Thursday, August 23, 2007

But I Want to be a Famous Climber

For starters, climbing is pretty boring to watch. Even when I'm belaying a buddy it's mostly boring.

Sure I love reading the stories about climbing epics as much as the next armchair QB and quite honestly climbing and bouldering vids are getting better and better. (case in point my post of King Lines from yesterday)

But why is it that some guys get all the glory when there are a fist full of other guys, just as tough, just as "core" who silently slay big obscure alpine walls, tackle V10 with ease and flash 5.13d like it is 5th class and still find time to "bring home the bacon" like every other Joey at the office? Yet nobody knows them and their phone isn't ringing off the hook from the likes of Hardware, TNF or BD.

As one of those marketing guys working at a company that portrays and feeds the gear needs of the core of the pursuits I love (climbing, ski mountaineering, skiing, ice climbing, et al) I'm often told by friends, "oh man, you guys should sponsor this guy!" More often than not it's some guy I've never heard of before and the marketer in me says, "Why?" while the outdoor athlete in me says "Why not!" But the reality is (in the words of my friend Dave) that "most of these guys don't have the stomach and/or the time for it," even if a sponsorship came knocking.

With that in mind, meet Mark Westman. Ever heard of him? Neither had I. Jeff Apple Benowitz wrote an essay on the last page of Alpinist Magazine Volume 19 this past spring that introduced many to Mark who in seven short months managed a list of impressive climbs including Fitz Roy, the third ascent of the Escalator on Mt. Johnson, the west face of Kahiltna Queen, a new route on the east face of Broken Tooth and the Mini-Moonflower among others....but it's likely he's now been forgotten by most if not all. And that's perfectly fine with Mark.

Alpinist Magazine - Why Mark Westman Isn't Famous, by Jeff Apple Benowitz.

Image credit: Tami Knight

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