New Partnership With Professional Climbers International

New Partnership With Professional Climbers International

The astute among you may have noticed a bit of a change to the design of this site yesterday.  This change coincides with the launch of Professional Climbers International (PCI), a group I am excited to be partnering with going forward.  The partnership is still in its early phases, but look forward to first hand information from PCI’s athletes in addition the usual dose of whatever it is I normally do here.

PCI’s stated mission is to “increase the value of the sport for the benefit of its athletes, its industry and the protection of the environment.”  Take a look at their new website to learn a bit more about them and to read through their athlete profiles for members like Alex Honnold, Kevin Jorgeson, Paul Robinson and Alex Puccio.

Update:  Here’s a press release from PCI

Professional Climbers International (PCI) announces launch of new website

Professional Climbers International (PCI) is proud to announce the launch of its website, www.proclimbers.com. The site creates a centralized point to learn about climbing’s brightest stars. It also provides a place to learn about PCI’s three core initiatives, all of which serve to increase the value of climbing for the benefit of its athletes and industry:

  • To increase visibility of the sport.
  • To increase the accessibility of the sport.
  • To promote behavior and public policy that preserves and protects our environment.

The portal provides a clear pathway for fans to connect with athletes, their accomplishments, projects, and interests. Climbers and fans will have direct access to PCI athlete profiles, featuring in-depth biographies, career highlights, photos and videos. Sponsors will enjoy the benefits of a featured product page where athletes will recommend their favorite gear.

PCI offers athletes at any stage of development the right tools to propel a career. PCI provides a wealth of resources to its members. These range from advisory services to portfolio development, from grants to public relations assistance. Membership is open to any sponsored climber, from a grassroots member receiving free product to professionals at the top of their game. “Our goal is to increase the value that both athletes and sponsors bring to their relationship,” explains PCI Chairman Rusty Klassen.

“Pulling together” is PCI’s creed. In that spirit, PCI is partnered with The Access Fund, rock climbing’s nationwide access advocacy group, to advance their common goals. Reflecting this, $10 of every PCI membership goes to The Access Fund, enrolling all PCI members as Access Fund members. In 2010, PCI worked with The Access Fund to revitalize its Ambassador Program. This initiative harnesses the presence of professional climbers in the community to promote and increase stewardship of all climbing areas.

To increase interest in and accessibility to the benefits of climbing, PCI has launched its first youth educational climbing programs in Sonoma, CA at The Presentation School (K-8) and the Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley (K-12). “Climbing is an activity that kids of all ages and skill levels can enjoy,” says PCI Instructor Patrick Smithson. The successful implementation of the community-wide climbing program has only been a first step in enacting this initiative. “We want to create a highly replicable program in Sonoma, one that can be shared with hundreds, and eventually thousands, of Boys and Girls Clubs and schools across the country,” says PCI President Kevin Jorgeson.

PCI is also partnered with Brian Runnells, founder of the popular climbing news website, www.climbingnarc.com. This collaboration will provide Brian with the means to enrich his news stories with first hand information from the athletes. Viewers of Climbing Narc will now be able to learn more about athletes in the news by visiting the PCI website. ”I’m excited about the partnership with PCI and I look forward to the opportunities this will provide to enhance both our brands,” says Brian.

Founded in 2009, PCI is a 501(c)4 non-profit with the mission to increase the value of the sport of climbing for the benefit of its athletes, industry and protection of the environment.

For more information, go to www.proclimbers.com. Images, tours and further information are available on request. For breaking news about PCI members and initiatives, follow PCI on Twitter @proclimbers and on Facebook at PCI

Update #2: Peter Beal interviews PCI President Kevin Joregson

Posted In: Off the Board

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39 Responses to New Partnership With Professional Climbers International

  1. Julian January 5, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Their site looks borked right now. Using Firefox 3.6.9. Looks fine in IE 8 though.

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  2. congrats January 5, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Congrats on the partnership.

