Climbing monsters: excess and restraint in contemporary rock climbing


Heywood, I.

Leisure Studies 25(4): 455-467

2006


The tension in rock climbing between technical aspects of performance that do not involve risk, and preparedness to put oneself in considerable and even life-threatening danger, is explored through an analysis of extreme gritstone climbing in the late 1990s recorded in a successful 'cult' film Hard Grit. The film dramatizes self-imposed danger, and connects it to the history and myths of gritstone climbing, an emphasis best seen as a specific moment in the oscillation in climbing between the technical dimension (or bodily "techne") and 'bottle' (spiritedness or "thumos"), but it has wider implications. The theoretical background is the Weberian theme of rationalization qualified, however, by the social and cultural significance of imprudence, irresponsibility and deliberate transgression throughout the modern period. As late modernity reveals new consequences for societies and cultures beyond the reach of either comprehensive reason in a classical sense or a self-imposed rational order along Enlightenment lines, the play of "techne" and "thumos" becomes potentially unlimited and thus monstrous. How, then, should climbers and their very loosely organized, minority pursuit, govern themselves? How can climbing remain authentic, true to itself? After an exploration of some theoretical aspects, the essay concludes more practically by proposing that two features of everyday rock climbing operate as ethical sources: confidence in sound judgment by the imagined future community of climbers; and a 'phenomenological' turn to the natural and sensory preconditions of climbing. These sources cannot, however, fully govern climbing culture but operate only in tension with fundamentally unruly impulses and drives.

Leisure
Studies,
Vol.
25,
No.
4,
455-467,
October
2006
Climbing
Monsters:
Excess
and
Restraint
in
Contemporary
Rock
Climbing
IAN
HEYWOOD
Faculty
of
Arts
and
Society,
Leeds
Metropolitan
University,
UK
(Received
March
2005;
revised
June
2005;
accepted
July
2005)
ABSTRACT
The
tension
in
rock
climbing
between
technical
aspects
of
performance
that
do
not
involve
risk;
and
preparedness
to
put
oneself
in
considerable
and
even
life-threatening
danger,
is
explored
through
an
analysis
of
extreme
gritstone
climbing
in
the
late
1990s
recorded
in
a
successful
`cult'
film Hard
Grit.
The
film
dramatises
self-imposed
danger,
and
connects
it
to
the
history
and
myths
of
gritstone
climbing,
an
emphasis
best
seen
as
a
specific
moment
in
the
oscillation
in
climbing
between
the
technical
dimension
(or
bodily
techne)
and
'bottle'
(spiritedness
or
thumos),
but
it
has
wider
implications.
The
theoretical
background
is
the
Weberian
theme
of
rationalisation
qualified,
however,
by the
social
and
cultural
significance
of
imprudence,
irresponsibility
and
deliberate
trans-
gression
throughout
the
modern
period.
As
late
modernity
reveals
new
consequences
for
societies
and
cultures
beyond
the
reach
of
either
comprehensive
reason
in
a
classical
sense
or
a
self-imposed
ratio-
nal
order
along
Enlightenment
lines,
the
play
of
techne
and
thumos
becomes
potentially
unlimited
and
thus
monstrous.
How,
then,
should
climbers
and
their
very
loosely
organised,
minority
pursuit,
govern
themselves?
How
can
climbing
remain
authentic,
true
to
itself?
After
an
exploration
of
some
theoretical
aspects,
the
essay
concludes
more
practically
by
proposing
that
two
features
of
everyday
rock
climbing
operate
as
ethical
sources:
confidence
in
sound
judgment
by
the
imagined
future
community
of
climbers;
and
a
'phenomenological'
turn
to
the
natural
and
sensory
preconditions
of
climbing.
These
sources
cannot,
however,
fully
govern
climbing
culture
but
operate
only
in
tension
with
fundamentally
unruly
impulses
and
drives.
KEYWORDS:
hard
grit;
thumos;
techne;
rationalisation;
transgression;
moderation;
everyday
life;
moral
resources
I
Consider
us
and
what
we
are:
we
are
not
well-balanced
individuals,
as
long
as
we
climb,
because
we
have
committed
ourselves
to
a
pure
sphere
of
self-assertion
and
will.
(Perrin,
1986:
p.
185)
This
paper
explores
a
contrast
running
through
all
forms
of
climbing:
that
between
the
technical,
cognitive,
and
deliberative
aspects
of
the
sport
training,
know-how,
the
systematic
development
of
bodily
capacities
and
skills,
the
informed
use
of
Correspondence
Address:
Ian
Heywood,
Faculty
of
Arts
and
Society,
Leeds
Metropolitan
University,
Leeds
LA1
2I1E,
UK.
Email:
ianheywood@beeb.net
ISSN
0261-4367
(print)/ISSN
1466-4496
(online)/06/040455-13
©
2006
Taylor
&
Francis
DOI:
10.1080/02614360500333911
456
I
Heywood
equipment,
etc.
and
'bottle',
a
willingness
to
put
oneself
in
danger,
the
drive
to
push
beyond
what
has
been
done
before,
beyond
existing
physical
and
mental
limits.
In
more
philosophical
terms,
this
is
a
difference
between
techne
and
thumos.
In
Plato's
Republic,
thumos
means
pugnacity,
the
drive
to
overcome
and
subdue,
and
in
Britain
gritstone
outcrops
have
been
the
location
par
excellence
in
which
thumos
has
been
dramatised,
not
only
for
the
direct
participants
but
also
the
wider
audience
of
climbers.
This
suggests
looking
at
the
gritstone
edges
of
the
Dark
Peak
and
Yorkshire
as
a
stage upon
which
a
dangerous,
sometimes
obsessive,
struggle
is
played
out
in
the
context
of
a
modern
society
for
which
rational
prudence
and
responsibility
are
enormously
important
public
virtues
(Chaney,
1993,
2002).
The
paper
scrutinises
two
concrete
phenomena
in
order
to
explore
deeper
cultural
strata:
episodes
of
hard
and
dangerous
gritstone
climbing
in
the
late
1990s;
and
Hard
Grit,
a
'cult'
film
that
recorded
some
of
them.
It
is
important
to
see
that
the
courting
of
risk
in
climbing,
an
expression
of
thumos,
is
not
simply
impulsive
or
foolhardy.
While
anyone
can
go
and
get
them-
selves
killed
on
steep
rock,
the
social
reality
of
high
performance,
high
risk,
climb-
ing
involves
exacting
physical
and
mental
preparation,
considerable
knowledge,
and
a
careful
calculation
of
the
odds.
It
is
this
that
I
am
interpreting
as
bodily,
practical
techne;
that
is,
deliberated,
embodied
action
on
the
basis
of
knowledge,
training,
experience,
and
technical
refinement.
