Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Climbing Competitions & The U.S.

An article about the poor showing of U.S. boulderers at the recent bouldering competition in Vail. There is a lively discussion in the comments of this article about this issue.

“Last year I climbed a bit with a Dutch climber who came to Colorado for the World Cup and was struck by the serious training regimen that he described for the Dutch team. Regular practices, required attendance at competitions and so on. My impression of the Austrian team and others, though only second-hand, is that the same principles apply. The American approach is much more casual and ad hoc and I wonder if the results of this attitude are now starting to show in earnest.”

The bottom line seems to be, with a  few exceptions, European climbers are way better than U.S. climbers. That doesn’t bother me at all. We just don’t have the admiration for climbing here in the U.S. as they do in other countries. Also, I think the vast majority of Americans look at climbing as a quaint hobby/pastime.. Not a life style. Not a profession. Part of that might be the storied history of climbing and guiding in many European countries which leads to the much higher participation in climbing clubs. Most climbers I see in the U.S. don’t want to join national or regional climbing clubs. Partly, it might be that so many more people live in the mountains - or close to the mountains - in Europe than here.  Maybe they get lots more vacation time than we do and that drives the interest in climbing. Maybe it’s all of those reasons and more. Don’t know all the reasons. Don’t really care. But I like to read about it.

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