UKC

Pandemic Pro Climbers and Sponsor brand damage?

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 turtlespit 08 Apr 2021

With all the reports of "Climber X ticks hard routes in a foreign country", is it possible any of these pro climbers are doing brand damage to their sponsors?

While pro climbers might be legally allowed to travel to climb, their "professional work trip" looks a hell of a lot like my "holiday to escape the Northern European winter to Spain and try to tick a bunch of sport routes".

As a result, I'm not really inclined to spend money with any of their sponsors.  Do any of the sponsors care?  Or are they banking on people's short memories?  And I assume if I really needed a piece of kit, I doubt I'd be able to find a company that didn't sponsor a Covid travelling pro climber  

 Michael Gordon 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

Interesting question, and probably comes down to how much people care at the end of the day. Me, I tend to go by whether their kit is any good - have never really boycotted an outdoor brand for any other reason.

In reply to turtlespit:

I don't think the UKC crowd are the target audience for influencergram type marketing, and the people who are probably don't care. 
Their research must have concluded that they sell more to the curmudgeonly gits like me on here with nauseating, headache-inducing flashing banners that do far less environmental damage.

 john arran 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

Pretty hard to get exercised about individuals doing their best to keep working and earning during the pandemic, generally by legal means.

I know it can seem unfair when non-professionals are restricted to a greater degree, but surely any gripe should be directed at those who make the rules, not at those who do the best they can for themselves while following them.

In reply to turtlespit:

Closer to home, when out local cycling through the lockdowns, which for me includes the road past Birchen and other areas around the Eastern Edges, amongst the plentiful litter there is a really high proportion of red bull cans. I did think, I'm sure unfairly, that as we have a very prominent Sheffield based climber who is sponsored by Red Bull, and is generally wearing a branded hat or similar when interviewed or photographed outside, (even if she doesn't talk about the drink as part of her diet!) then it would be a much better look for that company if they arranged a litter pick. Obviously it is not sponsored climbers who are dropping the litter, but you do wonder if they feel in any way connected to the mess of Red Bull cans along the road sides of the British countryside.

 Offwidth 08 Apr 2021
In reply to john arran:

Given the UKB shit storm, from a few cynical regulars, it's not much of a guess to figure what this is about. In the end the only possible significant wrong-doing seemed to be: was entering and transiting France in December allowed under the rules, for work purposes. I would be interested if you (or anyone else) had anything to add on that with local knowledge. I ask as I know people who managed to enter France for that reason and yet others say it wasn't possible.

A fully sponsored climber is a professional climber: that is their job. It's obvious many climbers don't like the social media nonsense that goes with that job in current times, and some expect will expect professional athletes to set a particular example. I'd only add that things have changed so much from the sponsored athlete escapades described in Punks, from the sorely missed Andy.

 Offwidth 08 Apr 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Do you think this might be more a roadside thing (Red Bull certainly seem to top many litter lists....see an example link below)? I've been involved in more litter picks than I can remember but don't recall Red Bull being quite as common on the crags.

I would agree it would be good if any product of any company ends up significantly littering the countryside that that company should advertise responsible disposal and sponsor litter picks.  Sponsored athletes would certainly support that, they are really not the problem.

https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2020/09/cans-of-red-bull-again-at-number-1-of-most-found-litter/

 john arran 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> Given the UKB shit storm, from a few cynical regulars, it's not much of a guess to figure what this is about. In the end the only possible significant wrong-doing seemed to be: was entering and transiting France in December allowed under the rules, for work purposes. I would be interested if you (or anyone else) had anything to add on that with local knowledge. I ask as I know people who managed to enter France for that reason and yet others say it wasn't possible.

I wouldn't claim to be able to remember specifics of the rules in place in December. Anything I will have looked into at the time concerning entering France would have been for the purpose of returning home rather than for work.

What I am more aware of is that France has generally made a clear distinction between climbers doing so professionally (both teaching and high-performance), who have been able to continue climbing throughout various levels of lockdown, and climbers doing so recreationally, who have been much more restricted.

Further, the 'rules' in place in France have been very much clearer, and at least in the first lockdown considerably better enforced. If people had gripes - which inevitably people did - the gripes will have been mainly with the harshness or fairness of the rules. There's an oddly British habit of castigating people for 'not doing the right thing', when such a 'right thing' has been left (seemingly) deliberately vague. And the cynic in me believes this vagueness has been engendered deliberately, as it takes some of the flak concerning poor government restriction and enforcement decisions from the government, and ends up with people laying into each other instead, for interpreting vague advice in contrasting ways.

