Steven Dimmitt

EP 04: Alan Watts — A Life at Smith Rock, Eating Every Other Day, and Meeting Adam Ondra

EP 04: Alan Watts — A Life at Smith Rock, Eating Every Other Day, and Meeting Adam Ondra

Alan Watts is widely regarded as the founding father of Smith Rock, and was a key player in the development of sport climbing in America. He established the first 5.13d in America with ‘East Face’ in 1985—just shy of the world standard. We talked about eating every other day, his paradigm shift from freeing aid climbs to face climbing, wearing Wolfgang’s shirt, meeting Adam Ondra, and his “little slice of contribution” to the sport of climbing.  Support on  Show Notes:  Nuggets:  2:21 – The evolution of dirtbagging, early road life, Smith as a safe zone, “there were no routes”  7:12 – Eating every other day  19:52 – Abstainers vs moderators  24:07 – Bill Ramsey, UO, and climbing “every variation imaginable” at the Columns  29:08 – Connecting with the people you need  31:45 – Inferiority complex and pushing to improve  33:09 – Paradigm shift from freeing aid climbs to climbing faces  39:16 – Stumbling upon sport climbing and going from being a decent climber to a really good climber  41:34 – Redpoint tactics, ethics, and borrowing from the Europeans  45:44 – ‘Corner No. 1’, how ‘Chain Reaction’ got its name, and reaching the world standard at Smith Rock  47:33 – 11b to 13d in six years, ‘Punks in the Gym’, and pushing world standards  48:49 – Meeting Heinz Zak and Wolfgang’s t-shirt  51:57 – Pioneering Smith Rock film by Hydro Flask, and going back to the summer of ’85, and ‘East Face’ 5.13d  57:06 – Other hard crack climbs and ‘Double Stain’  58:30 – 7 days prepping ‘Sunshine Wall’ and the story of ‘To Bolt or Not to Be’  1:04:39 – Climbing ever day, injuries, and killing the goose that laid the golden eggs  1:15:20 – Hip surgery and meeting Adam Ondra  1:24:05 – Adam’s post about meeting Alan, and Adam’s onsight of ‘Just Do It’ 5.14c  1:29:57 – Adam’s photo book (Alan-“What the hell? How did I make the cut?”)  1:31:22 – The Awl project, “I do not want to FAIL!”  1:33:49 – Bolting futuristic projects, thinking anything was possible, and bolting ‘Just Do It’ for a TV show in 1989  1:41:28 – “I used to visualize before that was what you were supposed to do”  1:45:05 – “Fucking hard green route”  1:47:20 – Alan’s finger strength, hanging from one hand for (almost) a minute, and gym vs. outdoor climbing  1:54:23 – The updated Smith Rock guidebook  1:55:31 – Alan’s box of tights  1:58:25 – The 100 book list and projecting difficult books  2:03:32 – Working on the guidebook and connecting with the people  2:08:24 – The (lack of) ways to connect with Alan  2:10:06 – A slice of contribution in a little tiny sport  2:12:58 – “He’s cheating”, and Alan’s funny recurring dream  

Duration: 2 hr 18 min

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