Techne
here
includes
more
than
just
'technology'
or
what
climbers
call
'technique'
(Heidegger,
1977).
For
climb-
ing
as
a
social
activity,
the
essential
context
of
thumos,
the
decision
to
put
bodily
wellbeing
in
jeopardy
is
embodied
techne.
Neither
thumos
nor
techne
alone
define
the
core
of
the
activity.
Rather,
there
is
within
climbing
a
constant
oscillation
between
the
two
(Donnelly,
2003).
1
However,
climbing
and
climbers
would
be
diminished
were
this
play
between
techne
and
spir-
itedness
to
become
total
and
definitive.
A
climber
exclusively
devoted
to
the
culti-
vation
of
techne
and
the
free
play
of
thumos
would
be
dominated
by
compulsive
behaviour,
either
technical
or
neurotic.
My
fmal
question
is,
then,
what
aspects
of
climbing
and
more
specifically,
what
kind
of
care
could
reduce
this
threat?
The
intellectual
background
to
the
essay
has
several
aspects.
First,
it
responds
to
a
general
interest
in
the
moral
condition
of
late
modernity
seen
in
part
from
socio-
logical
and
cultural
perspectives
(Taylor,
1989;
Giddens,
1991;
Pippin,
1991;
Beck,
1992;
Benhabib,
1992;
Bauman,
1993;
Larmore,
1996;
Heller,
1999;
Lash,
1999;
Rosen,
1999).
Chris
Jenks
has
recently
proposed
that
modernity
'has
unintention-
ally
generated
an
ungoverned
desire
to
extend,
exceed,
or
go
beyond
the
margins
of
acceptable
or
normal
performance.
Transgression
therefore
becomes
a
primary
postmodern
topic
and
a
responsible
one'
(Jenks,
2003:
p.
8).
The
film
Hard
Grit
records
just
this
excessive
or
transgressive
behaviour
with
regard
to
'normal'
climb-
ing,
and
provides
a
useful
point
from
which
to
reflect
upon
both
the
current
social
condition
of
this
sport
and
the
broader
question
of
the
relationship
between
trans-
gression
and
acceptable
or
normal
performance.
Second,
the
essay
seeks
to
explore
moral
and
experiential
sources
that
perform
a
moderating,
and
indeed
moralising,
function
for
climbing
in
particular.
This
implies
a
critical
response
to
the
view
that
ordinary
moral
resources
residing
in
different,
sequestered,
spheres
of
everyday
life,
but
now
assailed
by
relativism,
socio-cultural
fragmentation,
radical
commodification,
and
individualisation,
are
Climbing Monsters
457
as
a
result
in
a
state
of
acute
crisis
or
terminal
decline.
The
larger
issues
to
which
the
essay
alludes,
and
which
could
only
be
dealt
with
explicitly
in
a
different
context,
are
modernity's
progressive
reduction
of
the
soul
to
the
body,
and
the
phenomenon
of
embodiment
then
appearing
as
subject
to
an
antinomy.
On
the
one
hand,
from
the
perspective
of
the
ongoing
modernisation
process
(Giddens,
1990;
Beck,
1992;
Beck
et
al.,
1994;
Lash,
1999),
the
body
is
the
object
of
further
reflexive
rationalisation,
its
essential
plasticity
enabling
it
to
be
moulded
into
an
ever
more
efficient
and
effective
resource
for
action
or
pleasure.
The
scientific,
technical,
and
social
innovations
of
continued
modernisation,
and
their
unpredictable
consequences,
mean
that
deliberate,
well-informed
risk-taking
has
become
a
necessary
part
of
individual
and
organisational
life
(Beck,
1992;
Beck
et
al.,
1994).
On
the
other
hand,
and
associated
with
postmodernism
and
the
philos-
ophy
of
difference,
the
full
immanent
significance
of
the
body
is
interpreted
as
an
expression
of
polymorphous
desire
which
is,
as
Felix
Guattari
puts
it,
'everything
that
exists
before
the
opposition
between
subject
and
object,
before
representation
and
production'
(Stambolian
&
Marks,
1990:
pp.
56-69).
While
postmodernists
have
often
celebrated
'difference
as
difference',
from
the
point
of
view
of
further
reflexive
modernisation
this
'desire
beyond
reason'
is
concretely
indistinguishable
from
obsessive-compulsive
behaviour,
in
the
case
of
certain
kinds
of
climbing
an
'addiction'
to
dangerous
or
even
life-threatening
situations.
As
Al
Alvarez
puts
it:
'For
some
people,
climbing
can
be
an
addiction
that
alters
the
psyche's
chemistry
as
surely
as
heroin
alters
the
body's'
(Alvarez,
2003:
p.
18).
2
Seen
thus,
the
response
to
risk
of
Hard
Grit
type
climbing
is
not
premised
on
a
combination
of
calculation
judiciously
weighing
the
odds
of
success
and
systematic,
technical
performance
improvement,
but
rather
a
neurotic
symptom
of
some
kind
or,
at
a
more
cultural
level,
the
expression
of
a
nihilistic
cult
of
avoidable
danger.
Yet
over
and
above
the
question
of
whether
particular
individuals
succumb
to
obsessive-compulsive
behaviour,
the
larger
issue
is
the
condition
of
the
sport
as
a
whole.
If
climbing
is
to
avoid
falling
for
distorted
images
of
itself,
forceful
or
erotic
exaggerations
of
one
of
its
component
features,
upon
what
moral
sources
must
it
rely?
Third,
the
essay
is
intended
to
be
an
exercise
in
the
empirical
and
practical
interpretation
of
a
cultural
sector,
informed
by
many
years
of
reflective
participa-
tion.
The
approach
adopted
owes
something
to
Elias
and
Dunning's
(1986)
search
within
different
sports
for
economies
of
balance
and
restraint,
although
clearly
climbing
presents
the
tradition
of
figurational
sociology
with
specific
challenges.
In
particular,
it
is
difficult
to
apply
to
climbing
a
key
idea
like
'mimesis',
however
useful
it
may
be
to
understanding
the
internal
dynamics
of
other
sports.
While
climbing
has
dramatically
increased
in
popularity
in
recent
years,
and
is
certainly
subject
to
considerable
commercial
exploitation
by
companies
manufacturing
and
marketing
equipment
and
clothing,
it
has
so
far
proved
generally
unattractive
to
mainstream
television
or
mass
audiences
(Dorian,
2003
).
Climbing
is
still
over-
whelmingly
a
participant
rather
than
a
spectator
sport,
hence
the
sophisticated
tech-
nical
apparatuses,
the
codes
of
representation,
the
commentators
and
experts,
all
the
machinery
of
modern
mimesis
for
large
audiences,
are
largely
absent.
