Saturday 19 August 2006

different perspectives

Sometimes I'm quite psyched about being fairly isolated from the climbing scene in general - i.e. not going to the climbing wall and spending most of my time new routing in quiet places. Sometimes the opposite. I went to the climbing wall twice in the past fortnight - highly unusual for me at this time of year. It was nice to watch the numerous strong and talented people going about. Very inspiring. I couldn't climb for sh*t there - I've totally forgotten how to use blobs. Paying money to go climbing feels strange too when you've not done it for a while. But I could do two and a half one armers which I can only normally do after I've been using ice axes. I don't know how that happened since I've not been away from my desk very much. Maybe I burned off some flab on the Ben carrying all that chocolate up the Alt a' Mhuillin?

Talking of not making sense, I write about climbing for a living these days. When I started climbing I remember climbers I met at Scottish crags complaining at great length that Scottish climbing wasn't given the credit or attention it deserved in print. Even as a kid I thought - well why not do something about it? So I figured if I ever got any good at climbing I'd try and write about it and let others know why we like it. Maybe those folk weren't really happy with shouting about Scottish climbing but were happier ducked down below any criticism that might come their way if the spotlight of attention was on them? Its easier that way, yes. It's easier to sit back and pick holes at someone else than have the mirror turned on you. sometimes the most competitive climbers I've met are also the least comfortable with being competitive!

Scottish climbing always seems to be at war with itself for one reason or another. Folk always seem very dissapointed or angry when the answers to the questions arent there waiting, match their own ideas or when they find that other folks are only human and are learning their way through life just like they are. It doesn't worry me - it's a good thing, diversity of opinion. Confused reactions to my personal efforts in climbing (either on the cliffs or in written words) don't surprise me either as I don't always, or even often, have the skill to get my ideas across in a way that people can relate to. And many of them are a bit leftfield anyway.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Hebrides with Claire to look for new places to work and live. Exciting!


  1. Hold on Dave, you are confusing me. You are "fairly isolated from the climbing scenein general" and yet in the Arcadia thread you said most other climbers viewed the venue as a sport one. The two statements don't marry and having now asked about 15 different climbers not one of them has viewed it as a sport venue and they agree your stance is a double standard.

    Further you blether on about people sniping and not liking the spotlight turned on themselves. This is just the impression you have given re Arcadia. Re sniping at others and climbers being at war, again, look in that mirror, that is just how your comments re Tim Rankin have been perceived in some quarters. Fine to state the facts but to suggest he's out of touch, it didnt need that. He knew what he was doing and declared it, you chose to report it in a particular way that did not acknowledge that and in fact criticized it.

    You also say seem to say you are not that good at the written word but that we, or at least some of your readers are the confused ones. Come on, this all seems a little bit like the wain taking a wee strop and its everyone elses fault for not understanding.

    As to your ideas being leftfield, get out and mix a bit more if you really are a bit isolated, there are plenty climbers out there with leftfield ideas and you are far from the only one. They might not be the same as yours but they are no less interesting they maybe dont publish them or blow about them but then they are not out to make a living from it.
    Go back to this article and please read it with the mirror on yourself then maybe you will see what I'm talking about. The views, the sniping and the pointing the finger at the confusion of others can equally be levelled at you. So please, less critizing others and get back to the positive writing.

    Oh and remember, as fantastic as the Hebrides are, just think what they are like in late November with another 3 months of darkness and wind and rain to go.


  2. Why is it not showing comments on the main page?

  3. Thanks for the advice Neil. Re Tim I already apologised to him for overstepping the mark in my report.

    Why do you expect everything I say and do to be bulletproof? Its not and never will be! You might think I'm mad, wrong, stupid whatever. Sometimes I will be. You don't need to keep telling me that becuase I already know it.

    Re arcadia I took time to answer all of your comments so I don't know how you think I didn't like the scrutiny. Maybe I'll go back to Steall sometime and prove to you that Arcadia would be no problem for me placing gear on lead and that my previous ascent style was an aesthetic choice and not a double standard.

    PS that was not a strop :)

  4. I don't doubt you can do it in whatever style you choose. I am not and have not asked you to do that. You don't need to prove anything to me, although I would be fascinated to hear who all these people are who feel Steall is a sport venue. My point is that you push one stance in respect of Comfortably Numb, another about style re DY and then undermine both with your own actions on Arcadia. I quite accept that you perceive Steall as a sport crag but to make sweeping statements that most people think it is too is a lot of cobblers. You then compound it by saying you are a bit out of touch with other climbers, so how would you know what "most" people think. No one I have spoken to sees it that way and see a double standard, whats OK for you is not OK for others.

    Thanks for answering but lets be clear, you have not answered all my questions. You have answered some and avoided others. You actually answer little and have chosen to reach assumptions or conclusions that are not there eg the need to prove to me that you could lead Arcadia placing the gear. Some of these misrepresentations of my points might be interpreted as an attempt to alter other readers views of my position.

    In being both a prolific climber your actions speak for you. In being a prolific writer your written words speak for you and presumably you want people to read them. But in so doing please don't think that people will sit back when they see inconsistency and views they disagree with, particularly when they involve issues close to them. The form of publication you have chosen encourages a two way dialogue and yet now you are telling me to stop telling you when I disagree just as you have told your readership that some of us are confused.
    My point is not that you dislike scrutiny rather that there is an irony in your article when read beside your response to my points. I sense that you are right, I am wrong and really I should go away as Dave has spoken. My own view would be that I read and discuss to learn, to understand and to form my opinions. That means I'm open to others views, I'm maybe not great at it but I try. At one point you say a diversity of opinion is great but actually you come over elsewhere as preferring not to get it from me or your other confused readers. Which is it? Anyway got to go but on a final passing poiny Aird feinis Boulder your scraping the barrel in writing that up unless its grown and morphed in the last 2 weeks Bye


  5. Now you are changing your mind Neil, earlier you implied you thought I did Arcadia in sport style to get it done quickly. You are creating the double standard by seeing Arcadia as a trad route which it is not. It is (mostly) protected by bolts and other hammered gear. I agreed with it being a sport route and thus climbed it this way. When I climb trad I always place the gear on lead. No double standard.

    I am not telling you to stop disagreeing with me Neil I just pointed out that I already know I have not explained myself perfectly or completely all the time. So you can save yourself the effort of reminding me of that after I write or do anything. Feel free to comment away, like you say thats what this site is all about - a two way dialogue. What I'm saying is don't expect the answers to fit your way of thinking all of the time, because we are different.

  6. Arcadia=sport route. In your mind maybe, but as I have tried to point out, not everyone elses. And careful here Dave because it is not (mostly) protected by bolts but mostly by hammered gear with 2 or is it 3 bolts at the start from another unfinished project. I believe you said it could easily be climbed by you without any of this.

    Read it back over Dave. It was you who said you didnt have the time to clean every route.

    I could go on but at the end of the day your receptors are clearly not on and you seem reluctant to accept the value or opinions of others to the extent that you choose to ignore questions and change what they say. I'm not asking you to think my way nor do I believe it is necessarilly right. But there are other views out there and because they don't agree with yours don't call them confused, try listening to them, there might be something in them.

    I'm out of here, for now.