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Climbing and wealth

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Postby Alpinist » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:40 pm

Dow Williams wrote:
kheegster wrote:To be honest, while I can someone dirtbagging as a sport or even trad climber, alpine climbing is much more gear-intensive (a good -20 deg bag = rack + rope), and difficult alpine-style climbs totally trashes gear.

I'm already dumping my income straight into gear, and I'm not sure I'd be able to do any alpine if I were to end up flipping burgers.


True, you just have to be smart about that...I see way too many of you buying expensive gear that the industry produces for one purpose....to sell to the wealthier "big mountain" trekkers because they want the absolute best and can afford it....most of it really is not going to make you any better of a climber or your expedition go any smoother....i.e. ArcTeryx clothing, expensive plastics and/or the latest tools (if you are only climbing WI 4 anyway?)...if you want to climb hard, I expect you to rip your clothes and outerwear to threads, no matter who makes it. Be smart about paying reasonable prices for it. So many folks are geared up way beyond their level or what they need. Just an observation. The more you spend, the better for me, but there at better things in life to spend your hard earned money on.

I tend to buy expensive gear but don't view it as wasteful at all. What price do you put on getting a restful night sleep, or keeping your digits warm in freezing weather to prevent losing your fingers and toes? There is not just comfort to consider but also safety. I could go through each piece of gear I own and strongly justify the expense. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Perhaps the biggest luxury is to pay more for lighter weight gear. However. even that I would argue helps me to go farther faster and is thus worth the extra $.
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Postby SpiderSavage » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:47 pm

I have noticed that the increase in popularity of rock climbing and danger sports parallels advances in orthopedic medicine.

150 years ago if you busted an ankle you would be screwed up for life. Now you are back on the boulders in a couple months.
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Postby dioid » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:51 pm

mvs wrote:
battledome wrote:I think it depends. Some people start out middle class... and then they become climbers and drop a socio-economic rung or two. :wink:


Haha! :lol: That's totally me. I lost all ambition to climb the corporate ladder when I found such a great way to spend my free time. And the "work hard retire early" path seemed to contain a lot of potholes...


+1
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Postby MichaelJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:11 pm

kheegster wrote:To be honest, while I can someone dirtbagging as a sport or even trad climber, alpine climbing is much more gear-intensive (a good -20 deg bag = rack + rope), and difficult alpine-style climbs totally trashes gear.

I'm already dumping my income straight into gear, and I'm not sure I'd be able to do any alpine if I were to end up flipping burgers.


You don't know a lot of serious alpinists, I assume. Most of the badass alpine climbers I know (those who aren't sponsored ambassadors or the like) are total dirtbags. They live out of their cars or at the valley SAR site; they guide clients up sloggineering peaks so they can get a free ticket to South America or Alaska; they work crap jobs and live like monks for a few months so they can venture out into the greater rangers for the rest of the year. Also, they're getting pro deals on gear, expedition left-overs, etc. Ultimately, commitment is what it comes down to. They're willing to forgo a lot that most people take for granted to get out there. Not for everyone, to be sure.
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Postby RickF » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:23 pm

In my opinion, climbing & mountaineering is where the lower and upper income brackets get together. The reasons are all covered by the above posts.

The income-challenged, young climbers can adopt the dirt-bag lifestyle and exist to climb. Its easier to do this at an early stage in life before they commit to families and careers. The can dedicate all of their time to being the best at their sport. They have to scrimp, save and forage to get needed gear.

The older professional, career types who enjoy climbing and mountaineering have committed a large part of their steady income to support their families and maintain a comfortable standard of living. They have a lot of nice gear but not as much time available for adventure as they would like.

Climbers and mountaineers are a still a small minority of society. Most of my middle-class friends, aquaintences and colleages spend most of their time and money on motorcycles, quads, buggies, jet-skis, boats, toy-haulers and motor-homes.
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Postby Alpinisto » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:08 pm

RickF wrote:The older professional, career types who enjoy climbing and mountaineering have committed a large part of their steady income to support their families and maintain a comfortable standard of living. They have a lot of nice gear but not as much time available for adventure as they would like.


