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el_layclimber


Jul 25, 2007, 8:47 PM
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Praise and Scorn
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  I chose to start a new post out of respect for those injured, rather than air this amidst an obit.
Climbing is a game, perhaps one of the only games in which an obituary is a staple of the monthly news. Often, these obituaries describe deaths that occurred playing the game. I can accept that.
What I find odd is the amount of praise we lay upon the more famous among us who die climbing, while we often heap scorn on the much higher numbers of people we have never heard of who died climbing. One person can die a more or less preventable death and be called a visionary, and another can do the same and be called an idiot...


dingus


Jul 26, 2007, 8:26 AM
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Re: [el_layclimber] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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A great point... its

The Cult of Personality.

We Americans worship celebrity the way Brits have their noses up the royal butts. Celebrities ARE American royalty.

That said, ours is a small community really. Often those lamenting had personal relationships with the deceased.

Skinner is a great example. On the Super Taco friends of his from all over the world gathered electronically to remember their friend. He touched many souls.

So sure some worshippers glom on to those threads. Its harmless really. And you are right not to draw attention to this topic from within those threads. Disrespectful as I'm sure you agree.

But yeah some nameless noob augers in and its all recrimination and what have you. Your point is well taken.

Cheers
DMT


Gmburns2000


Jul 26, 2007, 8:46 AM
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Re: [el_layclimber] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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el_layclimber wrote:
I chose to start a new post out of respect for those injured, rather than air this amidst an obit.
Climbing is a game, perhaps one of the only games in which an obituary is a staple of the monthly news. Often, these obituaries describe deaths that occurred playing the game. I can accept that.
What I find odd is the amount of praise we lay upon the more famous among us who die climbing, while we often heap scorn on the much higher numbers of people we have never heard of who died climbing. One person can die a more or less preventable death and be called a visionary, and another can do the same and be called an idiot...

I don't disagree with this assessment, but I think there is a reason why this is so beyond the celebrity factor. While I don't think that thespians and rock stars are useless people, they typically don't transform their industries in the ways that famous climbers often do. They may influence other musicians or actors, but they aren't pushing grades higher and higher and they aren't doing first accents (or first songs - because aren't all rythms already invented or discovered?) I think the praise for celebrities comes from our voyeurisitic fantasies. I think our praise for famous climbers stems from their actual accomplishments.

I'm not saying this is always so, but Skinner is a perfectly good example. Sure, he could have prevented his own death, but the praise doesn't really concern his mistake - it is more concerned with the affect he had on the climbing community as a whole. I think these people inspire on a very practical level, and that makes us somehow, maybe, feel as if we are equals in the end. That may not make sense to everyone, but I think I'm saying that correctly.

EDIT - After thinking about it, what I was trying to say is that we probably identify with these people more than "regular" celebrities, and therefore appreciate the accomplishments on a more personal level.


(This post was edited by Gmburns2000 on Jul 26, 2007, 8:50 AM)


granite_grrl


Jul 26, 2007, 9:00 AM
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Re: [el_layclimber] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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It makes a big difference if its a name people recognize, or a person people have met or not.

Yes, famous climbers have gotten a lot of attention on this site when they are hurt/die, but even lil ol' me got one hellova big thread of well wishers after my accident. Obviously because I've had interaction with people on this site, people could put a personality with the name.

Big thing I've noticed with people and accident analysis threads...they want to know what happened so they can think it will never happen to them. They scorn the actions of injured, they say that they'll never do anything that stupid. People like their ignorance and try to keep it that way.


pastprime


Jul 26, 2007, 9:08 AM
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Re: [el_layclimber] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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  Good thought, thanks for bringing it up.
It is quite likely that some of the accidents that happen to the less experienced come from exactly the same state of wanting to push the limits of ones knowledge and experience that drives drives other, more advanced, climbers onto the Rupal face; yet one gets scorn and the other gets praise.


