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In defense of projects.
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By Kayte Knower
Feb 15, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Ken Cangi wrote:
I was just about to post.


That means a lot to me Ken. I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. I would appreciate hearing what you have to say on the subject as well.

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By YDPL8S
From Santa Monica, Ca.
Feb 15, 2008
Bouldering at right side of Sun Deck
There is also value in doing climb numerous times just for the joy of doing a cool route where you have the moves wired. Being able to enjoy the beauty of the day, knowing where you can rest and enjoy nature, checking out climbers on adjacent routes are all reasons to do and redo climbs that you love. Sometimes you find an asthetic climb that you use as a warm-up when you go to the crag....having climbs like the Bastille so wired you can do it on a moonlight night with no pucker factor.

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By BrianWinslow
From Concord, NH
Feb 15, 2008
Me after climbing the Whitney Gilman Ridge.
Kayte Decker wrote:
I find this really interesting. Why is "climbing until you fall" at odds with having a project? That's what a project is all about to me...a lot of falling on a well protected route. I can't figure this out about climbing...this idea that you are one way or the other way, a project-er or an onsight-er, a trad climber or a sport climber. I see these as different aspects of climbing, each teaching you different techniques and helping you improve in different areas. They don't have to exclude each other. Do they?


I think that climbing is climbing and they all help each other. It bugs me that when I'm at the gunks with a full rack I get acknowledged by half the people there, and then when I take out the crash pad the other half seem to open up (no insult on the gunks climbing scene, just an observation.)

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By BrianWinslow
From Concord, NH
Feb 15, 2008
Me after climbing the Whitney Gilman Ridge.
Scott M. Mossman wrote:
There is also value in doing climb numerous times just for the joy of doing a cool route where you have the moves wired. Being able to enjoy the beauty of the day, knowing where you can rest and enjoy nature, checking out climbers on adjacent routes are all reasons to do and redo climbs that you love. Sometimes you find an asthetic climb that you use as a warm-up when you go to the crag....having climbs like the Bastille so wired you can do it on a moonlight night with no pucker factor.


I agree Scott! Climbing just kicks ass!

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 15, 2008
paralysis by analysis
BrianWinslow wrote:
I think that climbing is climbing and they all help each other. It bugs me that when I'm at the gunks with a full rack I get acknowledged by half the people there, and then when I take out the crash pad the other half seem to open up (no insult on the gunks climbing scene, just an observation.)


Hi Brian. Yes. That is exacly what I was thinking.

FLAG
By DisturbingThePeace
From Albuquerque, NM
Feb 15, 2008
PBR Time at the Creek
DisturbingThePeace wrote:
I started climbing with people who were anti projecting, and encouraged climbing until you fell (on well protected climbs).

Kayte Decker wrote:
I find this really interesting. Why is "climbing until you fall" at odds with having a project? That's what a project is all about to me...a lot of falling on a well protected route. I can't figure this out about climbing...this idea that you are one way or the other way, a project-er or an onsight-er, a trad climber or a sport climber. I see these as different aspects of climbing, each teaching you different techniques and helping you improve in different areas. They don't have to exclude each other. Do they?


Kayte, what I was referring to was my lower quote in my first post. A problem with projecting for me is I first tried to onsight the route, got severely pumped, and deemed the route impossible for me, and gave up trying it for the season. This year I'm trying to use better strategy to prevent getting discouraged. Therefore I never worked a route that was at my highest ability, something that took 10 or 20 tries. If I couldn't climb the route with only a few falls on the first go then I gave up on it.

I agree with the rest of your post that different types of climbing don't have to exclude each other, I've always tried to become an all around climber.

Great original post about projecting.

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 15, 2008
paralysis by analysis
mobley wrote:
seeing people that cant onsight one grade projecting a grade or two higher seems like you dont really improve your onsight ability.


I have to respectfully but strongly disagree. How do you get stronger? By working on a move you can't do, over and over, until you build the physical strength to do it, and the technique to do it. Case in point, before this summer I could barely fist jam. Scared the crap out of me...they seemed so slippery. Then, this past summer I worked on a route that was almost all fist jams. At first that route was impossible, but on each attempt I got better at fist jams and found all kinds of cool tricks to make them more solid. Then, when I got home to New Hampshire, I felt comfortable trying to onsight a route with fist-sized crux, which I had always been too afraid to try before.

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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 15, 2008
...
Kayte Decker wrote:
Then, this past summer I worked on a route that was almost all fist jams. At first that route was impossible, but on each attempt I got better at fist jams and found all kinds of cool tricks to make them more solid.


Were you on top rope practicing? Isn't that cheating?










kidding.

