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Climbing retro... less is more?
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By Legion
Nov 22, 2011
I found this gear rant entertaining and it reminded me of an idea that has been percolating for several years.

First of all, please don't make this a debate about styles and ethics.

For trad climbing, has anyone here gone "retro" intentionally (or plan to), focusing on a simpler style rather than difficulty ratings? For example, leaving the SLCD's at home and racking up only nuts and hexes. Slings instead of draws. Tubers instead of autolockers. Minimal beta. Creating your own adventure. Maybe climbing closer to the style of the first ascensionists.

Understandably you'd have to climb easier stuff than when juiced with SLCD's, but it seems there would be just as much adventure and challenges of a different sort. Maybe doing this for a season may improve technique, raise appreciation for those before us, and just slow the pace a little bit?

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By Hamlet73
From Boulder, CO
Nov 22, 2011
pic taken in J-tree
When I was in Yosemite in 2004 I tried Nutcracker, in the style of the first ascensionists, nuts only. I brought two Aliens with me, and ended up using them on several pitches. I should have not brought them, and maybe I could have done it in the retro style.

It was an interesting experience and gave me a lot of respect for Royal and Liz Robbins, in 1967, which were likely not using sticky rubber either.




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By Ryan Kelly
From work.
Nov 22, 2011
My kinda simian
Quinn Lee wrote:
For trad climbing, has anyone here gone "retro" intentionally (or plan to), focusing on a simpler style rather than difficulty ratings? For example, leaving the SLCD's at home and racking up only nuts and hexes. Slings instead of draws. Tubers instead of autolockers. Minimal beta. Creating your own adventure. Maybe climbing closer to the style of the first ascensionists.


I'm fairly certain this has never been done.

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Nov 22, 2011
Try going camping without any zippers or velcro.

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By -sp
From East-Coast
Nov 22, 2011
Buenos Dias!
Ryan Kelly wrote:
I'm fairly certain this has never been done.

Joking aside, I'm betting you've done a few leave-the-guide-book-at-home trips?

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By steitz
From midcoast, maine
Nov 22, 2011
My friends and I do all that pretty regularly just for fun.

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 22, 2011
Colonel Mustard
DannyUncanny wrote:
Try going camping without any zippers or velcro.


IMPROSSIBULL!

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By Willie Wilson
From America
Nov 22, 2011
I did Bird on A Wire in JTree with wire stoppers only, a little scary, totally made me appreciate the climbers putting up routes before SLCD's a bit more.

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By T.L. Kushner
Nov 23, 2011
one are where i've found this to be surprisingly doable is at the gunks. 2 sets of stoppers, a set and a half of tricams, and a few slings and you can lead most anything. strange enough to say, that routes in the 5.7-5.9 range were a LOT easier than routes in the 5.3 to 5.7 range simply because the tougher routes required less big gear and were therefore easier to protect BY FAR

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By Chris D
From the couch
Nov 23, 2011
Sign near the Third Flatiron
some people never use SLCDs. Google Henry Barber.

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By bearbreeder
Nov 23, 2011
almost all the easier climbs here can be done with a set of nuts and tricams ... maybe a hex or two

in fact i suggest to people to do easier climbs with ONLY passive gear for fun ... and to get ready for more alpine stuff

for extra bonus points ... do it in yr approach shoes

the better you are at placing nuts ... the more weight youll save on bigger and better things

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By Nathan Stokes
Nov 23, 2011
Not that I climb hard on the current scale or have a limited set of cams but I tend to reach for nuts before SLCDs when I am leading, at least stuff that isn't pure vertical crack. Then again there isn't much better satisfaction than sinking the pink tri-cam in a perfect slot. Having a set of offset nuts has been a great addition to my rack too.

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By Kent Pease
From Littleton, Colorado
Nov 23, 2011
Take it one step farther: use only slings - no metalic pro! It's great fun to use horns, threads, and knot chocks.

Upper Grand Giraffe can be done this way, although it is a bit spicy.

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Nov 23, 2011
modern man
One of my best days at the Gunks was without cams.

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By Legion
Nov 23, 2011
Chris D wrote:
some people never use SLCDs. Google Henry Barber.


I think I'm a new fan of Henry Barber. From Climbing magazine...

Why is it that you donít use camming devices?
I love the freedom I get from the small amount of gear I use. I carry 24 to 25 nuts, including hexes. I have cams, Iíve just never used them. Theyíre still in the box with the hangtags. Someone gave them to me back in the 1980s. Theyíre awesome, brilliant devices, fantastic technology. Iíve got nothing against them ó I just never needed them. Thatís what I want people to take away from my climbing ó that I tried to do more with less, all the time.

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By shoo
Nov 23, 2011
Rock wars, Red River Gorge
I have a minor project going that I like to call the "before you were born project." I've been collecting standard climbing gear that was made at the latest before I was born (preferably before 1980) and intend on going out and climbing super classics with only the gear that the first ascensionists likely had available to them (except soft goods). I am hoping the project will be fun and enlightening. I also am happy that this old gear will go to actual use, rather than sit on someone's shelf forever (though most of it has been sitting on mine waiting for me to actually go out and use it).

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By Josh Cameron
From Moab, Colorado
Nov 23, 2011
Castleton Summit Sunset
Dean Potter says the only protection he needs is his hands.

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By T.L. Kushner
Nov 24, 2011
Josh Cameron wrote:
Dean Potter says the only protection he needs is his hands.

and a parachute

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By TacoDelRio
From All up in yo bidniss.
Nov 24, 2011
We don't kick it with bustas in khaki g-strangs.
It helps when you can't afford fancy kit.

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