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Cultural divergence between indoor and outdoor climbing
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By Travis Haussener
Feb 5, 2013

Two words Stretch Pants...also I believe if you're getting bored of the cracks you haven't invested enough into Trad Climbing; because you should be doing the finger crack with weights on, with weights off, blindfolded, without taking, backwards and upside down. Just my 2cents.


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By Captain Fastrousers
From Pasadena, CA
Feb 5, 2013

Fat Dad wrote:
If so, no biggie; if not, it's so off base it borders on the ignorant. Post that comment on Supertopo and wait for the pummeling to begin.


I assume you mean the Camp 4 comment? Think of it as slightly facetious but with an uncomfortable kernel of truth. I have no doubt that I would be pummelled on Supertopo, but the reason I don't read that forum anymore is because I can't stand how deeply unpleasant and self-satisfied a great many of the posters there are. Not all, by any means, but enough to skew the signal-to-noise ratio.

Tell me honestly; do you think there were less people then flinging haul bags, faeces and trash off El Cap, or leaving trash stacked in cracks, than there are now?


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By Ian Stewart
Feb 5, 2013

Fat Dad wrote:
Then you are likely part of the problem. This should be evident to anyone who has seen indoor climbers attempt the transition outdoors.


What "problem" are you even talking about? And why would you assume I am part of it?

I'll admit, I started climbing in a gym long before I ever went outside, so I certainly witnessed this transition first-hand. Really, I'd be willing to bet that these days MOST people start in the gym before heading outside.

The gym does not teach people bad etiquette. If they're a douche when they enter the gym, they'll be a douche when they start heading outside. If they enter the gym polite, courteous, and respectful of others, they'll bring those same qualities with them outside. The gym has nothing to do with it.

Maybe you guys are just going to gyms filled to the brim with douchebags, in which case I feel sorry for you. Almost everybody I see at my gym are friendly and courteous, and I'd have no problem climbing with them inside or out (and often have). Even the noobies.


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By berl
From Oregon
Feb 5, 2013

Ian Stewart wrote:
I'll admit, I started climbing in a gym long before I ever went outside, so I certainly witnessed this transition first-hand.



uhh... I think this means you didn't witness the transition at all.

It's true that this topic has been discussed for decades by now, but I don't think that makes it a worthless conversation- climbing is constantly evolving, so the conversation should continue.

2 things I find interesting:
1. the recent uptick in boutique gyms targeted at the intersection of lifestyle, fitness and birthdayparty market segments. Some of these also feature kickass climbing, but they're somewhat beholden to the people paying the bills: people with lots of disposable income that also climb. Membership costs are higher than 'just' a climbing gym because you're paying for all the non-climbing stuff.

2. As gym-born climbers make up the majority of the climbing population, ideas about risk, aesthetics and climbing style are changing. For example,it's understandable that gym-born climbers may have a hard time grasping how or why a climb with bolts could be runout, or why every climbable line at a crag isn't bolted.


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By Captain Fastrousers
From Pasadena, CA
Feb 5, 2013

'Gym-born' climbers; interesting term. I have visions of climbing gyms awash with the placenta and the screams and tears of newborns and women in in labor.


berl wrote:
2. As gym-born climbers make up the majority of the climbing population, ideas about risk, aesthetics and climbing style are changing. For example,it's understandable that gym-born climbers may have a hard time grasping how or why a climb with bolts could be runout, or why every climbable line at a crag isn't bolted.


A study by the British Mountaineering Council found that 80-90% of regularly-participating indoor climbers had never climbed outside, nor had any particular interest in doing so. I suspect the numbers aren't that different in the US. This is one of the reasons why I'm skeptical that predominantly indoor climbers are radically changing the ethics of the outdoor scene.

I also think most people, even those born in a gym, are more aware that the indoor and outdoor crag environments are different and involve different practices, social mores etc than you give them credit for. (This is coming from someone who really doesn't generally give that much credit to humanity) .


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By TWK
Feb 5, 2013

berl wrote:
As gym-born climbers make up the majority of the climbing population . . .


Really?

Or do gym-born "climbers" simply make up the majority of people that spend money in indoor, vertical-walled work out facilities?

We may be at the point where we need a new term for people who gain vertical displacement indoors, as "climber" may not necessarily be the most appropriate or accurate description. Back to the idea of the OP, divergence.


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By Ian Stewart
Feb 6, 2013

berl wrote:
uhh... I think this means you didn't witness the transition at all.


Huh? Definition of 'witness': "One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced". I'm not sure how you can say that I'm not a witness when I experienced it firsthand. And if you think it needs to happen to a third party instead of yourself, I know lots of people that started in the gym and transitioned to outside and so I have seen others do it, too.

The gym doesn't prepare a climber for outdoor climbing. It took me a while to make the transition and it involved the help of a number of books and other helpful people along the way. What I'm saying though are these two points:
1) It's not the gym's responsibility to prepare climbers for outside.
2) Just because a climber starts in the gym, that does not mean that they will act any differently outside than one who pulled on real rock first.


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By Ian Stewart
Feb 6, 2013

I think it's also very important to consider the location of a specific gym when you think about their clientele.

A climbing gym in say, the Colorado Front Range, is very likely to be treated as a training facility by climbers who frequently find themselves outside.

A climbing gym in the heart of a big city, however, will more likely be the exclusive climbing 'destination' for its clients, as access to an outdoor environment may be prohibitive for many people.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Feb 6, 2013

There are droves of bouldering gym climbers that rarely touch rock that come to Hueco and absolutely crush. Of course, those same climbers would suffer on an offwidth, but so would I.

So, if you are a crack climber, you have to gain that skill in the outdoors. Indoor cracks may give some basics, but will never replicate the nuances and constant changing nature of jamming, much less placing gear and setting belays to access even the baisc levels of 5.8-9.

Therefore, if you are drawn to crack climbing, you are now and will continue to be a sub-set of climbing that will enjoy access that really only comes from outside climbing. If I was a crack climber, I would be psyched!

Conversely, bouldering, and a lot of sport climbing, you can become really good at inside, then crush on your yearly 2 week trip and really piss off the dirtbags when you warm up on their projects.


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By austin luper
From Fayetteville
Feb 8, 2013
shes a beaut

I'm sure your first lead was a scary r slab/chimney. Sounds like you just feel superior to beginners just because you know the ropes. Go do some alpine or multipitch. I can assure you there will be no gym rats anywhere near you. If your doing 'real' climbs that is.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Feb 8, 2013

Captain Fastrousers wrote:
Tell me honestly; do you think there were less people then flinging haul bags, faeces and trash off El Cap, or leaving trash stacked in cracks, than there are now?

Sorry for the belated response, but, yes. I will attach a fotenote to that to create an exception for the Euros, some of whom had absolute zero wilderness ethic.

But it's not even just about that. It's also about the willingness to place bolts to compensate for lack of trad skills; convenience anchors to avoid walk offs, continually resorting to TRing climbs you had no chance of leading (perhaps Josh, not the Valley, is a better example of that) and then leaving TRs up all day so other can't lead; claiming that those against retrobolting are "elitist" for not agreeing to dumb down climbs, etc.

In short, I just have a hard time understanding the basis for your opinion when you were clearly too young to be there to make those observations. Rather, it seems that you are you merely assuming that just as a means of avoiding an honest discussion on the subject.


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