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Posted on 23. May, 2011 by in News

Buried deep within the comments was one that deserves to be read. Here are my friend Dave Graham’s thoughts on last weeks Endovalley controversy:

I suppose after reading through these comments here at B3, it is impossible not to be moved to say something, even if it may not be very significant. I am not sure I have read all the comments entirely, and have no aim to address anyone in particular by writing this. However, as some of the subject matter in the post involves myself, it motivated me to offer my own perspective, whether or not it means much to anyone else.
To make a blanket statement, I completely understand peoples animosity towards the development of climbing ares. The consequences of climbing development leave areas which were once remote, tranquil scenes in nature, sometimes evolving into center points of our particular activities culture (rock climbing).
Publication, at this modern day in age, is also seemingly inevitable, and is rapid compared to standards scene years ago. In effect, we can quickly blame the evolution of society for this (what with all the Facebook and Twitter and what not) and the fact that digital media is so accessible, and easy to share. Yet its hard to start blaming society and technologic evolution for things directly, there are always operators of these new social mediums. For instance, I took pictures of moss and ice and shared them on the inter-world, yet no one seemed to take much interest ( it was very cool to me be the way, i must stress) and moss and ice lovers did not seem to flock.
So in regard to the development in Endo Valley, its tricky to have a stance. Of whats ok and whats not, whats “right” and whats wrong…whats “cool” and whats “not”. Without delving to much farther into that, I must stress one point. It does not matter if one is local or foreign, professional or beginner, documenting or observing, man or women; what one takes out of the experience is independent, and circumstantially based on the fact that humans are all different.
With this being stated, I can only personally recount my experiences of climbing in Endo Valley. From the first days forth, mostly involving shoveling, falling down in the 4 foot deep snow, slipping and injuring myself on ice, freezing and exploring with a sense of fear, rather then excitement, and attempting to brush wet icy boulders amongst the company of close amigos…for me equated precious moments, from the past already, which I hold in a different place in my heart, then those of experiences which happened in the same exact place, two weeks later.
I know for a fact my friend from mexico Diego, was happy it was warmer, even if there where tons of new people none of us really knew, chilling at a place we thought was somewhat of a fresh discovery (for us mind you). He might have endeared these days closer to his heart, he likes the heat, can tune out the people better, is a little less Mainer inspired, and a lot more Mexican.
So when there was maybe more then 30 climbers, enjoying their day at the this amazing location, I had to note, things were different for me. Not better or worse, just different. Most of the people there that day were enjoying their first day, and I saw the joy and awe in their eyes, as enthusiasts, so I could stomach being “spooked” or “surprised” (sometimes crowds freak me out) and it took that change, that difference in the amount of people enjoying an area, to realize this place was way bigger then me. Like RMNP-bigger, owned by Federal Government, security force in full effect dressed as rangers, controlled mainly by Elk and Tourist and Snow, and Wind…Sun too, maybe deadly-crazy mountain lions beasts (which they call them pumas in mexico) and I can ramble on and on. I am just one dude, one person, enjoying some “new” climbing spot. Who am I to define anything, whats was happening, was.
Some Native Americans could have bouldered there a long time ago, and shit could’ve been all dope, and maybe they all had a blast. I’m sure I was one of thousands having that sensation. In that spot, throughout history, having a blast, enjoying my time, during my lifetime, at that same location.
So yeah, its cool to be there at your time in places, but it can all change in a day. Everything can be destroyed. Quarried. Or just plain buried in dirt by a mud slide.
I can admit the days spent with my close friends, in the nature, feeling wild, and uninhibited, were more memorable to me as a person. I had more of a connection between myself and what was going on around me. Its because I am more habituated with this sensation. I am so much more used to being in the world, with less people around. Alone. Ironically…But.
