My ideal climbing world
What would my ideal climbing world look like? Very simple: There are the mountains and the rocks, and there’s my irresistible desire to climb into the unknown. Engagement with the wall is basically an engagement with oneself, with one’s limits, doubts, and fears on the one hand, and on the other hand with one’s virtues, such as courage, determination, and unyielding intention. Being the victor over one’s own weakness is the most worthwhile achievement one can imagine.
We have vandalized our free-spirited climbing world with words and labels, and have lost our feeling for miracles. The opportunists of the moment have become opinion leaders of a generation that has replaced dreams with the reality of “higher, faster, farther.” Today’s climber gets more deeply enmeshed in a cycle in which he is driven by outside influences and not by his inner self. The current climber is no individualist, but is instead part of the herd.
A group-conditioned way of thinking leads nowhere, and renewal always comes from free spirits, from the underground, from the grassroots, none of which exist for the media, sponsors, or other entities—and therefore are not influenced by them. It seems one needs to separate climbing from commerciality, so that climbing can become authentic and cool again—the superficial poseurs should be ignored!
The mountains and rocks are still there; they have not changed. Only our perspective has changed, because we’ve chosen to pursue some sort of “artificially” modified climbing. In an era when most people have an other-directed lifestyle, a counterculture, characterized by individual freedom, remains as necessary as it was in the Seventies, when a few outsiders, inspired by hippie culture, brought color into the boring grayness of an antiquated and self-satisfied alpinism.