^^^This iz korrekt.

If you wanna have plenty of money for gear/climbing trips, I strongly urge you not to have kids. (They expensive!) Wives, too.

Of course, you'll be missing out on the myriad joys of marriage and parenthood. Your call.


RickF wrote:Climbers and mountaineers are a still a small minority of society. Most of my middle-class friends, aquaintences and colleages spend most of their time and money on motorcycles, quads, buggies, jet-skis, boats, toy-haulers and motor-homes.


^^^Also korrekt.

I'm always surprised when friends complain about having "no money" but yet fail to see all the cash tied-up in their "toys" sitting in the garage, shed and driveway (or in a storage locker that they're paying $100+/month for)...

One of the things I like about climbing is that, for the most part, if you buy good quality, the gear lasts a long time. (Soft goods like ropes and slings that should be periodically replaced notwithstanding.) My partner still uses his rigid-stem Friends that he was climbing in the Gunks with back in the 80's, though I think I've convinced him to finally replace some of his many BD Ovals with a wiregate or two... :roll:

Compare this with a motorhome or a boat which, besides filling up with gas every weekend, you need to make payments on, pay insurance for, make repairs on, etc.
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Postby Alpinisto » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:19 pm

ForeignTraveller wrote:From an economic standpoint, I think climbing is just like golf in that generally there is a good mix of people that participate. Some go out with decades old or borrowed clubs and some pay out the ass to play at exclusive country clubs with thousands of $ worth of the latest equipment.


And, just like in golf, spending thousands of dollars on the latest equipment doesn't necessarily mean you'll perform any better! :wink:
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Postby kheegster » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:12 pm

I've been reminded over the past year that there are massive costs (for people in the US at least) when injuries occur. I've incurred thousands of dollars in expenses for medical treatment that wouldn't have resulted if I had just sat at home.
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Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:21 am

Back in the 1970s I was a dirtbag Yosemite Park Bum for several years.

I slept where ever I could find a place to sleep. Sometimes under a pickup truck in the Lodge parking lot, sometimes out in the Camp 4 boulder field, sometimes in the back of my VW.

When my VW blew up, I hitch-hiked everywhere.

We lived out of the dumpsters, collecting food and cans are 4 o'clock in the morning, to sustain us through our day of climbing. I was an expert at scarfing in the lodge carfeteria.

We even figured out how to take cans from the recycling collecting bins and turn them in again.

We learned how to steal showers at Curry company.

I could live on $250 a year. When I needed new gear, I resorted to dealing to support my habit during the winter months (i.e., worked at the North Face shop in Cupertino selling climbing gear).

When money and desperation got really bad, we drove to Reno and gambled to make more money. You could spend 2-3 days drinking beer continuously at the blackjack or roulette tables, dine at all-you-can-eat buffets for $3.95 and make another $100 to $200 to get you through another few more months in Yosemite.

Yeah, we were dirt poor.
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Postby The Defiant One » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:10 am

Interesting topic.

I'd argue that the biggest factor deciding who becomes a climber isn't social class, but whether or not they want to be a climber. I know the OP wasn't really talking causation, but I am anyway.

I realize there are <sometimes vast> expenses associated with equipment, but SP has members who live in their tents and others who are quite wealthy. It's probably not all that an abnormal distribution.

At the end of the day, we're talking about external definitions of ourselves vs. self-definitions. Society and statistics might say you're rich or poor, but you're the one who decides if you're a climber.


8)
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Re: Climbing and wealth

Postby Hotoven » Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:01 pm

Borut Kantušer wrote:
Well... money makes things comfortable.

Basically a hiker needs a raincoat, and a climber needs the light rubber shoes.
my 2 cts.


And that's how I roll, college has me in the lower class now, but once I get out and get a few years into my career, more gear will come. Its all about fun, not what country you have bagged mountains in.
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Postby Guyzo » Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:30 pm

I think it was Chuck Pratt who said this.

“At both ends of the economic spectrum lies the leisure class”

gk :wink:
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