this land is (y)our land: on development

14 02 2009

gallagherdevelopmentfirstdespite my many  attempts to find boulders in the red and in morehead, most of my woodland adventures in the past 5 years have resulted in squat.  a few problems here and a few problems there, but never really an ‘area’ full of good boulders.  always a (re)cleaner, never a finder.  /sigh

but as i may have *cough* mentioned in my last post, in hundreds of text messages, in dozens of phone calls, and a veritable landslide of emails – the gods have recently smiled upon my rock crusade.  that’s right, i’m a – and it’s tough to get this out when you’re crying – developer.

i develop things.  things that aren’t rashes, or addictions, or cures for anything.  i develop boulder problems in woods that are reasonably close to my house.  i do this.  and it’s good fun.  but as my uncle once told me, “with great power comes great responsibility”.  and it’s this responsiblity that i detail – in list form no less – after the jump.

*new pics up on the fury register as well.

1) naming: you know you’ve got a problem when you find yourself watching a documentary on derrida for cool problem names.  for instance, i got this:  l’avenir: the unknowable future to come.  pretty cool name for something hard?

no.  see, when you actually send something new – something worth naming – all your best ideas become non-contextual rubbish.  indeed, the situation always dictates naming such that your really awesome french philosophic boulder problem ends up being named after your friend’s trail building injury (like Gimp Patrol).  all that rigorous preparation and it comes down to simply being conscious when you send.

but this ‘being conscious’ whilst naming is important.  for if we agree climbing is important – not in the grand scheme of things but in OUR scheme of things – then it follows that naming problems/routes is also important.  i sometimes imagine, for instance, if God Module was called “Tim’s Mom” or – worse yet – “Sharma Problem”.   the former was probably funny for about 5 minutes – no less than that – like 3.  and the latter stretches the name out for a few unnecessary sentences:

“which Sharma Problem?”

“the one in the pens.”

“which one?”

“the one that starts on the thin tooth hold and moves up to those two crimpers off the bad foot.”

“aha.  THAT Sharma Problem”.  (note: Litz put up God Module.  Sharma was only used here as an example)

both are terrible.  we need good names that actually signify something specific.  proper names not only differentiate between problems and allow them to accrue history, but actually lend themselves to making a climb special.  and as we all know: special climbs make the world go round.

2) cleaning:  mass cleaning top-outs SUCKS.  like, bad.  you get dirt in your hair, dirt in your eyes, and dirt in your mouth.  dude, it’s dirty; tastes like dirt even.  but cleaning up holds – the ones you get to use your fingers on – is another matter entirely.  it’s like a scratch-off lottery ticket.  sometimes you get a much needed sidepull that makes X move possible, and  sometimes you get a jug that completely ruins the v9 you had pictured in your mind.  and like the lottery – it’s super-addictive.  like mountain dew but without all the tooth decay.

3) grading: i think grading is hard when i’m repeating already-graded lines.  as in: “it’s pumpy, but the crux didn’t feel as hard as the one on ‘mega-hard brah machine”.  add to that the additional confusion of 1) doing the FA, 2) getting stronger while climbing nothing but FA’s, and 3) coming fresh off a winter training regimen with no real context for how fit you are, and what you have is a total clusterf**k.  the 7’s could be 9’s, the 3’s are probably 1’s and the 5’s are definitely 4’s.  of course, i’ve considered not grading anything.  i mean, i could just give them a name and act like i don’t care how hard it is.  yes – i know – i’d be lying AND i wouldn’t be able to do difficulty distribution charts in Excel.  the horror.

yours in development,





6 responses

17 02 2009
peter beal

Derrida? Dude…

17 02 2009

don’t dot dot dot me beal. i know you’re a closet deconstructionist.

18 02 2009
peter beal

The ellipsis is a Wittgensteinian strategy, passing over in silence what cannot be said, i.e. the proposition that “we need good names that actually signify something specific.” This would be impossible according to D as any route name is merely a free-floating signifier contingent on the presence/absence of all the others and their inter-relations. Hence the apropos citation of the “Sharma problem” problem, the name itself a seemingly casual deferral or even rejection of authority and naming rights yet ultimately its hegemonic function reveals itself as eventually all hard problems become by default Sharma problems in the absence of an alternative.

18 02 2009

yes. the ellipsis is a good way to mime the gap. this comment reminds me of how similar deleuze and derrida are. where derrida might understand a route name (a floating signifier) in terms of its temporary moorings within a discursive assembly, for deleuze the route name signifies nothing but only points to a momentary body-stone-language assemblage. sort of a phantasmagoric nomenclature, if you will.

nice derrida read on climbing. really. very nice.

we could co-write the most opaque climbing article ever.

18 02 2009
peter b

Name the climbing-related discursive field and we can start. BTW can you explicate/extricate the relationship/differance between “temporary moorings” and “momentary body-stone-language assemblage?”

19 02 2009

of course. the former is purely discursive. derrida doesn’t ‘do’ much outside of language, history, and memory. deleuze, on the other hand, was very concerned with the non-discursive: becoming ‘other than’ through the combination and (re)combination of all elements – not just chains of signification.

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