‘I’ve decided something: Commercial things really do stink. As soon as it becomes commercial for a mass market it really stinks.’ (Andy Warhol)
We live in a modern society where time is valuable and information is demanded. Through the medium of the Web the scope is there to make a living and live-out our dreams, to enhance our business, our profile – the product, but at what price? Do we all crave our fifteen minutes? The internet has made information for the climber immediate but we are loosing.
News reports on the web are written by whom? An experienced, intelligent climber who wants to share, who has nothing to gain, or is it someone with a business to enhance and a reputation to increase? Who is it sat behind a keyboard tapping out pros worthy of a tabloid newspaper and judging others amongst the by-lines? News is news. Sensational journalism by an unqualified person, misinformed and biased, is not news, its hype. Who is it, brave and anonymous venting fury on the forum without time for contemplation? Who is it telling me the conditions for a climb are good-bad-wrong-right, out-of-condition, or too difficult? Climbing is about freedom of choice and adventure. Climbing is individual expression. Let me decide for myself and the next time you do something that doesn’t fit into my arrogant and opinionated ideals, I’ll promise not post from behind a pseudonym.
Follow the crowds… No thanks.
New climbs are now reported before the team is off the hill. What point does this serve? A time of reflection often placates the feeling of euphoria that has us thinking we have just climbed the best and the hardest. Reflection gives a more balanced appraisal. Time allows facts to be confirmed.
Let’s cut the crap, egos abound, (Including my own). A report written and posted by someone else doesn’t make you innocent, ‘I was just out there doing it for myself.’ Be honest, the report was still posted, and you gave the information knowing it would be. If you really don’t want it reporting, say so.
Alpine routes are special and should be worked for…Climbing through the night, the cold-sting-doubt is with you. Muscle fibres ache, but thick and fluid ice flows over the rock easing the fatigue. Crossing from dark to light, the red shimmer, spreading like a bloodshot, breaks the horizon. Jagged crests, silhouetted, their outlines sharp. And with every swing of the axe you’re heartbeat increases. When personal experience and judgement lead you to success, not the track beaten by a million others following the internet report, the taste is the sweetest. The thirst for information is robbing us of the adventure. Consumer climbing is reconstituted offal wrapped in a thin skin of pig intestine and served to the unimaginative.
I live for climbing… the experience, the memories, and the people, but I have drunk from the poisoned chalice. Writing comes second to adventure, but as a writer, I have played the game and raised my profile. I want my words to be read. The poison burns, but I can live secure in the knowledge that my motives are honest. Let’s pull the curtain to the side and confess. I have given up a great deal to climb. I live a life with risk and an uncertain future, but I have that most valuable commodity…time. It’s a style of life that most are unable or too afraid to embrace. But now I have the time it is reported that my achievements are less worthy than someone who only climbs on the weekend? Are the climbs more difficult, more committing and more overhanging on a Saturday and Sunday? I receive free equipment, does this mean my ascents are flawed. Do I climb to pacify the companies who give me equipment; do I risk my life for a free coat, a carabiner and a pair of shoes?
I’ll tell you why.
Pastel is for all of the ‘climbers’ that have to have up-to-the-minute reports before being brave. Grey is the climbing experience you will receive for you’re certain ascent. Green is the colour running through the centre of those that want, but are not willing. Brown is the faeces on the forums. Blue is the cold I feel for the lack of substance. Yellow is for the anonymous. Red is rage and black is what I see when I close my eyes.