 Offwidth 08 Apr 2021
In reply to john arran:

> "the cynic in me believes this vagueness has been engendered deliberately"

Are you trying to kill me... I'll be getting coffee out of my lungs for the next hour!!!!

As for entering France in December for work I remain interested in knowing if it was possible...

 Christy 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

I wonder if a lot of the effect is association.  Certainly I haven't thought to copy a celebrity's preferred brands since I was a child.  I would not specifically by some kit because X used it.  However it likely gets a positive association in my mind which can influence my choices even if I am not attempting to copy someone or thinking of them.  Unless I try and specifically boycott someone they are likely still getting that benefit because we can still admire their achievements, whether or not we feel they should be out there.  I was never actively inclined to spend money because of sponsorships but I can't assume I am immune to advertising.

As for redbull I presume that is just the drink of choice by those who litter.  They would litter if redbull was not available or they drank something else. I guess it might be good brand association if they encouraged people not to and did a pick up.  Especially as presumably some redbull athletes are admired by some redbull drinkers.

In reply to Offwidth:

Yes, very much roadside - generally below crags you find very little litter. You can say many things about Horseshoe for example, but full of rubbish isn't one of them. I'm pretty convinced climbers are really good at not littering. 

I have wondered about whether I just notice Red Bull more than other litter because of its connection to climbing and other adventure sports (I did a small amount of freelance writing for their website quite a few years ago now, so feel more culpable perhaps in that way! I don't think I've ever bought a can of the stuff though, only occasionally the Lidl knock-off for emergency boosts on epic drives). But I do think you see disproportionately large numbers of thrown away Red Bull cans. I normally buy IPA beers to drink so that's what's in my recycling, but was shocked the other week while cycling up above Chatsworth to see a Brew Dog Punk IPA thrown on a verge. I don't think I've ever seen one thrown on the roadside like that. Different products sell to different age- and socioeconomic- cohorts, and while middle-aged middle-class IPA drinkers might be terrible for the environment in terms of foreign holidays and driving around in cars to do their hobbies, we don't throw litter it would seem. 


 henwardian 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

I'm detecting a hint of "If I can't have fun, nobody else should be allowed to either" which is not a particularly pretty or logical sentiment. It results in things like grumpy old people complaining that children are making too much noise playing on the swings and it's an attitude that I don't have a lot of truck with tbh.

I think that in terms of "I won't buy from company X for reason Y", the reason you cite is pretty weaksauce in comparison to all the other moral reasons you might avoid a company (environmental impact, slave labour, worker abuse/bullying/poisoning/etc. substandard products, odious political stance.... and so on).

This sort of concern wasn't anywhere on my radar at all till I read your post honestly. So I'm going to guess that the answer to your title question is "no". 

 Ciro 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

The government has encouraged work to continue where safely possible, and you're only supposed to claim furlough if you can't work. 

Professional climbers are therefore supposed to continue doing their work if they can, just like the rest of us.

Complaining that they do still go to the crags is a bit like complaining that plumbers can go into other people's houses for work when you can't.

Perhaps one silver lining of the pandemic is that it will lead to a lot of us questioning whether our career choices are making us happy 🙂

In reply to john arran:

> Surely any gripe should be directed at those who make the rules, not at those who do the best they can for themselves while following them.

Only if the rules are daft. I'd rather gripe about people breaking rules which aren't daft (and I'm not implying that "professional" climbers are doing so).

 turtlespit 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Ciro:

As I understand it, the job of a pro climber is to generate exposure for the brand of their sponsor and consequently make money for the sponsor.  In normal times that would mean going to the crag and then generating social media buzz related to this.

As per my original point - pro climbers continuing with 'business as usual' actually produces the opposite of the desired result for me.  I'd actively choose to not spend money with a company that is telling their climbers to climb outside their home country.  To follow your analogy, it's like a plumber turning up and making a leak worse rather than better.

However, I'll fully acknowledge that I'm highly likely to be an exception, and that 99% of people will spend as per normal

In reply to turtlespit:

> With all the reports of "Climber X ticks hard routes in a foreign country", is it possible any of these pro climbers are doing brand damage to their sponsors?

Does anyone actually know or care what brands these climbers are sponsored by? Presumably the brand awareness must filter through, otherwise the money wouldn't be spent on sponsorship, but I'd be surprised if many people associate climbers with a particular brand.

In reply to john arran:

> What I am more aware of is that France has generally made a clear distinction between climbers doing so professionally (both teaching

Does this mean you are allowed to climb recreationally if you are under the tutelage of a guide or similar?

 john arran 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Tyler:

> > What I am more aware of is that France has generally made a clear distinction between climbers doing so professionally (both teaching

> Does this mean you are allowed to climb recreationally if you are under the tutelage of a guide or similar?

