The highest rated videos of the past week
Interesting piece in Climbing Business Journal about the industry behind many of the holds we pull down on in gyms around the country:
For some hold companies, there seems to be no upside in disclosing that they no longer manufacture their holds in-house. The climbing industry has embraced the romantic image of the passionate climber shaping and pouring holds in their garage. But to succeed in today’s crowded marketplace, hold companies need professional production facilities that can fulfill modern expectations of quality, consistency, durability and efficiency, while providing a safe environment for the employees that are being exposed to urethane fumes and sanding particulates on a daily basis.
Interesting question raised by Chris Weidner in his column for Boulder’s Daily Camera with regard to the possibility of someone winning a comp like ABS Nationals without climbing outside much if at all:
But as the strongest competitors specialize on indoor training walls, will rock climbing itself —that is, climbing rocks — become obsolete for competition climbers?
At some point I think this is certainly possible, especially as gyms continue to grow and comp problems continue to diverge from anything resembling “real” rock climbs1. However, in the near term I find this prospect unlikely as rising stars like Mirko Caballero and Ashima Shiraishi — both of whom are years away from being old enough to compete in ABS Nationals — already have impressive ticklists years before they will even be able to drive a car.
Another factor is that especially here in the U.S., competitions do not hold the same weight for the public and sponsors as do outdoor exploits. That may change, but until that time it doesn’t seem like the incentives to focus solely on indoor climbing and competitions at a professional level is really there2.
It is worth noting also that Daniel Woods won this year’s ABS Nationals despite not having climbed in a gym at all in the months leading up to the event. Then again, when you’ve won 7 times previously as Woods had, maybe you don’t need as much practice?
- See: jump starts, committing sideways jumps, downward moving finishes and the like being part of the problem mix at both adult and youth ABS Nationals the past couple of weekends ↩
- Although it seems to be getting there sooner for female climbers than male climbers, but that is a topic for a different post ↩
Interesting profile of Alex Honnold in Men’s Fitness by Josh Dean that includes this tidbit on that building climb that was first announced last July:
And yet, the checks keep getting bigger. Honnold will receive the largest payday of his life—“by far”—if his next big mission comes to fruition. For the better part of a year, he and his friend Peter Mortimer, founder of Sender Films, have been plotting to have Honnold free-solo one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taiwan’s Taipei 101. But Honnold says such a bold, Vegas-style stunt isn’t about the money. It’s about the challenge, the fun (“Because it’s there!” he says), and hopefully he can raise the profile of the sport, which has precious few followers. Climbing is a highly specialized undertaking, after all, performed in the wilderness, and regular people—those without the right gear or binoculars—just don’t get it. Climbing a building, on the other hand, translates easily, argues Honnold. “Anyone who’s mainstream is like, ‘Skyscraper!’ ” he says. “They get it.”
Honnold scouted buildings all over the planet before settling on the world’s third tallest, which has 101 stories and is 1,474 feet tall, not counting the spire. Initially, National Geographic planned to televise the climb live in prime time (in partnership with ABC), and had even begun promoting it, then backed out—for now, at least.
Greg Kerzhner, writing about his efforts to send Joe Blau in Oliana, Spain:
A sad feeling comes. Like this is my one chance to finish this thing, the one thing I really cared about for over a month of my life, but like I have no chance of actually doing it because I am fucked, too exhausted to go on. I try to curb that feeling, take a deep breath, and finish business.
The highest rated videos of the past week
Great interview from Rock & Ice’s archives with legendary climber and alpinist Charlie Porter who passed away recently at the age of 63:
To an idealistic youth, who believe in honesty and – if you will – chivalry, my first impressions of many of my early idols were disappointing. More often than not, these people came across as a little too full of themselves, a little too competitive, and a little too quick to judge others while turning a blind eye to their own shortcomings. This, however, was not the case with Charlie. His character left a bigger impression on me than the sum of his climbing accomplishments.
Fred Nicole is still out there exploring new bouldering areas at the age of 43, this time in Patagonia:
The rock is beautiful and compact. In places it reminds me of a quartzite and in others more of a granite. Hard to say, but the forms and holds are beautiful and most of the lines are clear and pure.
PataClimb has a few topos of these areas showing problems from V4 to V13.
Also, Fred Nicole is on Instagram if you’re into that sort of thing.
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