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How masculinity shapes climbers on the world's highest peaks


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Nate Tastic · · 88,4,108,50, 80 · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10



Does climbing = Toxic Masculinity? Or cherrypicking the hell out of a movie to suit your own narrative?


ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

I climb for meditation, it is my drug. I like to climb because while climbing nothing else exist outside my 5-10ft bubble. Add in a little LSD and the climbing gets even better.

Not to say their isn't tools who climb, I have met a few, but those are all over the world has nothing to do with climbing.

Nate Tastic · · 88,4,108,50, 80 · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
ViperScale . wrote:

I climb for meditation, it is my drug. I like to climb because while climbing nothing else exist outside my 5-10ft bubble. Add in a little LSD and the climbing gets even better.

Not to say their isn't tools who climb, I have met a few, but those are all over the world has nothing to do with climbing.

So toxic masculinity and LSD toxicity? That's deep.

Gerrit Verbeek · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Is today Gender Issues day on MP?

Anyway: Is yearning for challenges and the feeling of being at the edge of your capabilities masculine? Or is it human, but just associated with men in recent local history? Pretty sure women walked every step of the migration out of Africa along with the rest of the tribe instead of waiting in the Serengeti for 747s to be invented.

The narrator's thought process seems to be that if alpinism gets more gender-balanced, documentaries like Meru going to look fundamentally different because of a different, 'feminine' approach to alpinism (more comfort? more risk aversion and willingness to back off?). My bet is they'll look exactly the same, just with mixed-gender groups enjoying cheese rinds in the portaledge. I wonder what our friend the narrator would say if he met Elisabeth Revol. Or talked to Steph Abegg about her leg rehab and return to alpinism.

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
Nate Tastic wrote:


Does climbing = Toxic Masculinity? Or cherrypicking the hell out of a movie to suit your own narrative?



I didn't see any cherry picking in this, and certainly the narrator acknowledges that Meru is a complex film, showing the both a stereotypical depiction of the climbers as Sisyphian heros and as damaged and injured persons. While I disagree the assertion that the standards and behaviours of these climbers are examples of toxic masculinity, I can see why someone would argue that a broad interpretation of the term could be applied to climbing. Perhaps you should expand a bit more on your thoughts, and think through the context of not only Meru, but perhaps some of the feats and struggles of climbers from the 20s-60s when there was a strong Nationalistic thread in climbing expeditions.

To be clear: I think the analysis is bad, and incorrect; but, I would struggle to say that there is no toxic masculinity in climbing.

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240
Nate Tastic wrote:

So toxic masculinity and LSD toxicity? That's deep.

I just get pissed by the 10-13 year old girls at my gym who climb 5.12+ for warm ups... really just ageism because I don't like the 10 year old boy at my gym who has to dyno between holds on the 5.13+ routes because he can't reach them and I can't even hold on to going static =/

Gerrit Verbeek wrote:

Is today Gender Issues day on MP?

Anyway: Is yearning for challenges and the feeling of being at the edge of your capabilities masculine? Or is it human, but just associated with men in recent local history? Pretty sure women walked every step of the migration out of Africa along with the rest of the tribe instead of waiting in the Serengeti for 747s to be invented.

The narrator's thought process seems to be that if alpinism gets more gender-balanced, documentaries like Meru going to look fundamentally different because of a different, 'feminine' approach to alpinism (more comfort? more risk aversion and willingness to back off?). My bet is they'll look exactly the same, just with mixed-gender groups enjoying cheese rinds in the portaledge. I wonder what our friend the narrator would say if he met Elisabeth Revol. Or talked to Steph Abegg about her leg rehab and return to alpinism.

Lets face it males and females aren't the same. We don't think the same and we aren't physically the same. Doesn't mean that the best female can't be stronger at physical or mental challenges as guys but if you take the best guy at certain things and the best women at certain things there is generally a set pattern of what women and men are better at. I never understood why people get so offended by being different.

J Squared · · santa barbara, CA · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

im gonna be the one to say it... Conrad... Renan.. those guys are big, tall guys.   do you really think the average climber girl would be able to save one of them in a Cliffhanger style rescue?


also, how many female self professed constant freesoloists are there?  there's some fundamental biology about putting your life at risk between men and women..


if you ever do a geneology study about yourself you'll find you have twice as many female ancestors as male. 

the average of woman has 1 child.. and average of men... 50% of them have 2 offspring and 50% of them have 0 offspring.


i do find it hilarious that the video already has more dislikes than likes ;D

JonasMR · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 6
Nate Tastic wrote:



Does climbing = Toxic Masculinity? Or cherrypicking the hell out of a movie to suit your own narrative?



I was gunna say, "2/10; MP isn't so gullible they'll bite on just any buzzword-y clip."  But I guess I'll have to say, "6/10."  

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Can we all agree that the term, "toxic masculinity," is lame? And that the concept is lamer? 

J Squared · · santa barbara, CA · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
FrankPS wrote:

Can we all agree that the term "toxic masculinity" is lame? And that the concept is lamer? 

she also used Hypermasculinity.

that one's gotta go too.   quick, someone make a banging technotrack with this sample youtube.com/watch?v=dn3wgnb…

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
FrankPS wrote:

Can we all agree that the term, "toxic masculinity," is lame? And that the concept is lamer? 

No, it's a useful concept for analyzing behaviour, but it should be applied judiciously and in the appropriate context. The narrator doesn't make a coherent argument for why Meru as a film, or the behaviours underlying the climbing team's choices, are toxic.

J Squared wrote:

she also used Hypermasculinity.


that one's gotta go too

I guess I could be wrong, but the narrator is male. Who is the she you are referring to? As for hypermasculinity, that's a thing - especially as masculinity is depicted in fictional media.

