SmithRock.com LogoSmithRock.com Logo SmithRock.com Alan Watts Interview
SmithRock.com East Face of Monkey Face
J.B. Tribout on the East
Face of Monkey Face
(5.13c/d) in 1986

to Smith in '85, they let us know what
was going on. Before that I really didn't
have any idea.

That's always the one thing in almost
every interview I've ever done that
people can't quite get. What hap-
pened at Smith Rock wasn't influenced
by what was going on in Europe -- up
until '86 when J.B. Tribout came. We
just had no idea.

When I did my first route on rappel,
the direct start to King Kong, I didn't
know exactly how they were doing
routes at Smith Rock. I was surprised,
and I felt kind of bad, when I found
out that Jeff Thomas wasn't...uh, real
happy that I had done a route on rappel.

I had just assumed that's what every-
body did; it seemed logical.

In my opinion, when it comes right down
to it, anybody who wants to climb and
who is really interested in doing lots of
climbing and new routes, and is not
bound by any sort tradition or strong
influences is going to put up routes on
rappel. That is the way that the majority
of people would do it. It just makes the
most sense. It might not make the
most sense in a place like Yosemite
where the walls are so big, but in a
place like Smith -- certainly.

SmithRock.com: This type of climbing
was also evolving in Europe at the
same time.

After you had been putting up routes
on rappel here, and then found out
about it over there, did you ever
consciously think you were developing
something entirely new? Did you know
that you were introducing sport
climbing?

Alan: No. Not even in the least bit. I
don't even know who coined the term
sport climbing. My first trip to Europe
was in 1986. It was later, at the end
of the '80s that the term stuck. All I
was trying to do -- the only thing I was
trying to do -- was simply do an

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