UN­SO­LICITED BETA

Climbing - - THE APPROACH - —Michael Hook, via email —Marc Bour­guignon, via Climb­ing.com —Wade Spiner, via Face­book —Mike Slavens, via Climb­ing.com

This is my friend’s crag rab­bit, hanging out in the Lit­tle Rain Cave in Kun­ming, China—a great lit­tle cliff nes­tled amidst the farm­land. See­ing a crag rab­bit was a first for me, so I thought I’d send along a pic­ture.

ED. You did the right thing send­ing us this photo. Adorable crag pets are al­ways wel­come! Your Is­abelle Faus pro­file ( tinyurl. com/gpz6oht) was in­ter­est­ing. It’s fun to shine a light on the silent crush­ers and share other climb­ing per­spec­tives with the com­mu­nity. How­ever, I was turned off by one quote—“Spon­sor­ship com­pa­nies would rather put money into cookie-cut­ter Bar­bies and CrossFit­ters. I’m a rock climber and I don’t fit into their box, so they sim­ply aren’t in­ter­ested”—which I found bit­ter, elit­ist, and con­de­scend­ing; it’s the type of thing that pro­motes di­vi­sion and judg­ment in a com­mu­nity that is meant to be sup­port­ive. Is­abelle had an op­por­tu­nity to in­spire oth­ers, but in­stead slipped in a quote that slams those who work hard to pur­sue spon­sors. Those “Bar­bies and CrossFit­ters” (I’m not sure whom she’s re­fer­ring to) are climbers, too. Be­ing “the best” or climb­ing V14 doesn’t make you any more of a rock climber than some­one who works hard to climb V5. I hope Is­abelle can uti­lize her tal­ents and hard work to spread in­spi­ra­tion and shine a pos­i­tive light on oth­ers rather than per­pet­u­ate this elit­ist at­ti­tude.

I’m writ­ing in re­gard to your ar­ti­cle on simul­climb­ing and short fix­ing

In

the last year or so, Climb­ing has fea­tured many ad­vanced (read: danger­ous, es­pe­cially when done in­cor­rectly) tech­niques that are prone to mis­use and have lit­tle mar­gin for er­ror. The mag­a­zine is over­step­ping. Our sport re­quires men­tor­ship and knowl­edge that is passed on from one gen­er­a­tion to the next, but that’s also dou­ble-checked for safety and ac­cu­racy. Let’s not give peo­ple the idea that they can climb the Nose in a day by us­ing th­ese meth­ods— there are many other things one needs to know be­sides “climb ter­rain that you would feel com­fort­able solo­ing.”

ED. Thanks for the con­cern, Wade. We agree that men­tor­ship is ab­so­lutely cru­cial for the fu­ture of climb­ing and its devo­tees, but any­one with a copy of Free­dom of the Hills, or any of the dozens of other avail­able books on climb­ing skills and tech­niques, will agree that sup­ple­men­tary learn­ing from text—print or dig­i­tal— can be an in­valu­able tool when com­bined with real-world prac­tice and guid­ance.

In re­sponse to “Talk of the Crag: The Fu­ture of Bolt­ing” (tinyurl.com/ z7xs4ew), I find that Brady Robin­son, ex­ecu- tive di­rec­tor of the Ac­cess Fund, paints route equip­pers who place plated-steel bolts as the “bad guys.” This puts the bur­den on them to shoul­der 100 per­cent of the cost of hard­ware, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tional cost of stain­less (not plated) steel. This sets a bad prece­dent.

I would ar­gue that 99 per­cent of sport routes are put up by 1 per­cent of the climb­ing pop­u­la­tion. If we, as a com­mu­nity, want stain­less hard­ware, we all need to pay for it. We need to stop com­plain­ing about the few route de­vel­op­ers who are al­ready mak­ing mas­sive do­na­tions of time and money, and chip in our­selves—put up or shut up, so to speak.

Plated steel is not a “tick­ing time bomb” any more than stain­less. All metal will even­tu­ally cor­rode, so why is a bolt that lasts 20 years cause for alarm? What are you go­ing to call a stain­less-steel bolt that’s 49 years into its 50-year life­span? There are plenty of ex­am­ples of plated steel last­ing well over 30 years (e.g., gran­ite crags along Colorado’s Front Range) and plenty of ex­am­ples of stain­less fail­ing in less than six months (e.g., Thai­land and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic). Stain­less is not an end-all/be-all so­lu­tion. If the UIAA makes stain­less the re­quire­ment and land man­agers ban climb­ing un­til that stan­dard is met, what hap­pens to the tens of thou­sands of routes cur­rently equipped with plated steel? It would take decades to re-equip them all. If the goal is to reach a 50-year life­span, then make that—not a cer­tain metal type—the re­quire­ment. We must leave room for plated steel (or at least a tran­si­tion pe­riod out of it), or risk los­ing ac­cess to thou­sands of climbs.

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