Pipeworks Member Profile: Larry Knapp

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“You can have 15 minutes with the doctor, but only YOU know what is prescribed for your life.”

Pipeworks Member of the Month: Larry Knapp

By Jason Bove

It is always a pleasure to write a story about someone who found a passion for the outdoors, and actively pursues it year round. I have a chance this month to feature Sacramento Pipeworks member and friend, Larry Knapp. Among many other titles throughout life (Father, CPA, Climber, IPA Connoisseur, etc…) he holds the prestigious honor of being MEMBER NUMBER ONE! Let’s start with the burning question…”Can you tell us a little about how you became member #1, and how does it feel to hold such a noteworthy title?


“I first heard about a new climbing gym being built right outside downtown Sacramento from, I believe, either Dave Kennedy or Tom Addison. At the time, I was working by the Royal Oaks Post, which was less than two miles from the location. I decided one afternoon to go down and take a look at the place. As it turned out, the original manager was Kathy Laskey, an old friend. She would let me come in and watch it being built on my lunch breaks. When she informed me Pipeworks was starting to sign up members, I signed up. I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.”

Years ago…1978 to be exact, Larry’s climbing obsession began with a five-day course from Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) in North Conway, New Hampshire. He was hooked! Growing up in and around New York, he became very familiar with wintertime temperatures and the activities that one may be able to enjoy during those grueling months. “I really enjoy the winter in the mountains,” so needless to say, skiing and ice climbing soon became common themes in his life.


“If I lived in the northeast again or Colorado, etc., I would climb more ice. I just enjoy climbing, although I really enjoy ice climbing. I look forward every winter to traveling to an ice climbing destination. Last winter I climbed in New York, Vermont, Wyoming and Colorado, and I plan to spend three to four weeks this winter climbing ice in the Adirondacks, Vermont and New Hampshire.”

When asked about the biggest difference between living on the East and West Coast, he replied, “The pace of life. Life is easier on the West Coast. Also, you can rock climb almost the entire year in California.” The next burning question, “Biggie or Tupac?” Larry confidently states, “I believe your reference is to two rappers? I am not into rap music.” What are the biggest changes you have seen in climbing?


“When I started climbing, there were no climbing gyms. Unless you went to places like J Tree, you didn’t climb all winter. When spring rolled around you would boulder to get into shape to climb routes. Now bouldering is subset of climbing just like sport climbing and traditional climbing. There are people who only boulder, climb sport routes or climb trad routes. Now that there are climbing gyms, we have a whole group of individuals who only climb in the gym, which I find rather odd.”

These days, when Larry is not spending his time crunching numbers as a semi-retired CPA, he can be found crushing routes both indoors and outdoors. “Being a CPA has only provided me with a good income to afford my outdoor activities. It is up to you as an individual to make the time to pursue your activities, no matter what your profession may be.”