Interesting Katie Lambert Article on Climbing.com

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StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 11, 2017 - 12:57pm PT
Andy saw this coming, David is not sure he approves of risking death to achieve it for 15 minutes, or less.



WBraun

climber
Jan 11, 2017 - 01:08pm PT
The sum substance of this article is

In 1968 I free soloed Cathedral Peak in my Sears work boots and met the Sierra Club climbing leader at the Top who told me I had balls but was still a stoopid n00b.

Now in 2017 I'm told we are still stoopid n00bs ...... :-)
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Jan 11, 2017 - 01:21pm PT
^^^ still a stupid no0b. :P

Ser Duck, what was your inspiration for such lunacy (ie Werner's Wiggle-solo no?).

I was inspired by Chris Bonnington and Maurice Herzog to go get nearly killed in the snow...surely there was some source for your early/continued madness?

Point being those were serious tales and we knew (even through our newbie eyes) that it was serious biz and people didn't necessarily come back with all their parts...

These days, Jared Leto does Matthes Crest or Serenity with KJ or AH holding his hand and kids don't realize just what is what and want to be a cool kid rockstar too...completely missing the point that someone is being guided by top climbers and utterly out of his league otherwise.

I think that is Lambert's point: Social media can trivialize the risk in climbing and other "extreme" sports that other media didn't do....but don't get me started on Eric Perlman and Masters of Stone....
Killer K

Boulder climber
Sacramento, CA
Jan 11, 2017 - 01:27pm PT
Natural Selection.
WBraun

climber
Jan 11, 2017 - 01:27pm PT
surely there was some source for your early/continued madness?

Because it was there.

Werner's wiggle was done by Eric Beck.

I didn't put that up ......
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Jan 11, 2017 - 01:30pm PT
I thought you free soloed that one in work boots too :P


ps "Because it was there" (being genuinely called to it) is a lot more legit that "Jared Leto looked cool doing it...."


pps. Gotta be a story behind the name "Werner's Wiggle", do you know it?
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 11, 2017 - 01:33pm PT
I helped rescue someone trying to solo Werner's Wiggle. He was screaming (well maybe whimpering) for help while Tom Burke and I were coming down. Tom stayed and tried to calm him down while I went back up and lowered him a rope and a harness. He was nice enough to buy us some beer once he stopped shaking.
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 11, 2017 - 02:50pm PT
From the piece written by Katie :
but today, the social media explosion has led to an oversaturation and a loss of our sport’s soul.

I disagree.

Soul's still there. Why is a person with 40 years experience more soul-filled than a newbie on their first climb? We were all n00bs once.

Every generation loses a little soul, happens in all sports.

Werner’s onsite solo of Cathedral peak in his Sears’ work boots had soul and will soon never be repeated, Sears is going out of business.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Jan 11, 2017 - 07:09pm PT
Not a bad article, but most serious climbers are aware of all this. Mostly preaching to the choir. I can see why Climbing Magazine is not in great shape.
sycorax

Boulder climber
Yoknapatawpha County
Jan 11, 2017 - 07:42pm PT
It's not very well-written. The opening dialogue needs an edit and she uses forms of the verb to be instead of stronger ones that experienced writers employ. But then again, I am an English teacher not a mighty scientist.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Jan 11, 2017 - 09:28pm PT
Hmm. Didn't realize she is a scientist. Has (or working on) an MS in nutrition. But more of a full-time climber it seems.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jan 11, 2017 - 11:27pm PT
The urge to document is fundamentally human, going back to 40,000 year-old instagrams in Indonesian caves. Did the remarkable drawings of predators in the Chauvet Caves in France cause our ancestors 30,000 years ago to fail to fully appreciate the danger of lions? Was the hunt in danger of losing its soul---or did it not acquire a soul until, like climbing, it became a sporting pursuit with absolutely no relevance to human survival?

Can this basic human drive, bolstered by internet technology, end up in some destructive spiral? To some extent, Katie's lament is like the stories we've been reading about fake news and its purported effect on the US electorate. The internet has produced a kind of flattening of the three-dimensional world of facts, and the two-dimensional rendering seems to have far less resolution than reality requires, enabling the unconflicted coexistence of nonsense and deep meaning. We used to be entitled to our opinions but not to our facts, now opinions and facts are in some cases both indistinguishable and interchangeable.

It isn't just facts that have been blurred. The democratization of achievement provided by social media means that everyone has a shot at being a hero, a situation surely of great concern to the IHU (International Hero's Union), which would like to keep a tight rein on the provenance of heroism, something that requires the now-vanishing concept of facts as well as the also-waning concept of experts who could render informed judgements.

