Thirty Years Beyond
By Tom Frost

During the thirty years since the 1972 clean climbing catalog, climbing has come of age. We climb a lot less by ourselves; enjoy much less of a never-ending resource, and no longer use only nuts and runners for protection. In 2002 the opportunity has once again arisen for us to diligently become aware of the impact our individual and collective actions have on natural resources, climbers, resource managers and citizens. Integrity, responsibility, accountability, and respect must become the climber's credo.

Integrity involves the individual's values. Responsibility is how your individual values relate to the circumstances and to other people. Accountability is having the courage to step up to the plate and do your part (plus a little extra to cover those who don't). Respect is bending your will to the requirements of the many rules and regulations incumbent through our citizenship in the climbing community, and doing it with a good attitude in spite of personal preference or need.

Conversely, entitlement means you are above the laws of nature and man. It believes that your one action has no effect. When man is impatient, and does not adjust himself to the confines of nature, nature suffers. And man loses.

The spirit of the rock can be seen in every climber. For, like the rock, they are steady and strong in pursuit of their dreams. Climbers are one of the greatest resources in the outdoor industry. They are good natured, focused, industrious, team players, and most of all they are friends. Climbers are natural leaders and ambassadors throughout the world.

This is appropriate. The pioneers who set the height of the bar were the cleanest of all climbers. They plumbed the high country for nature's secrets at length carrying just tea and a crust of bread. They ventured up Yosemite's most fearsome walls with little gear or water, removing every piton and minimizing expansion bolting, so the second ascent party could enjoy as pure an interface with nature as they had.

I liken their legacy to our national heritage as climbers. It is a heritage that empowers. The cleanest climbers of all are still those who leave no trace.

This article first appeared in the 2002 Black Diamond Equipment catalog.

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