    So I was looking at their site and looked at memberships and really did not understand what this was. So are they a management organization for climber. I see that they don;t have an in house lawyer to negotiate for specific people, but they are “designed to help increase the value that sponsors and athletes bring to their respective relationships” This shows how much cash their is to be made these days. I respect anyone whose got interesting ideas. I’d do a little bit better job explaining what a person will get by joining as well as obtain the services of a lawyer to do specific things. It would seem really the whole function would be to negotiate for people, otherwise they could just go directly to the source like Eric H. and just hire him directly. Good luck

    here is the whole quote
    “PCI offers all members consulting services in general negotiation, working with sponsors, promotion, career planning, nutrition and media production. PCI will not speak or negotiate on behalf of an individual athlete. PCI’s consulting services are designed to help increase the value that sponsors and athletes bring to their respective relationships. PCI members will be able to arrange phone conferences with the following PCI Advisors:”

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  3. PCI January 5, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Congrats:
    The distinction to be made is that PCI is not an agency. An agency would work on direct behalf of individual athletes to further their career interests, like you say, through contract negotiation and active outreach by an in house agent/lawyer. PCI is founded to work on behalf of a class of athletes, as a whole, by offering universal services they may utilize at their own impetus. Thanks to our partnerships with advisors like Eric Horst, Noah Kaufman, and others, our members will have access to expert advice at a fraction of the cost they would be facing otherwise.

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    • oops... January 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      uuhh, the thumbs down here was an accident…it was indented for another posting (below). just wanted to make that clear.

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  4. What's the point? January 5, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I don’t understand why companies in the outdoor industry would want to support an organization like this, which seems to be operating under the premise that “the harder you climb, the more money you should make.” This formula doesn’t take into account the reality of what companies are seeking in their athletes–it goes beyond the actual grade or achievement. Just because you climb hard doesn’t mean that 1) other people will care about who you are or what you do, and 2) a lot of professional climbing involves helping to push and market products, product development, and being a positive presence in the community–not just sleeping in, getting stoned and climbing some obscure piece of stone and calling it a new V14 and making a video of yourself doing it.

    Why would any outdoor company want the PCI dictating to them what they think their sponsorship criteria should be? And, on the flip side, why would a climber seeking to become a professional, want a third party organization going to bat for them? As it is, for any climber seeking sponsorship, the sky is the limit (in theory). This org. seems to somehow be capping that–while taking money from the bottom tier of climbers (“grassroots”)–those who are ignorant about how to play the game, but whose desires to be sponsored are strong. They will be coming to the PCI since it seems legitimate, but I fail to see what the PCI can offer them. “Repeat Jade and we’ll introduce you to Evolv” ????? Why would Evolv, or any company, care?

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    • PCI January 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

      Please allow me to clarify our premise and mission, as there appears to be a slight misunderstanding. Our purpose is to change the mentality that “the harder you climb, the more money you should make.” To illustrate the point, let me provide some context.

      When I received my first climbing sponsorship, I had no idea how to be a valuable asset to my sponsors. I just tried to be polite, appreciative, and focus on what I could do for them, instead of what they could do for me. There was, and remains, little structure within the sport to help athletes understand how to grow and mature as professionals. PCI’s membership levels are structured in a way that allows us to target our membership benefits to the athletes that need it most. For example, a Grassroots athlete likely needs help understanding what sponsorship is all about. A Pro-Am member likely needs more exposure and is eligible for the grant program. Professionals likely need help with the public promotion of their events. These levels are not designed to dictate for how a company should structure their sponsorship criteria. However, we believe the climbing industry can benefit from some structuring on the athlete’s side, helping them understand what is reasonably expected of them at each stage of development, as well as what they might see in return.

      As stated on our site, PCI was founded to increase the value that athletes and sponsors bring to their relationship. For athletes, especially grassroots athletes new to sponsorship, this means helping them realize the variety of ways they can be helpful to their sponsors beyond just their climbing ability, including:
      – Having a solid professional portfolio to be able to show their current sponsors as well as potential new sponsors what they have accomplished and where they plan to take their career in the next year
      – How to work with media to maximize both their own and their sponsors’ exposure
      – Ensure they conduct themselves as a positive, contributing member of the climbing community
      – Ways the athlete can participate in marketing initiatives and product development

      As an athlete that has been involved in some form of sponsorship for the past decade, my experience is that personal initiative goes a long way with a company. The PCI staff will work directly with athletes during all stages of development, and will listen to the needs and priorities of the industry. As a result, PCI can help raise the standard for what it means to be sponsored.