In
addi-
tion,
the
core
experience
of
climbing
is
to
do
with
a
real
relationship
with
the
mate-
rial
world
and
gravity,
not
an
imaginary
or
symbolic
one
with
other
human
beings.
458
I
Heywood
However,
I
hope
to
show
some
of
the
ways
in
which
imagination
and
a
social
dimension
remain
important
to
climbing.
Finally,
I
do
not
intend
to
'theorise'
climbing
from
a
sociological
or
cultural
theoretical
position
external
to
its
life
world,
but
rather
to
see
what
light
might
be
shed
by
colliding
images, ideas
and
values
from
the
everyday
life
of
climbing
recognisable
as
such
by
most
climbers,
with
some
philosophical
and
theoretical
notions
pertinent
to
an
investigation
of
larger
tensions
within
modernity
and
modern
culture.
The
three
sections
are
loosely
related
and,
in
keeping
with
the
topic,
the
argument
is
playful
rather
than
systematic.
II
The
great
forms
which
shape
the
substance
of
life
are
the
syntheses,
antagonisms,
or
compro-
mises
between
chance
and
necessity.
Adventure
is
such
a
form.
(Simmel,
1997:
p.
224)
Climbing
in
the
UK
has
for
two
decades
been
dogged
by
a
controversy
between
`sport'
and
'adventure'
variants
(Heywood,
1994).
Although
a
kind
of
pragmatic
settlement
has
recently
emerged,
a
brief
review
of
some
key
terms
will
serve
as
an
introduction
to
what
I
want
to
discuss
in
respect
of
extreme
gritstone
climbing
and
the
1998
film
Hard
Grit
made
by
Richard
Heap
and
Mark
Turnbull.
Searching
for
a
name
for
itself
in
recent
years,
the
mainstream
British
approach
to
rock
climbing
has
come
up
with
'adventure'
(or
'traditional')
climbing.
Ideal-
type
adventure
climbing
occurs
when
climbs
either
single
or
multi-pitch
are
ascended
'on
sight'
(no
previous
inspection
or
rehearsal),
ground-up,
and
with
the
leader
protecting
him/herself
with
hand-placed,
removable
equipment,
assuming
that
there
are
suitable
'placements'
(e.g.
cracks,
natural
spikes
of
rock)
available.
In
theory
such
'gear'
will
prevent
the
leader
hitting
the
ground
in
the
event
of
a
fall,
assuming
that
it
can
be
suitably
placed
and
that
it
does
not
'rip'
out
under
the
huge
forces
generated
by
a
falling
body.
4
In
the
UK,
adventure
climbing
is
certainly the
main
historical
tradition
and
form
of
the
sport
pursued
by
the
vast
majority
of
climbers.
There
exist
thousands
of
such
climbs,
at
varying
levels
of
difficulty,
which
can
be
made
reasonably
safe
using
normal
gear
in
natural
features.
But
there
are
also
routes,
again
from
very
easy
to
great
difficulty,
which
cannot
be
made
safe.
It
is
the
latter
with
which
Hard
Grit
is
concerned,
that
is,
very
difficult
and
dangerous
climbs.
To
fall
on
lead
is
to
risk
serious
injury
or
death.
As
a
film
Hard
Grit
is
technically
quite
simple,
with
a
maximum
of
two
or
three
cameras
for
any
one
sequence.
It
runs
for
64
minutes.
The
soundtrack
is
largely
voice-over
with
some
interview
material,
and
a
musical
'dance'
accompaniment.
The
opening
sequence,
accompanied
by
quickening
heartbeats,
culminates
in
Jean-
Minh
Trin-Thieu
taking
a
long
fall
from
Gaia,
and
certainly
grabs
the
attention
of
the
viewer.
Yet
the
overall
visual
appearance
of
the
film
is
prosaic,
with
natural
lighting,
largely
static
camera
positions
and
sustained
shots
of
climbing
moves;
certainly
not
the
hyperactive
voyeurism
of
the
'MTV'
style
associated
with
predominant
representations
of
so-called
'extreme
sport'.
There
seems
to
be
little
artifice
in
how
it
presents
the
climbing;
glitz,
glamour
and
'cool'
are
notably
absent.
In
commercial
terms
the
production
costs
were
evidently
modest,
but
the
film
and
video
version
have
been
a
considerable
critical
and
commercial
success.
Climbing Monsters
459
In
2002
the
magazine
On
the
Edge
reported
Richard
Heap's
estimate
that
Hard
Grit
had
sold
12,000
video
copies,
somewhat
to
the
surprise
of
its
makers.
While
sponsors
are
listed
in
the
credits,
the
only
products
that
a
climber
could
easily
recognise
are
the
5.10
climbing
shoes
worn
by
several
activists
and
some
items
of
Ben
Moon's
S7
clothing
range.
Most
sequences
begin
with
the
climber
and
team
of
spotters
gathered
below
the
route.
The
action
of
the
film
records
`headpoint'
5
and
mostly
repeat
ascents
of
some
of
the
hardest
and
most
serious
gritstone
routes.
6
Relationships
between
climbers,
supporters
and
film
crew
are
jovially
informal.
Climbers
climb
and
cameras
follow
the
action.
Attempts
are
made,
through
close
ups
of
gnarled,
chalked-up
forgers,
to
give
the
audience
a
sense
of
the
paucity
of
holds
on
such
routes.
We
witness
initial
failure
almost
as
often
as
eventual
success,
although
we
are
also
left
in
no
doubt
that
these
climbers
are
at
the
'cutting
edge'
of
their
sport.
Overall,
one
feels
that
Hard
Grit
looks
as
it
does
a
bit
like
a
very
competent
`home
movie',
the
kind
of
thing
that
digital
cameras
and
desktop
editing
soft-
ware
have
made
accessible
to
many
not
only
because
lavish
resources
were
unavailable,
but
also
because
its
makers
wanted
to
convey
the
spontaneity
and
down
to
earth
style
of
the
Sheffield
milieu
from
which
the
majority
of
the
climbers
come.
Its
outlook
and
assumptions
make
it
very
much
an
'insiders",
piece,
with
few
concession
to
a
mass
audience;
this
increases
its
sense
of
gritty
authenticity.
We
must
now
briefly
consider
the
importance,
to
gritstone
climbing
of
myth
and
history,
and
then
the
relationship
between
what
I
have
been
referring
to
as
technical
aspects
of
high
performance
climbing
and
having
the
bottle
to
go
out
and
do
it.
The
hardest
gritstone
routes
and
those
climbing
them
have
enjoyed
in
their
day
an
extraordinary
aura.