(This post was edited by pastprime on Jul 26, 2007, 9:14 AM)


Gmburns2000


Jul 26, 2007, 9:13 AM
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granite_grrl wrote:
It makes a big difference if its a name people recognize, or a person people have met or not.

Yes, famous climbers have gotten a lot of attention on this site when they are hurt/die, but even lil ol' me got one hellova big thread of well wishers after my accident. Obviously because I've had interaction with people on this site, people could put a personality with the name.

Big thing I've noticed with people and accident analysis threads...they want to know what happened so they can think it will never happen to them. They scorn the actions of injured, they say that they'll never do anything that stupid. People like their ignorance and try to keep it that way.

I'm not so sure of this. While I think there is an element of insecurity that would lead some people to do this, I think people want to know so that they can learn or understand better. We are all curious by nature. I also think it is human nature to want to discuss and debate things. With those thoughts in mind, I think people are not that malicious overall.


dingus


Jul 26, 2007, 9:25 AM
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Re: [el_layclimber] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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The impulse to investigate *just enough* to say 'that could NEVER happen to me' is well understood in aviation accident analysis. They have to push through that impulse to get to the true causes of an accident or crash.

Climbers have to do the same.

Example: Todd Skinners belay loop broke while rappelling. It broke because it was frayed. The owner knew it was frayed.

Well that could never happen to me as I have a brand new harness.

End of analysis?

Maybe. Maybe not. Every accident has a cause but most have numerous causes... the accident chain. Eliminate any one of the steps leading up to the accident and the accident doesn't occur.

So if you truly want to understand an accident to avoid the same OR SIMILAR fate you need to identify ALL of the steps that led up to it, then examine your own practices in this new light.

Most of us do not dif sufficiently at these analysis to fully understand what happened. Some of us are lazy, others just don't care that much. Many of us don't know how to do it or what questions to ask.

We wait for expert reports and often they are unavailable, aren't completed or take months.

So we talk in the interim. And we get the full range of input from don't care to careful, thoughtful consideration, and all points in between.

Danos rope junp is a perfect example of the need to understand what REALLY happened instead of what we THINK happened.

Cheers
DMT


dingus


Jul 26, 2007, 9:29 AM
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Re: [dingus] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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And Dano is also an example of the cult of personality pervasive in America.

A decade later and people who never knew him and didn't even climb back in the day STILL posting to threads about how he inspired them or changed their lives.

I know... sacrilege. Exactly my point don't you know...

DMT


majid_sabet


Jul 26, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Re: [dingus] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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I was recently sitting in downtown Yos listening to an story on how a famous climber died and how the next day, his friends were fighting among themselves to see who get what out of his rack.

Made me sick


Gmburns2000


Jul 26, 2007, 11:22 AM
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majid_sabet wrote:
I was recently sitting in downtown Yos listening to an story on how a famous climber died and how the next day, his friends were fighting among themselves to see who get what out of his rack.

Made me sick

Sounds like family if you ask me. It is sick, but I don't think it is uncommon. How many brothers and sisters have gone for the juggular when the parents finally died? And that's blood, not water.


dingus


Jul 26, 2007, 11:22 AM
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majid_sabet wrote:
I was recently sitting in downtown Yos listening to an story on how a famous climber died and how the next day, his friends were fighting among themselves to see who get what out of his rack.

Made me sick

Well his goddamned jacket wouldn't fit!

DMT


skinner


Jul 26, 2007, 11:29 AM
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Re: [dingus] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
The impulse to investigate *just enough* to say 'that could NEVER happen to me' is well understood in aviation accident analysis. They have to push through that impulse to get to the true causes of an accident or crash.

Climbers have to do the same.

Example: Todd Skinners belay loop broke while rappelling. It broke because it was frayed. The owner knew it was frayed.

Well that could never happen to me as I have a brand new harness.

End of analysis?

