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for fuck sakes.... you guys all just hate on sport climbing at Smith because you are to weak to pull hard on any of the classics....

uh, marc, the "you guys" you refer to includes maybe 3 people on this board, hardly an angry mob :)

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welcome to cc.com Alan! Ignore the rude people here. They seem to enjoy spraying words they would likely never say face to face. There are however some very serious climbers who hang out here, and I think it's safe to say we are honored to have you visit our forum.

 

I've been climbing at smith since 1978 on the long weekends and would run into you down there. I've watched all of this happen over the years with some amusement. I can remember walking into the 'to bolt or not to be' dihedral and sensing the 'church like' silence as some famous superstar attempted the climb.

 

You were one of the few 'superstars' who would talk to a nobody like me and my wife. I always thought you were a cool guy who didn't have an attitude, despite having a tremendous gift. It's neat to see you still are.

 

I've also been scared on 5 gallon. If you are rusty, that is a very steep climb. I still get out quite a bit, but I can totally relate to getting older and watching my kids climb harder than I do.

 

It's all about having fun though, and regardless of skill level, or talent, climbing is fun. I try not to compare myself to other climbers, as it can be distracting. There is always someone better, so I just try to enjoy my personal experience.

 

I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as negative impact. I watched you drill a few of those routes. I was there the day you drilled combination blocks. I still remember you rapping down, drilling, and then offering the first lead to whoever wanted it.

 

In yosemite, that might have been the wrong thing to do, but it was smith rocks, where things were different, and why the hell not?

 

I love bolts and trad routes. Thank you for helping to make smith what it is.

 

Looking forward to the new book!

 

 

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so...you send that 13 yet? Concede the bet??

 

You can join the rest who weren't apparently bright enough to understand the original concept, which is, in short: Even YOU could probably "climb 5:13" given unlimited rehearsal...whether a week or three years or whatever. Get it?

 

I hate it when people say they are 5.13 climbers and then you find out they have sent one short 13a after a year and a half of working it.....

 

 

oh and Alan... I went to Smith a little while a go, and I thought your routes that I climbed were awesome! Wicked place and it would be a shame to see some of those sick climbs left untouched because nobody had the guts to rap bolt cuz they wee scared of what people would think... thanks!

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smith rocks is an awesome venue for super fun climbing and challenging test pieces still, and i'm super appreciative to everyone who put in the time and vision and passion to make it happen. alan watts is obviously at the center of it, although it could have, and WOULD have, happened regardless; just a natural evolution of the sport.

 

regardless, thanks alan.

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Alan -

 

I'd be surprised if you remember me (used to bring groups from OSU to Skinner's Butte when you were in Eugene). I was pleasantly touched by that interview. I remember being saddened when Kent Benesch told me about your hands going bad on you. I was happy to hear you'd transitioned to a fulfilling family life. Although your "famous" climbs were made in a style that would never have occurred to me, I can't say I disapproved. Jeff Thomas's routes were plenty challenging - I never did solve Shoes of the Fisherman -(when Donini fell off of it, I didn't feel so bad...) and my only attempt on Chain Reaction never got as far as the second bolt.

 

At any rate, I applaud your courage to respond to the horse-doo here. Just more proof that being famous is like having somebody paint a bulls-eye on your back - glad to see you're still the down-to-earth character I remember. Best of luck with your son - sounds like fun! Sounds a little like Tom Ettinger's boy (don't know if you remember Tom - from Bend, climbed a lot with Mike Putty) who recently won the U.S. Collegiate Mountain Bike Championship.

 

My three sons are good strong climbing partners these days, and luckily have not reached the point yet where they lead stuff harder than the Old Fart can climb...

 

Cheers!

-Curt Haire

 

 

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I should have known better than to get sucked into it last night. But my new Smith guide had just shipped, and I wanted to post something about that on cascadeclimbers.com. As I was figuring out how to make a post, I saw the thread about my interview, and - despite my better judgment - I clicked on it. I thought that by providing an interview to an Italian online magazine I wouldn't stir up any dust back home, but I forgot that it truly is a world wide web.

 

As I read the posts, it was like I was suddenly transported 25 years back in time. I knew the best thing was to just shut my laptop and go to bed, but somehow I couldn't resist. And before I knew it, for the 10,000th time (and first time in the last decade), I was defending my approach to Smith Rock climbing! For just a few minutes, I felt like I was 25 all over again.

 

In all seriousness, I was surprised that the sport-climbing-is-the-root-of-all evil crowd still exists. I've been out of the scene for so long, I just assumed that people were getting along a little better these days. Old grudges die slowly, I guess.

 

 

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I think the first Watts guidebook is probably the best guidebook I have ever read. Psyched to see the new one! Especially after all the fun we've had designing fake covers for the April Fools "New smith guide!!!" threads over the years here on cc.com.

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Alan,

 

Don't know if you'll post again after the infantile tirades, but if you are reading my son would love to get a copy of your latest guidebook signed by you.