In
the
1950s
and
early
1960s
the
gritstone
gods
were
Joe
Brown
and
Don
Whillans,
and
in
1970s
Steve
Bancroft
and
John
Allen.
The
film's
commentary
dates
the
advent
of
today's
definition
of
hard
grit
to
Johnny
Woodward's
ascent
of
Beau
Geste
in
1982,
opening
the
way
for
the
legendary
feats
of
Jerry
Moffat,
Simon
Nadin,
Johnny
Dawes
and
John
Dunne.
The
filmmakers
are
highly
aware
of
grit's
fabulous
narrative,
the
commentary
reminding
us
more
than
once
of
the
'almost
mythical
world
of
hard
gritstone
climbing'.
Having
said
this,
the
film
includes
a
lengthy
historical
introduction
that
takes
gritstone
climbing
from
its
beginnings
in
the
19th-century
through
to
today.
This
section
is
quite
playful,
with
jocund
costumed
ascents
shot
in
grainy,
flickering
black
and
white,
but
not
at
the
expense
of
objectivity.
Considerable
respect
is
shown
to
the
gritstone
ancestors,
even
though
it
is
well
known
that
yesterday's
elite
test
pieces
often
become
in
due
course
an
easy
stroll
for
the
punters.
?
Thus
the
film
manages
to
encompass
both
the
historical
and
the
mythical
in
a
quite
satisfying
way,
and
this
self-conscious,
playful
shifting
between
facts
and
lore
is
quite
characteristic
of
ordinary
climbing
culture.
The
climbers
are
invited
to
say
what
they
think
hard
grit
is.
To
paraphrase:
'it's
putting
yourself
in
dangerous
situations,
pushing
yourself
to
your
absolute
limit',
`persuading
yourself
you
aren't
in
danger
when
you
are',
'elitism',
'the
victory
of
imagination
and
will
over
sober
realism',
'a
moment
of
madness
in
an
over-secure
world'.
But
mental
preparation
and
'setting
up'
are
also
mentioned.
Mental
prepa-
ration
could
involve
many
things,
but
would
need
to
include
both
the
anticipation
460
I.
Heywood
and
overcoming
of
fear
before
the
event,
and
strategies
of
how
to
deal
with
fear
in
action,
how
to
stop
it
making
the
body
perform
badly,
for
example,
by
'relaxing
like
you've
never
relaxed
before'.
We
see
some
of
the
'setting
up':
the
use
of
a
team
of
'spotters'
who
will
try
to
prevent
or
minimise
injury
by
directing
a
falling
climber
away
from
jagged
rocks
at
the
foot
of
the
climbs,
and
the
padding
of
hazardous
boulders
and
edges
with
mattresses
and
crash
mats.
Of
course,
many
of
these
safety
procedures
become
merely
hopeful
gestures
once
the
climber
is
high
on
the
route.
What
we
do
not
see
or
hear
much
about
in
the
film
is
the
systematic,
sometimes
obsessive
training,
dieting,
and
flexibility
regimes
in
which
almost
all
of
these
top
climbers
engage:
the
use
of
indoor
climbing
and
bouldering
walls,
campus
board-
ing,
weights,
the
rigorous
control
of
calories,
backed
up
by
both
'scientific'
train-
ing
ideas
(emanating
from
athletics
and
gymnastics)
and
more
'spiritual'
or
`alternative'
beliefs
about
the
body
and
its
performance,
for
example,
yoga,
tai
chi,
martial
arts,
and
so
on.
The
climbers
in
Hard
Grit
train
and
prepare
themselves
like
all
top
athletes,
yet
what
is
largely
absent
or
understated
in
the
film
is
this
bodily
techne;
the
knowledge,
the
working
out,
the
mental
and
physical
know-how
that
make
possible
these
extreme
performances.
This
is
certainly
not
because
the
hard-
core
climbing
audience
are
unaware
of
this
dimension,
nor
is
it
because
such
things
necessarily
lack
drama
and
are
therefore
'boring'.
8
Rather,
it
is
because
Hard
Grit
seeks
to
highlight
thumos,
a
key
value
for
climbing
chronically
in
tension
with
its
technical
dimension.
If
not
quite
a
critique
of
the
undue
influence
of
techne,
Hard
Grit's
silence
on
the
issue
and
its
dramatic
foregrounding
of
risk
and
real
danger
testify
to
the
tension
between
these
different
aspects
of
the
activity.
III
When
1
say
that
this
rock
is
unclimbable,
it
is
certain
that
this
attribute...can
be
conferred
on
it
only
by
the
project
of
climbing
it,
and
by
a
human
presence.
It
is,
therefore,
freedom
which
brings
into
being
obstacles
to
freedom,
so
that
the
latter
can
be
set
over
against
it
as
its
bounds.
(Merleau-Ponty,
1962:
p.
439)
The
best-known
discussion
of
thumos
by
Plato
is
to
be
found
in
the
Republic,
in
the
context
of
a
passage
on
three
different
aspects
of
the
human
soul
or
psyche:
reason,
a
faculty
that
calculates
and
decides;
desire
or
appetite;
and
finally
spirit,
meaning
by
this
mettle,
guts,
assertiveness,
pugnacity
or
ambition.
Plato
believes
that
the
guardians
of
his
republic
a
kind
philosophical
military
police
need
a
certain
ferocity
of
spirit,
but
must
deploy
it
against
enemies,
not
fellow
citizens,
and
this
requires
that
reason
should
rule
both
desire
and
spirit.
As
Plato
puts
it
in
the
Repub-
lic
(441e),
spirit
should
be
an
'auxiliary'
of
reason,
that
is,
ruled
by
dianoia
or
discursive
intelligence.
Plato
does
not,
of
course,
identify
the
most
important
form
of
reason
with
techne.
Reason
at
this
level
is
philosophical
wisdom,
a
mental
grasp
of
the
fundamental
and
abiding
nature
of
things,
not
mere
technical
know-how
or
the
kind
of
knowledge
bound-up
in
craft
or
professional
skills.
9
In
the
modern
period
it
would
be
unusual
to
think
of
reason
as
capable
of
shaping
the
whole
of
life
on
the
basis
of
a
comprehensive
mental
grasp
of
the
natural
and
normative
order
of
things.
Reason
is
rather
a
formal
or
technical
capacity,
albeit
one
split
into
different
areas
and
competencies:
scientific
reasoning
is
not
identical
Climbing Monsters
461
with
moral
or
artistic
reasoning;
abstract
reasoning
differs
from
practical
reason-
ing;
and
so
on.
Diversified,
limited
to
particular
spheres
of
application,
and
unable
to
discern
any
overall,
normatively
compelling
coherence
to
things,
reason
cannot
rule
in
the
classical
sense.