Yes, in general. It seems to be a consequence of allowing guides to keep working. I agree it raises plenty of questions!

 alan moore 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I'd be surprised if many people associate climbers with a particular brand.

I'm trying, and I cant think of a single climber/ sponsor/ brand relationship!

Johnny Dawes and Boreal maybe????

 wbo2 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

Oddly I am not very bothered by people not living in the UK not adhering to English rules/law/guidance 

 ianstevens 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

Very long winded way to say that you're jealous people get paid to do what you do for fun 

 Ciro 08 Apr 2021
In reply to alan moore:

> > I'd be surprised if many people associate climbers with a particular brand.

> I'm trying, and I cant think of a single climber/ sponsor/ brand relationship!

> Johnny Dawes and Boreal maybe????

You're not meant to think about it, you're just meant to see the brand logo on photos, hashtags and when you're at the crag. 

If anything, lockdown surely means we'll see more of that (as you see pro climbers more often on social media than you meet them at the crag) so a pro climbers caring on with business as usual is probably worth more to their sponsor right now.

 Offwidth 08 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

So why don't you spell out what exactly was against any rules in that climbing?  As I said above it is uncertain still the only potential rule breach (I'm aware of) applies: in the travel to get there (since some people did manage to get into France at the time under essential travel for work reasons).

How do you know the sponsors told the climber to climb abroad (I'd guess it's a climber decision with coaches)?

It's not just about sponsorship, it's also about getting into better shape for future comps and climbing significant ascents when in good form. Even within sponsorship it's certainly not just about crap like Instagram posts, as reputation from achievements can last a long time for a sponsor.

Have you ever even spoken to a sponsored climber about that relationship?

I guess it's an old story though...  an outstanding talent  makes a major breakthrough.... armchair climbers moan online.

 Offwidth 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Ciro:

I'm pretty cynical about some sponsor relationships but it is a neccesary evil if we want our best climbing competitors to compete internationally. I can't see the extra support money needed coming from anywhere else in the medium term. This applies just as much to our world class GB paraclimbing team.

https://gbclimbing.uk/paraclimbing-team

(Bond villain partnership organisations listed at the bottom of the page)

In reply to Tyler:

Hi, 

As John said apart from the first lock down, professionals have been able to take part in their sport. it was quite funny in the second lock down, as where I live everyone seams to be a guide or instructor so it seamed like normal at the crags lots of people out climbing.

In the latest lock down we have been told we (professionals) can undertake our sport and we don't have to follow the 10k rule. In terms of work we can work with clients (climbing etc) but the clients shouldn't be leaving their 10K, which is tricky.

 Donotello 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> was entering and transiting France in December allowed under the rules, for work purposes. I would be interested if you (or anyone else) had anything to add on that with local knowledge. I ask as I know people who managed to enter France for that reason and yet others say it wasn't possible.

I drove to El Chorro from Bristol via France and Portugal for a month long holiday in December, was one of dozens of british people in campers or RV’s on the ferry, and was one of 100’s of Brits in vans when I got there. The date I left (mid Dec) you could do what you wanted, it’s hard to imagine but we did actually have a big period of time between lockdowns where we could travel freely, which I took advantage of because at that point we weren’t even sure there would be a second wave or another lockdown. 

Post edited at 22:52
 Michael Gordon 09 Apr 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> As for entering France in December for work I remain interested in knowing if it was possible...

Depends if you mean 'possible', 'legal' or 'not frowned upon'. I'm fairly sure that international travel was advised against (at the very least) at the time, and some folk drove to Spain etc as they were more likely to get away with it than by flying. 

Post edited at 08:01
 Offwidth 09 Apr 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It was never really advised against for work. You could travel legally or you couldn't. There were always other essential reasons defined for legally crossing into France. What I can't find is which rules applied exactly when.

Even for recreational climbers all this 'frowned upon' stuff was mainy just hot air (unless the climbers were being irresponsible in other aspects of the rules).  If governments want rules to function in a national pandemic emergency they put them in law, not guidance.

The virus spreads from close proximity indoors. Most of that spread around December was because the government: yet again underplayed the risk by dithering on an obvious need for greater restrictions; allowed indoor family mixing at xmas; unbelievably legally forced schools to open for as little as one day,; and, most important of all, didn't make necessary financial support measures available so that self isolation was affordable for many essential workers. Lets apply blame where it's due shall we. Boris and co yet again killed tens of thousands of our citizens who would have lived with earlier and tighter restrictions and properly funded self isolation (as is normal in other nations).

