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crazyjizzy

What makes an interesting read

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I have read alot of magazine articles and TR's since 1975, and have decided that most writings are just plain shitty.

 

This is not a recent occurance. By far the worst writing I have seen was a series by Bob Cotter when he was desperately trying to become the "nice" Twight. He had some unreadable stream of thought garbage of climbing the Croz Spur with Bebie, a muddled tale of Big Four, and a account of his solo on Edith Cavell that literally dripped with equipment name dropping.

 

1) Keep it short; I almost always scan a TR for lenght, and I know a long one is almost always padded with shit.

 

2) Formulas aren't bad. AlpineK has recieved some shit for his time-line driven TR's, but they get to the point, and impart the information. AlpineK knows he ain't Ed Webster.

 

3) Leave out the superflous crap. We don't need to read about your car, your wife (unless she has big knockers), your job, dog, etc. As a case in point "Big Four - Sprindrift Couloir, second ascent" was really padded with tripe. Who cares if he went skiing the weekend before? And does anyone give a shit that the guy you were going to climb with went to Mt. Index instead?

 

4) Knock off the name dropping. So what if you recieved beta from Jim Nelson, Kit, Charlie, Bryan Burdo etc. What happens when you mention the name of a semi-famous NW climber; is that you're chest thumping that you must be good, because your friends are.

 

5) Don't write love letters to your gear. Here I point to both the aforementioned Bob Cotter, and Spindrift. Cotter mentioned his gear so much that I expected to see trademarks. And Spindrift used "BD 22cm" etc way too much. This type of writing may have been OK in '75 when Alex McIntyre was waxing about his 'Terrors on the Shroud, but this ain't the seventies, and Mountain is long gone.

 

I had a Professor who was a master at abstracts, and he liked to point out that at least one Nobel Prize has been won with an abstract ( I can not vouch for this claim). While the number of outdoor participants has grown alot in the last 20+ years, the number of periodicals (and the attendant number of writers) has grown even larger. Sadly, the number of good writers has remained stagnent. Climbing and R&I, are largely drivel about what to buy. Outside and a couple of similar mags always have a article or two that are real good. They use real journalists.

 

The internet has diluted this gene pool even more.

 

madgo_ron.gif

 

On a similar vien, do we need to read climbing resumes when someone replies to "Partners wanted". How about PM's? Or is there an ultier motive?

 

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In my opinion, the person writing the TR is writing the TR to share information. If you don't like what the person's writing it's pretty easy to ignore the parts that bother you and take in the parts you want to know about. Everybody works in different ways .. just because you don't want to hear something doesn't mean someone else doesn't.

 

As for name dropping, just because someone mentions someone "famous" in a TR doesn't mean they're bragging about knowing them. If they are, they're a putz, but I have yet to read a TR where I felt someone was bragging about knowing someone.

 

And about having to read climbing resumes, I would think a climbing resume would give some indication of how experienced a climber is. This would enable the person seeking a climbing partner to get a better idea how experienced the stranger is who just asked to tag along on a route that, with the wrong partner, could possibly kill them both.

 

It's pretty ridiculous to bitch about how people provide information to you when they're doing you a favor in the process. This post seems silly to me, and I don't often go out of my way to discount a post on this board. I don't mean to pick on you, I just don't agree with your post. bigdrink.gif

 

Cheers

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I have seen some realy bad climbing articals in National Geographic. I always wonder if some nonclimbing relative or friend will give me a subcription to R &I or climbing yellowsleep.gifyellowsleep.gifyellowsleep.gifyellowsleep.gif.

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Leave out the superflous crap. We don't need to read about your car, your wife (unless she has big knockers), your job, dog, etc. As a case in point "Big Four - Sprindrift Couloir, second ascent" was really padded with tripe. Who cares if he went skiing the weekend before? And does anyone give a shit that the guy you were going to climb with went to Mt. Index instead?

