Episode 2: Take Your Secret and Shove It

Chris and guest host Lisa Hathaway retire once again to the Oasis in Moab to explore the deep psychological underpinnings behind secret cliffs.  Necessary evil or just the realm of egotistical dickheads? Turns out it can all be explained by lewd metaphors involving blossoming sexuality.



About Chris Kalous

Owner, operator, guru, yogi of enormocast.
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3 Responses to Episode 2: Take Your Secret and Shove It

  1. so if it isn’t a “secret” anymore, why wont mill creek be in the new moab climbing guidebook?

  2. josh says:

    I’ve been involved in the development of at least three crags (or more depending on how you define crag), and I wrestle with this topic constantly. I haven’t been able to come to any hard and fast conclusions and have ended up basing the “reveal” on subjective elements such as are there access issues, are there routes I really really want a chance to try before someone else does (for pretty much any sport climb, I could care less; for some trad climbs, I care deeply. It’s personal and arbitrary), will there likely be huge amounts of rock fall when putting up routes, and so on. As with my bolt placements on sport routes, I’m sure I got it right from the perspective of some and got it wrong from the perspective of others. In the end, I think that the approach that makes sense is to listen to your inner spirit guide and ask it to keep you from being a selfish bastard. With luck, you’ll make a decision that works well for you, the community, and the crag itself.

    I ended up doing some of the multi-pitch trad lines at Mill Creek years ago with a Moab local and had a tremendous time. I remember him saying that the topos weren’t available in print but the folks at the gear shop would be happy to tell you about the crag. I liked the fact that I could climb there and not feel like I was trespassing on someone’s little secret, and I certainly respected the stated desire not to see the place completely overrun. I’ve tried to learn from that model, at least as I understood it.

    Anyway, I appreciate the topic and the insights. Fun podcast.

    -Josh, Northern NM

    • enor5021 says:

      Hey Josh,

      Funny. Went to a wedding in NM this summer and when I got home, spent a bunch of time on google earth looking around and thinking “there must be more rock down there!?” Been to El Rito before, but that’s it. My dad hunted elk around Raton a few years back and said he saw a ton of rock, not that he knows what good rock for climbing looks like. He was also on T Turner’s humungous ranch, so its probably off limits.

      Anyway, thanks for the awesome post. I agree with some of your attitude to doing sport FAs. I stopped really caring about sending it first, too. A few years ago I was involved in a mini dust-up when a route a buddy and I bolted got redpointed before we did it, and I got all offended. In the end, no offense was meant, and I realized that my experience when I finally redpointed it (fourth ascent) was not effected at all by the previous ascents. I think this applies to short or one pitch trad routes, too, especially if you have to try it more than once. As result, I’ve “given away” a few cracks in Indian Creek- one of which I’ve never even redpointed myself. I belayed a friend on it several times until he sent, and celebrated with him. That may be all the joy I ever get out of it. How lame would it be to not let anyone on it for 6 years and counting?

      With long routes trad routes, I think being the first lends a certain amount of adventure that can enhance the experience. Looking up at it and not knowing what’s up there or if it goes can be an exciting prospect so being first does matter. If somebody has already done it, then the only mystery is if you can pull it off, not whether its possible at all. But again, once you’ve tried it and failed and need to redpoint it, the mystery is revealed and should somebody else get it first, isn’t only your ego that is bruised? That’s why the sport climbs, or short obvious trad routes don’t really matter. Usually bolting it or giving a couple tries can convince you that the route is in fact possible, then the only question is whether or not you yourself can pull it off. The fact that so and so ran up it casually before or after you repointed is irrelevant. Whether he/she did it five minutes before your ascent, or five minutes after, either way, the fact is he/she smoked you and you have to get over it!

      So thanks for listening and dropping some input. If you have any ideas for other topics, let me know.


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