In
this
context
desire,
imagination
and
spiritedness
are
thrust
forward
as
distinc-
tive
human
faculties,
or,
more
radically, post-human
forces,
presenting
outlooks
and
ways
of
living
very
different
from
calculative
rationality.
Hence,
the
important
social
and
cultural
fault
line
in
modernity
between
formal
or
technical
reason
and
various
human
passions.
10
In
the
modern
period
thumos
is
a
mode
of
embodied
desire
or
passion,
and
the
tension
between
techne
and
thumos
forms
part
of
the
tacit
background
of
the
drama
that
Hard
Grit
graphically
displays.
Concern
for
the
relationship
between
spiritedness
or
courage
and
reason
outcrops
elsewhere.
It
may
be
found,
for
example,
in
modern
philosophy,
with
Nietzsche's
elevation
of
courage
as
the
most
important
philosophical
virtue
(Nietzsche,
1973;
Berkowitz,
1995:
pp.
228-259)
and
in
the
importance
Heidegger
(1962)
places
on
resolution
(Entschlossenheit).
There
is
insufficient
space
here
to
discuss
these
complex
issues.
However,
returning
in
conclusion
to
an
aspect
of
the
questions
raised
above,
we
must
now
reflect
briefly
on
the
relationship
between
thumos
and
techne
as
it
appears
in
climbing.
A
chronic
problem
that
climbing
confronts,
along
with
other
adventure
sports,
is
the
tendency
to
become
routine,
normal,
measured,
predictable;
a
rationalised
activity
in
which
safety
and
success,
and
in
general
a
largely
commodified
`adventure
experience',
are
virtually
guaranteed
by
knowledge,
preparation,
training
and
equipment."
To
use
Max
Weber's
famous
term,
it
tends
to
become
one
more
mundane
province
of
a
'disenchanted'
world.
For
example,
it
would
be
easy
to
show
the
persistence
of
strains
in
climbing
culture
between
a
cherished
anarchic,
romantic
individualism,
pressures
for
administrative
and
educational
rationalisation
and
commercial
exploitation,
and
bodily
and
material
techne.
These
have
found
expression
in
many
places,
but
are
particularly
evident
in
the
fascination
of
climbers
with
those
who
do
not
belong
to
the
mainstream:
charismatic
yet
difficult,
abrasive
characters,
outsiders
or
trouble makers,
a
Pantheon
that
would
include
the
likes
of
J.
Menlove
Edwards (Perrin,
1985),
Dougal
Haston
(Connor,
2002),
Don
Whillans
(Perrin,
2005)
and,
more
recently,
John
Redhead
and
Johnny
Dawes.
12
The
desire
exhibited
by
climbing
culture,
and
in
particular
by
climbing's
preferred
narrative
history,
for
a
succes-
sion
of
extraordinary
feats
like
those
recorded
in
Hard
Grit,
and
for
outsider
figures
in
whose
personal
mythologies
is
expressed
something
of
the
authentic,
rebellious
spirit
of
the
pursuit,
reflect
a
larger
recurrent
need.
This,
then,
is
part
of
the
resistance
of
climbing
to
the
risk
of
conventionality,
the
hazards
of
prudence
and
responsibility.
A
dialectic
exists
in
climbing
between
more
intensive,
more
effective,
techne
and
the
reassertion
or
renewal
of
risk,
uncertainty,
and
the
sublime
folly
of
climb-
ing
at
all.
Here
a
certain
affinity
between
thumos,
technical
competence
and
a
kind
of
intoxication
becomes
visible.
Writing
in
the magazine
Climber
(December
2004)
of
his
1960s
gritstone
apprenticeship
in
Chew
Valley,
Jim
Perrin
precisely
captures
this
moment:
'I
saw
people
here,
on
the
outcrops,
with
their
ropes
and
their
skill,
and
I
wanted
that
mastery.
On
Wimberry
Rocks...
I
led
the
Sloping
462
I.
Heywood
Crack
and
lost
my
sanity for
decades'.
Along
with
the
power
of
climbing
to
unhinge
its
hard-core
devotees
go
specific
aspects
of
personality
drive,
fervour,
the
need
to
'prove
something'
to
oneself,
grit
all
expressions
of
thumos.
The
commentary
to
Hard
Grit
suggests
that
'the
hard
grit
climber
is at
the
mercy
of
his
obsession',
and
that
sometimes
the
desire
to
experience
this
kind
of
climbing
`almost
exceeds
the
desire
to
live
through
it',
thus
amply
illuminating
a
reassertion
of
this
dimension
as
the
authentic
heart
of
the
sport.
However,
the
issue
here
is
the
social
significance
of
thumos
as
a
form
of
embod-
ied
desire.
In
an
early
meaning
of
'obsessed'
the
driven
individual
is
seen
as
beset
from
without
by
an
evil
spirit,
or
in
more
modern
terms
by
a
fixed
idea
or
impulse
that
'persistently
assails
or
vexes'.
13
As
Giddens
(1993)
points
out,
the
notion
of
an
'external'
compulsion,
or
in
contemporary
'therapeutic'
terms
an
addiction,
becomes
particularly
significant
as
social
reflexivity,
his
version
of
rationalisation,
spreads
to
almost
all
aspects
of
everyday
social
life.
All
social
behaviour
becomes
potentially
subject
to
a
requirement
for
accountability;
that
is,
those
involved
must
be
able
to
demonstrate
how
the
behaviour
is
rational,
organised,
controlled
and
reflectively
monitored,
according
to
prevailing
institutionally
grounded
assump-
tions,
goals,
requirements
and
reporting
procedures.
In
the
case
of
climbing,
external
social
pressures
for
safety,
predictability
and
uniformity,
as
well
as
for
the
commodified
or
standardised
accessibility
of
the
`climbing
experience',
and
the
inner
dynamics
of
advances
in
technique
and
equipment,
make
episodes
of
intentional,
socially
significant
extreme
risk-taking
`transgression'
of
a
specific
kind
ever
more
necessary.
Here,
then,
transgression
is
a
social
phenomenon
precisely
because
its
precedents
and
context
make
it
intel-
ligible,
and
even
necessary,
within
the
historical
and
cultural
traditions
of
the
sport.
This
is
another
instance
of
the
fundamentally
dependent
character
of
transgression,
its
reliance
on
the
continuing
viability
of
the
normative
and
orienting
capacities
of
historical
tradition
and
everyday
life.
As
such
it
stands
opposed
to
misleading
post-
modernist
hyperbole
that
celebrates
the
notion
of
a
desire
that
has
floated
free
of
its
anchorage
in
socially
embedded
norms
and
values,
itself
the
mirror
image
of
the
quintessentially
modern
ideal
of
disembedded
or
disengaged
reason
(Taylor,
1989:
pp.
