As some of you may remember, The Exponent published an article last October requesting climbers to stop clipping their climbing shoes to the outside of their backpacks. The author, who, in my opinion, had no real idea what he was talking about, ranted about the ego people have when clipping shoes to the outside of their packs. He argued that the shoe clippers do it solely for people to recognize that they are climbers. This author made a point about shoes being a relatable, recognizable point of climbing, but I think he missed the general premise of the act of shoe clipping. I believe that, as a whole, the climbing community at Montana State University must come forward and clip their climbing shoes to the outside of their packs again.
The main problem associated with the cessation of clipping shoes to the outside of backpacks revolves around people not knowing who the climbers on campus are anymore. How does anyone know who climbs? How do people know what hombres they can send with? Climbers can no longer associate with other climbers based on who is wearing Patagonia or The North Face. Sadly, the general populace of MSU has overtaken our highly fashionable style. Even GQ is stealing our climbing style. Walking around campus, we climbers feel alone, not understanding who else is, and isn’t, a climber. This has to change. We have to unite together as brethren of the rock. Therefore, we need something to revolve around. We need climbing shoes clipped to our backpacks.
By clipping our shoes to the outsides of our packs, we will be able to recognize the other pebble crushers and climbing folk. Nothing says “I’m a climber” like visible climbing shoes. In addition, it is extremely functional. Climbing shoes by nature stink. Clipping them to the outsides of packs allows that smell to not slink its way into homework and books to read, as putting them inside a pack would cause. Rather, the smell will dissipate into the outdoor odor given off by the ski bums around campus. Finally, clipping climbing shoes to the outside of backpacks makes sense, because climbing is in part about looking cool. Climbing shoes look cool. How will people recognize our coolness if they are hidden in our backpacks? It is a subtle reminder that we crush, both on and off the rocks.
Clipping shoes, as opposed to stuffing them, allows us to climb whenever we feel inclined. I know I personally have not gone climbing at all this year, because I don’t know who to go with. I truly cannot find partners because I am unable to recognize who is and who isn’t a climber. Clipping climbing shoes is a truly functional thing to do, be it for recognizing other climbers or because they stink or your backpack is full. We don’t clip to let non-climbers know we climb. We clip because we care about the climbing community and about sending it with our unique posse of conquerors of the unknown.