Has Aaron deleted the articles??
Too bad. :(
It started in april, I think, 2001. It's not quite fair to say that they've abandoned the site, one can see Ryle being online now and then.
It started out with mainly American climbers, but grew quite quickly with European members. Since there still are many active from that first group of members, you ought to be able to get the story from any of them, if they have the energy to write it down. Bob Burd was the first elf, the uber-elf Gangolf was the first European elf. Dadndave the first Australian :-)
In the beginning there were areas, mountains, routes, images and trip reports. There was a lot of debates going on about keeping SP "pure", everything should be about mountains. If someone posted a pic of something else, they apologised for it being off topic. Voting for pics had the option "off topic".
When version 2 was implemented, everything under the caption "other" was added, and it changed the direction of the site.
(I have been a member a bit longer then it seems from my profile...)
Age is a matter of mind and if you don´t mind it does not matter!