Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Different Kind of Climbing

The back seat of my truck turned into the stage for some pretty deep conversation during our nine hour journey to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. My friend Kerry and I got going on our opinions about the sport of climbing, and how this adverse lifestyle can differ amongst its participants.

Corey crushing Convicted, 5.13a, at the Motherlode, Red River Gorge Kentucky 

I was recently reading an Internet article, which expressed the opinions of outdoor climbers about indoor climbers. Because this article was relevant to our discussion, I passed it back to Kerry, who became instantly enraged after reading these arrogant, entitled climbers' opinions. They stated simply, that those who don’t climb on real rock aren't real rock climbers.

Do I agree with this statement?

 Absolutely not! Some of us aren’t as fortunate as others to live close to crags other than the local bouldering cave down on Fleet St., but does that mean we don’t deserve to be "legitimate" rock climbers? I believe that just because all of us "gym rats" can't afford to climb regularly at an outdoor scene doesn't mean we should be discredited as real rock climbers.

But I don’t completely disagree with this statement either.

Climbing is meant to be a natural relationship between the climber and rock. It is impossible to imitate this bond artificially in a gym, on plastic holds, but does that mean it shouldn’t be done? No. The climbing scene would be a fraction of its present-day size without these up and coming young guns, and the development of the sport would get closer and closer to becoming non-existent. Therefore I believe that the indoor scene should come second to the “real deal”, but not become disregarded entirely. I mean outdoor routes are out there for hundreds of thousands of years and for a few minutes, you can be a part of them —a part of the landscape— compared to an indoor problem which once it's taken down it will likely be forgotten forever. Committed indoor climbers do what they can to make it out, but sometimes this becomes virtually impossible. Ignorant outdoor climbers need to realize that most people don’t live on KY 11, for example, and can’t be right outside the gates of world-class climbing.

Climbing is what you make it, and if you're doing it for the right reasons, it doesn't matter what others think. You climb for yourself, and nobody else.

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