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Kartessa


Jul 6, 2012, 10:38 AM
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NYT? Pfft!!! The Economist has an article about climbing too!
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http://www.economist.com/...012/07/free-climbing


dagibbs


Jul 6, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Not a bad article, actually.


sbaclimber


Jul 6, 2012, 11:37 AM
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dagibbs wrote:
Not a bad article, actually.
I agree.
2 quotes struck me as being particularly interesting/observant(?):
In reply to:
it has attracted talented young athletes who would once have gone into mainstream disciplines like gymnastics or track and field. This in turn has led to unprecedented leaps in performance.
In reply to:
Mr Chamberlain predicts, his firm may need to begin matching cash prizes they win at competitions, a practice common in well-established disciplines such as freestyle skiing, to retain the best.


shimanilami


Jul 6, 2012, 1:39 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] NYT? Pfft!!! The Economist has an article about climbing too! [In reply to]
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My god, we're becoming mainstream.

What's next? Climbing with the Stars?!


eric_k


Jul 6, 2012, 3:26 PM
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Re: [shimanilami] NYT? Pfft!!! The Economist has an article about climbing too! [In reply to]
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I personally hope that the big cash prizes and mainstream sponsors which are common in other sports never make it to climbing. One of the things I love about climbing is that the superstars of the sport are so normal. Most live out of vans and barely make enough money to survive. They do it because they love it! It shows how much sacrifice is needed to make it the top. This also reminds me why I don't really mind not being pro. I love a good long road trip but I don't want to live out of my truck.

While on the subject I also don't want climbing to make it into the olympics. It would be cool to see mainstream coverage, but more media means more people climbing. I love that climbing takes me to beautiful places with great solitude and I don't want that to be ruined. Climbing is growing as a sport but I just don't want it to grow that fast.

Eric


shimanilami


Jul 6, 2012, 3:39 PM
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Word.


edge


Jul 6, 2012, 4:49 PM
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dagibbs wrote:
Not a bad article, actually.

The V scale was developed by Verm, not Fred Nichole.

The first paragraph seemed eerily familiar though.


ninepointeight


Jul 6, 2012, 6:02 PM
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Re: [edge] NYT? Pfft!!! The Economist has an article about climbing too! [In reply to]
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edge wrote:
dagibbs wrote:
Not a bad article, actually.

The V scale was developed by Verm, not Fred Nichole.

The first paragraph seemed eerily familiar though.

The problem was developed by Fred Nichole. Poor wording on the part of the journalist.


(This post was edited by ninepointeight on Jul 6, 2012, 6:03 PM)


curt


Jul 6, 2012, 6:09 PM
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Re: [ninepointeight] NYT? Pfft!!! The Economist has an article about climbing too! [In reply to]
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ninepointeight wrote:
edge wrote:
dagibbs wrote:
Not a bad article, actually.

The V scale was developed by Verm, not Fred Nichole.

The first paragraph seemed eerily familiar though.

The problem was developed by Fred Nichole. Poor wording on the part of the journalist.

And poor spelling by both of you. It's "FRED NICOLE."

Curt


guangzhou


Jul 6, 2012, 8:58 PM
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eric_k wrote:
I personally hope that the big cash prizes and mainstream sponsors which are common in other sports never make it to climbing. One of the things I love about climbing is that the superstars of the sport are so normal. Most live out of vans and barely make enough money to survive. They do it because they love it! It shows how much sacrifice is needed to make it the top. This also reminds me why I don't really mind not being pro. I love a good long road trip but I don't want to live out of my truck.

This may have been true just as recently as 15 years ago, but not so true anymore today.

In reply to:
While on the subject I also don't want climbing to make it into the Olympics. It would be cool to see mainstream coverage, but more media means more people climbing. I love that climbing takes me to beautiful places with great solitude and I don't want that to be ruined. Climbing is growing as a sport but I just don't want it to grow that fast.

Eric

Olympics or not, I have no opinion, but I do think having climbing become a bit more mainstream, in my opinion we're already headed there, is actually a good thing.

Articles like this help put climbers in a positive light and show the the sport is serious. The numbers of climber outdoors will continue to increase for sure, but so will new crags.