      For sponsors, this means having a team of athletes that do much more than climb hard. This team is more cohesive, more connected to the brand and more connected to the community. Lastly, as stated in response to “congrats,” PCI is not an agency. We do not make introductions on behalf of athletes. Instead, we will give athletes the resources to get in contact with companies, but leave the outreach and initiative up to the athletes themselves. In short, we strive to produce the quality of athlete that is best for the industry, a growing market that is best for the athletes, and the community that respects the natural environment of our climbing areas.

      Kevin Jorgeson, President, PCI

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      • WTP January 6, 2011 at 10:20 am #

        Cool, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification….so, you’re basically a consulting agency for pro climbers?

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        • PCI January 6, 2011 at 11:28 am #

          Right on. Glad I could clear that up. Yes, we do consulting for pro climbers, but don’t forget the other aspects of our Visibility Initiative (grants and events), our Accessibility Initiative (see Sonoma Project), and our work with the Access Fund. To succeed at our mission, it will take a continued effort to forward all three of these things simultaneously.

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  5. mose January 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    I’m diggin this PCI thing, I think it’s about freakin time someone stepped up and put the work in to develop an organization like this.

    And, in response to WTP?, I didn’t see anything on the PCI sight that indicated a “climb harder, earn more cash” mentality, they seem to be about bringing climbing to the masses & protecting the rock. Sounds good to me.

    Of course, I can understand some folks bitching about rising popularity & crowds at the crag & spoiled cry-baby athletes & the loss of climbing’s cool anti-establishment vibe. But I’m not worried about it. Climbing scares the sh*t out of 90% of the population; our top athletes live in vans, are lucky to have health insurance and have nothing to fall back on after their 15 minute shelf-life; and there will always be a place for hardcore bad-asses on the forefront & at the fringe (where they like it).

    It sounds like this organization will put on some sick comps, improve the sponsorship game for athletes, expose a bunch of noobs to something we all love, fund some great adventures (grant program, yay!), produce some nice vids, strengthen the community and generally work towards a better world for climbers. It’s like someone listened to all the bitching around the campfire and went and did something. Hats off to the folks involved.

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  6. toothbrush January 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Nice to see some familiar faces on the board members page – wo0t Vertex. Good on ya PCI!!

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  7. This is lame January 6, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    This is taking climbing in the wrong direction. Lame, very lame! Whatever happen to climbing because you love to climb, not because of the fame. Be humble and lose the egos, your not that cool!

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    • Narc January 6, 2011 at 8:32 am #

      Are the 2 things so mutually exclusive???

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      • This is lame January 6, 2011 at 11:56 am #

        yeah, I believe most climbers want to climb for the enjoyment rather than climb for the fame. Your idolizing the climber rather than idolizing the sport. It seems more like a popularity contest and how many “new” routes one can put up and how muscular you can make your photos. Give me a break and now, your apart of this “clan” of fame hungry egg-heads and must report on what your told and when your told no matter how lame it is. Is this the fall of the Narc? Now a controlled media source?

        It is sad that something so organic and unique gets caught up in such a horrible scheme.

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        • Pat January 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

          Er, I’m pretty sure you’re missing the point. I’m assuming Narc is working with PCI in order to promote and further their goals of improving the climbing industry. From what I gather, PCI seems to be headed in the right direction, by providing sponsored athletes with more effective tools and methods of reaching out to the community and representing their specific sponsors. This is just going to help create better, more responsible members of our community.

          How can you really complain about any company or organization that works to promote access, in the end?

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          • This is lame January 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

            It seems to me like they are using the access fund more as a promotional tool then anything. Taking advantage of the access fund for their reach.

            I agree with the “Whats the point” fellow.

            I don’t see how this is “improving” the climbing industry what so ever. I see it more of a tool for a select group elite athletes to try and “control” sponsorships and promote who and what they want. This isn’t climbing, this is an elite business that is going to suck the blood dry from the sport.

            I can see it now, “Narc reports President Jorgeson and elite friends have invited Joe Shmoe to join PCI” but what about little Andy? “Sorry little Andy, your climbing V10, Joe Shmoe is climbing v14 and working on the first V17, he has more potential.”

            Screw this!

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          • Narc January 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

            “How can you really complain about any company or organization that works to promote access, in the end?”

            I agree with most of what Pat said but I don’t think you can just blindly support any organization simply because of something like supporting the Access Fund. Clearly PCI’s support of the Access Fund is a good thing, but that will not and should insulate them from any sort of thoughtful critique.