Maybe. Maybe not. Every accident has a cause but most have numerous causes... the accident chain. Eliminate any one of the steps leading up to the accident and the accident doesn't occur.

So if you truly want to understand an accident to avoid the same OR SIMILAR fate you need to identify ALL of the steps that led up to it, then examine your own practices in this new light.

Most of us do not dif sufficiently at these analysis to fully understand what happened. Some of us are lazy, others just don't care that much. Many of us don't know how to do it or what questions to ask.

We wait for expert reports and often they are unavailable, aren't completed or take months.

So we talk in the interim. And we get the full range of input from don't care to careful, thoughtful consideration, and all points in between.

Danos rope junp is a perfect example of the need to understand what REALLY happened instead of what we THINK happened.

Cheers
DMT

Well said. I think for many, it's not even a matter of "How did this happen, so it won't happen to me", because they already have a "this won't happen to me (I'm to careful)" attitude. It's just plain human curiosity, "How could/did this happen". or "How could this happen to a climber of this calibre". Not a morbid curiosity, just natural curiosity, as a human and a climber.

The aviation accident analysis is a great example. I am not a pilot, yet I still read, watch the post accident details as they unfold wanting to know where any a failure occured.


majid_sabet


Jul 26, 2007, 11:29 AM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
I was recently sitting in downtown Yos listening to an story on how a famous climber died and how the next day, his friends were fighting among themselves to see who get what out of his rack.

Made me sick

Sounds like family if you ask me. It is sick, but I don't think it is uncommon. How many brothers and sisters have gone for the juggular when the parents finally died? And that's blood, not water.

If it was family I would not talked about it but no these were his climbing partners. all famous climbers in this planet.


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Jul 26, 2007, 11:31 AM)


Gmburns2000


Jul 26, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
I was recently sitting in downtown Yos listening to an story on how a famous climber died and how the next day, his friends were fighting among themselves to see who get what out of his rack.

Made me sick

Sounds like family if you ask me. It is sick, but I don't think it is uncommon. How many brothers and sisters have gone for the juggular when the parents finally died? And that's blood, not water.

If it was family I would not talked about it but no these were his climbing partners. all famous climbers in this planet.

And what I'm saying is that family should treat each other with more respect. Friends come and go, but family is forever. If family members fight with each other, then why not friends.

Dingus - It did fit, you wanker. You just pulled an OJ and put about fifteen freakin' layers on underneath beforehand to make it look like it didn't fit.Wink


duckbuster_13


Jul 26, 2007, 1:49 PM
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Re: [el_layclimber] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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el_layclimber wrote:
I chose to start a new post out of respect for those injured, rather than air this amidst an obit.
Climbing is a game, perhaps one of the only games in which an obituary is a staple of the monthly news. Often, these obituaries describe deaths that occurred playing the game. I can accept that.
What I find odd is the amount of praise we lay upon the more famous among us who die climbing, while we often heap scorn on the much higher numbers of people we have never heard of who died climbing. One person can die a more or less preventable death and be called a visionary, and another can do the same and be called an idiot...

Without spending a lot of time going back through old posts, there is no way for me to know for sure... but do you think that the majority of those who scorn inexperienced climbers who die or become injured because of mistakes... are climbers with more experience... or that maybe fall in the "middle of the pack" as far as experience/skill goes?

If so, then it might be reasonable to question whether some good old fashioned ego is involved.

As another poster pointed out, we tend to identify more with folks within our smaller community than those of traditional celebrity status. And for most of us, we like to think that the status of 5.14 ninja is somehow attainable (unlike winning an academy award)... so we admire those who are performing at that level, and look to for guidence and inspiration and project ourselves onto them..." someday that will be me."

This is not unlike the relationship between father and son for most. I'm sure most of us can imagine how difficult it would be to acknowledge the fatal mistakes of one's father v.s focusing on the positive influence he's made on your life. (admittedly, this is an extreme example, but it's really just a matter of degree, the same elements are present.)

