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Climbing and wealth

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Re: Climbing and wealth

Postby Charles » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:05 pm

Mark Straub wrote:Similar to the "climbing=white person's sport" thread, I have noticed that almost all of the climbers I encounter are middle-class. There are exceptions, as I have climbed with some more wealthy people and I have a friend I climb with who is fairly poor, but for the most part, climbers seem to be middle-class.

It seems this has fluctuated throughout time. When mountaineering became popular in the mid-1800's, it was all for very wealthy people. In the 1950's, many of the pioneering climbers seemed to be very poor. Now, it seems I hardly see anyone who isn't right in the middle class.

Any ideas?

-Mark

I´m extremely and seriously upper class, just fallen on hard times that´s all.
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Postby fatdad » Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:25 pm

Guyzo wrote:I think it was Chuck Pratt who said this.

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

gk :wink:


Hey, I already said that. And DMT is right. It was Eric Beck. Is that blurb from Climbing in North America?
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Postby hellroaring » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:26 pm

Choosing the dirtbag lifestyle for any kind of long haul is pretty committing and takes motivation and focus to say the least. Being wet, cold, and on your umpteenth week of PB & J or noodles has it's downsides. BUT then again, diving into a passion isn't for the faint-hearted. Just think how many of us could(would) be the climber of their dreams if they were willing to eschew the comforts/securities/trappings of so-called "normal" people, and do something like hang at camp 4 for a couple/few seasons. It would be interesting to hear from the retired dirtbagger/freespirit of yesteryear and the current clan living their dreams to compare how things have changed. Decades ago Jack Kerouac wrote that the hobo lifestyle was getting harder and harder to escape the spotlight of the law...bet it's even harder now-a-days. Let's face it, we live in a class based society and that fact is not taught (or ignored) for the most part as we grow up. It's nice that something like climbing and getting outside has the potential to help break that down a little. So in the spirit of that thinking a little shout out to BOTH the oppressed worker AND the corporate pigman: "happy adventures to both". Even though I'll pretty much heart with the worker, when you share a rope in some sense you are equal...so Climbers of the World UNITE!! :wink: [/img][/list][/list][/code][/quote]
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Climbing and Wealth

Postby JanG » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:02 am

After reading the multiple entries on this topic, I noticed that several of the responders equated class with wealth. This is a common observation in the US. I have lived happily in the USA for 30+ years even though I still have a "foreign" accent. I also have noticed that when meeting someone new in the States, the first 3 questions often asked are: where are you from? where do you live? and what kind of work do you do? actually really asking: how much money do you earn?

This last question is NOT often ask when encountering other mountaineers, especially in Europe where it is might be considered rude. It is my experience that sharing mountaineering experiences is the great EQUALIZER. I have been often enjoyed climbing or skiing tours of several days duration and wasn't asked at all " what kind of work " I did.

In the Alps, guides typically address you by your first name during the entire encounter which is quite different from normal social interactions in urban environments. This certainly the case in German or French speaking countries.

In conclusion, rather than describing climbing as upper or middle class endeavors, I consider mountaineering the great democratizing experience, where money, class, rank is ignored for those precious hours or days of sharing nature!!!
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Re: Climbing and Wealth

Postby Charles » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:11 am

JanG wrote:After reading the multiple entries on this topic, I noticed that several of the responders equated class with wealth. This is a common observation in the US. I have lived happily in the USA for 30+ years even though I still have a "foreign" accent. I also have noticed that when meeting someone new in the States, the first 3 questions often asked are: where are you from? where do you live? and what kind of work do you do? actually really asking: how much money do you earn?

This last question is NOT often ask when encountering other mountaineers, especially in Europe where it is might be considered rude. It is my experience that sharing mountaineering experiences is the great EQUALIZER. I have been often enjoyed climbing or skiing tours of several days duration and wasn't asked at all " what kind of work " I did.

In the Alps, guides typically address you by your first name during the entire encounter which is quite different from normal social interactions in urban environments. This certainly the case in German or French speaking countries.

In conclusion, rather than describing climbing as upper or middle class endeavors, I consider mountaineering the great democratizing experience, where money, class, rank is ignored for those precious hours or days of sharing nature!!!

I would agree with that wholeheartedly! My friends in the mountains are house painters, car mechanics, doctors, scientists, insurance salespeople - in fact everything from a-z. It doesn´t matter in the least. What´s great about this great levelling is that one meets wonderful people who often have something to give me from their lives!
We are all "per du" in the mountains. Cheers
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Re: Climbing and Wealth

Postby Jimmie » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:04 pm

charles wrote:
JanG wrote:After reading the multiple entries on this topic, I noticed that several of the responders equated class with wealth. This is a common observation in the US. I have lived happily in the USA for 30+ years even though I still have a "foreign" accent. I also have noticed that when meeting someone new in the States, the first 3 questions often asked are: where are you from? where do you live? and what kind of work do you do? actually really asking: how much money do you earn?

