Poverty and Rock Climbing

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ynp1
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Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by ynp1 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:10 pm

https://mic.com/articles/166135/poverty ... 52427420=1

The author didn't care for the "guide book author" much.

I thought it was kind of a weak artical. Didn't have much of a point. What did you all think?
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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by EricDorsey » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:46 am

Pretty condescending tone to the whole article. The author rips on climbers for not getting to know the locals yet brags that he "will consider the people that live in those homes as I drive past on the way to the crag". Wow, so big of him...

Not to mention the home discussed WAS a huge meth lab and not just some mean stereotype... But he comes down from Michigan a few times a year so obviously knows that :lol:

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by tradosaurus_rex » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:04 am

I don't understand how we're supposed to do a better job to 'consider the people who actually live there'. We create jobs by keeping the businesses running, especially the Beer Trailer which the author obviously realizes is not in Slade because Slade is in a dry county. Czechoslovakia doesn't exist anymore. Via ferrata isn't climbing. The gear prices listed are retail, who pays retail? Finally, unlike Playboy, people don't read climbing guidebooks for the thoughtful content, we want to see jugs.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by EricDorsey » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:30 pm

I liked the author's suggested price of $170 for a pair of shoes for a beginner. The author has no idea what he is talking about or is inflating numbers to try and prove his incorrect point...

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Ascentionist » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:36 pm

Haha, I don't care much for that guidebook author. I wouldn't climb with him if he was the only belay slave left on the planet. Just kidding Ray...don't ban me!

As a biological local to the area and not just a climbing local I have mixed feelings about the article. I appreciate that the author was trying to draw attention to the disparities. Believe me, its something I've tried to do for a couple of decades now. I try to get locals to see visitors to the Gorge as normal people and I try to dispel stereotypes about the locals to my climbing (and hiking/biking/paddling) friends. I've been trying to understand why more locals aren't climbers, backpackers, photographers, etc, etc. It's not because we're dumb hillbillies; there's some other cultural divide that exists. In other rural areas places like the Gorge spawn a local culture of environmentalism, love of nature, participation in outdoor recreational activities and the like. And its not that those things don't exist around the Red, but its really a small contingent of local artists and enthusiasts compared to what you'd expect.

I can't understand why there's not a big outdoor retails chain in Slade. After decades of the Gorge being a premier outdoor destination you would think you could show up and buy any kind of gear you wanted. I do understand a lot of the factors affecting this, but still, you would almost think progress would defy minor obstacles. So what are the major obstacles?
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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by lena_chita » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:41 pm

ynp1 wrote:https://mic.com/articles/166135/poverty ... 52427420=1

The author didn't care for the "guide book author" much.

I thought it was kind of a weak artical. Didn't have much of a point. What did you all think?
There wasn't much point to it. It is not news to anyone with half a pea for brain that climbing is a relatively expensive sport (even if you adjust the gear prices that the author has posted), and that majority of climbers come from priviledged, relatively affluent background. And the fact that Slade is one of the poorest places in the US has been discussed in more than one opinion piece ( better than the author of this article does).

But beyond noting these two rather obvious things, and a dig at "the guidebook author" (I'd like to hear Ray's story with more in-depth details about that house) the article is rather pointless: "Look at me, I'm a climber, I hae gear, and I drive to KY from Michigan couple times a year! But I'm not just a climber. I think deep thoughts, and I can talk about those thoughts! Even if I'm not quite sure what's the point is... but I was paid to write, and I had to produce certain number of words that are travel-related for the company that pays me to write these words, and I did it! So there... look at the stock image of Via Ferrata, because I couldn't find any climbing pictures of the RRG that were not copyright-protected..."

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by businessprofessional » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:17 pm

Yea....

It seems like the article has a pretty arrogant tone, and to me it seems laughable that people who have been climbing in the gorge for years and years ("the guidebook author") are less connected to the local community than somebody who comes down a few times per year. Also, meth is real, for real bro.

