Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oh, No Regular People Are Climbing Now!

This is a 1972 quote by Yvion Chouinard (the multi-millionaire founder of Black Diamond and Patagonia):

The climbing scene has become a fad and the common man is bringing the Art down to his own level of values and competence.”

If you started climbing after 1972 and you are not one of the elite world-class climbers, he is talking about YOU.

You will destroy the “Art” of climbing by taking up space on cliffs and climbing with your low level of competence. Climbing should be reserved for the very few experts. For the very few who travel the world looking for new rocks and routes. And then telling us about places we can’t afford to do. YOU, you on the other hand, just enjoy climbing and want to get better at it.

Now since I am one of those very few experts (in my case, a self-proclaimed expert), I would agree with him. I’d state it more bluntly: “Get off the climbs, you’re ruining then for me.”

What a crock! Basically what he’s saying is: “I got here first, Nah, nah, nah, nah nah,”

This is the type of discussion I’ve been hearing for years. “Climbing/kayaking/back packing/travel to exotic places/airline travel has been ruined because so many people do it.” Yeah, you’re right. You’re not that special. Lots of people like what you like. Big deal. Suck it up Buttercup!

The article I got the above quote from, links to several other recent web discussions about how climbing has “sold out” because it has become commercialized. So what does that mean?

Chouinard commercialized climbing back in the 60s when he made pitons. Which allowed other people to climb without as much risk.  And then he made harnesses, stoppers, etc. to allow more people to climb safely. And then he started a company to make clothing that allowed people to be more comfortable when they were outdoors. And other business people saw the interest in climbing and made new kinds of removable protection because ol’ Chouinard’s pitons were ruining the rocks. And then safer ropes were designed and sold. And better shoes. And guidebooks were written.

And then YOU came along and ruined it for the previous climbers. Because you saw that climbing was fun, and exciting and still had elements of risk. Tsk, Tsk. What were you thinking? You should have left climbing to the rest of us. And not ruined it.

At the end of the article, linked above, he quotes Chouinard again – who might be the biggest elitist of the bunch – as saying:

“..climbing can advance into a new era where we rely more and more on equipment and render the mountains to a low ‘democratic, mean,’ or that we will shift more to a state of  ‘spiritual climbing’ where we tackle the mountains with less equipment and more courage.

YOU are the low democratic mean that he is talking about. What a pompous jerk he is. 

BTW, I calculated the 2012 price for a rope I bought in 1976 for $150. In today’s dollars that would cost about $600. That would discourage you little people from buying a rope. And that’s the beauty of commercialization; even the little people can now afford to buy ropes. And that’s the horror of it.

I am OK that so many of you lowly people have brought climbing down to such a democratic level; just stay out of my way as I swan past you with my very expensive Pata-Gucci clothing.

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