More mainstream will also mean that dealing with landowner may become a little easier. Landowners who read article that are positive instead of death, in=jury, and guys cutting off their arms with a pocket knife are more likely to let you and other climb on their land.

Competitive climbers don't flock outside, they tend to focus on the gym. On my trips to America when I tour climbing gyms, I am always surprised at just how few of the climbing gym users never head outdoors to play.


Gmburns2000


Jul 7, 2012, 6:34 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
eric_k wrote:
I personally hope that the big cash prizes and mainstream sponsors which are common in other sports never make it to climbing. One of the things I love about climbing is that the superstars of the sport are so normal. Most live out of vans and barely make enough money to survive. They do it because they love it! It shows how much sacrifice is needed to make it the top. This also reminds me why I don't really mind not being pro. I love a good long road trip but I don't want to live out of my truck.

This may have been true just as recently as 15 years ago, but not so true anymore today.

In reply to:
While on the subject I also don't want climbing to make it into the Olympics. It would be cool to see mainstream coverage, but more media means more people climbing. I love that climbing takes me to beautiful places with great solitude and I don't want that to be ruined. Climbing is growing as a sport but I just don't want it to grow that fast.

Eric

Olympics or not, I have no opinion, but I do think having climbing become a bit more mainstream, in my opinion we're already headed there, is actually a good thing.

Articles like this help put climbers in a positive light and show the the sport is serious. The numbers of climber outdoors will continue to increase for sure, but so will new crags.

More mainstream will also mean that dealing with landowner may become a little easier. Landowners who read article that are positive instead of death, in=jury, and guys cutting off their arms with a pocket knife are more likely to let you and other climb on their land.

Competitive climbers don't flock outside, they tend to focus on the gym. On my trips to America when I tour climbing gyms, I am always surprised at just how few of the climbing gym users never head outdoors to play.

This ^^

And I don't see how folks are getting the Fred Nicole thing confused. It made perfect sense to me the way it was written.

Good article. Typical Economist


patto


Jul 7, 2012, 7:02 AM
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I don't agree. If climbing becomes more mainstream then there will be greater demands on making it safe for the masses. More bolts, more rules more liability.

Unless you think climbing is somehow immune for the lunacy that is the modern English speaking world's approach to safety and liability.


Gmburns2000


Jul 7, 2012, 7:22 AM
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patto wrote:
I don't agree. If climbing becomes more mainstream then there will be greater demands on making it safe for the masses. More bolts, more rules more liability.

Unless you think climbing is somehow immune for the lunacy that is the modern English speaking world's approach to safety and liability.

I'm sure folks 30 years ago said the same thing when sport climbing became more mainstream. Honestly, I can't see how climbing has necessarily gotten worse.

This idea that the whole world is going to crowd every crag every weekend such that climbing is diluted to the point of it becoming Chutes and Ladders is a bit apocalyptic.

Sorry, but I doubt you'll find many climbers from 40 or 50 years ago complaining that climbing has gotten out of hand since they first roped up. Sure, you'll see the occasional "we were fine using swami belts and hip belays just fine back in my day" comments, but seriously, how many of them still use swamis and hip belays on a regular basis? My guess is damn near close to none, and I'd bet that the vast majority of those "back in my day" climbers also wouldn't agree with a return to swamis and hip belays either.

Nostalgia can be a blinding handicap.


patto


Jul 7, 2012, 7:38 AM
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
Nostalgia can be a blinding handicap.

I'm not talking about nostalgia. I'm talking about the death of trad climbing.

Climbing breaches most safety laws and regulations in my country. If it becomes ACTUALLY becomes mainstream then trad climbing will no longer exist.


Gmburns2000


Jul 7, 2012, 7:44 AM
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patto wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
Nostalgia can be a blinding handicap.

I'm not talking about nostalgia. I'm talking about the death of trad climbing.

Climbing breaches most safety laws and regulations in my country. If it becomes ACTUALLY becomes mainstream then trad climbing will no longer exist.

learn how to change culture and / or roll with the dice? [shrugs]

Not sure where you're from, but I don't see that happening world over in my lifetime.