That said, I was bored at work and the article did entertain me for a few minutes, so I can't bash it too hard.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Nick » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:11 pm

For one, that section in the guidebook is funny as shit and I laughed when I read it. You know what is a fuck ton more expensive than a set of quickdraws? A purpose built Polaris RAZR 4x4 dune buggy that costs more than a new car! Granted many of those people probably aren't from Slade proper either. I understand there is a natural hesitation from both Michigan yuppies and heehollerin' rednecks from interacting with one another but other than at the gas station, Koops, or the Beer trailer, when are they supposed to? Climbers are usually polite and support the places they buy shit at.

The author of the article is basically saying don't stereotype or judge people just because it looks like a Toys'R'Us semi truck broke open in the middle of the yard. The tone is that climbers are all driving down from whatever suburb or college they go to and look down in scorn on the poverty of the area. I see just as much poverty driving around my own city. The issue is an overwhelmingly complex one with no easy solutions but I'll be damned if I don't judge anybody who's front lawn looks like a Busch recycling center or whoever throws a McDonald's bag out of their window in Miller Fork, just sayin.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by BostonHammock » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:58 am

Related?
http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/06/news/ec ... ended_pool

I like their portrayal of rock climbers flocking to the area for it's "peak's and natural bridges"...


But it certainly does give a much better insight into the area than the article Ray posted.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Ascentionist » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:27 am

Nick wrote:For one, that section in the guidebook is funny as shit and I laughed when I read it. You know what is a fuck ton more expensive than a set of quickdraws? A purpose built Polaris RAZR 4x4 dune buggy that costs more than a new car! Granted many of those people probably aren't from Slade proper either. I understand there is a natural hesitation from both Michigan yuppies and heehollerin' rednecks from interacting with one another but other than at the gas station, Koops, or the Beer trailer, when are they supposed to? Climbers are usually polite and support the places they buy shit at.

The author of the article is basically saying don't stereotype or judge people just because it looks like a Toys'R'Us semi truck broke open in the middle of the yard. The tone is that climbers are all driving down from whatever suburb or college they go to and look down in scorn on the poverty of the area. I see just as much poverty driving around my own city. The issue is an overwhelmingly complex one with no easy solutions but I'll be damned if I don't judge anybody who's front lawn looks like a Busch recycling center or whoever throws a McDonald's bag out of their window in Miller Fork, just sayin.
I can attest that most of the expensive off-road toys are coming from out of town. Most, not all. Its still strange to me that folks who can't get decent jobs still manage to drive really nice cars and have more expensive toys than I could ever afford with my professional job. It took me twenty years to replace my aged trad rack.

Bubba down the road has a jacked up diesel pickup, $20,000 trailer, and his-and-her RAZRs (hers is pink). Bubba might be in hock up to his armpits, but he's got his priorities straight. This isn't unique to Eastern Kentucky. There are rednecks everywhere. Ours just have quaint Appalachian accents.

What is truly perplexing to me is that all of the northern Bubbas seem to have money to spend while few locals seem to have the ambition to coax it out of their wallets. Miguel was able to do just that with climbers and in a big way.
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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Nick » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:18 pm

Good points! I know plenty of people who make far less than me who lease $50,000 pick up trucks just to commute in. The they always say "You never know when yur gonna need to tow sumthin'".

The other day I was reading an article about Ky https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features ... d-gut-fish and the following quote by the author struck me as funny.

Quote: Raghu started traveling back and forth to Kentucky, where, he tells me, “I’ve become quite close with the local people.” He came to admire their ability to “live off the land” while “somewhat living in squalor,” he says.

I have to say that parts of Arkansas near horseshoe canyon make Slade look like Mar-a-lago in comparison. Ironically the most successful business owner in the region is an immigrant, go figure.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Ascentionist » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:46 am

I don't know anyone who lives off the land. People hunt, but I wouldn't classify that as living off the land considering most of them are fat slobs who ate at Hardee's before going out, rode a four-wheeler into the woods, struggled to haul their fat asses into a tree stand, shot the deer with a high powered rifle and then hauled the carcass (their own and the deer) out of the woods on said four-wheeler. Not exactly the romantic notion of a frontiersman. Hardly anyone around here even grows a garden anymore. We keep chickens but we started that when we lived in the suburbs of Denver and just brought them back with us when we moved.

