Does Spider-Man really need MJ, you ask? Well, this is no Marvel comic and there ain’t no Mary Jane. Boulderers and MariJuana, all that there is.

Does Spider-Man really need MJ? | 4Play

Does Spider-Man really need MJ?

Trying a hand at bouldering helps one observe the paradigm and its intricacies and so did I. Having been introduced to the sport lately, I found exposure to a ‘free folk’ culture built around it. Men and women flaunting their six packs in a pair of shorts and sports bras. A grueling sport that requires immense core strength and a fit body. A sense of achievement and satisfaction exists as a reward for the climbers and why shouldn’t it? Chipping off nails, severely injuring finger tendons and worse, what else could compensate this better?

An inertia of happiness exists in completing problems of different grades. Every time one moves up on the Fontainbleau scale, the sport gets more intoxicating but some find little escape in the sport and rely more on substance use.

A familiar smell lingers around bouldering sites. Loud trance and hillbilly music on boomboxes set the mood for a climb.

The climbers squat near the crash mats smoking chillum with rolled up eyes and as their senses hit a high, they jerk their hands and shoulders and feel the rock. Like an artist feels paper. Fingers smeared with chalk like a pencil that would draw on that boulder canvas.

The climber either solves the problem or comes quite close to solving it and falls with a thud on the crash mat. A trust fall in the arms of the spotters shouting ‘allez’ who absolutely have no idea of the climber’s dilemma to hold on or to let go.

The climber dusts his shorts off, gets up, settles himself on an unnoticed stone and digs in his pocket for a light. He picks out a rolling paper from the wad and gives the cigarette behind his ear a couple of taps on a sued ‘stash purse’. He then rolls a joint and holds it out in your face saying, “ best **ckin’ stuff yo!”.

Until now the climber had not recognized your existence, he was zoned out. Another ‘blow’ is necessary before the effect wears out.

The problem is you do not smoke up and politely refuse the offer. Suddenly, the glimmer in the climber’s eyes fades away. You seem a jaded insipid character to him. You feel a muck among the climbers there and you realize that everyone is in his/her own psychedelic trance.

Climbers at work! | 4Play

Climbers at work!

As I dive deep into this sport, I realize how different I am from some of these men and women as I do not smoke. I question myself, “Whether or not, I fit into this community?”

Recognized as an ancillary to gymnastics by John Gill, also known as the father of modern bouldering, the sport has been given a very different perspective over the years.

Although the early inception can be traced back to camp 4 but has the sport really covered a long journey?

Has there been an evolution? If no, then why?

If yes, then I guess, one needs to use a gray scale to filter this ‘colorful’ era.

Kshitij Gupta

Author: Kshitij Gupta

Kshitij at 4play designs content and partners with athletes. He is an outdoor aficionado who likes to pick up different adventure sports and has already been pursuing alternate sports for a long time now. He has just begun to climb and pursues skateboarding alongside.

Does Spider-Man really need MJ?

STORIES |

8 Comments

  • Chitro
    Reply

    There are extremely accomplished boulderers who smoke MJ and equally accomplished one who do not. For instance Dave Graham, Chris Sharma are known to smoke weed. Whereas Nalle Hukkataival, or Dai Koyamada or Adam Ondra are super disciplined athletes. Besides drug usage is prevalent in other sports as well, like cycling, football or running.

  • Chitrabhanu Chaudhuri
    Reply

    That is really a pity. Bouldering is after all a sport and lot of people do sports for fitness. Bouldering is in fact a fun and full body workout, moreover we get to experience the great outdoors. Although it’s a personal choice whether to smoke (weed) or not, boulderers should be receptive towards both sets of people. Specially there should be no peer pressure to smoke at all, as this would take away the fitness aspect completely. I appreciate the issue raised by the author being a non-smoker and a generally health conscious guy myself.

    • Kshitij Gupta
      Kshitij Gupta
      Reply

      Thanks Chitro for going through the article. Really appreciate that you had an unbiased approach towards the same. I realize that there are great many athletes who are exactly the opposite as described in the article but just wanted to present a view without demeaning the integrity of other climbers.

  • ishaan dasgupta
    Reply

    Descriptive, but pointless article. What are you trying to say? Are you voicing your insecurities of not fitting in? Every sport, occupation, clique, group, community, ever made/built has a wide array of different kind of people coming together to fulfill one common interest, other interests formed in that community are merely coincidental. Which community does a person completely fit into anyway, with all their interests and needs fulfilled? Clubbing all climbers/boulderers into one category who are ‘not you’ is a bit immature. Personally I haven’t met a smoker who forces others to smoke, since maybe highschool….maybe its time to get a more mature look at things. Some people climb for fitness, some people climb for fun. And yes some climbers do smoke, as do some lawyers, some doctors, and cyclists, and even monks. Please…

    • Kshitij Gupta
      Kshitij Gupta
      Reply

      Really appreciate it that you took the pain of going through the entire article. I completely feel you but you totally misconstrued the meaning of the whole piece. A topic as sensitive as the one cited above, automatically incites rage.I empathize that you succumbed to the same. The idea was to present MY PERSONAL thoughts, when I got introduced to the sport. SOME people might resonate with the feeling, A LOT may not. The idea is not to generalize everyone but a lot of times the vibe is the same. In the article I clearly mention, whether I fit into the community or not. It isn’t the question of whether the community should function as I want it to.

      • ishaan dasgupta
        Reply

        Fair enough…but maybe it needs a conclusion. Maybe some hope? Seems a bit rough and demotivating for anyone who doesn’t climb, to read this article. It just leaves one with a negative image of climbing…
        I only say this, as I love climbing, and I only wish that more and more people join in, irrespective of what else happens in their lives, take time out and climb.
        What about the other things in climbing? How about how people, whether or not they know each other, help out, Spot, belay, cheer the people on the wall? How about the sport being mostly non competitive, and only about coming to an understanding of one’s own body and it’s capabilities? How about being a sport where men and women try and climb the same hard routes and grades?
        The article and the Mj only portrays a quite jaded, self involved, egoistic, image of a climber. Was that your intension?

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>