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FRI NIGHT VID: Madagascar - A World Less Travelled

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 UKC News 12 Nov 2021

Charlotte Durif and Josh Larson travel to Madagascar in this week's Friday Night Video. Madagascar is well known primarily for its big walls, but underneath the surface, there's a world of untapped potential, as the pair endeavour to find out...

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9
 Mark Eddy 12 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC News:

There may well be 'a world of untapped potential' but there is also a very serious drought making a right old mess of peoples lives out there. Not a few weeks of drought either, 4 years and counting! Seemingly caused by climate change: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/3/madagascar-is-on-brink-of-first-climate-induced-famine-un-warns

It is a very long way to fly (circa 20 hours from NY) and produces almost 4.5 tonnes of CO2 pp each way if travelling from the US: https://www.clevel.co.uk/flight-carbon-calculator/#s-two

Much more if travelling from the West coast.

I do normally enjoy the Friday night video, but this leaves a bitter taste

6
 Lankyman 13 Nov 2021
In reply to Mark Eddy:

I agree with you, Mark. And I'm talking as someone who, in the past, has indulged in flying to some far off places. I can't help but wonder how the desire to explore our fantastic Earth can be squared with the damage caused by fossil fuel-based climate change? I find it hard to berate others and lecture when I've been part of the problem as well. I have only flown once (to Mallorca) in almost a decade but once flew about five similar flights in one year in the nineties when cheapo flights arrived.

4
 leland stamper 13 Nov 2021
In reply to Lankyman:

We just have to learn and evolve. I looked at taking my family to Madagascar for all sorts of reasons, but do not see a way that I can do that now unless we travel by train etc etc. Luckily I get excited by climbing in a different county these days. We've had 50 years of cheap flying. Now we need to move on.

 GDes 13 Nov 2021
In reply to Lankyman:

I'm the same as you. Its interesting that these global trips are now starting to be seen as a bit grim. I feel like the shift in view has happened since lock down, has that perhaps made people more content to live their lives near where they live? Hopefully.

I wonder how soon the pressure on brands to be environmentally aware will lead to sponsored climbers not going on aeroplane trips anymore 

3
 john arran 13 Nov 2021
In reply to GDes:

> I wonder how soon the pressure on brands to be environmentally aware will lead to sponsored climbers not going on aeroplane trips anymore 

About 10 years or more ago, Stefan Glowacz climbed a new line on a Venezuelan tepui, with a well-publicised objective of doing so 'by fair means'. Which I understood to mean using local kayaks for the final approach (after the inter-continental flight) rather than Cessna or helicopter.

But then, once on the tepui, he proceeded to bolt a roadway up the largely trad-protectable route! 🤔  

In reply to GDes:

>  I feel like the shift in view has happened since lock down, has that perhaps made people more content to live their lives near where they live? Hopefully.

Really? I think a lot of people have been desperate to get away to the sun bolt-clipping again and on more adventurous trips. Obviously it is the evangelical climate warrior types who will be most outspoken on here, but I'm not sure that reflects the real climbing world. I'm struggling to think of anyone I know who has said they are giving up flying; most are just maybe thinking of cutting back.

3
 GDes 13 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Fair enough. Must just be within the group of people I know. The danger of the echo chamber! 

 GDes 13 Nov 2021
In reply to john arran:

Presumably he also flew there from Europe!? Which would very quickly negate any benefit of whatever they did whilst there. I sometimes feel like that kind of tokenism is more dangerous, as it makes people feel justified in what they're doing, rather than just not doing it. A bit like recycling. 

1
 Arms Cliff 13 Nov 2021
In reply to GDes:

> I feel like the shift in view has happened since lock down, has that perhaps made people more content to live their lives near where they live? Hopefully.

I think it was heavily publicised during lockdown as an opportunity for people to change their habits, as it was a big ‘reset’ in everyone’s life. I hope some people are now keen to live without travel, I’m v conflicted about it now that’s for sure.  

 joeruckus 13 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC News:

my favourite genre of climbing film is rich people who travel a long way with loads of gear and drones to film themselves brushing their teeth

In reply to UKC News:

Sorry to stray off the eco direction of this thread... I'm confused as to why they thought Out of Africa was 7b+ as it's mainly in the 6s with just two 7a pitches...? 

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/tsaranoro-15804/out_of_africa-238045

 john arran 14 Nov 2021
In reply to jon:

> Sorry to stray off the eco direction of this thread... I'm confused as to why they thought Out of Africa was 7b+ as it's mainly in the 6s with just two 7a pitches...? 

Probably confusing it with Gondwanaland (7b+)

In reply to john arran:

Except that Gondwanaland is 20 pitches, and they got they got the 14 right. 

 john arran 14 Nov 2021
In reply to jon:

Good point. I expect I may have spotted that had I actually watched the video!