Partner happiegrrrl


Jul 7, 2012, 11:10 AM
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In reply to:
Honestly, I can't see how climbing has necessarily gotten worse.

Some things I have noticed from reading opinions of older climbers isan increase in:
- the number of rap-off-rope incidents
- the "gumby engineerification" of belay anchors reliant on gear(gear the players may have only recently begun using) and general ignorance of techniques as simple as incorporating stance into belay
- that you will actually, on occasion, see evidence of a mindset that "sometimes people drop you" as if it is EVER acceptable.


Also - gym climbers outside do abound at some crags. Obviously the Gunks is an example.
As well, climbers who are familiar only with sport and don't see how relying on a system of trad gear is going to make any difference in their climbing experience.

I've also seen the same at Joshua Tree. I can't tell you how many times I was asked by passersby this winter about bolted routes for people to lead, and when I mention gear needed for top-outs, they look at me as if I'm crazy and make a reference to having extra quick draws.


Gmburns2000


Jul 7, 2012, 11:39 AM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
In reply to:
Honestly, I can't see how climbing has necessarily gotten worse.

Some things I have noticed from reading opinions of older climbers isan increase in:
- the number of rap-off-rope incidents
- the "gumby engineerification" of belay anchors reliant on gear(gear the players may have only recently begun using) and general ignorance of techniques as simple as incorporating stance into belay
- that you will actually, on occasion, see evidence of a mindset that "sometimes people drop you" as if it is EVER acceptable.


Also - gym climbers outside do abound at some crags. Obviously the Gunks is an example.
As well, climbers who are familiar only with sport and don't see how relying on a system of trad gear is going to make any difference in their climbing experience.

I've also seen the same at Joshua Tree. I can't tell you how many times I was asked by passersby this winter about bolted routes for people to lead, and when I mention gear needed for top-outs, they look at me as if I'm crazy and make a reference to having extra quick draws.

not sure that takes away all the advances and opportunities that have developed over the years. If I had to choose, I'd rather be open than closed, mainly because I see more benefits in being open.

Are there problems with being open? Yes, but that has less to do with more people getting involved in the sport and more to do with those people who complain about it not getting involved more with the newbies.

If folks want to pass on a tradition then they need to pass it on. Sitting back and expecting respect is a sure way to lose it. The same goes for safety standards. Points #2 and #3 above are about not building enough of a culture for people to learn. Everyone, including (and maybe especially) experienced folks, are to blame for that.

Point #1 - I don't know, but I often hear about experienced climbers making that mistake. Not sure I see a link with climbing going mainstream.


Partner happiegrrrl


Jul 7, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Greg, what I see is that some of the newer have a different "it should be safe" mindset, want to climb at gym levels first day outside, and also want to lead, on gear, at levels they have led in gym.

There have been threads of Gunks.com calling (as a suggestion) for the preserve to install bolt anchors at clifftops, to avoid what some see as manky in situ ones(and no concept of considering beefing up that anchor they see as suspect or eschewing it for one completely made themselves), with a side benefit being that it would "save the trees."

Not considering that the clifftop does not LEND itself to bolted topout anchors(since the ground is dirt and relatively perpendicular to cliff faces), nor the fact that those bolted anchors would need maintaining(and pissing about the day pass/membership fees on top of it),

More experienced climbers suggest starting on easier grades, following experienced mentors - time-proven tactics, and (some) of the new ones don't want any part of it. They have their gym buds, or one gets the bug and tries to bring all their friends out, They want to be with their friends, not be mentored by someone who may try to slow them down.

At any rate - I think that there does seem to be a trend toward shifting from self-responsibility to suggestion of land manager liability(as in "should install bolt anchors," as one example), and that is not a good thing for climbing, imo.


guangzhou


Jul 7, 2012, 7:22 PM
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I don't see the death of trad climbing, mostly because bolting is actually not allowed in some places, but also because we're seeing a trend in high end climber starting to lead sport routes on gear. Yes, it's very few.

Personally I think there is nothing with innovations that make climbing safer. I use nuts and cams, both make climbing safer for sure.

Our sport going mainstream is actually a good way to get the educational ball rolling. When non climber understand that climbing has different disciplines ans styles, people who choose to climb with have a better understand too.

