To whom must I pay my dues?

To whom must I pay my dues?

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Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope, Bouldering, Ice Climbing, Aid Climbing, Big Wall, Mixed, Scrambling

A letter I wrote to the editors of Climbing magazine in regards to the article "“STONE MONKEYS VISIONS OF THE MODERN-AGE STONEMASTERS”, issue No. 266.

Dear Gods of the revered Climbing Magazine,
I write this letter in regard to the publication of the article “STONE MONKEYS VISIONS OF THE MODERN-AGE STONEMASTERS”.
I am a little baffled as to what the author means by “to be a Stone Monkey, you don’t have to climb hard or be famous, (though quite a few Monkeys fit this bill). In fact, it’s not so much that you choose to be a Monkey as that you become one, by paying your dues.”
So you don’t have to “climb hard or be famous”. However you do have to “pay your dues.” I just wonder what “dues” I would have to “pay”. Do I have to give up education? My “9 to 5” job serving tables? Must I grow my hair long take up smoking and give up taking showers? Climb 5.15, boulder V16, and Free Solo El Capitan and Half Dome back to back in under twenty-four hours?
It just seems that the “Stone Monkey” gang is bit hypocritical. Climbing to me, and I hope for many others, is not about disassociating myself from society to fulfill a “dirtbag dream” of becoming part of an “eclectic clan” of climbers. If I am not a “regular”, or don’t go about subverting the local climbing coalition and National Park service, does that make me less of a climber; less passionate about the beloved way of life? I would hope not.
Here is and idea, O’ powerful Gods of Climbing Magazine. Perhaps you might publish an article about the soldier-climber, who is out protecting the very rights and freedoms, which we so easily abuse, to live free and climb in the first place. Or maybe about a group of college kids, who are obtaining an education in order to be productive members of society, and therefore only have the time and money to climb on the weekends, much less one weekend a month. Or the Mother/Father, who love just as deeply, care just as passionately about climbing as a revered “Stone Monkey”, but has put the way of life on hold to raise a family?
Climbing is a way to connect with nature, with the wild; and that is just what climbing is, WILD! No one can tame the cliffs or mountains. They belong to no mere human, not even a “Stone Monkey”. Mother Nature rules and owns us; we are not but guests in the outdoors. Guest who should know humility and respect; respect for others who wish to share the experiences to be had, and respect the awesome power the Wild. We are visitors and She can take us whenever She wants. I pay no dues to any “Stone Monkey”, but the Creator. One should not have to prove anything to anyone in order to climb, or partake of the beauty of the outdoors. Is the weekend top roper climbing 5.6 and 5.7, any less a climber than the sponsored “master” who trads 5.15?
Climbing, is an ideology, a way of life; passion and spirit. Not a bragging right, or call sign for revolution. I thought better of ye Climbing Magazine Gods. Will you hear my prayer?
Trent Vongchanyakul; Norman Oklahoma

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mrauthentic616rm2 - May 2, 2008 5:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: What's a

Right...the author of the article called it and "eclectic group". My main reasoning is not that groups, faction, coalitions, whatever you call them are bad, but that they should encourage all climbers no matter how hard you climb, or how long you've been around.


mrauthentic616rm2 - May 5, 2008 5:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: What's a

They are an "eclectic group" of anti conformist climbers who reside in Yosemite Valley. "Famed" for their hard climbs and "superior" way of life...


mountaindog - May 3, 2008 9:41 am - Voted 10/10

Its about time!

Such a letter has been boiling in my innards for years but you've captured it so well that I won't bother. Congrats on this anti-manifesto manifesto which takes aim at the dogmatism of the so-called anti-dogmatists.

You capture best the spirit of Alex Lowe who said "the best climbed on the mountain is the one who is having the most fun."

Much respect to you Mr. Authentic,



mrauthentic616rm2 - May 5, 2008 5:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Its about time!

Thanks mountaindog,
Surprisingly the editor of Climbing wrote me back, telling me they would "do their best to publish some material that (they hope) will fit the bill". We will see I guess, till then, happy climbing!


alpinistahombre - May 15, 2008 11:52 am - Voted 10/10

I say old chap, Good Show!!!

Outstanding response my bruthu-from-anothu-muthu... the stone monkeys are just another arrogant sub-culture of a sub-culture of a culture. They are unique in their own minds, and that's about it. The mags are part of the "media" so controversy is always good for them... EXCEPT for, I would argue, the greater mountaineering mags. THEY will lose our interest if they bend an ear to such mentally impoverished beings. Palabra a tu madre!!!!!


alpinistahombre - May 15, 2008 11:55 am - Voted 10/10

PS -

Nice profile photo... looks VERY familiar :)


mrauthentic616rm2 - May 18, 2008 9:15 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: PS -

I should look familiar, its your butt blocking the sun. Hahaha!!!

Viewing: 1-7 of 7