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catbirdseat

Why aren't there very many black climbers?

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Why are we climbers so lilly white? I've only ever seen one or two black climbers and one of them was born in Africa? Why shouldn't they enjoy it as much as the rest of us? I asked the fellow I play horn with in the band and he said, "we don't climb mountains and we don't jump out of airplanes".

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To be glib and potentially offensive or controversial.....money.

 

Ever wonder why there aren't more black skiers?

 

Flame suit on.

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I have lots and lot of black friends. The drummer in my band is black. I have asked them this very question. The two answers:

1. "You white people are crazy!".

2. "We don't like the cold".

 

Glad to be of service.

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So Bill then why are there also no black backpackers? Certainly the temperature in August is no deterrant for anyone of any color....

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Actually, I saw an article some time ago about a black guy who was backpacking across the country. He had some stories to tell of a few unkindnesses he had endured. I'm sure trask could find it if anybody could.

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I remember reading an artical in Outside Mag on this subject back a couple years ago. It wasn't specific to climbing, and it didn't draw a direct conection between money and outdoor interests.

 

There are a number of rich black folk out there, but outdoor sports still aren't a big interest.

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Maybe this link could offer a little insight. My other suggestion? Just ask em. I'll go to a black chatroom and ask, If I can find one.

 

pitty.gif

 

 

 

stuff

Edited by Bill_Simpkins

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I guess we are all part of the Neo Romantic Movement of Northern Europe. I used to work with a guy from Oaxaca, Mexico. I asked him if he liked to go camping. He told me no, when he was a poor dirt farmer he camped by the fields for lack of a choice. Now he has a nice roof over his head. Why should he want to sleep on the ground?

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I got some more comments from a black chat room, these are the responses:

 

---blacks aint doin nothinw it mountains

---can't find employment, let alone a mountain

---thats yo answer

---short answer....my of us have focus on other forms of entertainment

---and are not willing to put ourselves at risk with the dangers of outdoors activities

 

I guess everyones right a little bit. I've ran into a few on the trail. But very rare. To each his own.

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Interesting Story:

 

I was bouldering at Clayton Beach, Bellingham. We were trying to send this unknown hard problem above the beach. It was like a hard mount, then a hugging friction traverse with lots of opposition, then a faithfull dyno to a jug, then up a crack.

This black kid came along in HUGEASS red Nikes and baggy-ass pants was strolling along with some friends, and asked what we were doing? We told him what bouldering was and stuff. He then watched carefully then gave it a shot. He came soooooo close to sending it. We couldn't believe he was sticking with those HUGE shoes. You had to be there to appreciate the situation. I won't forget it.

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I've taken one of my best friends who is black out backpacking with me a couple of times. It's funny, because he always throws out the "you white people are crazy" and "black people don't climb mountains" lines to me. We've always had a good time backpacking, but he's said he has no interest in doing anything too much more adventurous in the hills. I think the mentioned socioeconimc reasons do have a lot to do with it, but I also think the fact that there are so few black climbers/alpinists to follow after is a factor.

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Well this is a very easy question to answer. At the risk of sounding like a racist, the reason my friend Ala says he won't go is because no black person is stupid enough to go out in the woods with a bunch of white guys with ropes.

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weekend you dont sound like a racist, but trasks comment makes him look like more of an ignorant fuck than I seen on this board in a long time.

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One of the things I had hoped to explore here would be if it would be desirable or practical to offer encouragement to minority climbers, and what would be ways to accomplish that.

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I have asked some friends if they want to go and climb with me and both have said, NO FUCKING WAY. That is for you crazy white dudes, you guys are tripping. Both of these guys are in jobs that require one to be fit and not afraid of heights(one is a line man and the other a framing contractor).They will go fishing and hunting but that is it. The line man will camp out and the contractor will motel it. He said he spent too much time on the ground with the military to do it for enjoyment.

I had a customer that was black and a very ambitious mountaineer. He had no black friends that I ever saw. All his climbing buddies were white or Asian. So one day I got the balls up to ask him why he never climbed with any black guys or gals. He told me that he worked his ass off to leave the situation in which he was raised. He then worked his ass off to remove his mom and dad from the same. Now it was his turn to enjoy the things he saw whites doing. I thought this was a wild answer. I saw him a few times on Rainer, St Helens, Baker and once and a while in Leavenworth, but for the most part he was a mountaineering type of climber. I believe he was active with a guy called Sean Rice back in the 70's.