Conversely, those who are less skillful/experienced tend to represent where we've been and serve as a benchmark from which to measure our own progress and success. It's not surprising then, that by separating ones self from this group in as many ways and examples as possible, one can elevate their own perceived progress, or status. After all, the further you can get from the start, the closer you must be to the end right? At least that would appear to be the psychological rationalization of the role of less experienced climbers in your own perceived progress.


Anyway, in conclusion....I'd say that the caustic attitude towards less experienced climbers who screw up would simply be a manifestation of that attempt to separate ones self and elevate the perceived level of progress.

For the record, I'm not vilifying this behavior, I think it's just human nature.

On an unrelated tangent, some climbers may see newbies who screw up as endangering the crags and opening the sport or the location to scrutiny. And there is probably a presumption that, since they were inexperienced, they must have been careless ... while the more experienced climber just had some bad luck or it was a "freak" thing.

All pure speculation, but there is probably something of merit in there somewhere.


Gmburns2000


Jul 26, 2007, 2:26 PM
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duckbuster_13 wrote:

On an unrelated tangent, some climbers may see newbies who screw up as endangering the crags and opening the sport or the location to scrutiny. And there is probably a presumption that, since they were inexperienced, they must have been careless ... while the more experienced climber just
In reply to:

Excellent points all around. I think ego does play a large role. I'd also say insecurity also plays a large role too. "It can't happen to me" doesn't have to be ego. If it is on a message board then it could very well be "let's not let anyone think it could happen to me" as well.

I'd say, also, that an accident happening to a beginner is likely less to be about carelessness and more to do with a lack of experience. That doesn't mean that accidents that happen to experienced climbers are more careless-prone, but in order to be careless, one has to know that something is being done incorrectly before one is actually careless. Sure, carelessness can also be laziness, and laziness can extend into a realm of unwillingness to learn or pay commonsense attention. But like those fools who glued bolts to a wall recently in protest of chopping bolts, if anyone who can't tell the difference between a glued bolt and a real bolt then that isn't careless. It becomes careless upon recognition of the error. Who is more likely to recognize the error? Probably not beginners.


majid_sabet


Jul 26, 2007, 2:33 PM
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There are no difference between n00bs and pros,
They are both the same in the eyes of accidents and destiny.They have no control over their time. Accidents and death are nothing but another job, another mission that needs to be completed at a particular time.No one can stop it or predicted it or avoid it when that time comes.

No one


duckbuster_13


Jul 26, 2007, 2:58 PM
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Gmburns2000 wrote:

Excellent points all around. I think ego does play a large role. I'd also say insecurity also plays a large role too. "It can't happen to me" doesn't have to be ego. If it is on a message board then it could very well be "let's not let anyone think it could happen to me" as well.

I'd say, also, that an accident happening to a beginner is likely less to be about carelessness and more to do with a lack of experience. That doesn't mean that accidents that happen to experienced climbers are more careless-prone, but in order to be careless, one has to know that something is being done incorrectly before one is actually careless. Sure, carelessness can also be laziness, and laziness can extend into a realm of unwillingness to learn or pay commonsense attention. But like those fools who glued bolts to a wall recently in protest of chopping bolts, if anyone who can't tell the difference between a glued bolt and a real bolt then that isn't careless. It becomes careless upon recognition of the error. Who is more likely to recognize the error? Probably not beginners.


I agree with you there. I was just speculating on what might be going through some people's minds. It's tough to tell.
You're probably right though, I remember when i first got started, I was scared shitless to do anything that I wasn't explicitly told to do for fear of screwing it up by using my own narrow judgment.
I dunno, like anything else it's difficult to make broad statements about what everyone thinks.


the_climber


Jul 26, 2007, 5:43 PM
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I've been in this game long enough to have seen the passing of a number of "famous" climbers, many unknowns, and even a few friends and those "friends we run into while playing the game" but have never hung out with outside of climbing; long enough to have carried a partner off the mountain and to have been help off myself. It is a game of risk, a game of giving a certain meaning to life, a meaning to life that nothing else can.

