Sport climbing made the short list for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. Is this a big deal or not? There’s a lively discussion here about the downsides of including climbing in the Olympics. Here are the two main objections of the writer:
“The first is the likely influx of people at climbing gyms, even outdoors, and the associated danger factor…..The second is pretty selfish, though I don't have any specific crags in mind. I don't climb outside often enough or in popular enough areas to have serious issues with overcrowded crags, but if everyone in the world sees how amazing climbing is and scrambles to get outside and try it, we'll have some serious access and overcrowding issues.”
So are people’s objections to climbing as an Olympic sport, simply that they don’t want to share a fun activity with more people? What’s that about? There’s a lot of honesty in one of the comments:
“I agree with you, I'm not 100% for climbing in the Olympics simply because it will spawn a bunch of unsafe noobs who just want to climb because it is cool. Safety is one of my biggest focuses in climbing, and it is difficult to stay safe if there are others around you putting you in harm’s way due to their lack of knowledge. Also I like my activity climbing of to remain a mysterious fringe activity to the masses. It makes it more fun to talk about.”
I, too, like to think I am special and that most people can’t know about what I am doing. Can’t know about it and preferably can’t even do it. Or, at least if they are going to try it, don’t do it when I am around. Because they take up space that I could be using.
Since I was never a “noob” (when I started climbing, I was an expert from Day One- just ask me), I especially resent new people that are just starting out. Because when new people are climbing near me, I can’t climb safely anymore. And I don’t possess the judgment to realize when people are causing it to be unsafe for me. So please, please, stop any more discussion of exposing climbing to a bigger audience. If more people climb, then I will have to do other, even more dangerous and fringey things like…eating deep-fried butter.