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 15, 2008
paralysis by analysis
DisturbingThePeace wrote:
DisturbingThePeace wrote: I started climbing with people who were anti projecting, and encouraged climbing until you fell (on well protected climbs). Kayte, what I was referring to was my lower quote in my first post. A problem with projecting for me is I first tried to onsight the route, got severely pumped, and deemed the route impossible for me, and gave up trying it for the season. This year I'm trying to use better strategy to prevent getting discouraged.


I understand, and I'm sure that manner of climbing makes you strong at onsighting. I think it's a pure way to climb, to put the pedal down until you fall. It's a shame to put that on the back burner, but when it comes to working a project I can see how it's a functional strategy. I remember my first trip to the Red, I saw Katie Brown grabbing draws. I couldn't believe it. Now that I've climbed more it makes sense. She was figuring out moves. I think, when the route is really at your limit, you just do whatever the hell you can to get up the thing on the first few tries.

I was truly curious about the attitude you mentioned in the people who first took you climbing. I run into it all the time, even at Rumney which is almost all bolted. I would like to understand it. This fall, there was one guy at the base who got really frustrated with me because I couldn't do the crux and kept falling. He was saying, if you can't do the route in ten tries, you have no business on it. It did take me a few days to figure out the beta on the crux, but I was having a lot of fun up there. I don't understand why this bugs people so much. When I see somebody up high trying like hell, I think it's great. Why all these rules?

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 15, 2008
paralysis by analysis
John J. Glime wrote:
Were you on top rope practicing? Isn't that cheating? kidding.


Hell yes I was on top rope. Otherwise I would have learned how to DIE, not fist jam. I'm okay with cheating though. Like Mom always said, as long as nobody gets hurt or pregnant, it's OK. I did lead it in the end though. One of the coolest routes I've ever done. Cheating pays.

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By Bart Paull
From Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2008
I remember the first time I saw Predator, an often photographed overhanging arete at Rumney. I thought to myself, and maybe even told my friends out loud, there is "no way I will every do that." At that time I was mainly an alpinist and ice climber. I had a fair amount of rock climbing experience, but I certainly hadn't projected a route before, and had never led anything harder than about easy 5.12, and trad probably no harder than 11b. Since I was a student in the area, I decided to climb at Rumney more often, as it was the closest collection of cliffs around. One day I decided to try Butt Bongo Fiesta, a 13a, as friends were toproping it. "What the hell" I thought. Within a few days of effort I had redpointed it. That spring I went on to do several other 13s and that fall I did Predator after about ten tries. The confidence boost I got from doing a few projects definitely allowed me to boost my free climbing standard quickly, and has open the doors to many memorable routes. Projecting is a great style of climbing - it often gets slandered but personally I find that projecting routes at my limit teaches me new techniques and skills that I can then apply to hard onsights. Also, on most of my redpoints of projects the climbing feels rather effortless. This is always a cool experience as most projects feel desperate if not almost impossible at first.

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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Feb 15, 2008
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
Bart Paull wrote:
I remember the first time I saw Predator, an often photographed overhanging arete at Rumney. I thought to myself, and maybe even told my friends out loud, there is "no way I will every do that." At that time I was mainly an alpinist and ice climber. I had a fair amount of rock climbing experience, but I certainly hadn't projected a route before, and had never led anything harder than about easy 5.12, and trad probably no harder than 11b. Since I was a student in the area, I decided to climb at Rumney more often, as it was the closest collection of cliffs around. One day I decided to try Butt Bongo Fiesta, a 13a, as friends were toproping it. "What the hell" I thought. Within a few days of effort I had redpointed it. That spring I went on to do several other 13s and that fall I did Predator after about ten tries. The confidence boost I got from doing a few projects definitely allowed me to boost my free climbing standard quickly, and has open the doors to many memorable routes. Projecting is a great style of climbing - it often gets slandered but personally I find that projecting routes at my limit teaches me new techniques and skills that I can then apply to hard onsights. Also, on most of my redpoints of projects the climbing feels rather effortless. This is always a cool experience as most projects feel desperate if not almost impossible at first.


Bart,

I had a similar experience with Predator. I decided to start climbing on it after I had done two 13as. Predator was a really big step for me. It took me many, many tries. I started working it in the spring and didn't send until late October. I think forty tries is about right. Even though I was getting thoroughly bouted on it during those first few months, I took solace in the fact that I was way up in the air on an amazing and beautiful route. Falls seemed less about failure and more about taking big air because of the clips I had to skip.

Predator was my first really big project. I wasn't climbing at the grade when I first tied in on the route, but by the end of the process I certainly was. I learned so much about what is possible if you find an inspiring route, and I have taken this attitude to many more projects since then.

