Honnold's NYT Article (Clif Bar, Personal Risk, Adventure)

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 20, 2014 - 07:09am PT
Good level-headed piece today from AH:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/opinion/the-calculus-of-climbing-at-the-edge.html?emc=edit_th_20141120&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=21133602&_r=0
crankster

Trad climber
Nov 20, 2014 - 07:34am PT
Agree, except for this...

If sponsors back away from risky behaviors, it may well slowly mold climbing into a safer, more sterile version of what it is today.

Equating "safer" with "sterile", well, sounds like a 29 year-old.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Nov 20, 2014 - 07:42am PT
Thanks, Peter. Very interesting.
saa

Social climber
sadly, sitting on a chair with a beer
Nov 20, 2014 - 07:42am PT
Same old same old. Just a company cutting overhead when
times are tough.

This has nothing to do with alex, dean, steph, timmy, cedar or
other's quality. Just the math of corporate rentability.

cheers to all, in the valley, in josh, and elsewhere...

sabine
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Nov 20, 2014 - 07:51am PT
The reader comments are the most interesting part of the article. Here is a typical sentiment:
This is an example of too much freedom. He has the right to engage in highly risky behaviors - but as a member of society he has an ethical responsibility to minimize threats to his life because of his relationships to other people. Are we so caught up with freedom and individuality that the whole notion of society and personal relationships is now second to our own needs and wants?
I disagree strongly with this attitude but I think it is a prevalent (and dangerous)one.
crankster

Trad climber
Nov 20, 2014 - 07:55am PT
^^^ dangerous?

I'm assuming the writer was talking about the loved ones attending a funeral, god forbid.
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Nov 20, 2014 - 07:59am PT
Yes, dangerous. People in positions of power have the ability to make what you enjoy doing illegal, if they are inclined to do so. e.g. base jumping in Yo. They can move the line when they feel like it.
David D.

Trad climber
California
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:00am PT
In climbing, sponsors typically support an athlete but provide very little direction, giving the climber free rein to follow his or her passion toward whatever is inspiring. Itís a wonderful freedom, in many ways similar to that of an artist who simply lives his life and creates whatever moves him. Clif Barís decision to fire the five of us may limit that freedom.

Actually, Alex, it won't limit your freedom at all. You'll just continue to climb with one less sponsorship. Or, even if all your sponsorships disappeared, you'll continue to climb and freesolo just like the thousands of dirtbags doing that right now without any free Clif bars.

In an interview on the website of the magazine Rock and Ice, Dean Potter said: ďMy fear is with the onset of mainstream interest in extreme sports that diversity will be subdued and eventually snubbed out within our great outdoor community. Shouldnít we question when the leaders of our community try to manipulate our culture into a mono crop?Ē

If sponsors back away from risky behaviors, it may well slowly mold climbing into a safer, more sterile version of what it is today.

This is where I take issue with the sense of entitlement some people have about this. If sponsors back away from risky behaviors, then the motivations of those partaking in them are inherently less sterile and more untainted by commercial interests. People aren't going to stop freesoloing because Clif Bar pulled their support for freesoloists and, if they were, they aren't the type of people that should have been soloing anyways.
crankster

Trad climber
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:02am PT
^^^
A+!!!!
saa

Social climber
sadly, sitting on a chair with a beer
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:05am PT
hi dmt


considering how much north face, adidas, prana, 5-10, patagonia, etc shell out, i would guess the math is about the same, although i do not know the full extent of clifbar athlete list.
take all these elements, and the company's budget in, and run the equations. you ll have your answer.

cheers
s
crankster

Trad climber
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:08am PT
^^^^
F-
Roots

Mountain climber
Tustin, CA
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:09am PT
Honestly the more I hear and read from Alex the more I like him. Excellent article dude.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:10am PT
Yes. Wise words from Alex.

I think, crankster, even this sentence is OK:

If sponsors back away from risky behaviors, it may well slowly mold climbing into a safer, more sterile version of what it is today.

Commercial support has been been molding climbing into a safer version for decades. Back in the 60s climbing was sponsor-free and anarchic. Risk-assessment was a big part of the activity, every time one decided to step off the ground. That's how I was introduced to the sport. It was not for everyone.

Risk-taking is a powerful urge with huge internal, personal rewards. No need for outside encouragement from sponsors, at least not for soloing, which is about the most inexpensive form of climbing there is.


Among the mass of climbers there will always be folks who seek out and embrace risk.

It's all good.
c wilmot

climber
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:15am PT
This country is filled with loon cranknutcases .....

Typing away
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:26am PT
Yes, dangerous. People in positions of power have the ability to make what you enjoy doing illegal, if they are inclined to do so. e.g. base jumping in Yo. They can move the line when they feel like it.

Take this to an extreme, and you have things like "taking children to a location out of cell phone range or more than 2 hours from a major hospital is illegal."

In the course of my divorce I had to directly deal with issues similar to this, where people who absolutely cannot relate to an outdoor lifestyle are judging whether or not I am an adequate father or whether the kids are safe to be with me. It is very unnerving to have your life choices regulated by people with values very different from yours.

That said, legality is very different from the sponsorship choices made by a for-profit company. I wouldn't read too much into the degree to which a company wants to cover its ass.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:32am PT
Clif Barís decision to fire the five of us may limit that freedom.

Well, you could quit whining and get a job like a normal person.
MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:33am PT
Best comment:

My admiration for your determination to discover the outer limits of your inner self is boundless. You are the embodiment of individual freedom, and your climbs are the grandest expression of human action.

Metaphors seek to the point to the truth. Scaling cliffs and mountains uncover every truth worth having. Rock on, my friend, breathe in the pure alpine air, and leave the corporate and governmental and societal swamp creatures down below to wallow in their fear and in their corruption.

Faithfully,
S.A. Traina
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:35am PT
^^^^
Yep.
WBraun

climber
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:36am PT
Well, you could quit whining and get a job like a normal person


He already has a job doing what he's doing.

Looking at it from outside it doesn't really look obvious to most people.

Most jobs don't "look" like that .....

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 20, 2014 - 08:44am PT
The win to Clif Bar....op ed in the NY Times. They have gotten a boatload of free press. Lot's of people probably heard their name for the first time in the last week.
There is no such thing as bad press.
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