This last question is NOT often ask when encountering other mountaineers, especially in Europe where it is might be considered rude. It is my experience that sharing mountaineering experiences is the great EQUALIZER. I have been often enjoyed climbing or skiing tours of several days duration and wasn't asked at all " what kind of work " I did.

In the Alps, guides typically address you by your first name during the entire encounter which is quite different from normal social interactions in urban environments. This certainly the case in German or French speaking countries.

In conclusion, rather than describing climbing as upper or middle class endeavors, I consider mountaineering the great democratizing experience, where money, class, rank is ignored for those precious hours or days of sharing nature!!!

I would agree with that wholeheartedly! My friends in the mountains are house painters, car mechanics, doctors, scientists, insurance salespeople - in fact everything from a-z. It doesn´t matter in the least. What´s great about this great levelling is that one meets wonderful people who often have something to give me from their lives!
We are all "per du" in the mountains. Cheers


I've been peak-bagging with friends of friends, and afterwards communicated and planned future trips with them without the questions of their jobs and income ever coming up.

Even during a 14-16 hour BC ski-trip, there is no talking about work and income. I like it.
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Poor climbers

Postby alpinedon » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:07 pm

Well, I gotta say, I pretty much fit into the poverty-line standards, so here is one poor climber.
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Postby xDoogiex » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:13 pm

After doing some math I figure that all my money goes right to bills, gas, and food. Looks like I'm not turning in this health insurance packet. Haven't had any in years
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Re: Climbing and Wealth

Postby fatdad » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:00 pm

JanG wrote:After reading the multiple entries on this topic, I noticed that several of the responders equated class with wealth. This is a common observation in the US. I have lived happily in the USA for 30+ years even though I still have a "foreign" accent. I also have noticed that when meeting someone new in the States, the first 3 questions often asked are: where are you from? where do you live? and what kind of work do you do? actually really asking: how much money do you earn?

This last question is NOT often ask when encountering other mountaineers, especially in Europe where it is might be considered rude. It is my experience that sharing mountaineering experiences is the great EQUALIZER. I have been often enjoyed climbing or skiing tours of several days duration and wasn't asked at all " what kind of work " I did.

In the Alps, guides typically address you by your first name during the entire encounter which is quite different from normal social interactions in urban environments. This certainly the case in German or French speaking countries.

In conclusion, rather than describing climbing as upper or middle class endeavors, I consider mountaineering the great democratizing experience, where money, class, rank is ignored for those precious hours or days of sharing nature!!!


You sound like a real nice, down to earth guy, but I have to state that, like lots of Europeans, your observations about Americans vs. Europeans is off.

Europe is one of the most class conscious cultures anywhere, even when compared to places like India, where they're burdened by the caste system. In Britain, class is immediately distinguished by the type of accent you have. The English refrain from using names like Sean, since it would suggest an Irish heritage, which is deemed lower than English. The notion of having evolved from an aristocracy (or not) is very common in places like France. European languages even have two forms of "you", a formal and informal.
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Re: Climbing and Wealth

Postby Alpinist » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:48 pm

Borut Kantušer wrote:
fatdad wrote: European languages even have two forms of "you", a formal and informal.


Like formal is like plural.

BTW, in Slovenian there is even a third form: the dual "you two" form (sweet, isn't it?)

And don't forget about ewe... Image
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Postby Sleighty » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:04 pm

I just think that the greatest thing about the climbing community is not only the coming together of these different classes, but the fact that they can put their classes aside and help each other out.

Example...I don't have money for gear. As such, I have classic gear, or none (although having old school gear gets lots of compliments). When doing more technical stuff, buddies are always there to help out with the gear, and they know that when I'm in a position to return the favor...I won't even skip a beat.

We're all friends here man, regardless of class. We're all the climbing class

(Just to clear things up...I may be middle class, but I'm a student...which means I'm not even classified)
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Re: Climbing and Wealth

Postby Jimmie » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:03 am

fatdad wrote:You sound like a real nice, down to earth guy, but I have to state that, like lots of Europeans, your observations about Americans vs. Europeans is off.

Europe is one of the most class conscious cultures anywhere, even when compared to places like India, where they're burdened by the caste system. In Britain, class is immediately distinguished by the type of accent you have. The English refrain from using names like Sean, since it would suggest an Irish heritage, which is deemed lower than English. The notion of having evolved from an aristocracy (or not) is very common in places like France. European languages even have two forms of "you", a formal and informal.


Not all European countries are like the Britain.

I'm not sure what it's like elsewhere in Europe, but in Norway the use of the formal version of "you" has almost disappeared. We're all equal now.
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Postby lcarreau » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:06 pm

For crying out loud, what the hell does it matter !!!

I'm going with EWE, because EWE's are very nice sheep.

:shock:
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Postby Gak Icenberg » Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:33 pm

lcarreau wrote:For crying out loud, what the hell does it matter !!!

I'm going with EWE, because EWE's are very nice sheep.

:shock:
of course they are. Just ask a llama :)
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