Post edited at 08:37
In reply to turtlespit:

In most cases these seem to have taken place within the rules, which have allowed elite sports to take place.  But in our hearts most of us understand that (outside competitions) climbing isn't really a sport, and that whilst a sponsored climber is technically at work, they are actually being paid to have fun (and good luck to them).   I agree that their "work trip" looks like a holiday, and when the rest of us are cooped up and may not even be able to get to any crags it is undoubtedly frustrating to see them.  But beyond that, do many care besides the OP?

Even if it turns out they're breaking local laws, some sponsors haven't been bothered in the past by breaking rules if they get a good video from it.

I'm sure if their sponsors thought this would be damaging they would take action to rein it in.  They probably realise that the majority of climbers niether know nor care who they sponsor, and of those who do only a few will be sufficiently concerned to change their buying habits.

 Ciro 10 Apr 2021
In reply to Howard J:

> In most cases these seem to have taken place within the rules, which have allowed elite sports to take place.  But in our hearts most of us understand that (outside competitions) climbing isn't really a sport, and that whilst a sponsored climber is technically at work, they are actually being paid to have fun (and good luck to them).   I agree that their "work trip" looks like a holiday, and when the rest of us are cooped up and may not even be able to get to any crags it is undoubtedly frustrating to see them.  But beyond that, do many care besides the OP?

It might look like a holiday to you, but most of the sponsored climbers I've met seem to spend an awful lot of their time trying to make money. 

Lack of talent means I'll never have the opportunity, but having spent a few years alternating between contract work and being on the road I can honestly say I wouldn't want to be a pro. When I'm away, I can switch off from work and have a genuine holiday. I don't have to stress about keeping sponsors happy, finding clients to guide, finding partners who are happy to spend time where that line that *could* be my first 9a+ and would generate the headlines to keep my sponsors next year. I don't have to stress about whether I should be tryng to find a different 9a+ to work, or stick with the one I've invested three years in, and I don't have to keep flying home to do some celebrity route setting.

In reply to Ciro:

I was quoting the OP, who in turn was concerned about what it looks like. All we see are photos and edited videos of someone climbing in the sun, while the rest of us are cooped up. That's arguably not a good look. We can't know the reality of what takes place and the pressures sponsored climbers are under, but that's not the point.  It's about appearances.

A lot of the criticism of others throughout the pandemic, and not restricted to climbing, is that something might be allowed, but you still shouldn't be doing it.  That really doesn't stand up to close examination. Professional climbing appears to be allowed under British laws and guidelines, and presumably they have also been complying with local rules as well.

Maybe it will affect some people's future brand choices, but I suspect most people won't be bothered, and don't pay much attention to sponsorship anyway. If the sponsors were worried about it they would have stopped it.

 Laramadness 10 Apr 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

If you look at articles on connexionfrance or the local.fr from the time, you'll probably get a clear picture of the regs in place. Tuesday 15 December was the moment it went from lockdown to curfew here in France (IIRC).

In reply to turtlespit:

You do realise that plenty of countries are still allowing a significant degree more freedom for their citizens to make choices than ours, we are statistically the most fearful country in Europe. As evident in the forum we are probably the most judgemental, boring, lecturing, virus signalling climbing community. 

 Michael Gordon 13 Apr 2021
In reply to JohnBson:

> As evident in the forum we are probably the most judgemental, boring, lecturing, virus signalling climbing community. 

Surely you can only say that is evident if you are comparing it with forums from a good selection of other countries?

 GrahamD 13 Apr 2021
In reply to JohnBson:

> As evident in the forum we are probably the most judgemental, boring, lecturing, virus signalling climbing community. 

I love irony done well.

 Richard Horn 13 Apr 2021
In reply to Howard J:

>   It's about appearances.

I would agree although I think its possible for pro climbers to keep doing their job / making videos etc I just think whilst in lockdown they/their brands should probably manage the message in order not to make it "tone deaf" to the masses who are couped up, i.e. not spend too much time warbling how its amazing to be in the great outdoors and just concentrate on the challenges. To be honest I have been enjoying watching quite a lot of Seb Bouin / strong other climbers videos in lockdown has made me keen to continue with my CV-aborted attempt to get back into climbing more last year.

Thinking wider though - most other sports are carrying on. The pro-cycling peloton has been racing around Europe for the past few weeks with very few races having been cancelled. I did get a bit envious watching them race down the sunny med from Milan to San Remo...

