Let’s get this going again

Apologies for the lack of activity over the past few days.

Truth of the matter is that I totally blew my mental upload quota on the Climbers’ Forum in Augsburg week before last. I love these events, but they certainly come with a cost attached and pack a fair old punch.

Having said that I come out of those days filled to the brim with stories and stuff to discuss, so be prepared for incoming stories. But it is not just stories that I take away from events like Climbers’ Forum and the Tree Care Days, but also myriads of impressions, altered or new points of view and a sense of contributing something that is meaningful to a fair number of people.

Going by the definition of culture above, what I experienced in Augsburg last week was climbers’ culture, pure and simple. Developing a means to express yourself, finding ways to discuss topics in depth and in a meaningful fashion and discovering fresh layers of questions, unearthed by the last lot of solutions we just found… all of this is not something that comes easily. It needs space and time to evolve in.

Climbers’ Forum is one such opportunity and I would like to thank everyone who contributed in lots of different way for doing so.

Usually I would hesitate to pick out individuals, as I feel it is unfair as for each person mentioned one forgets another who is equally important, yet in this case I will do so at the risk of forgetting or omitting for which I apologise in advance.

I would like to mention Felipe, whom I met in Tampa. He decided there and then to come to Augsburg all the way from California. What I only found out later is that Felipe, who has not been able to travel outside the US and Mexico for the past eleven years, only received his passport four weeks before this trip to Europe – and on his very first trip decided to come to join us in Augsburg – which I just find incredibly humbling. Thank you, Felipe.

The Latino connection, Felipe and Eduardo, were an eye opener for me: from the moment they arrived on site, they were 100% there, full of positive energy and a true asset to set-up and the event – and certainly not shy to get stuck in.  A highlight was the evening in Manolitos, an bavaro-mexican restaurant below the Congress Halle park, with slow and grumpy personnel, when Eduardo decided that enough was enough, donned an apron and started serving in style, making the Manolitos waiters look very lame.

Loved having Tony and Rick from the US there, again, not shy to muck in and with their presentation they introduced a further element to the range of presenting styles. Whether you agree with what was shown or not is almost secondary, for me the main thing is that it gets you thinking – which was the case for me. Tony also did a small add-on workshop on Boomerangs, which I did not quite get. See more of his take on all this over at Gravitational Anarchy.

Chris, once again, did a fantastic job on getting the tower there on time and looking fantastic. Loved the industrial wind chimes… Thanks a lot for that, Chris. And thanks also go out to Felipe, Knut and Tony for the photos as well, of course.

A further highlight for me was the quality of the presentations.

I loved the block on ergonomics, with three presentations discussing different aspects of ergonomics. The talks on habitat creating really got me thinking: Jo and Peter’s talk I enjoyed because of how it was well-founded in practical work they have done and introduced me to an aspect of these people I had not known of before. Neville Faye’s talk on habitat creation was fantastic and was a real eye opener for me. The bad news? The past week, every bit of dead wood I have been removing from trees I have felt a vague sense of guilt… maybe there is a message there.

I could just ramble on indefinitely, but don’t worry, I won’t.

I could mention Chad making the trip from California (but that does not really count as he is half native to Bavaria), Kurihara-San all the way from Japan, Rossy from NZ, Hiske and Alex over from the UK, the Swedish crew, Janina, Alex and Jake… and the list goes on and on.

Suffice to say: Thank you for having been there and that I look forwards to meeting again. Dates for next year’s Climbers’ Forum are 26. – 28. April 2016, if you have suggestions for topics or have something you would like to present, we need a proposal by end of August.

Did I mention the new gear? No? Well, maybe that is for another post…