New record set on the Nose; what does this mean for climbing?

El Capitan

Another record. Soon to be broken.

I’ve touched on this topic before; the morphing of traditional outdoor adventure into adrenaline-driven feats of one-upsmanship. The biggest wave, the steepest ski run.

Climbing for speed isn’t anything new and by all means, the history of mountaineering is filled with tales of those trying to be first. However, even for guys as accomplished as Dean (I’ll free slackline over anything) Potter and Sean Leary, and their competitors, no good will come from turning 3,000 foot vertical monoliths into the proverbial catch-all urinal for a speed-climb pissing contest.

Does being the fastest to the top really measure a climber’s skill? Or merely the depth of their Karma? These guys don’t need to prove anything. The entire climbing world knows their names.

Maybe I’m just a purist, hating on the idea of outdoor recreation becoming competitive among its participants. Can’t it just be about us learning to embrace, not beat, Mother Nature? I don’t know; maybe this is just the natural progression of mankind’s contemporary propensity to turn everything into a statistic or record, a throw-away commodity to be put on a shelf for a while, only to be soon neglected under dust and disposable memories. Like bowling trophies and bronzed baby shoes.

I don’t know, maybe I just like to climb.