 Pete O'Donovan 14 Nov 2021
In reply to jon:

Perhaps more likely to be confusing it with 'Cucumber Flying Circus', the route just left of Out of Africa?

Dave Hesleden and I did both routes in 2012.

As you say, Out of Africa is mostly 6a-6c with just a couple of crimpy 7a crux pitches, while Cucumber FC has some seriously runout 6c pitches low down, leading to steeper, harder (but better protected) territory higher up… but max 7b.

I enjoyed the video… it brought back fond memories of our trip.

Pete.
 

In reply to GDes:

I don’t know you, and I’ve committed to not flying for recreation or accepting any work that involves flying (I live far away from family and i can imagine flying for a serious family emergency). I started 2020 with the goal of not flying for one year (way to manifest, I know), and confinement and restriction pushed me over the edge to a permanent change. Anyway, not just your crew! But I will agree that I see a good number of climbers (American) jumping right back in to the 2 weeks in Europe game. So it isn’t as ubiquitous as I had hoped. I’m counting on passive aggressive internet shade and shaming tactics to keep spreading the message. 

4
 Phil Murray 14 Nov 2021
In reply to joeruckus:

Haha, I know what you mean, but..... people may have missed the credit near the very end, which says "Josh & Charlotte spent August 2018 in Madagascar which was the 10th destination of their world less travelled tour" ..... 

So: this was a few years back, COP26 wasn't happening, the "vibe" around travel likely wasn't so bad then.... George Monbiot had yet to write 1,000,0000 words on the perils of air travel / tourism ...... pre-COVID too.....  and they did combine it with many other countries (which is decent, really). 

I did appreciate the video, so thanks to UKC for posting, but didn't hugely enjoy it this time - just the timing, for me....  

1
In reply to AtLargesse:

> I’m counting on passive aggressive internet shade and shaming tactics to keep spreading the message. 

This is clearly what is already happening as the first response on here to this film shows.

It will be interesting to see what editorial position UKC and other climbing media take in response to this. Will they bow to the pressure and stop showcasing films showing climbing in places only realistically accessible by flying for most people. Will they stop publishing destination articles about such places? Will they stop reporting climbs in such places as news or censoring threads discussing the logistics of climbing in such places? 

And after flying, driving hundreds of miles to climb?

Or will UKC's content go on reflecting the real world of what climbers are actually doing.

 PaulJepson 14 Nov 2021
In reply to Arms Cliff:

I think there was quite a bit of 'we can help save the planet!' when the flights were all grounded but I've known of a few people who were in that camp and hopped on board the first flight they could to kalymnos. 

Hopefully it made SOME people consider their future travel options at least. It definitely did me.

 AJM 14 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or will UKC's content go on reflecting the real world of what climbers are actually doing.

What is it that climbers are actually doing?

I've certainly seen enough things here and there to be far from clear that everyone is back to jetting off on bolt clipping trips and all that. There are plenty of people who seem to be thinking a bit more, at one level or another, about air travel than they used to. 

Personally I'm conflicted. Air travel is clearly not a good thing for the planet and the amount of bad things we can do to the planet seems to be diminishing. But on the other hand am I ready to say I'm never (realistically) going to leave Europe again? I don't know, especially when it's far from obvious that enough other people feel the same way to make the difference.

In the short term, I'm thinking a lot more about travelling by train. With small children, the early morning and late night flights that compounded with the extra speed of flying to give it a real advantage disappears anyway, which means in practical terms it takes the first day to get anywhere anyway. Spending a few more hours within that day actually travelling isn't the end of the world. 

In reply to AJM

> In the short term, I'm thinking a lot more about travelling by train. With small children, the early morning and late night flights that compounded with the extra speed of flying to give it a real advantage disappears anyway, which means in practical terms it takes the first day to get anywhere anyway. Spending a few more hours within that day actually travelling isn't the end of the world. 

I looked into taking the train from Scotland to Italy for a week last year. It effectively took up 2 days each way, whereas flying took up two days in total with half a day's climbing possible on one of those. And train was way more than twice the price. It just doesn't add up for a typical week's bolt clipping.

3
 AJM 14 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Where in Italy were you looking at? I've considered doing orco in the summer, and Turin is a day from London (which is 2.5 hours from me by train - I assume more like 4.5 from Edinburgh). That's felt workable, for me, probably for a fortnight (I prefer longer trips anyway where I can, more time to bed into things).

I suppose the thing I figured is that yes, flying will always be faster once the journey is above a certain distance, but on the other hand if nobody is prepared to sacrifice the extra time, or pick a venue a bit nearer to fit within the time, then we're all screwed anyway. It makes much of Spain inaccessible for a week, but on the other hand France isn't exactly a huge trade down! It doesn't feel that painful versus the more heroic options like ruling out flying ever again and that sort of thing

 Arms Cliff 14 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> …a typical week's bolt clipping.

