said he earned his nickname for often scaling city

buildings. Recently he scaled the dormitories on the campus of the

University of Colorado-Boulder, although he said he did not witness

any “illegal recruiting practices,” during his climb.

Hosting the show for CSU is the on-campus organization, Outing

Club, which aside from providing students with access to O’Neill,

will also allow them to sign up for various adventure programs

offered by representatives of Outward Bound, outdoor retailers and

local outfitters that will be on hand before and after the


As for the show itself, O’Neill promises to leave those in

attendance entertained.

“It’s a mix of stand-up comedy and tales of adventure,” O’Neill

said. “We hope to leave audiences motivated to get out and enjoy

the outdoors.”

Adding to the intrigue are O’Neill’s local exploits. Aside from

scaling CU dorm buildings, O’Neill has also set many climbing speed

records at Yosemite National Park, the most notable being his

world-record ascent of Nose on El Capitan. O’Neill, along with

scaling partner Dean Potter, managed that ascent in 3 hours, 24


But the program won’t be limited to his climbs in Yosemite, said

Outside Magazine representative Tara Martin: It will cover all his

recent international adventures as well.

“It’s going to be a funny, entertaining show,” said Martin,

whose Outside Magazine is sponsoring Outside University. “It’s a

multimedia show with slides and clips of his trip to Greenland and


Martin added that O’Neill will also show clips from his

adventures from Patagonia, Pakistan and Cuba’s limestone


Apart from his Outside University tour, which has made its way

throughout the nation and will continue through May 19, O’Neill has

also dedicated his time recently to filmmaking. His film “Urban

Ape” has won five major Mountain Film Festival awards, and he has

also put together critically acclaimed climbing sideshows.

“O’Neill is one of the smartest, funniest presenters out there

today,” said Yvon Chouinard, owner of the Patagonia Clothing


Students now have the chance to find out for themselves.

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