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Why Climbing’s Most Absurd Film is Also Its Most Important

One of my favorite boulder problems in the world is the “Rebirthing Simulator” in Yosemite, in which a climber begins at the top of the boulder, climbs headfirst down an off-width crack, squirms through a pinch in the rock with your ass nearly dabbing on the ground, and then climbs up and out the other side. It’s a completely absurd exercise and an exercise in embracing the complete absurdity of climbing. You literally can’t do this boulder problem without laughing the entire way.

Come to think of it, some of my favorite pitches are also like this. I was in stitches the first time I did the Thank God Traverse on Half Dome. Anytime crawling is involved on a big multi-pitch, I’m so here for it.

Man, climbing can feel really fucking serious these days! The prigs have been holding court on their Instagram stories—which I’ve now taken to gleefully muting—and judiciously bowdlerizing any wrong-think from climbing’s discourse. Like everything else catalyzed by the internet and social media, this is nothing new—just more for it. The real cultural change that I’ve noticed, perhaps, is how few people are even capable of thinking for themselves, instead relying on their influencer demigods to tell them what to say and how to respond. Alas, I digress.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking something you love seriously, but seriously should never mean humorlessly. We gotta have fun too. And that was the real takeaway of this new video from the more boyishly faced Wide Boyz, Pete Whittaker, who gets a half-cocked idea to try to climb two meters of the hardest climb in the world, Adam Ondra’s “Silence” (9c), in Flatanger.

By his own admission, Pete has no chance of doing this route—maybe ever. All he has is his well-earned reputation as an ace crack climber. Why in god’s name would he ever bother fucking with Silence? Only a person either with extreme narcissism, or a wonderful sense of humor and a love of the absurd would consider entertaining a doomed mission such as this. And it’s quite clear that Pete falls into the latter category.

This is the most absurd video in climbing right now, and probably the most fun, which makes it arguably the most important thing you can watch this week if you’re a climber. There are many sincere and valuable takeaways worth underlining in this cheeky video, beginning with never being afraid to put ourselves on routes that seem patently above our heads. Just to see what they’re like. Will a 5.10 climber gain something by flying to Spain and stick-clipping up Dura Dura just to fondle the grips with residual patatas-bravas grease on their fingers? That’s not recommended, per se, but go for the 5.11+ that you think you’ll never be able to climb. Why not? You might surprise yourself—but more likely, you’ll just have fun.

And perhaps the even more salient point is that this kind of open-mindedness can only come from a place of humor and self-deprecation. A willingness to smile in the face of the righteous, especially your own righteous self. And just let go and embrace the absurdity of it all. And hopefully, laugh.

The post Why Climbing’s Most Absurd Film is Also Its Most Important appeared first on Evening Sends.

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Originally posted 2020-08-24 18:56:08.

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