I do believe that many gyms need to do a better job educating people about what is gym climbing, sport climbing, and gear routes.

More money entering our sport will help with educating people about climbing. Some money will definitely go toward P.R. for the sport.

The first year they competed in Arco, if my memory serves me right, routes were chipped and they were very few observers. Now, because the sport as become more popular, companies build climbing walls for such event and thousand attend to watch. (Strange to me, I would prefer to go climbing while all the crowds are gone.)

Bolt anchors replacing permanent pitons, I would support that move. In many case, not all, I could also support the ideal of rappelling off routes instead of walking off. At least it would preserve some of the vegetation instead of having a ton of short trail leading to the main walk down trail.

Actually, I am surprised that some of you don't believe climbing as already entered the mainstream in America. Just about every major city has a climbing gym, banks use climbing to sale product, and financial publications are writing about the growing trends in the industry.


(This post was edited by guangzhou on Jul 7, 2012, 7:24 PM)


Gmburns2000


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Terrie, I think the reason why we have this mindset is because the people who can help create a certain culture haven't done a good job of creating that culture. The newbies need to be engaged. You can't just expect them to inherently listen to anyone who says "this is the way you should do it."

Could that happen at the gym level? Yeah, I believe it could. Or with good land management, or with good climber's coalitions, or with good lines of communication. If one wants to be hardcore about it, let's follow the British example where you're likely to get a molotov cocktail thrown through your window if you place a single bolt (ok, that's a bit extreme, but they've obviously figured out how to do it).

To simply say, "don't let anyone else become a climber because trad climbing will die!" is just a bit beyond the edge of foolishness. It fact, it's an excuse and nothing more.

BTW - I support the idea, in general, that bolted rap anchors are better than slings around trees (or even some walk-offs). I don't say that as a blanket answer to every situation, but I do think there is value in saving the vegetation, and I do think it's possible that a set of bolts would be cheaper long-term than slings and that, if painted well, the bolts would also look better than the slings.

edit: typo


(This post was edited by Gmburns2000 on Jul 8, 2012, 12:16 PM)


Partner rgold


Jul 8, 2012, 8:25 PM
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eric k wrote:
One of the things I love about climbing is that the superstars of the sport are so normal. Most live out of vans and barely make enough money to survive. They do it because they love it! It shows how much sacrifice is needed to make it the top.

I don't think this makes much sense, but I don't know which superstars you are thinking of. Most of the best climbers nowadays seem to be getting at least some form of support from sponsors. And what exactly is "so normal" about living out of a van as opposed to working at climbing for a living? I think those sponsored climbers love climbing as much or more than those of us who do it just some of the time.

eric k wrote:
I love that climbing takes me to beautiful places with great solitude and I don't want that to be ruined. Climbing is growing as a sport but I just don't want it to grow that fast.

I fully sympathize. Many of those places of solitude have already been ruined by crowds, and more certainly will be. But with every kid in America going to birthday parties at climbing walls, there is really no way of stemming the oncoming flood, Olympics or not. Well: there might be one way, which would be to keep the ingredient of risk at its traditional levels. But that is precisely where the bolting battles are raging.

guangzhou wrote:
Articles like this help put climbers in a positive light and show the the sport is serious. The numbers of climber outdoors will continue to increase for sure, but so will new crags.

This only works if there is rock nearby for development. Otherwise the mainstream areas just keep getting more crowded.

guangzhou wrote:
More mainstream will also mean that dealing with landowner may become a little easier. Landowners who read article that are positive instead of death, injury, and guys cutting off their arms with a pocket knife are more likely to let you and other climb on their land.

Sounds good in theory. We've had an almost diametrically opposite experience in the Gunks.

Patto wrote:
I don't agree. If climbing becomes more mainstream then there will be greater demands on making it safe for the masses. More bolts…

This is not hypothetical. It is happening at almost every crag almost every day and there are a ton of threads on almost every site to confirm it.

GMBurns2000 wrote:
I'm sure folks 30 years ago said the same thing when sport climbing became more mainstream. Honestly, I can't see how climbing has necessarily gotten worse.