So, why do we give props to the well known and famous climber who passes? Does it have to do with the contributions those individuals gave to our pursuit? It is simply a function of the Celebrity factor? The accomplishments of the climber? Is there more?

I would hazard a guess and say some sort of a combination of the above and more. Is it right? That is something that is not up to me to judge, at least not outside of my own opinion.

I can say that most of the climbers whom inspired me in my early years of this game of ours have either perished or been injured since I started. I think for a great many hearing of someone whom inspired them greatly, but they had never met or perhaps did meet, changes the attitude taken when viewing and responding to a tragic event. In general I try to respond to every tragedy the same way; that being reserving my opinion until I have enough details. To say I'm not guilty of having a less judgmental opinion to an inspirational climber... well, I am human after all.

I can say this, in my years in this game I have been most affected and touched by the accidents involving those whom I have known and or inspired me, and by those occurring locally or in areas I have traveled to. As to why, I guess those would be personal reasons for all of us. I would also think it would be a result of our own experiences in the hills. That some curiosity that draws us to the hills is what drives us to scrutinize what happens out there. The criticism? Human nature… I don’t know, although I personally think there is a certain amount of both rudeness and compassion to human nature. Which is more dominant depends on the human. Those who inspired or have touched more are always more likely to receive more public acknowledgement.

Should we show disrespect to those unknowns who pass while playing the Game? By shouting nOOb? Or proclaiming them idiots? Or incompetent? I would hope not, but many do.
Should we study the accident and break it down so we can learn as much from it as we can? YES. And in my opinion that should apply to all of those who have passed or been hurt, famous or otherwise! What greater legacy could a tragedy have than to have helped prevent even one climber from succumbing to the same fate?

I think tonight I will raise a glass to all of those who have passed… famous or otherwise.



A good discussion indeed.


the_climber


Jul 26, 2007, 5:47 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:




There are no difference between n00bs and pros,
They are both the same in the eyes of accidents and destiny.They have no control over their time. Accidents and death are nothing but another job, another mission that needs to be completed at a particular time.No one can stop it or predicted it or avoid it when that time comes.

No one

As my mentor told me many many many times:
The mountians neither know or care how much you think you know.


notapplicable


Jul 26, 2007, 7:12 PM
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Nothing new to add, just wanted to say. Good thread.


yekcir


Jul 26, 2007, 7:14 PM
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I think this points to the crux of the issue...

"my mentor"

There is no substitute for a mentorship. As I learned to climb, I learned respect for those more experienced, more skilled, and most importantly, respect for the rock itself.

Too many people break out of the gym with a shiny rack and attack the rocks like it's a big playground. They may have read a book or two and may have some ideas about gear, ropework, rockfall, etc... but all too often, they are unwilling to admit that it's all pretty new to them. I'm generalizing, sorry...

I personally, and most of my climbing partners, spent copious amounts of time following other climbers. Not only do you learn their techniques and watch them deal with difficult situations, but you hear stories of those who have sent and those who have fallen, about successes and disasters. You learn, through all of this, respect for this dangerous place that you will approach again and again.

Try to tell the local gym hardman that the 5.10 runout slab may not be the best warmup, or that his partner may want to actually use his hands when he's belaying, and all too often, you get met with scorn. This, unfortunately, breeds contempt, and I've begun (sadly) to just turn my back instead of trying to lend helpful advice that may damage a fragile, if endangered, ego.

My personal view is that anyone's death is tragic, no matter the level of experience, skill, or their accomplishments. Hell, we're all outside wasting our time in the eyes of the vast majority of society. What's worse, we're wasting our time doing something that might kill us. What bothers me is that people do get seriously injured and sometimes die without knowing what they were really getting themselves into. This is idiotic.

