SmithRock.com LogoSmithRock.com Logo SmithRock.com Alan Watts Interview
SmithRock.com  East Face of Monkey Face
Sequence of Watts on the
East Face of Monkey Face
(5.13c/d) in 1984.

on rock climbing in the US; did you
think what was happening at Smith
Rock would change the way climbing
was done in the States?

Alan: By the end of the 80's it began
to appear that way. In '86-'87 there
was the great debate -- at the AAC
meetings. I think that was when I
started to gain some converts,
people I never would have imagined
such as the die-hard traditionalists.
At that point I knew things were going
to be different. Like when Ron Kauk
(laugh) came over to the dark side,
that told me that something was really
going on here -- it wasn't just this
group of renegades.

I think Ron came over in 87, I remem-
ber we were both on Taco Chips at
that point, and it was pretty new. He
wasn't there when Scott was putting
up Scarface, and that was early 88.
He came back, of course, several
times. Looking back, it is kind of
funny, I never would have guessed
there would be such a strong sub
-sport growing out of what we were
doing -- that this "sport climbing"
would become such a huge thing,
and that so many areas around the
country would become crammed
with all these difficult routes. And
that climbing gyms would become
so popular. Climbing really branched
out in a new direction that I never
anticipated.

SmithRock.com: When you first
started putting routes up on rappel,
was there any discussion about the
number of bolts and placement,
especially since what you were doing
was new -- and went against the grain
of traditional climbing techniques?
Like on Heinous Cling, for example?

Alan: Things were a lot different back
then. I wasn't trying to equip sport
climbs. I didn't know what a sport
climb was. That was never what I
was trying to do. I wasn't thinking,
"it sure would be convenient to have

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