fat people and nihilists: the spectacle of climbing philosophy

26 03 2008


We’ve all been there. After building a solid “hey-i’ve-read-all-the- climbing-training-books” route pyramid we finally cross a plateau that has stared us in the face for weeks, months, or even years. We clip the chains. Our friends cheer. Confetti fills the sky. And the credits begin to roll. That’s right people, we have jumped up a grade in rock climbing uber-leetness.

There are two primary ways in which to read this event: 1) It might be interpreted as the culmination of many hours of garage/gym enthusiasm. We did X number of one arm pull ups so that Y route could be manhandled by our inspiring industrial strength grip. We ran 5 times a week for three months. We stopped drinking beer. All of this so that we could jump a grade in our personal quest to become absolutely ridiculous. 2) It could also be said that this sort of goal oriented approach is quite sad. With all the focus on the arrival, people miss the trip, the process, the ‘becoming’ strong. All we get is our three seconds of glory when we clip the chains and then we’re back to square one: the next grade. Add to this that grades are largely speculative, and what you get is a ton of people focusing on a reductive representation of climbing that obscures the true beauty of the sport.

Two sides. Two philosophies if you will. Grade Chasers and Soul Climbers.

Fortunately for you, we here at It Came From the Garage have the answer to this perplexing binary. By uncovering how these philosophies might approach key nodes in climbing ideology we can begin to uncoil the most truest true truthed form of rock climbing.

Nature: First of all, grade chasers hate nature. I think Darwin said it best when he said “Rock climbers who care about grades hate nature.” (Origin of Species, 172) And of course, everybody knows that rock climbing naturally requires a stern indifference to the notions of quality and quantity related through the relationship between 0 and 1; an indifference not present in nature-hating grade enthusiasts, but fully constituted in the Zen-like flowiness of soul climbers. See a forest burning? It wasn’t lightning my friend, it was a dude with an 8a account.

Body: Soul climbers are fat. Fat fatty fat fats. They don’t care about climbing hard because they can’t. Rather than hit the gym, these rasta vibin’ bros hide their fat rolls behind their avowed spiritual relationship with the rock. Of course, we all know this is hocus-pocus ‘i-left-that-shit-on-dead-tour’ crap. When they say things like “the rock speaks to me”, the keen observer should read this as “please ignore the fact that I suck at rock climbing.” Sorry ‘brah’, but we can’t; your “suck speaks to us”.

Fat People vs. Quantitative Nihilists? Which is the most truest-ish?


-tissue tendons