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Feb 15, 2008
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
Kayte Decker wrote:
This fall, there was one guy at the base who got really frustrated with me because I couldn't do the crux and kept falling. He was saying, if you can't do the route in ten tries, you have no business on it. It did take me a few days to figure out the beta on the crux, but I was having a lot of fun up there. I don't understand why this bugs people so much. When I see somebody up high trying like hell, I think it's great. Why all these rules?


This is purely speculation, but I think the reason some folks are bothered by extended projects, is that they don't want to see "lesser" climbers sending their hardest routes. In the example you shared, I'm guessing this dude didn't want you sending that route, because his ego was tied up in a belief that only 'elite' climbers (such as himself) should be able to send that route, and he didn't think you met his criteria for an elite climber.

Another factor feeding anti-extended-project-sentiments, is that in most cases, there is no distinction between a second go redpoint, and a redpoint that took 100's of tries over many years. I think some of the folks who do things quick feel that those who take many more tries should get less "credit". Fortunately 8a.nu has solved this problem by awarding bonus points for 'second go' redpoints :)

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By tenesmus
Feb 15, 2008
scott e. tarrant wrote:
the "desperately seeking 8a" thread was my lurking asses favorite in a long time! it, along with this one and unlike so many others, seem to exploit, for me, what this site is supposed to be about. after many years of climbing, i feel foolish appearing the super neophyte but...i have never projected. would love to try. i am sure there are dozens of symptoms at play regarding the reasons why i have/have not (fill in the blank) and those are just plain boring. please share more regarding strategy, route choices, etc. i have climbed in and around 5.12 for many years, on-sighted 5.12b (probably a soft rating), red pointed (3rd try) 12c, but never come realistically close to red pointing a 5.13. been on several and tried each less than 3 times. frankly, they just seemed too hard for me. i had moments of being completely shut the down. yet i could, in a try or two get a 12c next door...??? i understand that i will likely never get beyond where i am at (grade wise) unless i figure this out. the point of harder grades for me is the amount of vertical acerage it opens. if i can climb 5.13's, i will be way more comfortable on some of the more desperate, run out, scary 5.12's that i really want to do...right now, i am not comfortable getting on some of my super duper all time classics. they are at my limit. my possibly flawed logic demands i either give up the hope of getting clean ascents on some of my career routes (most are very long, and not local and i won't have the luxury of setting up vertical campgrounds and projecting them...i must on-sight) or i raise my limit so that the run out on the wisdom feels like a 5.8. any other suggestions? anyone live in or around the roaring fork valley who wants to swap gri gri time for the same in kind? any suggestions that don't involve plastic / gym time?

Scott - I totally agree. I'm in a similar spot. We need to find ourselves a good project and stick with it.

By the way, both of these threads really do lay bare the desire to progress and improve. Its one part of climbing that I really love. You kinda get out of it what you put into it. Thanks to those who are showing us the path...

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 16, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Monomaniac wrote:
This is purely speculation, but I think the reason some folks are bothered by extended projects, is that they don't want to see "lesser" climbers sending their hardest routes. In the example you shared, I'm guessing this dude didn't want you sending that route, because his ego was tied up in a belief that only 'elite' climbers (such as himself) should be able to send that route, and he didn't think you met his criteria for an elite climber. Another factor feeding anti-extended-project-sentiments, is that in most cases, there is no distinction between a second go redpoint, and a redpoint that took 100's of tries over many years. I think some of the folks who do things quick feel that those who take many more tries should get less "credit". Fortunately 8a.nu has solved this problem by awarding bonus points for 'second go' redpoints :)


Ahh. I see. That actually fits the situation well, as this guy is super respectful to people he knows climb hard. I appreciate your insight here. This encounter really hurt my desire to climb this fall. By this guy's criteria, I didn't have any business climbing on any of my long term projects. They didn't "count" to him, because they took me so long to finish. I just disagree with him. His attitude will only create pressure to be "elite" all the time, and instead of enjoying his projects, he'll be stressing like crazy on try number 8 and 9.

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Feb 16, 2008
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
Kayte Decker wrote:
By this guy's criteria, I didn't have any business climbing on any of my long term projects. They didn't "count" to him, because they took me so long to finish...His attitude will only create pressure to be "elite" all the time, and instead of enjoying his projects, he'll be stressing like crazy on try number 8 and 9.


It seems to me the obvious logical flaw with this attitude, is that the number of acceptable tries is totally arbitrary. I would guess it took him ~ 9 tries, thus 10 was the magical threshold. This dude is probably constantly adjusting this number for different projects depending on how long each project takes. What he really means is, "If it takes you longer than it took me, you don't belong on the route" I think this is the epitome of elitism in sport climbing.