This is probably the bit that needs to change! 

1
In reply to AJM:

> Where in Italy were you looking at?

Rome

> I prefer longer trips anyway where I can, more time to bed into things).

Ideally yes, fewer, longer trips make sense in every way.

Post edited at 21:16
In reply to Arms Cliff:

> This is probably the bit that needs to change! 

Yes, but it seems to be by far the most popular type of foreign trip for British climbers and with the churning out of wall-bred sport climbers along with British weather, that doesn't look like changing any time soon.

Let's face it, until people are priced out of flying by a realistic carbon tax or otherwise, the planes are going to keep flying.

Post edited at 21:22
1
 AJM 14 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Is the climbing round there any good? Not something I’ve ever really looked at much. It’s a city I’d love to visit (it is vaguely on the ideas list for Feb half term as a non climbing holiday)

In reply to AJM:

> Is the climbing round there any good? Not something I’ve ever really looked at much. It’s a city I’d love to visit (it is vaguely on the ideas list for Feb half term as a non climbing holiday)

You wouldn't go just for the climbing but I stay with a friend who lives there. There is some good climbing south down the coast and in the hills inland. The rest day culture is second to none though!

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or will UKC's content go on reflecting the real world of what climbers are actually doing.

UKC are essentially Rockfax and will therefore have no choice but to reflect the business model that makes Rockfax profitable.

2
 john arran 15 Nov 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

Rockfax is the equivalent of a dictionary, in that it should seek to describe, rather than prescribe, current practice.

In reply to FactorXXX:

> UKC are essentially Rockfax and will therefore have no choice but to reflect the business model that makes Rockfax profitable.

Looked at like that, I would have thought that Rockfax and therefore UKC are very much wedded to the euro-clipping trip model of climbing.

In reply to UKC News:

Personally I think systemic change and carbon taxes scaled to income and carbon output are what is necessary. This will make people think more carefully about traveling long distances and encourage fewer, longer trips. 

Personally I find moral 'should'ves' a very poor mechanism for social change because the majority will simply continue doing what is convenient until it becomes inconvenient. Taxation is the easiest way to achieve this. 

I've flown twice in 5 years, both times from Germany to visit family in the UK. The rest of my trips (including UK trips) have been land based and car sharing etc. I'm sure I'll fly again in future but will avoid it where possible and will buy carbon offsets from a reputable company when I do. This clearly doesn't solve the issue but is certainly better than not doing it and seems a more realistic approach for most people. 

 Flying away for a 5 days is exactly the same as flying away for 25 days as long as you only do it once. It's the people who do 5-6 weeks a year in different destinations all on individual flights that make me feel uncomfortable. Breaking that down to 1-2 flights per year and offsetting the carbon debt would already make a big difference. 

I believe we should aim to be better rather than perfect. It's much more realistic to achieve and stops the despairing 'I could never do it' attitude which is the typical response to the hard-line 'I never and will never fly anywhere' folk.

1
In reply to Robert Durran: I suppose my hope on that question, of what type of story content  is popular, is that it puts climbing stories back to what they were, in my opinion/observation,  before the mid-2000s. I think there was a distinct change when climbing media went from being consumed as inspirational stories to fuel your personal life projects (climbing or otherwise) to being guidebooks and beta instructional videos.. I don’t mind seeing a movie about a group of climbers going to a far away place particularly, but I think enjoying the the film and feeling the feelings the film inspires is adequate. I don’t need, and I think I never did but got caught up in cheap flights and the manner of the day, to put my own hands on those climbs or be in those exact places. to paraphrase that amazing article “is it time to stop climbing mountains?“ I don’t need to put my boots on every summit, and maybe climbing media can be something that just inspires me in my climbing work in the place where I am. 

Post edited at 16:16
 Ramblin dave 17 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Let's face it, until people are priced out of flying by a realistic carbon tax or otherwise, the planes are going to keep flying.

This is probably true, but at the same time, pricing people out of flying regularly is going to be a much easier sell from a political point of view if there's at least a sizeable minority of people demonstrating their willingness to give it up voluntarily.

 seankenny 17 Nov 2021
In reply to AJM:

> It doesn't feel that painful versus the more heroic options like ruling out flying ever again and that sort of thing

There is also the option to take the train there and fly back; not ideal, but better than nothing. And right now that has to be a good thing.

 Michael Gordon 17 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC News:

I enjoyed the video. Looks ace!

In reply to seankenny:

> There is also the option to take the train there and fly back; not ideal, but better than nothing. And right now that has to be a good thing.

Or probably more realistically to the same effect, do some trips by plane and some by plane depending on convenience.

1
 AJM 17 Nov 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or probably more realistically to the same effect, do some trips by plane and some by plane depending on convenience.

Err..... so same old same old then?


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