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        • Narc January 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

          Again, I don’t see why climbers can’t climb “for the enjoyment” and achieve some level of “fame” at the same time (provided their “fame” is based on the right things of course). It’s been going on for decades now so I’m not sure how all of a sudden this is the end of the world. Why does anyone visit 8a.nu, watch climbing movies with the same 5 people in them, or read half the posts on this site if they aren’t interested in the famous, well known personalities that are out there?

          And the idea that I will somehow become a “controlled media source” is laughable. Nobody has ever or will ever tell me what to post. What’s the fun in that?

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        • Jcoop January 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

          First of all, there’s nothing wrong with having role models in the climbing world. I enjoy being able to follow the engaging and unique personalities in the climbing world. Are you telling me I’m wrong for this?

          And seriously, “fame hungry egg-heads”? These guys are rock climbers! They got into the wrong industry to seek fame. There are maybe a handful of climbers who would get recognized on the streets of Boulder, anywhere else they’re just a face in the crowd.

          And finally, yes the guy working on the V17 boulder problem absolutely deserves to be sponsored over the V10 boulderer, because he clearly has more potential. In your hypothetical situation, there is 1 person in the world doing a V17, there are thousands doing V10. The V17 guy is obviously more deserving of sponsorship. He or she is pushing the limits of climbing, and likely devoting their entire life to doing so. You provide such a stupid argument that it makes me think you’re nothing but a troll. Do you think climbing companies should just throw free gear to everyone?

          If you don’t want to be involved in this, then by all means don’t. Unplug your computer, sponsor yourself, and go rock climbing. You have that option.

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  8. toothbrush January 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    To the skeptics. I understand the need to keep climbing at a grassroots level. But, a pro climber is a top level athlete – on par with any multi-million dollar paid athlete that plays in the MBL, NFL etc, etc. I’d venture to guess that any V12 climber has invested even more personal time and effort than any one of those pampered whiners in elite paid entertainment sports. To top that off, you and I get to sit here and watch all of their efforts via free videos on the internet or films that are priced like any dvd or blu-ray. And we can go interact with their vision at our own cost and time. So, why criticize a non-profit organization for charging a semipro/pro climber a maximum $100 yearly fee in order to provide services that aid them in getting ahead and ensuring that their carrer keeps moving forward and doesn’t stalemate. These climbers need protection and promotion. The hippies and environmentalists aren’t gonna us deteriorate the rocks forever so we gotta make sure we’ve got solid representation and financing and any organization that steps forward to ensure that future I support.

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  9. anti-PC January 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    This is destined to flop. Narc, you’re being used. Their pro climbers are almost 100% all americans, where’s the international? They’re laughing at the concept. Good try to spin off doing something good for the community, but I give it about 1 year before Carlo’s daddy is bank rolling it. Might be a little longer if they sucker in gymrats to buy the memberships.

    again, narc, you are the best news site right now on the web, too bad you got suckered into this, losing respect for you now. Let them do their own work and publish their news. My guess is, there isn’t any news relevant to their site or mission besides that project, which is just a pilot program.

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  10. SP January 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    The way these posts have blown up is bizarre. It’s as if some view this as a governmental body of the climbing world, selectively choosing only the strongest individuals. It is not. In fact, it probably will not impact most if any of the people who’ve posted so far.

    Now, if climbing makes it to the Olympics? Then perhaps some organizational body will be created. But this certainly isn’t it.

    On a side note, to Jcoop, I do not agree that the V17 boulderer deserves sponsorship over the V10 climber. Let’s not forget that manufacturers and vendor’s are seeking representatives, not spray lord’s. I have the smallest sponsorships probably in the entire climbing world, but truthfully, if I climbed 5 grades harder I don’t think I’d feel like I deserve more deals or dollars. Now if I bouldered a few grades less, but was a huge part of the local community, developing tons of routes, creating access, and providing benefit to the sport beyond a number grade, then yes, I would probably push for more.

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    • Jcoop January 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

      Unless the V10 climber is a well known and visible figure in the climbing community (creating media, making websites, working for access, etc.) what incentive is there to sponsor them? It’s correct to say that companies want representatives, but they need to be visible, and can you honestly tell me that your local crag developer is better known then the Daniel Woods and Chris Sharma’s of the world? I’m not saying that the small local guys are not deserving at all, but there’s no way they are in the same category as the athletes pushing the limits.