 

Take care

Rudy Ruana

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Alan -

 

I'd be surprised if you remember me (used to bring groups from OSU to Skinner's Butte when you were in Eugene). I was pleasantly touched by that interview. I remember being saddened when Kent Benesch told me about your hands going bad on you. I was happy to hear you'd transitioned to a fulfilling family life. Although your "famous" climbs were made in a style that would never have occurred to me, I can't say I disapproved. Jeff Thomas's routes were plenty challenging - I never did solve Shoes of the Fisherman -(when Donini fell off of it, I didn't feel so bad...) and my only attempt on Chain Reaction never got as far as the second bolt.

 

At any rate, I applaud your courage to respond to the horse-doo here. Just more proof that being famous is like having somebody paint a bulls-eye on your back - glad to see you're still the down-to-earth character I remember. Best of luck with your son - sounds like fun! Sounds a little like Tom Ettinger's boy (don't know if you remember Tom - from Bend, climbed a lot with Mike Putty) who recently won the U.S. Collegiate Mountain Bike Championship.

 

My three sons are good strong climbing partners these days, and luckily have not reached the point yet where they lead stuff harder than the Old Fart can climb...

 

Cheers!

-Curt Haire

 

 

 

Curt,

Nice to hear from you. I can't say I remember back to the Skinner's Butte days too well, but your name is familiar to me. I assume that you are the same person who did the first ascent of Scorpio way back in 1977? If so, I'm sure you have a good story to tell about that day. I'd love to hear it.

Alan

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Hey Rudy,

It's been a long time - haven't seen you since the EP days. Glad to hear that you, like me, are a family man.

 

Not sure where you're living these days. If you're still around Bend, I'll be doing signings and presentations. Or you could just send a message and I could meet you somewhere. I'll also be doing some presentations around the Northwest for the release of my book.

 

If you can't track me down, you could always buy a signed copy directly from me at www.smithclimbing.com. I'm creating this website to support my book (so it won't slip out-of-date so quickly). It'll also include a lot of history that wouldn't fit into the guide. It won't be live until the end of this month.

 

Alan

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ahhh...i'd really like Drew to meet you in person...he's heard a ton about you and Chris Grover filled him in with more detail this summer...

 

i live up in seattle, but will try to track you down soon in bend...

 

Check your private messages...should be at the top of your screen...

 

Cheers!

Rudy

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Mark, FWIW, i will say anything i type on here in person to one's face.

-Rudy

 

Maybe if you were standing on a two foot stool. :grlaf:

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welcome to cc.com Alan! Ignore the rude people here. They seem to enjoy spraying words they would likely never say face to face.

 

I have no problem expressing my viewpoints face to face with anyone here...and I do on occasion.

 

There are however some very serious climbers who hang out here, and I think it's safe to say we are honored to have you visit our forum.

 

So, an unpopular perspective makes one "unserious"?

BTW, I thinks it's great (and "safe") that Mr. Watts has appeared on this site.

He should, however, be aware that even decades later, not everyone appreciates his "contribution" to climbing culture and history. (And it's not just two or three people...there are plenty of us.) But he's obviously capable of dealing with that fact.

 

I've been climbing at smith since 1978 on the long weekends and would run into you down there. I've watched all of this happen over the years with some amusement. I can remember walking into the 'to bolt or not to be' dihedral and sensing the 'church like' silence as some famous superstar attempted the climb.

 

Perhaps you go to the wrong church. It's usually only quiet when people are praying. Were you worshipping?

 

You were one of the few 'superstars' who would talk to a nobody like me and my wife.

 

I always thought you and your wife were somebody...sorry to see that climbing affects you that way.

 

I always thought you were a cool guy who didn't have an attitude, despite having a tremendous gift. It's neat to see you still are.

hippies.gif

 

 

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Alan- can't wait to get a copy of the new book! As a Smith "regular"(Portlander), I really appreciate the history of Smith and your contributions to it. To me, it's incredible that rock quality/type doesn't factor into these rehashed debates about style! I can't imagine leading Heinous on two bolts and wires! Heck, even retro'd lines like Karate Wall are still spooky and intense.

 

My point: you're a badass and anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention! It's quite ironic that you're more "trad" than most of the folks regurgitating the same old anti-bolt rhetoric.

 

Thanks again for the routes and the guide. I hope to have many years ahead of me trying to repeat your classics.

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Mark, FWIW, i will say anything i type on here in person to one's face.

-Rudy

 

Maybe if you were standing on a two foot stool. :grlaf:

ok...score one point for that one! :lmao:

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Alan, thank you for your contribution to all of rock climbing. Your guide is the first guide I ever bought. Can't wait until the new one comes out, even though I have put climbing on the back burner and have committed to being a present father every weekend. I will get back to smith. Once again....thanks for all you have done.

 

PS....welcome to cc.com. It's good entertainment......

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In all seriousness, I was surprised that the sport-climbing-is-the-root-of-all evil crowd still exists. I've been out of the scene for so long, I just assumed that people were getting along a little better these days. Old grudges die slowly, I guess.

 

 

alan, i was surprised by the same thing when i started looking at this website a couple of years ago, and i've been active in the climbing scene. raindawg and pope are just a couple of internet cranks. the whole "sport vs trad" issue is over for all intents and purposes. they are just different styles of climbing, like alpine and bouldering are different styles.