Well, it all depends on what is meant by "worse." If worse means exponentially increasing crowds at popular areas and a never-ending demand for bolts on trad climbs, then yes, climbing has gotten worse. What do you mean by "worse?"

Gmburns2000 wrote:
This idea that the whole world is going to crowd every crag every weekend such that climbing is diluted to the point of it becoming Chutes and Ladders is a bit apocalyptic.

The whole world? Every crag? Every weekend? if you make up an apocalyptic scenario, no one will be surprised when you find it to be…apocalyptic. To get an idea of the future we're heading for, go do some of the classic routes in Europe. The Hornli Ridge on the Matterhorn comes to mind.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
Sorry, but I doubt you'll find many climbers from 40 or 50 years ago complaining that climbing has gotten out of hand since they first roped up.

You can't be serious.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
Sure, you'll see the occasional "we were fine using swami belts and hip belays just fine back in my day" comments, but seriously, how many of them still use swamis and hip belays on a regular basis? My guess is damn near close to none, and I'd bet that the vast majority of those "back in my day" climbers also wouldn't agree with a return to swamis and hip belays either.

But this is completely irrelevant to the crowding issues of eric k and the elimination-of-risk concerns of Patto. No one is pining for slippery rubber and barely functional protection. No one is saying that "climbing is out of hand" because the gear got better.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
Nostalgia can be a blinding handicap.

Perhaps the only worse thing is ignorance, and unfortunately there is a lot more of that.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
learn how to change culture and / or roll with the dice? [shrugs]

Not sure where you're from, but I don't see [the death of trad climbing] happening world over in my lifetime.

The world over? Once again you insulate your arguments by overloading the hyperbole. Trad climbing is probably pretty safe in Kenya for a while. But look at the Plaisir Climbing movement in Switzerland and you will see the death of trad climbing in full swing. So the question is, which way is the U.S. heading? Hint: not in the direction of Kenya.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
If folks want to pass on a tradition then they need to pass it on. Sitting back and expecting respect is a sure way to lose it. The same goes for safety standards. Points #2 and #3 above are about not building enough of a culture for people to learn. Everyone, including (and maybe especially) experienced folks, are to blame for that.

Ok, this is a crock, especially coming from someone whose motto is "Insignificant is the degree of the f@ck to which I care." Trad climbers of all ages are working their butts off trying to pass on the culture. But the number of sport and gym climbers is quite a bit more than a dwindling band of elders have any chance of reaching---the climbing population explosion makes communication an enormous and now beyond full-time undertaking. On a personal note, I can tell you that after thirty or so years of arguing, fatigue does start to set in.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
If one wants to be hardcore about it, let's follow the British example where you're likely to get a molotov cocktail thrown through your window if you place a single bolt (ok, that's a bit extreme, but they've obviously figured out how to do it).

I agree that the Brits and the Dresden climbers seem to have found a way, but I suspect that has something to do with their societies as a whole, the nature of their particular climbs, the longer history of their activities, the compactness of their regions, and the availability of enough sport venues to keep the pressure off the trad areas. The Gunks have managed thanks to the fact that they are controlled by non-climbers with a powerful set of commitments to the land they manage. Eldorado Springs is another example of a place that seems to have found a way to navigate the pressures of modern climbing. In both these examples, some type of governing entity restrains climbers from doing as they please with their Hiltis.

The small crags of Massachusetts and Connecticut fit the mold of British gritstone, except perhaps for the history. When Ken Nichols tried to act like a Brit, he ended up with a restraining order.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
To simply say, "don't let anyone else become a climber because trad climbing will die!" is just a bit beyond the edge of foolishness. It fact, it's an excuse and nothing more.

Well, it is pretty foolish, because the dam has already broken and the flood waters have been released. To switch to another analogy, the genie is out of the bottle and isn't going back in. The situation seems to me to be a lot like global warming. Evidence for the reality of it is increasing on an almost daily basis, and the long-term effects are of a lot more concern than whether or not trad climbing survives. It isn't clear whether the world and its institutions will be up to the task of protecting the planet, just as it is not clear whether climbers will manage to save trad climbing from extinction.

