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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
The first grade 36 in Australia 14-Jul-2006 At 2:42:29 PM The Keeper
Time to get a few of these lads(& lasses) out on some rock!!! A bit too much self-flagellation going on here - I do not want Aussie going Islamic although certain benefits could accrue some gnarly matildas in Queen'sland with a jihad or two.
A couple of Canadian cents - whose worth against the Aussie dollar has risen or is rising! :) Frankly mates, I do not think you have much to worry about. Climbing is alive and well down under. You have lots of amazing crags, lots of excellent climbers doing some pretty impressive climbing, an excellent climbing mag, some excellent web sites that are alive with energy (and occasionally some other bodily functions - but reflecting a pretty dynamic milieu) and so on. Your talent stacks up favorably with any other on the planet so I don't think you have to feel insecure about it all. My read, is that Aussies going offshore do pretty bloody well on the crags higher and yon - look at Mike Law's depredations in South America and the US - we will batten the hatches and brew more beer if he emerges out of the southernmists to cross the 49th parallel.
What are the determinants of a top climber? Is it only ability to do multi-dyno leaps under wildly hanging and sketchy rock. What about those who climb in a cleaner , simpler style? What about those that emphasize techique over power? What about those that are masters of gear placements in unforgiving terrain? The list goes on.
The ability to do a 36 or 37 is a pretty narrow perspective on what constitutes high end climbing. What about the well -rounded generalist that can climb a multitude of rock types , in variable conditions - maybe throw some ice into the mix or mix up ice and rock. What about the ability for innovation as a element of a good climber rather than
cook-book approaches over a narrow set of parameters. You do not have to have a grade 36 or 37 route to be considered a top and challenging climbing destination or have someone in your midst who has done such a route. Maybe you should look at the mean or the range rather than the extreme outliers as defining the overall climbing capability and capacity - and to that I would say that Aussie is right up there with the best. And since I am a Canuck, and we are borne without a biased bone in our bodies - - known for our shy, retiring persona, then this must be the truth. I think STICKY had it wired - climbing is a robust and encompassing thing and there is no one route to salvation or stardom. Just because the American climbing mags pump their rock climbers to god status one needs to take this with a fairly liberal dose of salt. There are certainly some climbers there but the carpet marketing of them tends to exagerate more than a bit. I happen to like ROCK because it hasn't sold itself to that god - it is pretty straight on stuff, good articles, good photos , a considerable lack of pretension and if I only could afford a couple of mags that would be certainly be a keeper.

I am not trashing high end goals and objectives - I just think it needs to be kept in the real world and in perspective. It is not the end -all be -all and nor should it in Aussie.
Just climb, have some fun with some mates, drink a bit of decadent cladestine Canadian beer, treat all Canucks with TLC and get on with it. It will all fall into place as it should. Abby Watkins, Greg Child, Ace, the Boonah vixen, Monique Forestier - I don't think you have problems producing top rate climbers!!! And Scott Milton, who we unleashed down under awhile back came away with exactly the same impression - he climbs 5.14 whatever and I don't so go with it!

PS I happen to think Ron Kauk's Middle Cathedral Rock traverse in Yosemite as outlined in Kroese's "Fifty Favorite Climbs: The Ultimate North American Tick List" is the most impressive climb in the entire book. Grab the Ascending Rythyms DVD which shows him doing it - this is an impressive climber - the magical footwork and amazing body movements. That is not Grade 37 but is is pretty bloody good climbing in my book! Plus the guy has some good wiring and credibility on other climbs to back it all up as well. That is the type of stuff that inspires me - not one hit wonders.

PPS I once suggested to my mate at Onsight Photography that he should have at doing an Aussie rendition of the 50 favourite climbs - maybe when you see yourselves in action ,the insecurity will be diminished. Hmm, Aussies being insecure - someone must really be getting into some contraband powedery white stuff from Columbia, or Bali even!!!

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