It's big news in the world of climbing: Sports-bar maker Clif Bar has dropped five climbers from its sponsorship roster, including the man Outside calls the sport's biggest name—Alex Honnold. The reason? Clif thinks they take too many risks. In a letter to the climbing community, the company says it understands that some are "pushing the sport to new frontiers," but "we no longer feel good about benefitting from the amount of risk certain athletes are taking." Specifically, Clif objects to techniques known as highlining (walking a rope between cliffs), free-soloing (climbing sans ropes) and BASE jumping (leaping off a cliff with a parachute), notes Rock and Ice, which first reported the move.
All five climbers dropped are featured in a new documentary called Valley Uprising, which shows their exploits in Yosemite. But the timing is strange given that Clif (which features a climber on its logo) is a major sponsor of the movie. The decision has set off passionate debate within the sports' forums, but not all are peeved. “It’s a general reflection on risk,” Honnold tells the New York Times. “The risk decision that Clif is making is the same kind of decision that we all make as athletes. I think it’s completely fair for them to draw a line." (Read more climbing stories.)