"You have documented climbing across a great many different regions, how do you think the climbing cultures of Europe, the USA and Australia differ and how are they the same? What do they say about the host cultures at large?
There are huge distinctions even within the regions let alone at a global scale. The Australian scene tends to follow the very Anglo-American culture which is to me 10 years behind Europe and Asia in terms of maturity.
Holding onto and glorifying climbing’s counter culture status seems a priority to a lot of people wanting to live the climbing life here, whereas in Europe the focus is more on the actual climbing. The culture is evolving in the UK and the US now with the new guard of hard climbers bringing a more European philosophy to training and professionalism.
If a distinction can be drawn, what is the current relationship between the disciplines of competition and rock climbing?
Competition is an integral aspect of finding yourself as a climber. It could be at the crag with friends, it could be at the local climbing gym, it may be just against your previous achievements.
Competing in organised events is part of the journey for most aspiring climbers now. Some will love it and stick with it, some will move their focus to other areas and many will both compete and climb outside, using what they learnt competing to climb better outside of competition. You see this today with competition climbers being at the front of the pack that are progressing the sport outdoors."
My copy is hopefully waiting for me back in Ireland. I know I'm excited to see it. Interesting thoughts on competitions. For me, competitions are a good excuse to spend time hanging out with other climbers. Most days at a crag in Ireland, there is usually a tiny number of people whereas at least the competitions regularly are 50-150.
On top of this, it's hard to beat the World Cup events for ease of access to watching excellent climbing movement and strength. A great way to help yourself develop as a climber.
what about you?