8a Rehab: Escaping the Ideological Control of Jens

2 01 2009


i’m a quitter.  in junior high i quit the football team.  as a 90lb bone pile i was literally unable to tackle anyone, which left me in the unenviable role of the runner (or a running back if you prefer i lay this out in proper sport terms).  and while i enjoyed a good jog as much as the next kid,  i didn’t much fancy trying to avoid amped-up 2 ton meatheads hellbent on breaking me.  i’d often try to reason with my gridiron colleagues- “hey we’re on the same team, no?”- only to anger them further with my highbrow “pussy talk”.  but i was okay with being shunned by the football team;  because unless i was planning on a 10-to-life prison tenure, being manhandled three times a week didn’t seeem like very useful training for anything.

and here i am 15 years later ready to quit again.  that’s right gentle reader: i’m quitting 8a.  

the reasons are numerous.  first, i find that i don’t care about grades unless i’m logging them.  for instance, i decided not to log anything the last time outside and guess what?:  nobody (myself included) talked endlessly about the grade of this or that problem.  we just climbed…. and…um…made fun of each other.  i didn’t mull over the same friggin paradox for three hours hoping for some intellectual singularity to come along and free me from the trap.  i just didn’t think about it because there was nothing to do with the data after i was finished.  all i got was sore muscles and the memory of climbing with my friends.  perfect.

second, i abhor 8a.

this soul eating website has this thing they do called “news”.  this “news” is best described as as the “mediocre work of a team of 12 year olds who are trying to figure out polemics“.  by this i mean that they 1) write like children 2) think like children and 3) are into laying down divisive social commentary like – you guessed it – children.  dumb children.  i mean, there is nothing wrong with dumb children; i’m just saying they shouldn’t steal the bodies of 30+ year old adults and set off to ruin rockclimbing culture.  that’s all i’m sayin.

many people have chalked up 8a’s confounding prose to a language barrier.  the primary editor Jens Larssen is from sweden and english is not his primary language. thus we should expect some clumsy subject-verb agreements and obtuse prepositional phrases.

i get that.  it’s tough to write in a second language.  (ils se boivent is not the same as ils se baisent, and doing an entire paper on the latter is – in the words of my french teacher “est mauvais pour classe” or something like that.)

i understand.  english is confusing.  but does mediocre english make people stubbornly simplistic?  no.  the problem isn’t language i don’t think.  you see, i believe the 8a ‘staff’ understands they are producing an important node/reference point in the determination of rockclimbing culture.  their bread and butter is points, rankings, etc., but in addition to all this uber-important stuff, they are also attempting to make the rockclimbing “mo betta” through the not-so-subtle imposition of their rockclimbing opinions.  most of their ‘mo bettaness’ is well intended: chipping is bad, anorexia is bad, etc..  but where they really fail is in noting the gray area through which many of their statements pass (i.e. when can we label a ‘small’ person anorexic?).  with their linnaean ‘science’ in tow these people are ACTUALLY trying to solidify rankings for everything in climbing.  everything.  add this to their “disciplinary” threats (banning anorexic climbers, not counting chipped routes, etc.) and what we have is a problem; a problem that i am no longer even tacitly supporting.

so – to conclude – it seems my intense personal relationship with grading exists only by virtue of an 8a graph floating around in an evil portion of cyberspace ran by pre-pubescent body thieves.  and since i am the master of the internets, i am capable of destroying said graphs.

problem solved.

sure, i’ll not be able to ‘share’ my big-time ascents with my fan-base, but if this is what i must sacrifice to achieve climbing zenorificness then so be it.  i guess i’ll also miss out on some progression tracking, but to be quite honest it’s not hard to know when you are or are not getting stronger.  i don’t really need to crunch numbers to tell me that X problem is the hardest thing i’ve ever done, nor do i need a gaggle of people to create a consensus on how hard it ‘really’ is.

dood, i’ve got it.  i’m just climbing.

-tissue “hero” tendons




7 responses

5 01 2009

I like the cut of your jib. You, sir, have been added to my GReader.

6 01 2009
peter b

I don’t know if zenorificness is achieved by shunning 8a but it’s worth a shot. It’s all about the hypostasizing in the end, isn’t it?

6 01 2009

meh. i’ll probably only quit for a week. 8a is like smoking but without the threat of death.

plus, if i find some zen without an 8a account, how is everyone gonna know? i mean, what’s the use of zen if you can’t make the global climbing community feel bad for not having some of it?

big questions for these trying times.

6 01 2009

everyone will know that you found zen because they read your blog; duh.

i didn’t go out for football either. and it hasn’t come in handy for me either, seeing as how i’ve done a ‘stint’ of “tenure” anywhere, nor am i planning to.

6 01 2009

I too quit 8a, for similar reasons- it was surprisingly relieving to stop thinking about it

5 02 2009

Totally agree! I’ve been ‘clean’ for a year now, feels great! I actually enjoy climbing again!

8 04 2009

I never joined. I’m a “climber” but never climbed for the grades. I’m proud of some of my accomplishments, but they are often more pride from mind over matter, facing my fear in the moment or just gorgeous days of climbing, 1000+ feet up and watching a peregrine falcon float below me on the thermals near the wall I’m dangling from.

And let’s be clear – I’m not a good enough climber than anyone but me gives a rat’s ass about anything I climbed recently 😛

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