With the ever increasing popularity of rock climbing and the expansion of digital services, the internet world has become a larger presence on the mountain. Where once, Yosemite was a vast wilderness, now it is possible to update your Facebook status from the side of El Capitan.
Alex Lowther, a climber living in New York City, recently wrote an article about the phenomenon of increasing media presence in climbing. The New York Times piece sites Tommy Caldwell’s recent attempts at freeing the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. Caldwell spent 19 days on the side of El Cap almost but not quite alone. Caldwell kept a constant stream of how he was climbing, what the next difficult pitch was, and what the weather was like on the side of the face. The route, when finished, will be one of the most difficult lines on El Capitan with 3,000 feet of climbing, seven pitches of 5.14, seven of 5.13, and 14 more difficult leads.
There is some criticism of the phenomenon or live action climbing feeds. In the New York Times article, Katie Ives, the editor of Alpinist Magazine, quotes, “instead of actually having the experience be the important part, it’s the representation of the experience that becomes the important part — something is lost.”
It’s not quite the commercials that were posted last week, but it is certainly something to consider.