My friends at Climbing Magazine distributed the Golden Piton Awards at the OR show last week and I will say that I agree with their picks. Each winner was clearly, except perhaps in Alpinism, ahead of the rest. But I want to suggest, from a visual and environmental and symbolic angle to rethink the award itself. It's tiny, you can't wave it around, and it represents an unsustainable climbing technology. Its phallic penetrating qualities are another story altogether. Suggestions on a way to rethink it?
Regarding the "profession" of climbing, read Carlo Traversi's blog. In it he describes pretty accurately the situation of the "sponsored" climber. However only time will tell if such forthright,and undiplomatic descriptions of the way things are in the industry will help his cause. At a time when the economy is in free-fall, the amount of support available to help climbers is sure to dwindle and I predict very rapidly dry up in the coming months. This may even extend to the traditional "mom and dad" sponsorship that most "professional" climbers have had to rely on for real financial support as opposed to a free pair of shoes. If you are an up-and-coming "professional climber" and want to be sponsored by Mountains and Water, drop me a line and we can discuss terms.
As for me, I labor away in obscurity, finding some satisfaction on standing on top of a rusty brown pinnacle on Flagstaff Mountain, warming up for my next project in the 45 degree weather, with only an hour of climbing time before class, watching the low gray clouds dropping snow onto the plains of East Boulder County.