      I think I need to make a distinction when I say sponsorships, because there is a vast range in the degree of sponsorships out there. In my situation, I’m referring to is a climber who doesn’t have to work any other job and just climbs. The elite tier. These guys have to devote their lives to what they do and unless they are able to do that with the help of sponsors, may not be able to push the limits.

      Also, where did I say the V17 climber had to be a spray lord? When someone is on the cutting edge of what is physically possible for climbers, they will be known, whether they like it or not.

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      • SP January 7, 2011 at 11:14 am #

        Thanks for the thoughtful response and clarification. I think much of my mis-understanding was that the vast majority of sponsored climbers are not pushing human limits, and that most are not compensated nearly enough to be “full-time,” which I assumed you thought most sponsored athletes were.

        In my small community, most people know the developers and those pushing harder locally, better than the latest sends of Chris Sharma or super projects of DW (not that they don’t know who they are). I would bet this is the same in most communities in the US, which is why local hero sponsorship can have such a huge impact. It’s easier to relate to someone you see at your crag climbing hard lines, who are active in the community and good people to associate with. Climbing media and the latest “strong sends” are typically only viewed by a small, younger sample of the overall climbing population, at least where I am. It’s a growing segment no doubt, but I would be surprised if 50% of the at-large climbing population paid attention to the elite in the sport.

        I should have specified that I don’t necessarily mean that someone sending V10 deserves sponsorpship over someone sending V17, but instead that there are less than elite level athletes deserving more sponsorship than those simply pushing limits. To me, someone creating access, development, and overall being a friendly voice in the community is much more deserving of the spotlight and revenue than some teenage genetic freak that just sends big numbers. I hope most agree.

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  11. dave January 6, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Looks like another attempt to bring more money into climbing to me. Their mission statement is to increase the exposure to climbing and make it easier for people to get in.

    More people=more money.

    But, since 99% of climbers make no money from climbing, is more people a better thing? For me the answer is a resounding no. I’m not saying I don’t like people, and I’m not saying I don’t like new climbers, but I’m not trying to get people into it (I did when I was new.)

    The fun thing about climbing is that is is a personal experience in an age of sports voyeurism. I respect the guys at the top end, but I sure don’t want to see my next rope or shoes cost $20 more so those guys can make more money.

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    • Jcoop January 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

      I don’t think that having more money in the climbing is necessarily going to make things more expensive, in fact it should have the opposite effect. If there is more money, there will likely be more competition to get said money. There may be new start up companies or large companies not traditionally associated with climbing looking to get into the industry, driving prices down and innovation up.

      I’m not saying that it’s a good or a bad thing that this happens though, it just is.

      Honestly though, the sport is growing. If you want to close your eyes and plug ears and pretend that it’s not happening fine, so be it. People like to climb. Gyms are getting larger and springing up in new places where people would never have access to outdoor climbing. The accessibility and relative safety of bouldering is appealing to many people and it will continue to draw more people to the sport. All we can hope to do is help new climbers understand issues with access, and help move climbing in a positive direction.

      Or you can just close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream as loud as you can. That way nothing will change…

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      • dave January 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

        some very good points there Jcoop. The sport is growing and we need to ensure that new climbers go down the right path.

        I’m not sure about things getting cheaper though, mixed evidence. I think gear is cheaper (relatively) now than it was in 1980, but things have definitely gone up during my 10 year climbing career. An exception is Mad Rock, but I don’t like their stuff despite it’s cheapness.

        That said… I don’t think having ‘better pros’ will impact my experience in a positive way. As far as I can tell, this organization is a marketing firm. What is the goal of marketing? To make money. That needs to be extracted from somewhere.

        Now, I certainly don’t begrudge anyone trying to make a living, and if they can make it from climbing good for them. If they need to do that by increasing team costs to companies that gets passed down to me, I’m not interested.

        It will be interesting to see how they try to market climbing though, as most climbing is pretty boring to watch. I’d say 1 in 10 videos holds my interest (rough guess, and I don’t generally care for bouldering vids, hmm, maybe number should be 1 in 20.)

        Crowds did hep me discover some lesser traveled lines though that turned out to be more compelling routes than their 5 starred buffed clean neighbors, so I guess I should be thankful for that.

