Welcome to ToeHook(soon to be).com!
If you're reading this, then chances are you know who I am. But I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and what this here blog is (gonna be) all about. Also, it's raining and I've already climbed in the gym and there are no good climbing videos to watch and I have a paper to write, but this is more fun.
What is Toehook.com? and why should I take time away from cool climbing websites to check it out?
Toehook.com is a climbing blog which will focus not on individual sends or how many v19s Adam Ondra can crawl up one handed, but rather on local beta. Before you freak out about how I'm going to ruin access to your local secret stash, let me explain.
This weekend I was at Little Rock City (Stone Fort for those of you not from the area) trying to climb amongst the hoards of newbs. If the increase in climbing popularity and new guidebook weren't enough flame to stoke the already blazing fire of LRC access, the new radio commercials by the golf course pretty much guarantee that Chattanooga's crown jewel of bouldering will be furthermore overrun by newbs with boom boxes. On Saturday, I literally saw a family of people climbing around on rock faces in their socks since they didn't have climbing shoes. That's when I knew I had to do something.
The biggest problem in the climbing community in my opinion, is that the sport is growing faster than the community is able to handle.
What I mean is this, I was introduced to climbing by my friend Ben Heacock. We worked together at summer camp and he introduced me to the ranks by taking me to the Obed and listening to me bitch all the way up a 5.9 sport climb. He tried his best to make me a trad climber, which I'm sure I'll one day be, but was unsuccessful in keeping me from getting into bouldering. He wasn't perfect, but Ben took the time to teach me about a sport and a culture that I was otherwise unaware of. After climbing with Ben I joined a local climbing gym and haven't looked back since.
That family on Saturday didn't have a Ben to mentor them into the world of climbing. Now one can argue that they didn't care enough or know enough to search one out, and I'd say that's fair, but let's face it; rock climbing is only going to get more popular. So instead of sitting around complaining about all the gumbies who don't know not to bring their dogs to the crag or how to send without screaming, this blog is for you. But it's also for all the dirty hippies who've been rock climbing since they climbed their way out of the womb. This is your chance to constructively explain the local beta to your crag/boulder field/backyard. I'm not going to ruin access by spraying about secret stashes, nor will I condone this site to be a place for releasing climbing secrets. But I think it could be helpful for us climbers who've been at it for a bit to pull our ideas and explain a little bit of the culture to those who we don't know.
I'm not naive enough to think that this blog has the ability to replace a one on one mentorship of a new climber to the world of rock climbing, but I also think that it may be a start.
All that said, here are some of my preliminary ideas for the blog:
- Area beta/advice for publicly known boulder fields or crags- such as LRC is $3 to climb, but don't bring your boombox!
- Words of Wisdom from old-timers- I'd love to get some articles from climbers who've been around for a bit to comment on the current state of the climbing world beyond my feeble knowledge
- Local News- This might be a good spot to contribute local news about gym comps, trail days, etc.
- Gumby of the Week- Stories of gumbies being well.... gumbies
- Gear Review- eh... who knows
- Climbing Friends- List of blogs both pro and weekend warrior which are fun to read when not climbing
So what about you, what's the worst thing you've seen at a climbing spot lately? Do you agree we need more mentorship in the community? How many v19s will Ondra send?