Thursday, December 21, 2017

Slovenia has an access fund!

Contrary to the general zeitgeist, when climbing is concerned 2017 was an awesome year for  Slovenia. Apart from being completely dominant in competitions, our rock climbing community has taken a major step forward. The ever-growing access tensions and the need for re-equipping routes have finally given birth to an access fund. It will seek to keep access to our crags free and employ people to re-bolt  routes with old gear, take care of trails, parkings, give a facelift when needed.

All ran on a non-profit basis by climbers who care. All funded by the rest of the climbers, us, who want to enjoy climbing safely. I am impressed and all I can say is bravo to my friends behind it. And now, I'm off to donate my part!

go visit it at Projekt OSP

(I am actually 3 months late and I know all of you good people out there have already participated. But let me spray some more.)

It has been interesting following the heated debate on a similar issue that sparked up in France in the meantime. It makes me think that for once, we have things running smoother than France. It seems true all they know to do is complain. Joke aside, let's take a look at the issue, which is something that could have happened to us (but now, with the awesome Project OSP, won't).

A well-known website called CamptoCamp (C2C) was called out for piratising climbing topos. It is probably the most widely used page dedicated to sharing climbing information, a peer-to-peer exchange of betas, informations on conditions, route sketches etc. It is true that there are some left-to-right topos of crags, litteral copies, straight from the printed topo. After failing to find common ground with C2C, a climbing club uniting most of the equippers active in the Isere region, is demanding from Camptocamp to take those topos down. The group is obviously fighting in the good interests of the people who put in their time and money to equip the crags of the Isere region. They are also the publishers of 'Ze Topo', the reference guidebook for the wider Grenoble area. They accuse C2C of not giving accurate route infos, not giving credit to the equipers and first ascentionists etc. The final point is the fact that some of the profits from topo sales go back to fund equipment of new crags, so in effect by not buying a guidebook you are compromising the future development.

It is clear that with the advent of forums like C2C, we are witnessing a new way of information exchange. Printed topos are becoming obsolete. It is quite common now to leave for a multipitch route and consult your topo online, mid-climb. Some decades ago information on climbing spots was scarce and hard to come around. I think we should embrace the amazing possibilities Internet brought us and try to make the most out of it. It's not clear what the future of the printed topo will be, but this is only one little part of the complex equation. I don't want to side with anyone in the C2C debate because I suppose it's not as black-and-white as it seems. However, I'm excited we have been able to offer a solution with a clear objective where people have a clear incentive to donate, and by providing money we've already taken care of the cardinal problem.
Why not crowd-source the necessary funds, make the information shared free, completely up to date, paper-free. Reality is, a lot of work will still have to be done on a benevolent basis, but luckily there are people willing to invest their time and force for the climbing pleasure of all of us. The hearty welcome the project received in social networks makes me believe it really will take off. Let's take pride of this high level of awareness in our community. Chapeau bas!

climbing one of the hard testpieces of Mišja Peč, Popolni mrk 8c (very much an archive photo!)
i see a bolt that needs replacing! photo: Luka Tambača
May all your future whips be safe. Don't forget to donate to Projekt OSP!
photo: Luka Tambača

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