 GrahamD 13 Apr 2021
In reply to Richard Horn:

Importantly for the success of the cycling, there have been quite a few high profile individual and team withdrawals for positive tests.  Sagan to name but one.

 john arran 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Richard Horn:

You've been enjoying watching professionals cycling, while not being able to cycle freely yourself. Others have been enjoying watching football while not being able to play local matches on a Sunday.

Climbing really is no different. We enjoy watching and reading about pro climbers even though our own climbing has been more restricted.

 Qwerty2019 14 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

Has anyone got a definition of 

Pro Climber

Elite Climber

Is it someone with commercial sponsorship that supplies a few bits of kit?  

Is it someone on the payroll of a company?

Is it someone with a coaching business?

Is it age related?

Is it grade/ability related?

Is it parents income/ability to pay related?

TBH i dont really care about the answers but the world is becoming more about interpretations and wealth than i have ever experienced.  I am pretty sure if i had enough wealth i could interpret the rules and tick enough boxes to justify a trip anywhere in the world to climb/train/live regardless.  We either accept it.  Moan about it here or i suppose try to snitch on those we think are bending the rules.  Im too tired of reading about it these days.

 PaulJepson 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Does anyone actually know or care what brands these climbers are sponsored by? Presumably the brand awareness must filter through, otherwise the money wouldn't be spent on sponsorship, but I'd be surprised if many people associate climbers with a particular brand.

There are quite a few I can think of straight off the top of my head:

Whittaker, Randall & Pearson for Wild Country, Whittaker & Helliker for Patagonia, Ondra & Honnald for Black Diamond & Sportiva, Caldwell had a pair of Sportiva shoes named after him, Phillips for Scarpa, Sharma for eVolve (though not anymore), Megos for Tenaya, etc. With the climbers in the news with FA videos and with big social media presences, it's no secret who's paying them. If you follow the brands themselves as well, they're always posting about their brand ambassadors. 

As to what is defined as 'professional climber', there were plenty of sponsored climbers or brand ambassadors who were travelling outside of the rules to climb in the past year. There is a difference between someone who's primary income is being furloughed from a climbing gym but also happens to get sent some free shoes or clothes from a brand because they climb 8c and someone like Ondra. Professional means it's your primary/only source of income. Do I think it was fair for these brand ambassadors to be travelling around climbing? No not really but I don't think the brands really cared and I don't think the consumers really care either. 

Post edited at 12:52
 Marek 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Qwerty2019:

> Has anyone got a definition of 

> Pro Climber

How many would you like? I have several to spare.

There used to be a time when 'pro' meant that you earn your living (at least equivalent of basic wage) from doing said activity. You didn't need any other source of income - although it was always handy.

These days 'pro' is just an arbitrary label which really just means that you don't have a proper full-time job - you are most likely living off parents, inheritance, savings or other non-earned money. A grey area has always been government grants, usually in anticipation of Olympic medals.

I'm not sure to what extent the above applies to climbing, but certainly in cycling there are plenty of 'pro' riders who get little more than a bike, team strip and if they're lucky, expenses. Some don't even get that much, but still call themselves 'pro' cyclists. They race against other riders on proper contracts  and hope to join them one day, so I guess that makes them 'aspirant pros'?

 Qwerty2019 14 Apr 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

Thanks for the reply Paul.  I asked about Pro & Elite climbers tbh.  You gave an answer which mentions sponsored climbers and brand ambassadors.  You also mention climbing gym employees.  See where it can be open to interpretation.  You brought in 3 more titles and it lets us all interpret it our own way.

there were plenty of sponsored climbers or brand ambassadors who were travelling outside of the rules to climb in the past year What is an ambassador?  My daughter gets at least one message per week asking her to be a brand ambassador for some lycra clothing company or another.  She gets her own discount code and gets to put pictures online.  Its bollox.  Its basically marketing by the companies and they get binned.  So are these 'joe public' ambassadors?  It says they are on their insta account.  

 There is a difference between someone who's primary income is being furloughed from a climbing gym but also happens to get sent some free shoes or clothes from a brand because they climb 8c and someone like Ondra.  Agreed.  So where do we draw the line of being professional?  Is it when the person doesnt have any other income or just some of their income from climbing?  When they have huge ability?  When they are representing the country?  What if they are a 13yr old with no income, huge potential and parents with enough cash?

Professional means it's your primary/only source of income. Do I think it was fair for these brand ambassadors to be travelling around climbing? No not really but I don't think the brands really cared and I don't think the consumers really care either. 

I dont disagree with you.  I am just trying to point out that with all the interpretation we do with everything in life, it is no surprise that people are using this to interpret it in their own best interests.  I know of circumstances i dont agree with.  When i have felt strongly enough i have said something but tbh, now i just think people have to decide for themselves.  