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DFA's significant other is an administrator at a nonprofit alternative highschool, and she and one of the teachers there are working to get a climbing club started. Although in this case, it's disadvantaged youth (i.e. dirt-poor, gang-affected, drug problems, not always the smartest, etc.), not just minorities, but probably half of their students are black, on average. It'll be interesting to see what kind of turnout they get, if they get the thing rolling.

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I USED TO TAKE MY FRIEND OUT CLIMBING AND CAVING...AND WE HAD A BALST... HE WAS ALSO A TOP NOTCH WATER POLO PLAYER...

 

HE LOVED TO CLIMB AND NEVER HELD ANY TYPE OF FEAR OR IDEAS AGAINST IT...HE WAS PRETTY THUGGED OUT TOO...

 

ONE TIME WE WERE UP AT EXIT 38 AND HE WAS LEADING (HE LED HIS 1ST TIME EVER) AND HE CRUXED OUT...SO HE JUMPED IN AN ATTEMPT TO REACH SOME OTHER HOLDS...IT WAS PRETTY FUNNY......

 

WE ALSO USED TO GO CAVING DOWN AT ST HELENS...AND ONE TIME WE BOTH FELL ASLEEP DRIVING BACK AND HE PUT HIS CADDY INTO THE GUARD RAIL....

 

UNFORTUNATLY HIS LIFESTYLE SWALLOWED HIM UP AND I HAVENT SEEN HIM IN A FEW YEARS....TOO BAD HE IS A GOOD PERSON

 

TO 'D' bigdrink.gif

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Catbird, i have shown climbing videos to tons of kids over a span of 23 years. The minority kids that showed an interest were of Spanish heritage. I have been working with some kids that are in jail in the past 3 years and of them again its the Spanish kids that look at rock climbing and ask about it. I just wish I had the bucks to do something with these kids but alas I am like 99% of the climbing world a dirt bag that has shuffled from one climb to another with a small hand full of coins in his pocket.

Jim Whitaker was trying to get REI to invest some time and money in the central district in the 70's for introducing skiing, climbing , hiking to minority kids, but the board of directors did not go for it. Jim believed like John Harlen...that the porblems of the world would be less if people took an interest in out of doors activities. I know a lot of people dislike the Whitakers but I for one like both of the brothers and have stood my ground when people piss on them.

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I think you also have to look at the percentages of minorities in this area. Many of you are basing your assumptions off of the Pac-NW demographics. In my opinion, there is a predominantly white group of folks out here compared to the South and east. Larger cities is a little different but not much. I had a friend who can be called a Jackson Hole native and is black. He played rugby and is an awesom skier and paddler, but climbing wasn't his bag. Alpine climbing, as explained by another black climbing friend of mine from Atlanta, was not as interesting because of skin care management requirements. He told me that his and many other blacks skin tends to crack and dry out easily, and therefore drier conditions and climates (ie. altitude and Rockies areas) were not a comfortable environment for him. I don't know if this is across the board or not. If you look at the percentage of the population who climbs (low) and alpine climbs (lower) then match that with the perentage of blacks in the PacNW (extremely low) I think therin lies part of your answer. Proportionately to the increased populations of minorities in the South, I think you will find a little different results as it pertains to sport climbing. It was once explained to me by a black friend of mine who was into some outdoors stuff but not a lot that it comes down to how we were raised and our heritage. In a climbing snese, he was just content with looking at the beautiful vista while his white counterparts wanted to know what was on the other side of that vista. Same goes for most outdoor activities. How many black hunters, fly-fishermen, kayakers, skiers, fish and plant biologists, etc. do you see out there? My two cents. Just different likes and dislikes. bigdrink.gif

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Hey DFA, tell your wife to call the L.E.A.D. program in Eugene. They are a non-profit that take underpriveleged kids out climbing, Mt. biking, tele skiing, hiking, ropes courses, and kayaking. Run by a bunch of competent folks down here. I volunteer for them on a semi-regular basis. Good folks too. If you want their number, PM me.

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