Logo Alan Watts Interview Split Image
Watts on an early attempt of
Split Image - 5.12c/d

I didn't have a tremendous interest in
becoming a good rock climber, I
wasn't real strong at all back then, and
I really didn't think I had what it took to
become much of a climber -- much of
a rock climber, at least. What role would you
say Smith Rock played in your
development as a climber?

Alan: In some ways, it WAS my
development, it was that important.
I wouldn't have been a climber without
Smith Rock. There was a long period
of time -- the first three or four years
-- when I was learning by trial and error
-- simply learning how to climb and
progressing at a very slow pace.

I climbed for three years or so before I
even did a route that was harder than
5.9. I was progressing slowly, and then
I moved away and went to school in
Eugene, Oregon. I started climbing at
a little local Eugene climbing spot
called The Columns. I hooked up with
the right people, and was in the right
environment to become a much better
climber. I progressed very, very rapidly
after that.

By the time I moved back to Smith
Rock in 1980, I was able to push the
standards there. And, for the next
decade, that is what my life was
-- climbing. It wasn't just a part of
my life, my life became climbing. After all that has
happened since then -- for you and
for Smith Rock -- what are some of
your favorite memories as you look

Alan: That's a tough one, to tell you
the truth...there are absolutely
countless great times and memories.
From where I sit right now, I don't
know if there's any one particular
But I do remember the
lifestyle back then. It was a simple
time in my life, and it was an exciting

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