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Author Topic: too young to be cynical  (Read 106 times)

babcock

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too young to be cynical
« on: June 05, 2003, 01:38:42 PM »

sorry if this is a bit of an overtalked-about topic, but I am bored at work.javascript:smiley()

I was out climbing last night, and this suspicion I have had about the changing nature of the sport starting growing again.  Let me explain:

I am not very old (26), but started climbing long ago with some old timers.  Through the years, the reason I have climbed and will continue to climb, is that I find freedom in the mountains, gratification in using my body and mind simultaneously and equally, and pursuit (whether success or failure) of beautiful lines, rock, and mountains.  I prefer trad to sport, but I enjoy clipping bolts too, although more for the workout than anything else.  Sport climbing has made me a better climber and allowed me to take on more serious routes in the mountains.

It seems to me, that as climbing grows and becomes more mainstream, that the soul of climbing is changing.  It has become a sport just like any other (with big businesses, hyped advertising, competitions) and lost some of its beauty.  Of course, I can ignore a lot of this most of the time, but last night I found old classic lines with new bolts, stick clips, people spraying about grades, tick marks-  all trademarks of sport climbing, yes, but the hype and popularity are spilling over into traditional climbing and mountaineering as well.  Here is my question:  Is there hope for the sport, or will I be too cynical to climb in another decade?  Will climbing become as mainstream (and soul-less) as skiing/snowboarding?  Will I find people 10 miles in the mountains on a grade V climb with the same disrespect for the soul and heritage of climbing as I do today on sport crags?
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Doug R

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Re: too young to be cynical
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2003, 02:58:21 PM »

Babcock,
I've been climbing since 1976 and enjoy all types of climbing from trad and sport on crags to ice and general mountaineering.
Over the years it seems as though interest in climbing and its many forms has been somewhat cyclic. Back in the mid '80's when the French were rap bolting, climbers in the US were still trying to push the grades of traditional climbing. Some realized that the only way to advance the sport in the US was to emulate the French (who, by the way were sponsored way back then, in fact, in many European countries, climbers are looked upon as sports heros just like a major league ball player or football player here in the US). So after about 10 or 12 years of general acceptance of sport climbing it bored some of the top climbers and they re-discovered trad climbing. Also just as there ws a push to eliminate aid routes in the NorthEast back in the '70's by free-ing them, now the swing seems to have reversed back to climbers wanting to re discover it again. Climbing manufacturers see these cycles and try to figure out how to monopolize on the latest trend (this isn't neccessarily a bad thing because it forces manufacturers to innovate newer and safer gear).
Nowadays most people want instant results and gratification, so I think that anything that requires half an effort to get to or the really classic stuff way in the back country is safe. Just like skiing and snowboarding, 90% of the yahoos are on piste. If you want a different and less crowded place to ski or climb then find a couple buds and head into back country.
You are right though, climbing is definitely becoming more mainstream and there will be a few more bad apples than before, but remember, they have always been out there. We're just seeing more now because of climbings new popularity. I'm not sure how to combat the problem of altered routes....its always been a controversy. I guess all climbers need to encourage one another to seek out as much info as possible before bolting or retro-fitting a supposed new route.
I think I'll just continue to try to enjoy the moment when climbing or skiing, no matter where I'm doing it, crowded crag or way out back.
 ;D
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DougR

Doug R

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Re: too young to be cynical
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2003, 03:02:42 PM »


I don't know why, but somehow the intro to my post was altered from what I wrote. I did not start it out as "Babthingy" so no disrespect intended

>:(
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DougR

babcock

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Re: too young to be cynical
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2003, 07:17:55 PM »

Thanks Doug.  Those are helpful comments.  Perhaps I won't take up knitting but keep climbing instead!

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Fred K.

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Re: too young to be cynical
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2003, 05:59:28 AM »

Doug's right and I know what you mean by people spraying, too (I hate that sh!te).

All the hype, the X-Gen-Games, XTerra adds, Xtreme shakes Xtreme detergents is just Madison Avenue's way of making a buck off the "youngsters" in the market (showing my age).

Just kill your TV.

26 is a good age and good to have that perspective at that age. I'd say 26 - 36 is when I climbed / skiied my best.

Keep the faith.
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