Climbing and wealth

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Mark Straub

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by Mark Straub » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:53 pm

Sleighty wrote: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)

Sometimes when people see my harness, one of the first things they say is, "Is that a PYRAMID? I heard those things suck!"

Maybe I've just been climbing with some of the wrong people. On the other hand, though, some of the people I have climbed with have been generous, down-to-earth people I'd love to climb with again, but they're usually very busy.


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by lcarreau » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:07 am

I felt the same way when I lived in Washington! Seemed like everybody was
always busy.

Don't give up - there's gotta be some "deadbeats" around who like to climb mountains !!!


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by drjohnso1182 » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:09 am

Mark Straub wrote:Sometimes when people see my harness, one of the first things they say is, "Is that a PYRAMID? I heard those things suck!"

In my area, purchasing expensive gear will cause you to be looked upon with scorn and disdain. Any gear bearing a logo resembling a dead bird is expressly verboten. Patagucci is unacceptable unless it was purchased during one of their 50% off sales, in which case you'd better carry the receipt around as proof. New gear should be soiled as soon as it is in hand (with sandpaper, dirt, or your own blood) to prevent interrogation and ostracism. Even then, you should still prepare an alibi about how you got it on "prodeal" from your buddy who knows a guy. Your REI discount is not sufficient to protect you from ridicule. To really score points around here, your gear should only come from Craigslist thieves or shady Eastern European manufacturers.

Of course, there's no climbing around here, so the only time we break out the gear is to brag about how little we paid for it.

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Climbing Expensive?

by agunn333 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:16 am

It's expensive due to marketing.

That said, I am a sucker for marketing.

I'll have a tall latte, synthetic, breathable, windproof, waterproof, full side zips, no priming, 1 lb. 3 oz., four season, 10 kN rated. Please.

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by sergejf » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:28 am

What made me love mountaineering and what makes it possible for me to experience some high altitude peaks are two different things.

I grew up in Switzerland and mountains were a part of my life since before I could walk. I believe you are more likely to find people from all income range climbing peaks in countries blessed with accessible mountain ranges and a culture of mountaineering.

In Latin America, guides and hard-core climbers most often scrap a living by European or US standards. They belong to a tiny category of people who saw the giants overlooking them with different eyes than the rest of the population too busy surviving on a day to day basis. Most Colombians can't even name the second national park with most peaks in the country.

Passion for the peaks is the great equalizer, no doubt, but how you climb these mountains reflects your disposable income. If you are willing to accept the risks, you can venture out with rusty crampons tied with plastic strings and a Chinese Columbia shell copy that will store water like a sponge, no rescue insurance and no guide.

For many of us this would be foolish. High altitude climbing is safer with quality gear, and this costs an arm and a leg - I just completed my shopping for Ojos del Salado and am $3K poorer. The double leather boots alone cost me more than my entire gear to climb the Pico de Orizaba in Mexico!

My friends in Colombia would have loved to join me on that expedition but they simply do not have the cash to pay for the gear and flights.

So are some forms of climbing mostly a middle-class endeavor? I would say so, and from all the Web sites offering pre-packaged expeditions anywhere on the globe for trekkers-aspiring-mountaineers like me, I would add that this seems to be a fast-growing segment of the climbing world in general.

I hope I'm not confusing matters, I just found the post intriguing and wanted to offer the perspective of someone living outside of the developed world.


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