J Squared · · santa barbara, CA · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
FosterK wrote:

No, it's a useful concept for analyzing behaviour, but it should be applied judiciously and in the appropriate context.

too bad this pretty much never happens.  

it's really only 'useful' to one side of the 'analyzing' 



what most people deem as "hypermasculine" is 'some rediculous ideal which is unrealistic'......  so they seem to show complete ignorance at how useful an ideal image can be in helping you aim higher.

but no.. people just sit and think literally about something that's supposed to be metaphoric.  and then call it Hypermasculine when they decide they don't like it.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

We're off and running! How many pages?

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
J Squared wrote:

what most people deem as "hypermasculine" is 'some rediculous ideal which is unrealistic'......  so they seem to show complete ignorance at how useful an ideal image can be in helping you aim higher.

Aim higher guys! :) Be aflame! Wear the teeth of your enemies around your neck! Feel the sweet victory of a forum flame war! :)


Nate Tastic · · 88,4,108,50, 80 · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

The cherry picking, imo, is how he forgets to comment on Conrad bringing home a paycheck, on taking care of someone else's kids and their widowed wife. How he forgets to mention how caring Jimmy Chin is when his sister is down and out and invites her and her kids to come live with him etc. 

He's taking the parts out that fit his narrative but, not including others. Cherry picking. And sure, putting yourself at risk can be considered less than ideal when one has a family, we all understand this but, toxic?

In the case of Renan, and this isn't intended as judgment; because live and let live -- that dude was living at the crag, painting, with no car, free soloing and shit. Who knows what's going on for him. The psychoanalytical field day to be had with that guy, what makes that dude tick, could go way deeper than what was presented in that video but, it didn't fit the narrative. Who knows why he felt the need to fit in and not let down the team. We don't know. We could guess all day long, though. Maybe he never had a dad or parents? Could have been a number of things but, again we'd never know; not from a short 90-minute movie, that is.

On a side note, if shit ever really hits the fan they'll all come calling for us "toxic masculine men" to step up and get crazy toxic on some mofos. Just saying.

JonasMR · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 6
FrankPS wrote:

We're off and running! How many pages?

Imma guess 5.  Seems the real answer to Tradiban's thread was "more bullshit culture warrior stuff, please."

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/114158980/what-topics-do-you-want-to-see-and-why#ForumMessage-114159247

K. Le Douche · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 100
FosterK wrote:

No, it's a useful concept for analyzing behaviour, but it should be applied judiciously and in the appropriate context.

No, "Toxic Masculinity" is not a useful concept.  There is nothing wrong with being masculine.  When people use the term "toxic masculinity" they are really referring to douchery, being an asshole, acting like a douchebag, or whatever term you want to use to describe a male with shitty social skills, and a need to compensate for some short coming.  Since shitty social skills and a need to compensate for some internal short coming are not exclusively male issues, the whole concept of "toxic masculinity" is stupid...

The fact of the matter is that some people are just shitty people.  It's not a male or female, white or black, tall or short, climber or non-climber thing.  It's a human thing.  No guy turned out to be a raging douche because he grew up playing with GI Joes and He-Man, and no woman ever turned out to be a bitch because she grew up playing with Barbie Dolls.

In terms of climbing, or other elite athletic endeavors, it takes a very selfish person to dedicate the amount of time it takes to get that good.  This could be said for Conrad Anker, Adam Ondra, Pamela Shanti Pack, Tommy Caldwell, Margo Hayes, or Lynn Hill.  That's not to say that all these people aren't really nice, great people, but there has to be a lot of ego involved to get to that point.  That kind of drive, ego, and determination is not inherently masculine, and it's sure as hell not toxic.  It's just not for everyone.  I'm sure the narrator, who I assume created the video because he plugs his channel at the end of the video, is a beta-male who can't possibly understand why someone would be so driven to do something he would never do so he can only justify it in his mind as "toxic masculinity".  Meru could have just as easily been about three women climbing a peak that was at their limit, and you would have seen a lot of the same character traits displayed.  

akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

Sounds like the author has an inferiority complex and is masking it by degrading and minimizing others.  I’ve met Conrad and climbed with him-cool guy and not exerting “hyper-masculinity”-what stupidity. 

akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

I personally have never climbed because I was upset that I couldn’t have an ectopic pregnancy.  And likewise with this logic-do women not climb because women do give birth? 

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

This feels old. Haven’t we done toxic masculinity before? 

I think I said hello to Conrad in Hyalite one day. He complimented me on my sportiva Nepal’s. He also said that was a pretty scary WI 3+ that I lead. Super run out. 

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
Nate Tastic wrote:

The cherry picking, imo, is how he forgets to comment on Conrad bringing home a paycheck, on taking care of someone else's kids and their widowed wife. How he forgets to mention how caring Jimmy Chin is when his sister is down and out and invites her and her kids to come live with him etc. 

He's taking the parts out that fit his narrative but, not including others. Cherry picking. And sure, putting yourself at risk can be considered less than ideal when one has a family, we all understand this but, toxic?

In the case of Renan, and this isn't intended as judgment; because live and let live -- that dude was living at the crag, painting, with no car, free soloing and shit. Who knows what's going on for him. The psychoanalytical field day to be had with that guy, what makes that dude tick, could go way deeper than what was presented in that video but, it didn't fit the narrative. Who knows why he felt the need to fit in and not let down the team. We don't know. We could guess all day long, though. Maybe he never had a dad or parents? Could have been a number of things but, again we'd never know; not from a short 90-minute movie, that is.

Yup, I had forgotten about these other scenes, so I can see how you see this as cherry picking - or at least, how that doesn't fit into the narrator's analysis. The analysis definitely misses the mark in terms of the totality of the film, and the (often) multiple motivators climbers can have.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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