Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fools

This morning's perusal of the world's climbing sites revealed a few fairly decent April Fools stunts—a toll-free beta line at and the purported onsight of Britain's legendary Indian Face by a previously unknown Jordanian hard man, "reported" on Planet Fear—but by far the best was this gem from the Qubecois web site Cantille , proposing a new sport: snowshoe bouldering. (Be patient with the slow download—it's worth it.) Allez, allez!

At Rock & Ice we occasionally played an April Fools joke on unsuspecting readers. (They probably were unsuspecting because they didn't mentally link the bimonthly magazine to the specific date of hte April Fools holiday, even if it said April 1 on the cover.) Our best effort was the creation of the National Association Governing Sportclimbing (NAGS), an organization planning to codify responsible climbing practices, like allowing no more than three attempts on routes 5.11 or easier, in order to thin out crowds on popular routes. NAGS officials promised to measure the distance between bolts on new routes, to ensure they were safe, and to issue "chip certification" patches to qualified climbers who wanted to drill holds on new routes. Thanks to Denver-area climber Nate Adams, we even had pictures in R&I 91 and 93: A guy hanging from a rope with a tape measure, and another guy in a white OSHA-like painter's suit waving three fingers at a woman hanging from a project: "Three hangs, you're out!"

Amazingly, some readers bought it: The mail that month was sweet! We were helped along by someone who posted inflammatory "news" on the old rec.climbing site: He claimed to have attended a meeting of the Boulder chapter of NAGS, where the climbers voted to add 125 bolts to the classic route on the Third Flatiron. He wrote: "These guys are real and they are scary." Hah!

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