Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The "Scandal" That Disappeared

This is intended to be a short and succinct post. I would like to offer my gratitude for the sound instincts of the climbing community in letting the Chipping Video "Scandal" swiftly disappear without a trace. Though the whole thing may still reverberate at a local level (at that undisclosed location), it is clear that in the end, for whatever reason, the story lacked legs and for the time being has vanished from sight. This is a good thing IMO.

Media in general, and video in particular can have a documentary role. But it seems better suited for celebrating achievement and documenting the many beautiful and good things about climbing. Its use in exposing malfeasance is something that I think we all feel a bit uncomfortable about (unless it involves stealing quickdraws at Smith Rock) and in the future I am sure anyone proposing such a tactic will think again before they follow through with it. It seems that in the end, the best way to settle this kind of dispute is still discussing it in person, away from the spotlight and not on the public channels of the Internet. Despite the growth of the sport, I hope this remains the case for a long long time into the future.


Anonymous said...

Funny to hear something like this from you when every other post you write is a scathing criticism of something or other...

Dave Flanagan said...

I disagree, I think the threat of exposure on the internet could serve as an excellent dis-incentive to potential wrong-doers.

I would love to read more about the chipping incident. Out of curiousity yes but also to see a line drawn under the incident. If the wrong-doing happened in the real world, a good newspaper would do an indepth investigation, now maybe one of the climbing mags is working on such a piece, but I would be a little surprised if that happened

Peter Beal said...

Do you think all is well in the world? That nothing needs questioning or reconsideration? You are a lucky individual indeed.

Dave, a major newspaper contacted me and a number of individuals directly involved but unfortunately the story was killed. I think the likelihood of Rock and Ice or Climbing seriously covering the story is slim but you never know.

It's worth remembering that the sport of climbing has long depended on "wrong-doers" to establish iconic routes and problems. Outing them could create problems for a number of significant brands so the whole thing is probably best left alone. The story was not the chipping. That happens every day, whether we realize it or not.

Dave Flanagan said...

That's interesting, do you know why it was killed, were you willing to go on the record? I would stuggle to see now a non-climbing medium could do justice to the issue, but sometimes they surprise.

Chipping may happen more often than is acknowledged, and it has happened on some well known - and oft cited routes - such as the Rose route in Buoux and the Nose, but they are very much exceptions to the rule.

Chipping is one of the few absolute no no in the climbing world, and I know it maybe happend in some areas, but in general unlike issues of style or ethics, its pretty clear that, to the vast majority of climbers in the world it's completely unacceptable.

I accept that pushing the boundaries of what's acceptable has been part of climbings evolution. But chipping is so fundamentally wrong I think it lies on a different plane.

Peter, I'm from a climbing backwater so I can't really even guess at the things that you refer to you in your last paragraph. Why not put it out there?

Anonymous said...

"Media in general, and video in particular can have a documentary role. But it seems better suited for celebrating achievement and documenting the many beautiful and good things about climbing."

this phrase kills me. Imagine if you applied this logic to other activities or issues in society. Very dangerous thinking.