I agree with the squalor though. Lots of squalor. We are squalor-ific.
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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Sarahbelzile » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:04 am

I think this is an important topic, even if the author was generalizing. The disparity between the reality that climbers inhabit and the reality that the locals inhabit does exist. It's socio-economic for starters, and it's deeper than that... it's lifestyle and access to privilege. And for me, personally, I'm interested in beginning to bridge this gap. I've been coming to the Red for seven years now. I spent a month at Miguel's last fall and I am at the beginning of a seven month stay now (although I may end up staying somewhere other than Miguels). One thing that I have heard numerous times this spring is how the locals feel unwelcome at Miguel's. They think that climbers are given preference in how they are served and treated. I get it. If I were living in a trailer (not by choice) and was missing my front teeth, had never left Kentucky, and hadn't finished high school, I would feel unwelcome, too,l even if I was treated with the utmost respect. Miguel's is a climber hangout, and in order to feel a sense of "belonging" there, it sure helps to be a climber, to wear the clothes, to have the gear, and to be able to speak the language of climbing. So what do we do? For weekenders, I'm not sure. I know, when you come down for just a couple of days, you're just there to climb. But what about those of us who are in the Red for a longer time? What can we do to reach out, to make connections and to seek to understand the existing local community? It seems to me that making thoughtful and compassionate connections with real humans who live in and around the gorge could make a big difference to the overall sustainability of climbing in the RRG. I plan to start with volunteering with an organization like this on one of my rest days in the next week or so, as a way to start learning more about the local community and what is already happening. http://www.beattyvillehousingky.org/about Please let me know if you are interested in joining me in this investigation, I'd love to connect with like minds on this one.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by DrRockso » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:01 am

Sarahbelzile wrote:If I were living in a trailer (not by choice) and was missing my front teeth, had never left Kentucky, and hadn't finished high school, I would feel unwelcome, too,l even if I was treated with the utmost respect.
You can start by not being such a judgmental bitch. Sorry I'm not sorry, but you come off worse than the author.

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Re: Poverty and Rock Climbing

Post by Ascentionist » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:07 am

I think getting involved in local organizations is a great first step. I also think that climbers need to get involved in local elected and appointed boards. Obviously as non-residents visitors can't be members, but going to fiscal court and city council meetings, tourism meetings, park and rec meetings, etc, etc is a great way to start showing decision makers that climbers care and have something to offer. Paul Vidal is a great example of this and I can't commend him enough for going straight to the source when it comes to local issues, getting involved, and trying to make a difference beyond the crag. I would caution patience and prudence and not go in guns a-blazin', but I think with a measured approach being active in local decision making processes can begin to change perceptions for the better.

Local communities need help with a lot of things. It's more than just socio-economic issues. Local governments don't have a lot of technical expertise or the resources to hire engineers, planners, etc. If you are a professional with an in-demand service then volunteering in a professional capacity might be more of a good will gesture than you would imagine. What I see most of the time is that when someone comes up with a great idea to improve the quality of life of one of the Gorge communities the concept gets stalled out long before implementation because there is a knowledge gap. And then there is always the shortfall of funds to contend with. Most cities and counties in the region struggle to maintain what they have, much less add parks, libraries, schools, etc. And with a general population decline in some locales it gets even harder to bring in the revenue just to keep the lights on, much less realize a vision for a better community.

And to piggyback off of what Rockso said: don't bring up stereotypes when you talk to natives. I'm a local by birth and by choice. My experience is not that most people live in trailers and have no front teeth. The majority are hard working for-all-intents-and-purposes suburbanites who just want to live their lives in peace. A lot of them make modest to decent livings and choose to stay in Eastern Kentucky because they love it, not because they're too poor to escape. A lot of us either have escaped and returned or never had the desire to leave in the first place. And we're not poor and unhealthy and living in squalor. That's the story that never gets told.
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