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Too much bullshit in the TR's. I'm thinking Crazy would like no-nonsense approach in the following TR:

 

just the facts

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I think a lot of bad writing comes from people trying to match the cliched overly melodramatic TR archetype. Too many 10cent words. But usually the more people write, the better they get, so I wouldn't want to discourage anyone just because their mangled syntax makes me cringe from time to time. I agree with CrazyJZ's point about length, for me the post entertaining stories are usually fairly short. Sk and Jk had a good one a few months back that was like 3 paragraphs but a great fun read.

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might i suggest this format:

 

opening paragraph covers important details, where you went, conditions, success or failure, interesting gear tips that are route specific and any raves or rants about new gear. Embelish your heart out after that. Some people do a great job of this and it does make a fun read!

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cripes! i'm a science nerd i can't write anything interesting. besides some things aren't meant to be shared w/the general public.

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minx said:

cripes! i'm a science nerd i can't write anything interesting. besides some things aren't meant to be shared w/the general public.

 

Chipendales, eh? HCL.gif

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you guys should be out getting TR materials right now instead of bitching about them here on a beautiful weekend. I'm stuck in town for a practice at the fire tower so that's my excuse. Hope you all have good ones.

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i'm on the injured list and moving this w/e. no TRs for at least 6 weeks frown.gif

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Let me reply to myself:

 

I was wrong to state that Bob Cotter wrote the worst piece of tripe in recent history. That feat went to an excerpt of a Pat Ament book published by Climbing in Spring 1996.

 

Bob Cotter's work, especially "Tomoesque" (CAJ 1992 {or91}), was mearly the most pathetic. As one can deduce from the title, this article DRIPPED with his ego, and his attempts to gain sponsorships. He devoted an entire paragraph to all his gear (including his day-glo head band!), listing each by manufacturer and item name. He didn't just wack in a pin, but placed a Black Diamond knifeblade, followed by a Simond knifeblade higher. Pathetic.

 

As far as AlpenTom's point; I am smart enough to scan and not read. I almost always do not read TR because they are too long. I like Colins writings, and feel that given the types of climbs he does, he could write a longer article and get them published in a real mag. Rat, Wayne, DP, and several others write good short to the point TR's. Dwayner, and especially Pope are just plain funny! And AlpenTom disagreeing with me certainly doesn't qualify as "picking". I am more than capable of debating anyone here (except Caveman, rat, Ak, and Dru).

 

Spindrift was obviously written by an aspiring author, and he should know that while his work is promising, he needs to do ALOT more writing, and even more editing to become good.

Edited by crazyjz

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I do agree that there are certain annoyances that flourish in other peoples writings (including TRs). But I just skip over it and I find that it really doesn't bother me a bit unless I sit there and dwell on it.

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The Trip Report Trip Report

 

It was a dark and stormy night. I sat down at my Dell Optiplex GX1P to begin the arduous task of transforming my ascent of Classic Crack into a literary masterpiece worthy of inclusion in Climbing Magazine's Hot Flashes. The weather outside reminded me of the time Fred Beckey and I got weathered off Givler's Crack. Luckily, we were wearing Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero Hooded Jackets, which warded off hypothermia like eating a clove of garlic wards off hot chicks.

 

I sat there for many hours, struggling mightily to overcome writer's block, which blocked my path to the heights of literary greatness like an inpenetrable thicket of slide alder and devil's club. My Dell Optiplex GX1P just sat there in front of me, like an inanimate object. I reminded myself that the road to success is always under construction, and Rome was not built in one day. Finally, like a long-overdue bowel movement, the words poured forth from me:

 

It was a sunny spring day in the Icicle. The kind of day that seduces you into believing that every little thing is gonna be alright so don't worry bout a thing and be happy. The smell of the pine trees reminded me of how pines trees smell. It was just Lynn Hill and I, standing at the base of Classic Crack. We'd been told that nobody goes here anymore because it's too crowded, and sure enough it was so crowded that nobody but us was here. I looked up and appraised the route like June Cleaver might appraise an avocado in the supermarket. It looked tough as stale beef jerky, but you can't judge a book by it's cover.

