Friday, May 14, 2010

Masters of Plastic

I was wondering when someone would turn the camera to gym climbing. Other than Progression's coverage of Patxi Usobiaga's monomaniac training regiment building up to the World Cup final I haven't seen much plastic on film. I think there is a reason for that.

Gyms are great. They are leveling the playing field across the country and giving people from places like Florida and Iowa somewhere to crush. I started climbing in Chicago, where not only was there no rock, there were barely any gyms. Fortunately one of the best bouldering gyms that I have ever trained in, Hidden Peak, calls Chicago home. Gyms are not bad places to spend your time, but they are bad places for a camera.

Most people train indoors in order to be strong when they take weekend, month-long, or quit-your-job-fuck-it road trips to amazing places they have seen in capacities ranging from word of mouth and photos to Big Up and Sender Films quality coverage. This does not work the other way around. I don't care how sick the plastic route may be to climb on. From a visual stand point it becomes monotonous to see colorful plastic holds on a brown background. Yes, the movement may be awesome and slow motion dynos can help as well, but no gym can convey the vastness of an area, the sheer exposure of a face, or the complex colors and features of an area that make it a destination.

That said, here is a short from Big Up that posted this morning showcasing some of the strongest kids in the gym game right now, including the much debated 8-year-old girl that sent Power of Silence. They make a good argument for pulling plastic.


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