 Qwerty2019 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Marek:

After reading your reply i am no clearer on what a pro climber actually is.  It could be this.  It was this in the past.  Other sports are this.  It might be related to money but then, it might not etc etc etc.

In reply to Qwerty2019:

A pro/professional climber makes their living off climbing. I think that's pretty simple to understand tbh.

Do I care about Pro Climbers travelling round the world, in these times, Absolutely not. Am I jealous that I don't get to as well. Absolutely.

When Megos traveled from Germany to France to climb 9C last year everyone thought it was amazing news. What's changed from him doing that to Bosi travelling to Spain in December, when he was allowed to??

 Qwerty2019 14 Apr 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

A pro/professional climber makes their living off climbing. I think that's pretty simple to understand tbh.  - Define a living?  So if i can happily live with no job and have manufacturers sponsorship i can class myself as pro?  Basically if my bank balance is big enough and i have good ability, i am able to travel all over as a pro climber

Do you think many pro/sponsored climbers are salaried by their sponsors?  I expect there aren't many who fit that category.

In reply to Qwerty2019:

What are you going to do/Climb to justify your lifestyle or of be of interest to sponsors? Why would a brand want to sponsor you?

Difference between pro and just sponsored is there are people who maybe get some free shoes from a brand but no salary and the brands expectation is just to post some photos and promote the brand. 

Meanwhile a pro climber, their purpose is to climb and inspire. The fact they are sponsored is a reward for their abilities and brands wanting them to promote their goods. If they get a salary or retainer its more for their abilities and the brands wanting them to stay on board rather than moving to a competitive brand. Not to say they don't work for it. If you've ever met/seen Ondra he is constantly surrounded by people managing him and his diary. I would say that Ondra doesn't get as much time to climb even as he is constantly moving from public engagements, competitions, book signing etc etc. So in fact, what any professional, would be doing.

Take Megos, he left DMM for a bigger Salary at Petzl.

Post edited at 14:07
 Marek 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Qwerty2019:

> After reading your reply i am no clearer on what a pro climber actually is.  It could be this.  It was this in the past.  Other sports are this.  It might be related to money but then, it might not etc etc etc.

That's because there isn't a definition of 'pro' in climbing. It's not like being a (medical) doctor or having chartered status in some other professions, where the use of the relevant  term is strictly defined (and possibly enforced). 'Pro' is just a loose adjective, no different than 'good' or 'enthusiastic'. The best definition you're going to get today is probably 'doesn't have another full-time job'.

 jimtitt 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Qwerty2019:

> After reading your reply i am no clearer on what a pro climber actually is.  It could be this.  It was this in the past.  Other sports are this.  It might be related to money but then, it might not etc etc etc.


The "pro climber" thing is a joke particularly in the USA where someone who dogged a 6a and wrote a blog about it wants a pro deal. I get more mails about this than you could believe. Other sports have clear definitions regarding  either prize money or salary but even then it's still dubious if the public would accept their classification.

I used to race motorcycles offroad and was in the pro organisation which meant I got prize and start money but to live on it would have been a joke, with a manufacturers contract and sponsor money I could scratch by but still worked a couple of days a week to afford luxuries like beer and my mechanic was only paid weekends. A decent deal for a good rider these days would be $500,000 a year plus everything paid. A professional tennis player nowadays needs about $300,000 just to survive in the lower ranks and a pro darts player not a lot less.

As has been said related to climbing, if you haven't got a pension fund and a Porsche in the drive you aren't a pro. Nowadays I'd add health insurance to that. I doubt there are any pro climbers in the UK by any normal criteria.

 Denning76 14 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

I don't have a huge issue with pros travelling, as they are travelling for work. I do have an issue with those  amateurs whose instagram influencing is a side-gig for some extra cash or free stuff going and travelling round the country. Climbers, runners, triathletes, cyclists, I've seen them all doing it, probably in breach of the lockdown rules, or breaking exercise with 1 other person rules etc. Anyone who does that deserves an instant unfollow.

Post edited at 17:22
In reply to Denning76:

> I don't have a huge issue with pros travelling, as they are travelling for work. I do have an issue with those  amateurs whose instagram influencing is a side-gig for some extra cash or free stuff going and travelling round the country. 

Yes, but I think what is being discussed is where the line line is drawn.

 Enty 14 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

Correct!

During our lockdowns over here St. Leger was rammed with so-called pros. One area close by had it's own secret van-life parking area.

When Julia Chanourdie climbed that 9a+ and sprayed it all over social media it was all change for me (at the time I'd been abiding by the rules 100%) No f**ks given any more, climbed all the way through the 2nd lockdown.