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  12. congrats January 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    So checked back in and saw that people reacted about like I would expect. On the left you’ve got the climbers who do it for the soul, on the left you’ve got competition folks

    From a business stand point I still do not get it. Why no just go directly to these sources, pay them and cut out the middle man. If business teaches us anything it is that a middle man must serve a purpose. I do see that they have access to multiple information sources. But unless these sources of information will only use PCI (and they do not!), a client can go around PCI. With the internet I can contact everyone of these people on my own and offer to pay them money. I’m not saying that this can’t work, but I do not see why it should.

    I wish them the best in this business venture but again I think that they need an in house lawyer that will negotiate for clients so that they at least have a service to supply besides having three way conference calls.

    The nice thing about a business like this is that their is no office, no cost except a website so they don’t stand to lose any money if it does not work.

    Again interesting concept but I just think that they need to offer more. Unless they can basically get people sponsorships if they climb at a certain grade and contact them.

    I’ve read to many times that we are in the age of self promotion. All you need is a camera (nice) phone, some pirated editing software and you can get noticed

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  13. Btownstomp January 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    I made a short video about this topic-

    removed

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    • Narc January 8, 2011 at 7:51 am #

      You can make all the snarky videos you want, but please try to keep things at least somewhat appropriate??

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  14. Narc January 8, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding among some of you about all
    this. What PCI is trying to do and my role in things. Hopefully as
    things progress PCI (and myself) will be able to help clear things
    up.

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  15. peter beal January 8, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Brian, I should have an interview with Kevin about PCI up
    on my blog by this afternoon. It should explain a few things more
    clearly that people are speculating about here. Peter

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  16. congrats January 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Saw the update and it seems that they want to help shape
    climbing ethics and the direction of the sport. This is a good
    thing cause so many climber out there have no respect. @ peter
    beal. A business should not leave room for people to speculate.
    They should have a clear mission statement that a 5th grader can
    understand. The reason it is difficult to understand is because I
    think they are still unsure what they themselves are doing. The
    update helps to understand. Good luck and I really like the idea of
    the sonoma CA helping kids idea. Also like that this is a non
    profit. I think this has potential just hope you find some
    business/lawyer to help guide you guys to success.

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    • congrats January 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      So I read the interview with KJ and honestly this seems like they are trying to manage something that does not need to be managed.

      Again wish KJ the best, I still don’t get it. Why not just do what other kids are doing and just go out there, climb hard, make videos, and have a personality that will help companies sell shoes. You can’t take someone who does not fit the marketing profile of a company and change them to fit it. Enter comps and do well. Notice that that their is nothing like that out there until now and we have pro climbers. So logically one can conclude that this sort of business is not essential. What it will be is rich kids folks, throwing money at this to hope that they can get there kid (who is not good enough) a shot. Again I still don’t see how hard it is to contact 5 ten directly, show them your stuff. You either got it or ya don’t

      It does not seem like climbing ethics are the focus at all. What seems to be in focus is making money off kids who do not realize how to do a few simple things (SELF PROMOTION) that are so easy to do these days.

      I hope they choose to focus on the non profit side and the ethics of not being a douche bag

      I’m just hoping that they can realize early on that they might need to shift their business model.

      Good luck

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  17. Sid January 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    There is so much negative energy towards this new concept.
    I personally like the idea. Whether people like it or not, climbing
    IS growing and growth means more exposure means more cash flow.
    This sport of ours cannot remain the “underdog” sport forever. It
    will mature and maybe another 20 or 30 years down the road, there
    is potential for the top elite climbers to be making the millions
    of dollars that other top athletes earn. I don’t see this as a bad
    thing, this is the natural evolution and the people pushing the
    limits of what’s humanly impossible deserve as much as any other
    athlete in any other sport. That being said, I think once money is
    involved, something that few of us have lots of, our judgement gets
    clouded. Above all, the sponsorship of an athlete depends on how
    much brand exposure he/she will bring the company. If joe somebody
    sees Chris Sharma climbing in Evolvs, will that make him want to
    wear Evolvs too… If a climber is very strong but is a douchebag,
    people won’t like the personality and he or she will likely not be
    sponsored for very long, and vice versa. The idea that being a cool
    and friendly personality and super strong climber are mutually
    exclusive is FALSE. This idea seems to be reflected in several
    posts above. Also, the point regarding this being exclusive to
    Americans is silly: the foundation originated here and is still in
    its infancy. It only makes sense that it only has American athletes
    so far. Facebook didn’t open itself to the whole world from day
    one, and it still became wildly successful. As for the comment
    about it being good enough for a climber to pull hard, make videos
    and be friendly.. well not every climber is a cinematographer. Why
    not leave the filming to the experts and do what you do best. This
    way, maybe a well produced video will grab the attention of the
    masses and perhaps lead to more sponsorship for that individual!
    Sorry for the long post. Just my 2c

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    • dave January 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      I see million dollar climbing sponsorships as a bad thing.

