Logo Ryan Lawson Interview  Eye of the Beholder
Image from the video clip
(770k) of Ryan cleaning
Eye of the Beholder (5.11c).

Join us as we conclude our interview
with Ryan Lawson, the sometimes-
controversial Portland climber that
calls Smith Rock home. When it
comes to putting up new routes,
Lawson is the most active recent
climber at Smith Rock -- with about
75 in less than five years to his
credit. He offers his perspective on
Smith Rock in general, and weighs
in with his opinion on the local
climbing politics. When it comes to
the Bend climbing community, you
have had a bit of a rough time.
What's the issue here? Why don't
the local climbers accept your work
on new routes?

Ryan: I think that many of the local
climbers do not accept my work on
new routes because I'm considered
an outsider. I haven't gone through
the normal avenues of gaining local
approval. In other words, I haven't
spent time hanging out and talking
with the "right people" and climbing
the local test pieces.

Also, my climbing level has never been
all that impressive and I am putting up
routes in areas that they considered
"finished". Maybe people are jealous
that I am finding some very popular
lines in areas that everyone ignored
or thought were climbed out. If these
routes had been put up in the late 80's
they would be just another local “classic”.

But since I am putting them up
in the main area at Smith -- the
museum of the birthplace of sport
climbing -- I am doing something

Like I have been told by one of
Smith's most respected climbers, it
often isn't the routes, it's who puts
them up. If any of the routes I have
put up were put up by one of the
“respected locals” they would barely
cause a ripple in the local scene.

The majority of the routes that I have
put up most people don't even know

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