100km bike ride today. It's an absolute farce. Waiting for the breaking point.

E

 GPN 14 Apr 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

> When Megos traveled from Germany to France to climb 9C last year everyone thought it was amazing news. What's changed from him doing that to Bosi travelling to Spain in December, when he was allowed to??

I think the Bosi shit storm mostly occurred because he wasn’t allowed to travel to Spain when he apparently did.

Worse things happen at sea though.

Post edited at 20:00
In reply to Christy:

> I wonder if a lot of the effect is association.  Certainly I haven't thought to copy a celebrity's preferred brands since I was a child.  I would not specifically by some kit because X used it.  However it likely gets a positive association in my mind which can influence my choices even if I am not attempting to copy someone or thinking of them.  

Indeed. The psychological mechanisms of advertising have been extensively studied and what you have suggested is pretty much exactly how it works.

Nobody really buys red bull because their favourite climber wears their logo on a hat, but if you just happen to be in a shop and have a thirst for a sugary drink, and there happens to be a fridge full of them and the next leading brand, well...

In reply to alan moore:

> > I'd be surprised if many people associate climbers with a particular brand.

> I'm trying, and I cant think of a single climber/ sponsor/ brand relationship!

Yes, but as mentioned above that's not necessarily how advertising works. You don't necessarily need to be able to make that association on a conscious level for you to prefer Brand A over Brand B when confronted with a choice.

In reply to GPN:

Ye true enough, I was under the impression that when he travelled he was allowed to though?

In reply to alan moore:

Tommy Caldwell has an actual shoe named after him! That's a pretty easy one tbh!

Maybe I'm just abit sad and have totally succumbed to obvious brand links, or I just spend way to much time around gear.

Wideboys and Wild Country, another one!

In reply to planetmarshall:

> but if you just happen to be in a shop and have a thirst for a sugary drink, and there happens to be a fridge full of them and the next leading brand, well...

...you buy a can of red bull, open it, take one sniff and go "f*ck, this smells like vomit", and never, ever buy it again...

No wonder there are so many cans discarded at the side of the road; people can't stand to have them in the car after opening them, and finding out what it smells like...

Post edited at 22:37
 stp 15 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

I doubt it caused brand damage at all. The reason a lot of climbers went off to Europe just before Brexit, not just the pros. Will Bosi caused some irritation by trying to justify it as a pro climbing thing when in reality it was anyone and everyone who could afford to go before the doors closed.

I imagine all climbers who have ever done a trip abroad like that will know that's probably the safest thing you can do regarding Covid since you're well isolated from the rest of the world without even trying. The main risk will be boarding planes when you're jammed in with 100+ other people for several hours at a time so there's a risk you could bring it back from there. But testing and quarantine should mitigate that.

 alan moore 15 Apr 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

> Tommy Caldwell has an actual shoe named after him! That's a pretty easy one tbh!

I didn't know that. Might get myself a new pair o' Tommies!

In reply to alan moore:

I didn't know that TC Pro stood for Tommy Caldwell to be honest until I watched a video interview with Honnold and Lance Armstrong!

 AJM 15 Apr 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

> Ye true enough, I was under the impression that when he travelled he was allowed to though?

Personally I don't know, but others suggest not. UKB provides more specifics as to the exact whys and wherefores.

 Michael Gordon 16 Apr 2021
In reply to john arran:

> You've been enjoying watching professionals cycling, while not being able to cycle freely yourself. Others have been enjoying watching football while not being able to play local matches on a Sunday.

> Climbing really is no different. We enjoy watching and reading about pro climbers even though our own climbing has been more restricted.

I'm afraid I don't agree. Take something like the 6 Nations. Many thousands of people get a great amount of enjoyment from watching the rugby series each year with little or no inclination to do the sport themselves. The benefits are great despite the risks for the (healthy) professionals. Climbing on the other hand is not popular among the viewing public and even many (most?) of those who do the activity themselves are not interested in watching it. Particularly when they can't get out and do it themselves. In contrast, I imagine pretty much every amateur rugby player in Europe watched the 6 Nations. And as for climbing's value as a spectator sport, I don't necessarily agree with him but I do like the Andy K quote on this...

In reply to Michael Gordon:

I'd have to disagree with you their Gordon as climbing has become a  popular viewing activity.

Youtubers such as Josh Rundle, Magnus Mitbo, Bouldering Bobat etc have all been given permission during lockdown to film episodes and have many thousands of subscribers and watches.

The IFSC has become a huge spectator event on the livestreams with round the world coverage. And it's only going to get busier for the Olympics.