Famous climbers, for the most part, know the game and know the stakes. Their accomplishments attest to this. If they die as a result, rest assured that the prospect of death on the rocks has weighed on their mind before. For a noob (alright, I said it!) to do the same from lack of experience or ignorance as to the real danger of their situation is just senseless.


swede


Aug 1, 2007, 7:48 AM
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To me it is a bit strange with all the nice words in an obituary - and all the flaming if someone is "insensitive" and wants to write more of what really happened. Regardless of if it being for a famous climber climber (admittedly more often) or a noob. No one is without errors.

I think the two following quotations are the most important;

"What bothers me is that people do get seriously injured and sometimes die without knowing what they were really getting themselves into. This is idiotic."

"What greater legacy could a tragedy have than to have helped prevent even one climber from succumbing to the same fate?"

Therefore, if I would perish, I do hope that people don´t say/write "how sad", "he always put safety first" etc, but "why did it happen" regardless if the conclusion is that I was behaving like a fool.


dingus


Aug 1, 2007, 8:10 AM
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Re: [yekcir] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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yekcir wrote:
I think this points to the crux of the issue...

"my mentor"

There is no substitute for a mentorship. As I learned to climb, I learned respect for those more experienced, more skilled, and most importantly, respect for the rock itself.

Too many people break out of the gym with a shiny rack and attack the rocks like it's a big playground. They may have read a book or two and may have some ideas about gear, ropework, rockfall, etc... but all too often, they are unwilling to admit that it's all pretty new to them. I'm generalizing, sorry...

(snip the rest of this thoughtful and well written post)

yekcir you make sound points. And I agree with them.

But as once a part of me also, I don't know, 'disagrees' isn't the right word... part of me rebels maybe, against this structured hierarchy.

I think climbing would be far less than it is without impulsive youth biting off more than it can chew.

Some famous climbers of the past died due to ignorance and poor planning, yet we laud their memories to this day. But some kid screws up at the local crag and all we see is the lost potential.

Its schizo I tell you.

But the spirit of bravado, false or otherwise, of impetuous youth and ill-considered acts... do you think climbing would even exist without them?

I certainly don't.

In my lifetime climbing has transitioned from fringe lunatics to mainstream fad. Being in the mainsteam attracts money, talent, new tehnicues, new ideas. A more programitic approach to learning is developed. All of that is proper I suppose. I certainly don't want my kids doing the sort of shennigans I used to pull off.

But at once I think that without the spirit of rash action fueled by arrogant (and often misplaced) self-confidence, our sport would be mostly risk free and spiritually dead.

We discuss risk often on this board and its roll in climbing. Those who think of climbing as a leisure activity often make statements to the effect that assuming risk in this sport is stupid. They argue for a mostly risk-free sport.

And in the land of mandatory helmets, elbow pads, wrist guards and knee pads at skate parks I can understand the 'entertainment' mentality.

Eliminate risk from our sport and it WILL BE relegated to the same status as skate parks; mandatory this, mandatory that, belay certifications, lead permits, it all awaits you at ClimbingTownUSA, America's First Climbing Amusement Park.

But kids will always do rash and ill-considered things. They're supposed to.

I'm not saying ignore accidents waiting to happen. What I am suggesting is this - be very careful what you wish for. No matter what the sterile sportsters declare, ris,k is a vital component of the sport of CLIMBING and eliminating it will kill the very thing that has made climbing what it is.

DMT


rasoy


Aug 1, 2007, 8:28 AM
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Re: [dingus] Praise and Scorn [In reply to]
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Yeah mentor heh heh heh

That would of helped me in the beginning. I'd go climbing and I thought free climbing meant you climb to the belay and that's where you place the gear.

The gear was only for the belay? What a dufus I was.

Then Mark Klemens told me I was dumbest shit he's ever seen, LOL.

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