The UK notwithstanding, the US is still the international center of trad climbing. It remains to be seen whether we can manage to preserve the diversity that ought to define climbing, or whether the forces for homogeneity will continue to either compress trad climbing into ever smaller pockets of existence, or else dilute it to an anemic shadow of its original nature.

Here's a newsflash: near-septuagenarians like me are not gonna save your sorry asses.


bearbreeder


Jul 8, 2012, 8:43 PM
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"trad" climbing is still quite alive and well going by all the people with nice new shiny racks and finding new ways to die today up here in squamish Wink

many still had their pink gym lead cards still attached to their harness Tongue


Partner rgold


Jul 8, 2012, 8:55 PM
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Perhaps if the pink gym cards had spaces for burial instructions and organ donation, people would take the transition to outdoor routes a little more seriously?


bearbreeder


Jul 8, 2012, 9:13 PM
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tenderized meat feeds the hungry squishy bears ...

i dont know if newbies are any worse than some of the "experienced" people i see around these days ... there was an older overweight gentleman at the crag today shouting out beta and "advice" very loudly, much of it not very sensible, while not climbing a single thing that i could see, he tried to appear quite experienced ... at least a lot of the newbies i see know they dont know diddly squat ...


guangzhou


Jul 8, 2012, 9:22 PM
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rgold wrote:

The UK notwithstanding, the US is still the international center of trad climbing. It remains to be seen whether we can manage to preserve the diversity that ought to define climbing, or whether the forces for homogeneity will continue to either compress trad climbing into ever smaller pockets of existence, or else dilute it to an anemic shadow of its original nature.

Here's a newsflash: near-septuagenarians like me are not gonna save your sorry asses.

RG, great post and I agree with a lot of what you say.

Near septuagenarians have done great things for our sport, but not all in the sport are like you. Some have become more diverse and evolve differently. I can also argue that just because you've been doing it longer doesn't mean you know what's best.

I don’t see sport climbing as a bad thing, just and extension of climbing. Like all things, moderation. Pure cracks with solid rock definitely shouldn't be bolted. Face climbs that take gear, I can argue both side and tend to lean toward the individual area instead of a global rule.

Personally, I prefer gear routes by far, but I do enjoy clipping bolts. I was against sport climbing during the late 1980s, I’ve changed my mind. I actually think that sport climbing helps thin the climbing population by spreading them across more locations. It's also opened options for routes that were not accessible before.

The U.S. being the center of trad climbing is true. UK and Australia are pretty high on the list too.

When looking at the U.S., Australia and the UK, I have to admit, they have lots of rock that is suitable for removable protection. I think this is a big contributor to the trad-climbing scene. Try trad climb on some French limestone and see how many routes you get.

Start looking at place like Patagonia, Greenland, China and you’ll notice that trad climbing is still alive globally. Even European are starting to place gear again. Here in Indonesia, trad climbing is more common that sport. A bit to traditional, the Indonesian are still beating pitons instead place nuts and cams.

Plaisir climbing, literally translated “Pleasure Climbing.” Oh my goal, routes that are a pleasure to climb according to the local consensus. One of my Swiss friends firmly believes that trad climbing is still alive in America and England because the big gear companies want to sell more gear and make more money. (20 quick-draws versus sets of cams) I don’t believe this, but…

Personally, I prefer trad climbing, I enjoy clipping bolts, and I occasionally boulder. Lately I’ve been doing some gym climbing.

I’ve only spent a couple of weeks at the Gunks, climbed between roughly 60 to 70 routes. A fantastic place to climb, especially if you can avoid it on weekends. I feel bad for the impact it’s getting by climbers, I agree the preserves rules with an iron fist. I also know that climbers have fought those owner for a long time, frankly, I am surprised the area is still open to climbing, that speak to the effort of climbers for sure. When I was there, I really felt like established rappel anchors would help protect the summit, but I also know that where they are rap anchors, some will set up all day top-ropes.

What I don’t like about the tone of the thread, not your post, is the attitude that implies “I started climbing, not others need to stop joining the sport.” Another words, I am here and I got mine, no one else should be getting theirs. The same words I often hear from my friends who migrate to America, they now have their green card or U.S. citizenship, but America should close the border because to many people are coming over.

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