 

We'd heard it helps to have a third person to do the hauling on this route, but Jim Nelson had cancelled on us, so we decided on a light as a bee and quick as a feather ascent. I pulled on my BD Alpine Bod Harness and Lynn flaked out our Edelweiss Stratos 60m Dry Rope on the Black Diamond Super Slacker Rope Bag to keep it from getting dirty.

 

I racked up, placing the largest (#4) of the dozen BD Camalots in the back, and working forward, with the smallest of the BD Micro Camalots and Colorado Custom Hardware Aliens in the front. On the left side, I racked a set of DMM Walnuts, each one with it's own Neutrino Biner, and a full set of Black Diamond Wired Hexentrics.

 

Finally ready, I pulled on my Boreal Ninja Junior Rock Shoes. Lynn commented that I had a hungry look in my eyes. I told her that I had the eye of the tiger. No, she said, I had the kind of hungry look in my eyes that you get from not eating for a long time. I ate a Luna Bar (they were Lynn's!) and took a sip of Gatoraid Fierce. My thirst was quenched and now I felt like I had it in me.

 

"Belay on?" I asked Lynn.

"You're on belay," Lynn responded.

"Climbing," I said, telling myself there was nothing to fear about this climb other than fear itself.

"Climb on," Lynn said.

 

I started up the menacing crack, which called for arduous jamming and highly technical footwork. No pain, no gain I told myself as I worked my way up to my first placement. Hanging tenuously by nothing more than a hope and a prayer, I fiddled a #2 Camalot off my BD Alpine Bod harness, and fitted it into the crack. Sweat poured off me like sweat off a bunch of fat Russians in a Finnish Sauna.

 

"No guts, no glory" I thought, as I pushed higher. My right leg shook like a sewing machine from the mental and physical exertion. It's all in your head, I muttered to myself. I placed a BD Wired Hexentric and fought the overwhelming urge to yell "take," fearing that such weakness would mean exile from Lynn's Sierra Designs Hyperlight II Three Season Tent that night. I looked down at the ground far below, and had a sickening image of myself plunging down and splatting like a Hefty Bag filled with Progresso ChickenShit Soup dropped off the Space Needle.

 

I generally avoid committment like I avoid hot tubbing with lepers. But in this case, I either had run it out, or fall to the ground--and out of Lynn Hill's good graces. I figured if it didn't kill me it would make me stronger. If nothing else, my fate could always serve as a useful cautionary tale to others. I sucked it up and ran it out, the sweat stinging my eyes like Drano, my brow glistening like nose hair after an asthmatic sneeze. After exiting the crack and working out the terrifyingly thin slab moves at the top, I clipped the anchor and let out an eerie unearthly howl, sort of like coyotes do when they howl at the moon.

 

"I'm off belay," I said.

"You're off belay," Lynn said, looking adoringly up at me.

 

While she's a pretty good climber, she knows her limits. She broke out her Petzl Ascension B 17 Ascenders to follow and clean the heinous pitch. I'll admit that just watching this lovely vertical gazelle in action caused me to pitch a tent in my Prana Redpoint Shorts ($64 at REI) that would have made Barnum and Bailey proud.

 

The End.

 

circus-tent2a.gif

 

P.S. I'd like to thank all the corporations that made this arduous climb and tedious trip report possible. I am currently accepting sponsorship offers.

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bigdrink.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gif Perfect!!! Let's have some more. That isn't chestbeating! And gear descriptions are the most interesting part of TRs! yelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gif

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Marvelous. Let's see:

 

Name dropping- check

Hackneyed phrases- check

Gear labels- check

Lame metaphors- check

Chest beating- check

Hyperbole- check

 

You pass the cc.com TR standard.

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