143-176).
Finally,
does
the
dynamic
tension
between
techne
and
thumos
define
climbing?
The
idea
of
a
climber
or
of
climbing
as
an
activity
entirely
reduced
to
the
play
of
techne
and
thumos
is
that
of
a
monstrosity
in
which
there
would
be
nothing
to
offset
the
way
in
which
the
body
would
become
a
perfected technical
instrument
(stron-
ger,
more
flexible
and
dynamic,
increasingly
defined
and
guided
by
information),
driven
by
obsession.
14
I
am
not
suggesting
that
this
is
an
important
concrete
prob-
lem
at
the
moment,
although
there
have
been
famous
historical
episodes
in
which
something
of
the
sort
does
seem
to
have
happened.
The
most
famous
case
is
the
quasi-Nietzschean,
National
Socialist
ideology
that
influenced
German
assaults
on
the
Eigerwand
in
the
1930s.
In
particular,
I
am
not
in
any
way
implying
that
the
climbers
featured
in
Hard
Grit
or
the
film's
makers
have
succumbed
to
this
kind
of
distorted
outlook.
15
The
issue
is
essentially
to
do
with
implicit
tensions
and
possibilities
within
climbing
culture,
in
other
words
the
meaning
and
significance
of
climbing
for
climbers
and
within
the
larger
society.
If,
as
I
would
maintain,
climbing
culture
usually
manages
to
avoid
falling
for
damaging
exaggerations
of
Climbing Monsters
463
aspects
of
itself,
upon
what
everyday
resources,
beyond
the
play
of
techne
and
thumos,
does
it
rely?
We
might
briefly
consider
two:
first,
the
ethical
framework
of
everyday
climbing,
that
is,
the
kind
of
climbing
pursued
by
most
climbers,
recreational
and
professional,
most
of
the
time.
Here
the
norms
of
an
imagined
climbing
'commu-
nity'
that
transcend
its
various
sub-groups,
cliques
and
friendship
networks
is
clearly
of
great
importance
in
setting
limits
for
techne
and
thumos.
This
applies,
for
instance,
to
the
widely-understood
'rules'
governing
the
circumstances
under
which
a
proper
ascent
may
be
claimed,
for
example,
not
chipping
or
otherwise
damaging
the
rock
so
as
to
make
a
route
easier
or
safer,
and
strict
control
of
the
use
of
bolts
on
certain
kinds
of
rock
and
in
specific
locations,
but
it
would
also
encom-
pass
the
obligation
of
climbers
to
help
others
in
difficulty.
16
What
is
important
is
not,
of
course,
that
climbing's
ethical
code
is
never
broken,
particularly
by
those
forcing
up
standards,
but
rather
the
widespread
belief
that
the
community
of
climb-
ers
knows
more
or
less
what
the
norms
and
values
are,
and
in
the
long
run
makes
more
or
less
balanced
evaluations
of
individual
reputations,
specific
events
and
claims,
and
route
quality
based
upon
them.
Moral
sources
in
this
sense
are
features
of
climbing
culture
and
as
an
interested
participant
I
would
have
to
add
`authentic'
climbing
culture
that
are
familiar
to
most
climbers
and
felt
to
be
important
to
the
identity
and
continuity
of
the
sport,
although
as
Durkheim
points
out,
it
is
often
a
perceived
threat
that
really
illuminates
and
ignites
the
collective
energy
stored
in
the
sacred.
This
suggests
that
popular
awareness
of
climbing's
history
and
of
the
values that
it
reflects
and
transmits
is
important.
Significant
contributions
to
communicating,
shaping
and
modifying
this
aspect
of
climbing
culture
are
made
by
both
the
histor-
ical
sections
and
first
ascent
lists
to
be
found
in
most
British
guidebooks
and
by
specialist
magazines
and
club
journals,
but
also
the
stock
of
stories,
yarns,
and
anecdotes
that
form
a
kind
of
lay
counterpoint
to
more
'official'
accounts.
The
recent
popularity
of
commercial
guides
that
omit
historical
information
17
perhaps
presages
something
of
an
impoverishment.
A
second
resource
is
to
be
found
in
approaches
to
climbing
that
emphasise
things
other
than
its
broadly
technical
aspects
or
compulsive
risk-taking
rooted
in
aspects
of
personality.
Here
one
might
think
of
approaches
that
do
not
view
factors
like
strength
and
power
or
scientific
training
regimes
and
knowledge
as
decisive
to
climbing
performance,
emphasising
instead
movement,
balance,
the
'feel'
of
rock,
or
the
interplay
between
the
human
context
how
the
climber
feels,
the
chemistry
between
climbing
partners,
and
so
forth
and
the
natural
environment,
for
exam-
ple,
one's
sense
of
what,
on
that
particular
occasion,
the
rock
in
its
world
and
in
its
own
way
might
offer.
In
this
more
'phenomenological'
approach,
climbing
is
not
so
much
a
battle
with
gravity
and
rock,
an
inert
but
hostile
material,
or
a
compul-
sive
struggle
against
timidity,
the
instinct
for
self-preservation
or
inadequate
physical
resources,
but
rather
a
specific
way
in
which
aspects
of
nature,
human
and
non-human,
show
themselves.
The
sight,
feel
and
smell
of
rock
revealed
by
the
experience
of
climbing
become
more
like
ends
in
themselves,
not
simply
sources
of
information
to
be
exploited
by
the
successful
performer.
18
Paradoxically
then,
as
the
passage
above
from
Merleau-Ponty
suggests,
=climbable
rock
might
also
be
seen
as
an
index
of
human
freedom
understood
in
the
context
of
embodied
464
I.
Heywood
passion.
Of
course
'freedom'
becomes
highly
problematic;
that
is,
indistinguish-
able
from
compulsion,
if
passion
is
simply
physiological,
another
expression
of
`blind'
bodily
forces.
All
this
suggests
that,
in
addition
to
technical
competence
and
safety,
climbing
education
and
induction
should
give
some
importance
to
the
experience
of
move-
ment
on
rock
as
enjoyable
and
significant
in
its
own
right,
rather
than
as
a
problem
or
project
requiring
enhanced
bodily
expertise
and
complex
techniques
of
risk
reduction.
However,
enjoyment
of
movement
on
rock,
or
a
feeling
of
closeness
to
nature,
or
a
sense
of
the
immanent
limits
to
embodied
freedom,
are
quite
distinct
from
the
states
of
mind
necessary
for
undertaking
extreme
risk.
