The irony of the Anasazi art that adds to the allure of the high desert we all love is that the drawings might’ve said the equivalent of “Natuk Wuz Hear.” I can’t carve “Kelly Roooles!” into the rock nowadays, and with good reason. We now have, to understate things, plenty enough signs of our existence. Times change.
What is art, what is vandalism, what’s an accepted eyesore and what’s too much?
We drive to the crag and we pick up our garbage. The chain anchors are OK. Tick marks are ugly and I hate ‘em. What distinguishes ticks from normal chalk?
Heck, rain washes away most – or is it only some? – of the chalk on climbs. It doesn’t rain much in the desert, and the chalk comes right back anyway, so what’s it matter?
But it’s just chalk, I use it and I love to climb and that does more good than harm because climbing and nature add so much to my life and the lives of others similarly impassioned, and it rains, and rain cleanses, and climbing is our form of art.
Accomplishments feed our passion, drive drives us forward, our egos get involved but ego isn’t always bad. The more beautiful the place, the more we strive to go there, and the harder the climb the more we tend to justify our means.
At its core, aesthetics pull deeply at our love for nature. The balance of aesthetics, healthy egos, and love for a place?
Most everything exists along a spectrum, one rife with irony, personal shifts, and preferences. In my world, along my spectrum, the irony of huge tick marks alongside ancient Anasazi art is just a bit too much. Even if it’s a hard route.