When I started climbing, fear was a constant component. We aspired, as Pete Sinclair wrote, but with a lot of butterflies in our guts. When Pete spoke of his contemporaries as the last innocent Americans, did he mean the last people to fully embrace and contend with fear in their lives? Climbing technology has blunted and in many cases utterly erased the earlier fears, opening up the enterprise to people who would never have tolerated it before, and nudging the concept of achievement in a more purely physical direction. Was the soul of climbing forged in a crucible of fear and the resources needed to deal with it, or does the essence of that soul live somewhere else? Does Ashima Shiraishi understand less about climbing than Hermann Buhl did?

You have to care a lot about climbing to think that any of this matters. I think some of us do, inexplicably, care about climbing. It has illuminated our lives and, in our best moments, we wish for that light, however mysterious its source, to continue to shine for future generations. In this way, climbing acquires a soul, because we have souls that have been touched by climbing. Can that collective soul survive the changes that progress has wrought? Is Instagram really the devil's instrument in this regard?

I'm not even remotely qualified to judge, as I have no interactions with social media. But I can't help feeling Katie is a bit too pessimistic, viewing extremes as in some way characteristic, rather than as the aberrations one has to expect when an activity gains in popularity.

Whether it be cave paintings, books, magazine articles, or Instagram posts, communicating about things removes some of their mystery, makes them more approachable, and so invites an ever-widening array of participants. Perhaps the soul of climbing, whatever that really is, becomes more deeply cocooned as the population expands and the potential for consensus diminishes. But I think it is still there, powerful as ever, even if the din and hurly-burly of modern life have made it somewhat less visible.
katiebird

climber
yosemite
Jan 12, 2017 - 02:44am PT
Be careful who your idols are as things aren't always what they seem.
Be honest with yourself about your ability and intentions.
Take responsibility and educate yourself.
Be good interpreters of the story of climbing.
Degaine

climber
Jan 12, 2017 - 03:13am PT
As always, great post, rgold.
Degaine

climber
Jan 12, 2017 - 03:26am PT
sycorax wrote:
It's not very well-written. The opening dialogue needs an edit and she uses forms of the verb to be instead of stronger ones that experienced writers employ. But then again, I am an English teacher not a mighty scientist.


If you are truly as proficient in proper written English as you claim, you would not have used a contraction (it's), nor would you have used "but" to start a sentence. Both examples fall in the same category as the overuse of a form of be instead of a more active verb.

"Experienced writers," regardless of fame or fortune, shine not only due to their ability to tell a story, but also due to their own personal style, often toeing the line or simply disregarding those rules that get in the way.

Would you write the same gibberish about e.e. cummings or Kurt Vonnegut? Closer to home, are DMT's or Rgold's ramblings diminished in quality when they use too many forms of be?
Ryan Tetz

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 12, 2017 - 08:54am PT
Georgie Abel wrote a response last night :

https://medium.com/@georgieabel/the-loss-of-climbings-soul-and-every-other-problem-in-your-life-why-social-media-isn-t-to-blame-d481a208b3d8#.wdngbs9pt

This is getting interesting.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 12, 2017 - 09:05am PT
Stoopid is the new black, but only if you 'share' it.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 12, 2017 - 09:41am PT
The real take-away for me in Katie's piece was when the
non cool kid says "That's why I'm asking".
I can almost see the scene how it actually went down, and it seems pretty normal-
someone asking for real life beta or confirmation from locals, on a route they're interested in.
Out-of-towner/noob/whoever gets heckled.
It very easily could have been a photo in a magazine or guidebook, and not social media, that spurred the question in years past.
I'm sure the exact scene has played out many times before....
Before social media.

I liked Georgie's piece.
Even though she's one of the coolkids, she has a special knack for calling out the coolkids.

The real difference between the two pieces-
Print media vs online self publishing.
Go Georgie.


cat t.

climber
california
Jan 12, 2017 - 09:45am PT
Why does Georgie Abel have to turn the snark hose to full blast every time she writes a blog post? Nuance can exist...

It's not so simple as "social media is the source of evil and has sucked the soul out of climbing." I think the issue is more that if there exists something unhealthy about a given subculture, then social media will allow that idea to spread wider, faster. It could do the same for a good idea, of course.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 12, 2017 - 10:01am PT
Why does Georgie Abel have to turn the snark hose to full blast every time she writes a blog post?

Because there are no editors or advertising interests standing in her way.

Guaranteed once the would-be Mathes kid split, the snark hose in the lot behind the Meadows store was blasting.
But that doesn't make into Climbing Mag.
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