      Look at the goals of the PCI, as stated on their web page:
      1. more exposure to climbing. = more money
      2. get more people into climbing. = more money.

      3. Access and environmental stewardship. I’m sure they mean it… but they have to say it.

      Fact is more people are going outside. More people = more impact, no matter how much you educate. I agree that if you have more people caring about the outdoors this can be a powerful thing, but does anyone really think that more people in the outdoors improves it?

      I say let’s keep pro climbing dominated by the trust fund guys!

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  18. peter beal January 11, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    A quick response to “congrats” regarding just getting out there and making videos, etc. The standard for getting sponsored is about to make a quantum shift and very soon in my view. The way things are done now or have been done will not be a reliable guide to the future. The advice to “just contact 5.10 directly” ironically enough was just what Kevin did and as my interview shows, initially got him nowhere. And Kevin is one of the most talented, articulate climbers I have encountered.

    Most climbers who have been in the scene for any amount of time will tell you that your social contacts will always trump your climbing ability in getting onto the sponsorship ladder. To get higher up it, sure climbing helps, but there a number of “pro” climbers whose resumes are not exactly brimming with world-class achievements.

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  19. Luke January 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    This might end up being a bit long winded but I can’t understand why so many people are being short sighted.

    In my mind there are two problems.

    1. Climbers that are very strong and thus feel entitled to free stuff without feeling a need to contribute to the community.

    2. Climbers who give back properly to the community but are unable to properly market themselves to sponsors, even though, in my opinion, they are deserving.

    The problem with scenario one is that as climbing grows there will be more and more strong climbers throwing down sick numbers and filming themselves. This only seems to stick with the “antiquated” idea of a pro climber.

    Climbers in scenario two would greatly benefit from a professional organization that will help them refine resumes, develop contacts and learn the industry.

    I interpret that the goal of PCI is to help climbers become real professionals. By this I hope that eventually “pro” climbers will conduct themselves in a way that is beneficial to their sponsors and the community at large.

    In my mind this is a great because people that are both pushing the sport and willing to give back will be more visible and. No longer can you say “I climb V13 give me free shoes”. You have to show how your climbing is shaping the future, influencing others, giving back and ultimately exposing the product of the sponsor.

    I think Joe Kinder is one of the poster climbers for being a “pro”. While his never ending psyche and enthusiasm may be off-putting for some he is getting out all season long, producing videos, bolting routes and in his own way shaping climbing. He may not be putting up the cutting edge routes that Sharma or Ondra can climb but he is visible which is great for his sponsors.

    The Dawn wall project has captured a huge amount of press and Tommy and Kevin are doing their sponsor proud as Black Diamond ambassadors. They could have been working behinds the scenes but with the use of marketing tools have grown interest to a new level. This in turn fuels the psyche for TC and Kevin. Awesome!

    So if the PCI can help more climbers give back to the community and shape the future I am all for it. I hope that the new generation will value things other than big numbers and partying. How pro climbers conduct them is important when they become role models. As was seen with Tiger Woods, your personal conduct can effect your sponsorship.

    Perhaps this could happen without the PCI but I think having a “career” focused organization in climbing is a good thing.

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  20. mark January 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    It seems like there are so many sponsored (free stuff or paid to promote a brand) climbers as it is. I am not sure having more really helps the sport grow.

    The youth of today entering the sport through all the rock gyms, do not care about who climbs v whatever or 5.15 outside. They look up to athletes with competition success just like other sports and that is what they aspire to be. Like it or not, it is what it is.

    If the PCI can help organize the true pro climbers(those that compete consistently) and help bring larger competition events,the flow through effect(cash) for the entire industry will be substantial.

    The trick is making the pie bigger, that will benefit everyone. A strategy to take more bites of a limited pie, the way it used to be, is not going to work.

    The PCI can help many athletes on how to behave, dress, promote themselves, etc.. I can think of only a few athletes in the sport that understand this concept, so in my opinion the PCI is needed..

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