The marketing culture has so thoroughly colonized the sport that there is literally no terrain, real or cultural, that is not to some degree spoken for by a logo covered "athlete" promoting a product line of some sort. And can we blame the brands for moving in this direction? It seems to be what climbers want. The idea that climbing was a significant pursuit that created and carried real personal meaning and was not merely an opportunity for punchy visuals and superficial chatter seems to be on life support. The climbing environment is reaching a tipping point in terms of how much more commodification it can stand before a total vitiation of the core of the sport is achieved.
Gettouttatown? Really? Co-opted by the marketing types? Commodified? Seriously. When did that happen? Um, lets see. When was Into Thin Air published, 1997? Sure he may be only referring to rock climbing, but lets be honest, what he's referring to in his eloquently written, but not too salient blog post, started long ago. Maybe around the time Outside started putting steamy, hot pics of climbers on their covers and Steph Davis posed for Maxim. And Patagucci and North Face figured out that the core wasn't paying the bills and they needed to fashionize the industry and get their gear into the Land Rover crowd to survive. And once that happened, god forbid you brought shame to the brand. Anyway, eloquent read, though about two decades behind the times.
Michael's Belay Glasses: http://belayglass.blogspot.com/ Don't crane your neck while belaying. Wear these glasses and look forward to gaze upward saving on neck strain. They allow the belayer to more fully concentrate their attention to the task at hand, especially on long, protracted sessions. They accomplish this at roughly a 1/4 of the cost of the other product on the market, putting this easier into the average climbers budget.