This where things get interesting. Whether I like it or not, people generally come boulder where I go climb, most likely because I add new boulders (more or less my passion in life) and generally, many spots I have known as just places (spots which existed as just spots, before people started climbing the rocks there) have evolved into climbing destinations for the international public. Not only do these places evolve, the communities around them do. The local business prospers. Communities of climbers develop. Tourism increases…
And all because places have their reasons to become important to people, all in their own time, through history…like tides changing beaches every day, thing renew, life leaves place, life returns to places, all while time passes. Things are never here to stay. They just have their time and place.
I experience this effect. Like when I was young, wondering why the pond in my park was so cool. It was in front of my house, and I was always wondering why no one would come skate and play? At first, I hoarded the spot, and did everything by myself. Played hockey, looked for turtles, but as I grew older, I would start to wonder. How something that used to be so cool on its own, which seemed like my own private playground at one point, could possible evolve into a place which I just wished I could share with other, enjoy, with others, or just plain see them experience it for themselves.
I love a climbing. I love climbing areas. Sometimes I go to Fontainebleau, and there are hundreds of people running around the forest, some of them just out for a stroll, all donating to the reason I traveled there in the first place. Sometimes I go places alone, where no has even began to climb, and revel in the solemnity, the might of the nature, and the kingdom of animals which create the community. I go places to climb, for different reasons I guess.
That being said, I like an area when it is fresh, when it is very raw, and wild. But as all things come to be(climbing areas or gathering points what ev), and even more so things next to roads, people discover the beauty on their own. Its normal they follows others to find it. Some people are better at discovering these spots for themselves, other need group of friends to muster the syke, to give them a reason to venture outwards.
For us, when we stumbled by this particular climbing zone in Endo valley, it was by happenstance. We followed a road, and our climbing instincts, and found some rocks. We were motivated by what we saw, and we told out friends (not all of them) and wee didn’t post blogs about it. As our friends like climbing, they were intrigued immediately. The cycle began, this earthly cycle I was rambling about earlier. New boulders pop up. Knowledge is shared. People begin to interact. People climb on the rocks. Old friends meet up. New friends are made. Trash gets put on the ground, trash gets picked up. All the people have their different levels. Their different goals. Some are inspired to brush rocks and ascend them, others are inspired to take a photo, to capture the moment, to maybe inspire others…Many are there to watch others move on problems, climb on rock, and lay about, taking it all in.
I was there to try my projects, the amazing things I had discovered. I was there to motivate my friends, and show them things they may enjoy. I was there to share the place. No matter what. I am always there, to interact with what nature has created, no matter how many other people may be doing the same thing.
After 14 years rock climbing, I admit that for myself, It is possible to enjoy this cycle. I feel like rock climbing is defined by these factors which I have been describing. Its in the fundamental nature of what we are doing be seeing things and activating. When people climbed peaks, throughout history, others sometimes aimed to follow. Eventually many aimed to follow, and eventually many came together and lived and loved and died, all because of that process. Thus I feel this cycle is still something we remain within. This cycle of change, and evolution, which makes days easy to tell apart. Many of the comments I read throughout the responses to Jamie’s posting were very negative. Maybe I misunderstood them but it made me want to ramble this far, and maybe end with this. You cant hate the world, it is what provides us with all this wonderful life. The cycles which define the world, which passes throughout society all over the planet, is just as incredible as the physical things we engage. Climbing is something we can all share. Like food, and water, and space. And since climbing is done on the world, which keeps going round and round and round, it doesn’t really matter whether people don’t like which direction it is spinning, as it does what it wants, and will turn for however long it wants, the way it wants to.