Admittedly this is indoor climbing predominantly (with the odd climbing outdoor episode) but then when an athlete does something exceptional outdoors we all want to see it. I for one and looking forward to seeing Daniel Woods footage of his new 9c!

 mark s 16 Apr 2021
In reply to turtlespit:

How many pro climbers are there in the UK? To me that's earning a wage that's livable 25k Id say from just climbing and not doing any other work. 

There seems to be more who call themselves pro, but all the do is post thirst pics on Instagram and get likes from looks rather than ability 

In reply to mark s:

> How many pro climbers are there in the UK? To me that's earning a wage that's livable 25k Id say from just climbing and not doing any other work. 

I'd guess none

 PaulJepson 16 Apr 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't know why you're getting dislikes for that, you could well be right. All the top British climbers with biggest social media presences I can think of have jobs.

Findley does coaching, Twyford is a setter, Macleod has his books/shop/coaching, Gresh coaches, Wideboyz/Lattice do 1000 things, Caff guides and worked for BMC, McClure coaches & sets, etc.

The only climber that comes to mind who could make their living through their own climbing could be Coxsey but that's primarily indoors so the travelling thing is not relevant. 

 john arran 16 Apr 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

That's missing the point somewhat, or at least it's more complicated than that. Even the sport superstars have to do contractual work as part of their deal, such as media appearances and endorsements. Simply training and performing isn't ever the whole story.

And then it's a continuum of involvement down to those professionals whose direct income from winnings and sponsorship needs to be supplemented with more conventional work.

The deciding factor, for me at least, is whether the supplementary work professional climbers do , whether it's slideshows, routesetting or whatever, is possible or much more valued as a result of their status as a top climber, i.e. they wouldn't expect to as easily get the same work if they weren't a top climber.

In reply to john arran:

> That's missing the point somewhat, or at least it's more complicated than that. Even the sport superstars have to do contractual work as part of their deal, such as media appearances and endorsements. Simply training and performing isn't ever the whole story.

Precisely!  I think you would have to be a world class superstar like Ondra or Honnold to get paid just to climb and for the coverage to filter through without even any obligation to do social media stuff (and even then you would be presumably be expected to use  abrand of shoes or whatever). I suppose the only others might be top competition climbers funded nationally.

 AlanLittle 16 Apr 2021
In reply to john arran:

I met Adam Ondra a couple of years back when he made an appearance as a (very good!) guest speaker at a tech industry conference.

Without knowing anything about either the finances of the conference in question or Adam's income, it wouldn't surprise me at all if a day's work like that was pretty lucrative compared to climbing industry sources of income.

But, as you say, you have to be the very top of the very top to get invited to that kind of gig.

 PaulJepson 16 Apr 2021
In reply to john arran:

I get your point but the thing people seem to be skimming is that a lot of lower-profile 'pro climbers'/influences/brand ambassadors/etc. who have other jobs were furloughed at the time, which is kind of being paid to stay at home and control the pandemic. What some of them did instead was broke the rules and went climbing. If you're self-employed and your income relies on you actually climbing then you've got a bit of an excuse but not if you work full time at a climbing wall and are getting paid to stay at home. 

I was 50% jealous but also really disappointed that people opted to break the rules like that. 

 john arran 16 Apr 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

That'll not be pro climbers you're talking about then. That'll be selfish idiots.

 PaulJepson 16 Apr 2021
In reply to john arran:

They're still 'sponsored' or supported by brands though. The original question applies to them. 

 john arran 16 Apr 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

The OP referred only to pro climbers. If you want to vent about non-pro idiots who may receive some sponsor support, go ahead.

 Michael Gordon 16 Apr 2021
In reply to AlanLittle:

I recall Honnold saying something like he gives a third of his income to charity as he just doesn't need all of it. 

 Jim Hamilton 16 Apr 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

> I'd have to disagree with you their Gordon as climbing has become a  popular viewing activity.

> Youtubers such as Josh Rundle, Magnus Mitbo, Bouldering Bobat etc have all been given permission during lockdown to film episodes and have many thousands of subscribers and watches.

Although people watch these youtubers as much for the interest in the person and their lifestyle, rather than the actual sport.   

In reply to Jim Hamilton:

True, but then the flip side is indoor climbing is where the money is with climbing. So these youtubers etc are the real pros as they really are creating content focused around climbing so therefore funding their lifestyle..... to climb!! Sneaky

I think people have watched alot of the content out of boredom and wanting to see climbing but if you go through the comments on alot of them people are asking if the blocs will be there when the gyms reopen etc etc.


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