I just saw that Climbing.com posted the full version of their interview with Pat Ament that appears in the latest issue. It’s so nice to read an interview with a climber that’s not the same old “And then you hit the gaston with your left and throw for blah,blah,blah…totally sick brah!!!” Maybe these kids should stop dropping out of college to climb and get an education first.
When it feels like there is less and less soul in the sport these days, Pat’s words and philosophy on climbing and life in general are a breath of fresh air. It’s certainly easy to get caught up in chasing grades when you are pushing your limits, but maybe we should all slow down and truly enjoy everything the experience can bring us.
Here’s an excerpt that I particularly liked:
Q: Where is our sport heading?
A: Sad to say, our “sport” has been heading nowhere for a long time. That we have higher and higher grades has nothing to do with progress or anything in particular. That’s an evolution. We build on the achievements of those who go before, because we, as a species, are insecure and feel to compare ourselves to others and improve on others, or think we improve, which in much part is delusion. Comparisons are how we make ourselves feel of worth, lacking the maturity to determine our own worth. That so many view climbing as “a sport” shows me they are less focused on the deeper mysteries, the values of beauty, tenderness, and friendship, the incredible communication it is possible for us to have with nature, in all its variety. When we compete, we try to defeat someone else and to elevate ourselves. That’s the most mundane of reasons to climb.
There is nothing wrong with elevating ourselves, if others are elevated along with us. There is nothing wrong with climbing the hardest routes we are inspired to climb. But to be caught up in competition draws us more often than not away from the artistic and beautiful sides of things, and focus away from the individual. Somewhat stupidly we stand in someone else’s light, in order to be brighter or duller, by comparison, when in fact the great artists have only their own light and are beyond compare.
Read the rest of the interview. It’s long but very much worth it, take 15 minutes to check it out instead of watching some dumbass on YouTube cheat natural selection one more time.