I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
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Friday, 8 August 2014

Anorexia , drugs, and no rational control. By Stevie Haston.

Christian Bale, 8b version on the left, 9c on right!

Charlotte Durif the great french comp and cliff climber has written an amazingly critical open letter to Grimper mag in France. In it she discusses the widespread anorexia that she sees in competition climbing and compares it to doping. She also criticises the competion organisation and format. Here is a link to the original in French and a google translation. Her points have been made before and many people agree with her, so what will be done, the answer is nothing! If you have a child or a friend who is anorexic whether they are a climber or not make no mistake it's very serious. Whether it's as serious as Honnold soloing a big wall or an alpinist soloing a north face is also a matter for scrutiny. There has to be some kind of free will in life or our lives aren't ours. In some sports like Body building people take drugs and become very very thin, it's the only way to win or compete. Is every sport like body building, well no, there are a few who don't take drugs, let me try and think of one that doesnt-shit for a second I thought of one, but championship knitting isn't a sport.
What does this all mean to you, you might ask. Well if you have a child in sport not just climbing but say mountain bike riding, you have to consider the risk they will be partaking in and how responsible you want to be! There is not just the risk of tumbling off a bike, or cliff, but the risk of being sick in some way due to drugs or a very odd diet. Now then there are lots of magazine people who read my blog and they are fairly guilty in not talking about any of this, if they do talk they just do a shallow piece and earn their money. Climbing is a very weird sport, it's susceptibility to a small amount of drugs and light weight taking the laurels is really really high. In fact the lighter you are the more change you can have by small amounts of drugs, so children who take drugs and anorexics who take drugs will have the highest success, so in future our sport will be dominated by anorexic or very light weight people who are either sexualy immature or both, if that hasn't happened already. 
And by the way I was commissioned to write about the Charlotte Durif controversy when a commercial web site started a hatchet job on Charlote Durif  for supposedly fibbing, I was reluctant to do this job even though I was short of cash as I knew ultimately that the truth would be illusive and it was just about entertaining the masses. One of the key elements of this so called controversy was a route called PPP, a huge 9a that people said Durif couldn't do. Well strangely that 9a wasn't 9a anyway so it brought it down to more than very possible that Miss Durif could have styled it.
Years ago the best french sport climber and competition guy said that he wouldn't be able to compete any longer without some medical help, as he was feeling big pressure from former eastern bloc climbers, he retired and became plump.
An interesting aside is that this anorexia thing will never go away, it's there at the very heart of climbing, but at least you can see it. You can't see the drugs. I have no right to preach, and every body takes drugs, but the playing field is not level, and, and, and..... 
Another interesting aside perhaps is that Laurence was working with a Tri Athlete recently, who commented that nearly everybody in a famous local race was drugged to the max, its a famous race but winning it won't pay your drug bill for a year. The same week my grand kids who are really into sport and are really into winning were over for a holiday, they really want to be good at hill running, and when they were enthusing I was nearly crying, because fell running is just pharmaceuticals. Still I smiled and marched them up that hill!

If you want some good advice about losing weight in a sensible way, check out Steve Edwards blog  this guy is a climber as well as a sportsman. Good luck Steve.