It is great how this topic has carried the weight of both what matters to the world and what matters to individuals.
There was some great psych and great tutoring offered by great climbers passing through. For only the cost of taking up space on those big, square chunks of wood that originally held in the C4 parking lot, the value and influences are still immeasurable and subtle where ever life takes me.
My unimportant take on Jim's query
1: The irresistible lure of the big walls.
2: The clean & free climbing revolution.
3: The evolution to serious Alpine climbing.
4: The crystallization of 1 through 3 on Big Mountain Big Walls.
The ability for all of the above mentioned progressions to so easily be captured on film and spread out to the world culture at large. Also millions of civilians see headlamps twinkling on walls and climbers walking by.
A world class venue- right next to the road. That is the the biggest impact.
It's really all about that airplane crash and the extra time bought to produce things like the friends and push the boundaries of climbing by using the abundance of free time. In a culture like california with a place like that, everything just came together at the right time to spawn some crazy ass climbing homos...
The chance to hang with people from many different countries.
Good parties and socializing after dark.
Eating strange Japanese delicacies with the Suzukis and their friend.
Climbing Braille Book and not being able to see the roads or campgrounds, just thinking we were in wilderness (only 1 other party within sight or earshot).
The first real leader fall. The first 5.10 leads
Lots of fun and challenges.