Transgressive
episodes
of
extreme
risk-taking
define
the
limits
of
the
sport
at
certain
key
moments
in
its
history,
and
in
this
sense
have
a
clear
cultural
significance.
Certainly
those
involved
risk
death
or
serious
injury,
but
more
importantly
from
the
point
of
view
of
the
sport
itself
such
episodes
represent
efforts
to
get
as
close
as
possible
to
unassimilable
contingency,
to
danger rather
than
risk.
They
are
not
only
`edge-work',
an
approach
to
an
outer
limit,
but
also
express
an
essential,
funda-
mentally
unruly
aspect
of
climbing's
inner
dynamic.
To
conclude,
this
paper
has
sought
to
explore
tensions
within
climbing
between
different,
sometimes
conflicting,
impulses,
which
in
the
culture
of
climbing
appear
as
opposed
principles
and
spheres
of
value.
As
processes
of
rationalisation,
or
more
particularly
social
reflexivity
spread
and
intensify,
new
pressures
are
exerted
on
previously
sequestered
minority
pursuits
like
climbing.
On
the
one
side
are
the
largely
'external'
forces
of
commodification
and
commercialisation
as
climbing
and
other
outdoor
activities
are
identified
and
exploited
for
their
market
potential,
as
well
as
demands
for
more
standardisation
and
regulation
springing
from
such
things
as
educational
uses
and
insurance
requirements.
On
the
other
side
are
'inter-
nal'
pressures
for
intensified,
systematic
and
effective
techne,
in
equipment
design,
training
methods
and
general
know-how.
This
is
the
context
that
makes
periodic
reassertions
of
thumos
ever
more
indispensable,
and
by
foregrounding
self-
imposed,
life-threatening
danger
and
the
obsession
and
'bottle'
it
calls
for,
Hard
Grit
illuminates
this
dramatic
oscillation.
We
view
the
climbing
sequences
in
Hard
Grit
with
apprehensive
fascination,
but
this
is
only
partly
to
do
with
the
actual
risks
incurred
by
the
climbers.
It
is
also
due
to
the
deeper
and
darker
spectacle
of
techne
and
thumos
intensified
to
the
point
of
transgression,
of
elements
or
aspects
of
climbing
that
here
seem
in
danger
of
losing
their
place
among
other
qualifying
and
limiting
dimensions,
other
sides
of
climb-
ing
that
routinely
keep
them
in
check.
These
are
beautiful
climbs
ascended
with
power,
grace
and
courage,
yet
the
monstrous
dimension
of
climbing
also
seems
close,
in
the
forms
of
mania,
compulsion,
and
perhaps
ultimately
a
lack
of
care
for
the
human
and
natural
worlds
within
which
climbing
takes
place
(see
Coffey,
2000).
I
have
suggested
that
a
'phenomenological'
approach
to
the
experience
of
climbing,
perhaps
a
refinement
of
the
sheer
pleasure
of
competent
movement
on
rock,
plus
confidence
in
the
present
and
future
capacity
of
the
wider
climbing
community
properly
to
judge
claims
and
achievements,
together
constitute
moral
sources
capable
of
offsetting
or
restraining,
but
certainly
not
eliminating,
the
necessary
madness
of
climbing.
Climbing Monsters
465
Notes
1.
Donnelly
distinguishes
between
'difficulty',
which
is
often
addressed
through
techne,
and
'risk',
which
calls
upon
qualities
of
character
or
personality
traits.
2.
See
also
Al
Alvarez'
account
(pp.
152-130)
of
'feeding
the
rat',
which,
for
his
subject,
Mo
Anthoine,
is
to
do
with
the
capacity
of
dangerous
situations
to
help
the
climber
discover
whether
his
or
her
self-image
has
any
basis
in
reality.
The
worry
that
it
hasn't
is
the
hunger
of
the
rat
that
climbing
feeds.
3.
David
Dorian
(in
Rinehart
&
Sydnor,
2003)
gives
a
splendidly
witty
and
clever
account
of
indoor
competition
climbing
from
an
insider's
point
of
view,
in
which
he
observes
that
'As
a
spectacle,
the
sport
puts
you
to
sleep'
4.
In
sport
(or
bolt)
climbing,
which
is
widespread
in
Europe,
protection
is
provided
by
very
strong,
pre-placed
expansion
bolts
(or
steel
staples
set
in
resin).
Located
at
regular
intervals,
and
with
the
leader's
rope
clipped
to
them
by
karabiners,
bolts
can
make
safe
otherwise
unprotectable
rock.
They
are
also
more
reliable
in
the
event
of
a
fall
than
much
hand-placed
protection.
Note
that
the
action
of
climbing
the
rock
is
fundamentally
the
same
in
both
adventure
and
sport
variants,
the
climber
using
the
naturally
occurring
features
of
the
rock
surface
to
progress,
and
not
pulling
on
gear,
bolt
or
rope.
Strictly,
any
such
recourse
would
invalidate
a
claim
to
have
actually
climbed
a
particular
route.
5.
In
order
to
grasp
the
significance
of
these
episodes
one
needs
to
understand
climbing
grades
and
what
a
`headpoint'
is.
The
British
climbing
grades
system
is
something
of
an
art
form
in
its
own
right,
confusing
to
non-climbers.
All
recorded
climbs
are
given
a
description
and
assigned
a
grade.
The
grades
are
currently
as
follows:
easy,
moderate,
difficult,
very
difficult,
severe,
hard
severe,
very
severe,
and
hard
very
severe.
After
hard
very
severe
the
extreme
grades
start.
This
is
an
open-ended
numerical
system,
from
1
to
the
current
top
grade
of
10.
Ileadpoint'
refers
to
the
style
of
ascent.
If
the
climber
turns
up
at
a
crag
without
previous
knowl-
edge
of
a
chosen
route
(beyond
what's
in
a
guidebook)
and
climbs
from
bottom
to
top
without
illegitimate
tactics,
like
previous
abseil
inspection,
top-rope practice
or
resting
on
gear,
an
'on-sight
flash'
may
be
claimed.
At
the
highest
grades
(above
E6,
say)
these
are
quite
rare
and
highly
respected
events.
Much
more
common
is
a
process
of
inspection,
top-rope
practice,
discussion
with
those
who
have
already
climbed
the
route,
even
pre-placing
gear,
until
the
climber
feels
sufficiently
confident
to
try
leading.
If
he
or
she
succeeds,
a
'headpoint
ascent'
can
be
claimed.
A
headpoint
success
may
be
regarded
as
important
and
creditable
because
on
the
hardest
routes,
even
with
so
much
preparation,
success
is
certainly
not
guaranteed,
and
in
a
phrase
from
the
film's
publicity
material
'failure
never
hurt
anyone,
until
now'.
6.
