In the early 70's a now widely known author told Mohonk's climbers meeting he had found tying his vocation to his climbing had changed his climbing. The inability to predict how commercial ties will change us is one of the factors a thoughtful person considers. The majority of climbers I knew in the late 60's were college students executing their life plans. Dennis Memet was the only one who described a multiyear series of trips when I asked him what he planned to do, ultimately. Little did I suspect this astonishing freedom would carry with it greatly decreased opportunities for young people generally.
When we make decisions, we need to watch out for the cost. Dreams can turn into nightmares, in just a few seconds.
Those are points well taken, John, but they belong to thinking relative to another era. Mainly the 1970s. It boils down to basic economics. I have some ties to Adidas Outdoor and their cadre of professional climbers so I see this stuff first hand.
In the 1970s, there was no such article as a profassional climber, and us so-called "soul climbers," folks in it for the pleasure of the activity, unfettered by commercial concerns, would probably have looked down on someone getting paid to climb. We had purer motives - or so we told ourselves - and compromising our soul quotient, our amateur high ground, was not an option. We believed we were better than that.
Then professionalism entered the game as climbing gained popularity and nowadays, quaint ideas like "soul climbing" belong to a bygone era. Virtually all participents at the very top level have multiple sponsors and none that I have heard of have ever turned down sponsorship dollars fearing they would compromise their moral code or for fear of greatly reducing their opportunities. The whold purpose of accepting sponsorship - and most of it is meager at best - is to increse their time spent climbing instead of doing a regular job.
I have a friend with a huge collection of climbing magazines dating back to the mid 80s, I was flipping through them and noticed that there was a special section in those older mags that would talk about the publicity climbing had, like a Toyota commercial with a 1 second shot of a climber in the background, etc.
Climbers seemed very keen on the idea of climbing becoming a mainstream sport. I'm sure not every climber thought it was a great idea though, just like today there are some people that think climbing should be an Olympic sport so that climbing will continue to grow.
Since I have no way of making money from climbing I do not want to see climbing grow-I like having entire crags to only share with my friends.
I like that photo of Honnold a lot. It's just very competent wildlife photography, with soul and aroma. Would I prefer seeing a leopard wearing pants? As an editor I learned a lot about photo cropping from interview. Plus I'm privately convinced that I look like that too, which is why I carefully avoid mirrors.
Sponsored climbers are not allowed to have opinions, unless it's the same old brobrah talk of how great and awesome it all is. Would not want to offend any prospective buyers or bite the hand that feeds them.
L was way ahead of the curve on this.
Standing on the shoulders of giants, as long as those giants are wearing six inch pumps.
Edzilla--The Queen of 'em all, regal in his feathers and diamonds