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The South Sister from
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Three Fingered Jack

March 2000 - For our inaugural Special
Feature we are running a multi-week
interview with Alan Watts, the one
climber most familiar with -- and
responsible for -- Smith Rock's climb
to prominence as an international sport climbing Mecca.

Alan's entire climbing career is
inextricably entwined with the recent
past of Smith Rock, the remote
central Oregon crag that now ranks
among the world's elite climbing
destinations. It was Alan and other
local climbers that spearheaded the
events taking place over the last
twenty years, the events that put
Smith Rock on the map and created
the entirely new classification of
sport climbing.

Alan Watts and Smith Rock are two of
the defining elements in the birth of
American sport climbing. Join us as we
talk with Alan about his climbing and
Smith Rock -- past, present and future.

SmithRock.com: Could you tell us a
little bit about your climbing background
and how you originally got involved in
rock climbing?

Alan: My dad was a climber and he did
a couple first ascents of some of the
pinnacles of Smith Rock in 1960 or so
-- and I just grew up around that. While
I was growing up, my family went up
into the mountains for family time.

As long as I can remember I was
involved in climbing, mainly
mountaineering at first. I climbed the
South Sister when I was eight years
old, and had done most of the Oregon Cascade peaks by the time I was
twelve or thirteen. Even by the age
of ten I had a pretty good idea that
climbing was something I really
wanted to pursue -- I even bought my
first piece of climbing hardware at the
age of ten. It was a piton. It cost a
dollar fifty.

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