 

your contribution to climbing speaks for itself. anyone who has sampled some of your classic smith routes knows this. thanks for all you've done.

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Jefe may be right.

 

We saw front cover articles about the great ethics debate in climbing magazines just a couple of years ago but the fact is that when I talk to climbers at climbing areas, even at "so called" trad areas like Index or the 'Gunks, I don't find any climbers who say that sport-climbing-is-the-root-of-all-evil. None.

 

I meet plenty of people who laugh at "sporto's" or who have no interest in going to name-the-local-sport-crag and I fully understand that point of view but most climbers today don't seem to share Pope and Dwayner's venom. It does not answer the ultimate question of "right or wrong" but what do you guys think: how many climbers today are staunchly and avowedly "anti-sport" in the sense that we are talking about here: that "sport climbing is evil?"

 

What is the status of "the debate?"

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It does not answer the ultimate question of "right or wrong" but what do you guys think: how many climbers today are staunchly and avowedly "anti-sport" in the sense that we are talking about here: that "sport climbing is evil?"

 

I don't think pope or I have ever used the term "evil".

Unethical?...probably.

 

Irresponsibly unenvironmental?...certainly. It's sad to see the "leave no trace" ideal, seriously adopted by probably every other outdoor pursuit, abandoned for convenience and utter safety.

 

A dumbed-down version of climbing attractive to mass consumerism?

....absolutely.

 

Evil? That's another category altogether.

 

There's no doubt that we're in the minority. Your poll would be a waste of time.

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Grades. Big numbers. That's the bottom line. I get the impression proponents of sport climbing believe rock climbing is not a valid activity unless pioneers at the cutting edge are advancing the standards. Rap bolting advocates back in the 80's defended their activities by suggesting sport climbing was necessary for advancing free climbing standards. In reality, standards had increased through the previous decades and continued to increase through the 70's and early 80's. Not just YDS grades, but ethical and stylistic standards. Suddendly, in the mid 80's, perhaps motivated by fear that European climbers might be putting up bigger numbers, a minority of American climbers who fancied themselves as visionaries (one wrote a "manifesto"; another recently coined himself a rebel...just read the ACW interview), chose rap bolting and an entire arsenal of dubious tactics in order to push the envelope. The result? A few 5.13 climbs established in a way that removed all risk, adventure and commitment. Hardly a significant advancement when hard 5.12 climbs were being established on the lead in good style.

 

Actually, the final result....25 years later....is an entirely new way of thinking about bolting. Rap bolting is currently practiced by anybody who can afford a Bosch and slide down a rope, and not just for establishing cutting-edge climbs, but basically anywhere and everywhere by just about everybody. Grid bolting, bolts on climbs which could be easily top-roped, bolts next to cracks too wide or too narrow for lazy climbers to protect with gear, crowds, social trails, chipping, glue, garbage. Basically, rap bolting equals unrestrained bolting. For Mr. Watts to suggest that this doesn't impact traditional climbing is nonsense. Here in Washington we've seen rap bolting on top-rope problems, well-established bold leads, in wilderness areas. And the younger climbers don't question it because they don't know another way, because they grew up with it.

 

Sport climbing has an ugly side (as described above), especially to those who enjoy climbing as a wilderness experience. All of this was completely predicted by those who attempted to dissuade climbers like Mr. Watts, who I think should assume responsibility for where rock climbing has gone in the last 25 years. There's no doubt that Watts and others influenced this revolution (just read the interview if you believe otherwise); shouldn't he be credited with positive AND negative impacts? Just askin'.

 

Grades. Big numbers. That's why rap bolting is necessary. And those numbers are so important, definitely worth the bolt trails, the stylistic devolution, the crowds, etc. From the 1960s through the mid 1980s, grades increased through 5.10, 5.11 and 5.12. Nearly 30 years later, and with dubious tactics, grades have increased through 5.13 and 5.14. For those who give a shit (I don't), hasn't sport climbing retarded this progression?

 

Finally, I present a logical paradox for rap bolting enthusiasts. Is/was sport climbing (defined by rap bolting and poor style) necessary for increasing grades/standards? If the answer is no, then why tolerate all its impacts? If the answer is yes, then aren't the new sport climbing grades hollow victories, since they can only be achieved by allowing softer rules?

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yawn

 

where would you toss Mr. Caldwell into this mix? You know, the one that crushes trad grade 5 routes...or Mr. Hirayama?

 

 

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these cranks like to talk about "dubious tactics", yet whenever they do so they reveal their own ignorance of the actual history of the sport. use of chalk was once deemed a "dubious tactic" as was the use of leg loops (rather than just a swami belt) or the use of camming devices (considered "cheating" when they were first introduced). the truth is that climbing tactics have evolved and changed throughout the history of the sport, with the usual story being those who went before decrying the "dubious tactics" of those who came after. to arbitrarily pick a point in time and declare all the tactics prior to that point acceptable and all tactics after that point unacceptable is mere chauvinism, not a rational argument of some sort.

 

cue the stock images of care bears and crowbars and the "little man" insults.

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