A nice new video from Haroun Souirji, creator of Better Than Chocolate, about the man, la máquina, Dani Andrada. It’s a thoughtful portrait in which we follow Dani as he boulders and climbs routes, most notably La Reina Mora (5.14b/d) and La Rambla (5.15a). More interesting than the climbing, though, is what Dani says in the longish interview segments. He touches on a topic important for all climbers:
Siurana and more precisely Cornudella, that is below, has turned into a climber’s town. There are a lot of people climbing. It is a very “fanatical” moment… During the week, 12 years ago, there were 4-5 cars. Now every day seems to be a weekend day.
The phenomenon of once-peaceful crags becoming over-crowded is increasingly common. Perhaps nowhere in the United States is this trend more evident than at Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, which seems to be experiencing growing pains in many locations. Muir Valley is one example, and the recently closed Roadside Crag another. Dani comes back to this idea at the end of the video with a somber assessment of climbing’s growth. Before, when only a few people were climbing at a given crag, a small percentage of them leaving a mess wasn’t enough to threaten access, he recounts. But now, with so many climbers, even a fraction of them behaving badly can cause real problems. (The emphasis in the quote below is mine.)
Popularity is very good for climbing in part… [But] what I see in Spain is many crags being damaged, people leaving papers and leaving the place dirty, and this is really a serious issue. It’s not a problem with the climber but with education. And in the future it might get worse…
The thing I enjoyed most about this video was that it didn’t focus just on Dani’s projects and his personal climbing goals, but also the perspective he’s gained from many years of climbing and his desire to give back to the community. It’s a welcome departure from the borderline narcissistic tendencies on show in a lot of today’s climbing videos.
This just leaves me wondering, could Dani Andrada be one of the few pro-climbers worthy of the label “role model?” What makes a climbing role model, anyway, and who else would you put in that category? Lynn Hill? Fred Nicole? Chris Sharma? Just some possibilities… Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.