-Dave Graham

12 Responses to “Endovalley”

  1. Zach Wahrer

    23. May, 2011

    That’s some good insight Dave! I know I sometimes get really frustrated by the amount of people at the crag. Maybe its time for me to just chill out and realize they are there just trying to have fun and enjoy the place in the same way I am. Thanks for a new perspective.

    The psycho Boy Scouts running all over the crag, that’s a whole different issue entirely! :-)

  2. chodzin

    23. May, 2011

    This Dust sits
    waiting for the End of the World.

    When it comes, as it comes
    every day
    every hour
    every minute
    every second
    every instant after instant
    comes and goes
    as it has ever always done,
    let its rise and fall
    in the in-breath
    and the out-breath
    be the compassionate bodhicitta
    of Buddha, of all Buddhas,
    for all sentient beings:
    Spontaneous Awaking Joy!

  3. jimmy

    24. May, 2011

    hi jamie, thanks very much for highlighting dave’s comments.

  4. downletitgetyadown

    24. May, 2011

    Hey Dave. i read this earlier and was gonna say nothing but i might as well. If by chance you read this just gotta say don’t let the stuff get ya down. Some of these CO boys can take things a bit to serious sometimes….but I still love it when i make it out that way.

    You need to come to Linville Gorge NC during the middle of the week and just spend 5 days with no one but your buddies and just get lost by the river. Sound like your like me, and many others, that like to share are experiences with a select few. Not in an elitist way but more of a comfort level.

    This is just the price you pay when you live one of the hot spots at the moment for climbing. Kinda like what happened to the Red in recent years.

    Best of luck brother, have fun, crush some rocks…and most important HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!

  5. kevin g

    25. May, 2011

    Thanks for the post Jamie! This little piece by Dave was really inspiring and hopefully was a good reminder to all those who hold climbing close to their heart why we love this life.

  6. Wes Walker

    25. May, 2011

    The first comment that I’ve ever made on a blog or forum, climbing and non-climbing alike…

    STOOOOOKED to boulder at RMNP in a few weeks!!!!

    Checked out Upper Chaos a few years ago, but a storm ruined that parade. I only got to look, but not touch. I awoke in a pool of humidity here in the Dirty South on Friday. I wasn’t even considering a move when I hit the alarm, but as I was taking a morning piss (while simutaneously contemplating a career path) a revelation came my way. I looked at myself in the mirror, pointed, and said, “Good God man. You need to flock to RMNP and spend as much time bouldering there as humanly possible until the end of the season….

    After a winter of bouldering alone at Rumbling Bald, NC, in the middle of the night, without another person in site, I’m looking forward to actually seeing other people this summer! May the vibe always be Good.

    Peace up,

    Wes Walker

    p.s. I’m looking for a place to live AS CLOSE TO UPPER CHAOS CANYON AS POSSIBLE. I know it’s a longshot, but if anyone out there is looking for a roommate (or just to lessen there monthly rent)…I’ve got lots of rent money in hand, a Canon 5D, and a new 27 inch iMac for viewing footage/photos from the magical days that lie ahead! And I really, really like to do dishes….even other peoples…meditative!

    “Climbing could definitely, definitely, totally save the world.”
    – Dave Graham
    (seen in Andrew Bisharats TNB column of Rock and Ice mag, via email, on June 30th, 2008

  7. IanP

    26. May, 2011

    Ah Dave. This is why people such as myself, on the other side of the world, enjoy following the path of your climbing-related life. You’ve taken one of the most precious things climbing has to offer and actually asks of us – an unconditioned, direct relationship with the task we are faced with (it may be a V14 problem or it may be getting out of bed in the morning) – and you have seen the profound and all-encompassing nature of this experience. Bring it on.

  8. slabdyno

    27. May, 2011

    cliffnotes: as the world turns, nature continues its cycles, too bad locals its going to happen, i had fun before it was crowded too, deal, life goes on, crowded cool not cool, no one but everyone is right, we all stuck in the spiral wash cycle pink acid face mumbo jumbo.

  9. cardboard_dog

    27. May, 2011

    You know what, DAVE? If that is your name, I come here looking for arguments. For controversy. Where is the controversy in this post? Lame. Now I have to leave. Have some n00bs to troll at


    27. May, 2011

    the dinosaurs climbed ’em first. …i think everybody needs to remember your first ascents are a product of a full belly. here today, you’ll be gone tomorrow. Who reads/cares deeply about first ascent info anyway? Sounds like a pride thing.


    27. May, 2011

    Remember, a GPS tracking point, albeit not very sexy, presupposes a name. Ratings are based on consensus. So whoopty-doo for you mr. first ascent. More like, thanks, are we celebrating or headin back for more?

  12. Old timer...

    30. May, 2011

    Controversy and ego-beating are the reasons I stopped climbing ages ago. Seems like climbers are more full of themselves than ever before (for climbing ROCKS?!). Bravo to Dave for being candid.

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