Hey Ron I can remember discussing stuff along this line when climbing together in j Tree years ago. You said something like "I remember thinking in the 70's wouldn't it be great if climbing got popular. Jeez what was I thinking?"
The best part was feeling like we were all part of a secret pirates club.
Still climbing Ron? I am though not very well. I have started spending winters living in J Tree. I will give you a call if I can find your number.
A 15year old just freed the nose. I don't think you have to worry about the torch being passed.... Some other youngster that lives in a van free soloed El cap last year. I constantly run into youngsters who climb circles around me...
The climbing demographic has changed since climbing gyms became popular. It used to be a love of the mountains and rock that got people into climbing, plus a willingness to do what it takes to get to the climbs.
Now people can learn to climb at the local strip mall. When they get to the crags they often have no idea how to act, and the rock and the environment suffer because of it.
Thats not to say they wont "get it" in time, but the large influx of "city people" into the sport of climbing has changed it forever
I agree with you that gyms have influxed too many people into the sport but certainly there has always been city people in climbing. Climbing was dominated by intelectuals BINTD wich are more likely to be city people....