Sports nutrition brand Clif Bar has reportedly fired six of its sponsored climbers for engaging in high-risk activities. A story in Rock and Ice cites an anonymous source claiming the company has severed its relationship with “anybody who free-solo climbs, BASE jumps, or slacklines.”
The source suggests the decision was spurred by the recent documentary Valley Uprising, which chronicles the enduring outlaw spirit of climbing in Yosemite National Park. The movie includes scenes of climbers free-soloing—climbing without ropes—and illegally BASE jumping off some of the park’s most hallowed granite walls. Clif Bar was a sponsor of the film.
The six athletes the Clif Bar supposedly fired include Alex Honnold, climbing’s biggest name in recent years, as well as stars Dean Potter, Steph Davis, Cedar Wright, and Timmy O’Neill.
Clif Bar, which has been criticized on social media since the story was posted on Friday, has not publicly responded. All of the athletes’ bios have been removed from the Team Clif Bar pages on the company’s website, however, and a company spokesperson gave a general statement to Rock and Ice: “Every year we evaluate all of our climbing sponsorships on a case-by-case basis. After evaluating a variety of sponsorships at all levels of climbing, we’ve made the decision to get back to Clif’s roots and focus on the more traditional aspects of the sport, like trad, bouldering, alpinism, and sport climbing, to name a few. Our climbing athlete sponsorships will reflect this traditional focus.”
Rock and Ice points out that soloing has been practiced since the sport of climbing was invented and “is at the core of traditional climbing, while sport climbing, which wasn’t conceived until well over 100 years later, is relatively new.”