These
include:
Gaia
E8
and
Meshuga
E9
(Black
Rocks,
Cromford),
Parthian
Shot
E9
and
Braille
Trail
E7
(Burbage),
End
of
the
Affair
E8
(Curbar),
and
New
Statesman
E8
(Ilkley).
The
most
important
first
ascent
in
Hard
Grit
is
Seb
Greave's
Meshuga,
but
some
of
the
second
ascents
would
be
regarded
by
climbers
as
very
significant,
for
example,
Greave's
of
Parthian
Shot
and
Neil
Bentley's
of
New
Statesman.
7.
Grit,
`god's
own
rock',
is
probably
more
saturated
in
history
than
any
other
climbable
rock
type
in
Britain.
Not
only
do
official
guidebooks
include
long,
detailed,
carefully
researched
historical
sections,
but
also
knowledge
of
this
historical
legacy
is
widespread
among
regular
climbers
of
grit.
8.
Leading
climbing
magazines
in
Britain,
the
USA,
and
Europe
usually
have
a
regular
expert
column
on
train-
ing.
However,
awareness
of
the
danger
of
excessive
concentration
on
bodily
techne
is
not
foreign
to
climbing
culture.
For
example,
in
the
1990s
The
Thing,
a
Sheffield-based
climbing
'fanzine',
included
a
cartoon
strip
by
Paul
Evans
and
Simon
Norris.
The
antics
and
deformed
features
and
body
of
its
eponymous
anti-hero,
Boring
Marvin,
his
brain
surgically
reduced
by
99%
'in
order
to
improve
his
power to
weight
ratio',
nicely
sent
up
the
contemporary
training
obsessed
bouldering
and
climbing
scene.
Boring
Marvin
is,
of
course,
a
climbing
monster.
9.
For
Charles
Taylor,
reason
in
this
classical
sense,
which
exercised
a
powerful
influence
on
Western
thought
up
until
the
advent
of
modernity,
'can
be
understood
as
the
perception
of
the
natural
or
right
order,
and
to
be
ruled
by
reason
is
to
be
ruled
by
a
vision
of
this
order'
(Taylor,
1989:
p.
121).
10.
The
theme
is
introduced
by
Descartes
(1911)
in
The
Passions
of
the
Soul.
More
recently
it
has
been
developed
and
explored
in
different
ways
by
the
Romantics,
surrealists,
the
Frankfurt
School,
and
much
of
recent
French
theory
and
philosophy.
11.
On
the
threat
to
sport
offered
by
sophisticated
commodification,
and
in
particular
the
ways
in
which
global
marketing
can
exploit
notions
of
'authenticity'
and
supposedly
'alternative'
values,
see
Goldman
and
Papson
(1998).
Kiewa
(2002)
discusses
the
paradoxical
efforts
of
a
group
of
Australian
climbers
to
resist
various
unwelcome
encroachments,
some
broadly
expressions
of
rationalisation,
from
the
outside
world.
However,
the
climbers
in
Hard
Grit
and
the
Sheffield-based
community
to
which
they
belong
are
not
Kiewa's
embattled
466
I
Heywood
traditionalists.
Most
of
them
have
engaged
seriously
in
sport
climbing
at
one
time
or
another,
and
none
of
the
recorded
climbs
are
'pure'
on-sight
ascents.
12.
See
http://www.fachwen.org/johnredhead
and
http://www.johnnydawes.com
,
respectively.
A
female
version
of
this
mythology
is
not
so
evident,
in
part
perhaps
due
to
historically
lower
participation
rates.
Nevertheless,
an
international
list
might
include
the
likes
of
Catherine
Desteville,
Alison
Hargreaves,
and
Lynne
Hill.
13.
Shorter
Oxford
English
Dictionary.
14.
While
a
root
meaning
of
'monstrous'
is
of
something
that
deviates
from
the
given
order
of
nature,
particularly
the
living
unification
of
things
that
should
be
separate
and
distinct
(man
and
bull,
woman
and
lion),
it
also
encompasses
notions
of
the
loss
of
right
proportion,
of
things
grown
out
of
scale.
Here
I
want
to
extend
it
to
cover
situations
when
what
is
perhaps
a
necessary
facet
of
an
activity,
qualified
or
held
in
check
by
others,
comes
to
dominate
and
distort
the
whole.
15.
In
his
2001
interview
Richard
Heap
speaks
of
a
decision
not
to
make
a
follow-up
to
Hard
Grit.
Dawning
awareness
of
the
horrible
possibility
of
inadvertently
producing
a
climbing
'snuff
movie',
and
one
quite
possibly
involving
the
death
or
injury
of
friends,
clearly
and
rightly
outweighed
any
consideration
of
financial
gain.
Hard
Grit
was
made
initially
without
any
real
expectation
of
commercial
success.
His
remarks
commu-
nicate
strongly
genuine
relief
that
no
one
in
the
film
came
to
grief,
and
a
feeling
that
they
were
very
lucky
to
get
away
with
it.
16.
It
is
worth
recalling
the
historical
and
contemporary
importance
of
voluntary
organisations
to
UK
climbing:
the
British
Mountaineering
Council,
clubs
like
the
Fell
and
Rock,
the
Climbers'
Club
and
the
Scottish
Moun-
taineering
Club
which
produce
guidebooks,
but
also
the
strong
tradition
of
voluntary
rescue
teams.
On
the
character
of
climbing
ethics
see
Tejada-Flores'
classic
essay
'The
games
climbers
play'
(2000).
17.
In
the
UK
a
popular
range
of
ROCKFAX
guides
largely
omits
historical
detail.
ROCKFAX
has
also
been
accused
of
'cherry
picking'
and
of
undermining
the
essential
archive
work,
aiming
at
completeness
and
historical
accuracy,
of
traditional,
largely
voluntary
club-based
guides.
18.
Neil
Lewis
(2000)
has
interesting
things
to
say
about
the
body,
and
particularly
the
hands,
of
the
climber.
In
a
more
recent
essay
(2004)
he
seeks
to
develop
a
defence
of
adventure
climbing
through
an
interpretation
of
the
later
Heidegger.
However,
his
binary
opposition
between
modernity
and
its
expression
in
sport
climbing
(disembodied,
inauthentic)
and
a
critique
of
modernity
inherent
in
adventure
climbing
(embodied,
authentic)
seems
to
me
too
stark.
In
both
Heywood
(1994)
and
here
I
begin
from
the
position
that
climbing
is
deeply
implicated
in
modernity;
hence
any
affirmative
identification
of
climbing's
core
values
must
also
confront
uncertainty
and
ambivalence,
in
a
way
that
parallels
adventure
climbing
itself
when
it
really
is
adventurous.
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