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 16, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Monomaniac wrote:
I think this is the epitome of elitism in sport climbing.


It IS elitist, and the funny thing is this guy isn't very strong in the great big climbing universe, or even at his home crag. I've met so many climbers who can do the hardest routes who are genuinely psyched for others. I'll never forget, one time that Vasya (who did the FA of JawsII-probably 5.15-in Rumney this fall) talked to me for a good twenty minutes about the crux of my project, and how he found it hard when he did the route. He talked about staying positive on a route that's hard for you, as if he was talking to a peer, not a lesser climber. Here's one of the strongest guys I've ever met taking time to help me out, vs. this other guy, who couldn't pull one move of Vasia's project, acting really elitest.

I think downgrading a long-stading route is the epitome of elitism...or maybe telling a climber to lower off a route, because he/she can't get past the crux, and you're waiting to warm up.

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By Kayte Knower
Feb 16, 2008
paralysis by analysis
JasonH wrote:
I am always rehearsing moves in my mind (often times with hand movements in awkward social places), paying attention to what I eat, and training with specific results in mind. I am truly trying to raise myself to the level of the climb. I love the self-doubt and thinking I am in over my head, but trying anyways, until i can figure something out.


Jason, I think you're the master of getting in over your head and getting out in one piece. You are so right about how projects get you excited to improve in other areas too, like diet and all around fitness. It's like the training montages in Rocky movies, although I draw the lines at raw eggs, or the part of Lyn Hill's video when she's sprinting through El Cap meadow in a sports bra. So cool.

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By 1Eric Rhicard
Feb 16, 2008
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
Interesting thread. I remember a guy named Todd that took a lot of crap for projecting a route at Hueco. I spent some time there with him before it got redpointed and came away super motivated to climb hard. I picked a blank face on the back side of Chimney Rock on Mt. Lemmon AZ. Getting mentally prepared to work really hard for many days I got it first try. Bob D. has a picture of himself on the 2nd ascent. That experience taught me that what I believe I can do and what I can are not the same.

First I suggest that if you haven't done it give it a try you might be surprised at what you learn. I love to onsight routes and will try to do so every time. Some people are not good at onsights. I think lots of experience on all types of climb really help as well as really wanting the OS. I love to project routes too. 19 attempts is the most I have ever taken to send a route. I am not sure how many tries qualify for a project. The fact that a climb can be impossible today but climbable later is really interesting to me. I have found that as I spend more time on a route I learn subtle things that make a huge difference when it come to redpointing them. One route that took me over 15 tries felt like it was two number grades easier the day I redpointed it. Two # grades! How wild is that. That particular route was 110 feet long and I had all the hand and more importantly footholds memorized. During the week I would be at a friends pool and I would tread water and visualize all the moves. It was like meditation. 4 of my 5 projects were sent when I figured there was no way I would succeed. I assume that thinking I would fail allowed me to relax enough to climb well. I also find that working routes near my limit makes me climb the lower grades more easily and makes onsighting more likely too. Sorry to go on so long but one last tip. When I have a project as I do now, I make sure there are routes my buddies want to do in that area or I start drilling new ones that will keep them interested.

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By Brent Kertzman
From Black Hills, SD
Feb 16, 2008
As Eric stated this is an interesting thread. Bobby D. & Eric R. were both mentors of sorts to me (not to date myself). What is cool here is that this topic has come up every several years through all of my climbing career.

Let's think back to 1961 when John Gill soled the "Direct North Face of the Thimble". John climbed up and down to the double jug at mid route a number of times before committing to the upper half of the route. The upper half of the route was essentially an on sight for Gill. The crux of the route was in the upper half. Gill's efforts prior to his successful ascent possibly constitute the first serious project route in modern rock climbing history in the U.S.A.

Rock climbing is many different things to many different people. He who has the most fun on any given day is the clearcut winner. Too me what is really important is that I do my best and have fun when climbing whether it be a new or an existing route. For me the onsight always produces the greatest delight. Projects can be very gratifying likewise.

From my perspective this topic will continue to resurrect itself in the future. There is no real answer other than to be true to yourself. Allow yourself to let gravity show you how to hang yourself to allow passage. Have fun out there, do your best and be safe.

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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Feb 18, 2008
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
When I think of the attitude required for hard projects, I think of Howard Roark from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Here is a guy who is completely sure of his convictions. He knows what he wants to do and he knows the steps he will take to complete his goal. Despite an array of characters telling him that his ideas are wrong or that his actions are inappropriate, he stays true to what he believes. His steadfast confidence is his strength. And most importantly, his confidence is not shaken by what others might be thinking or saying.

To me, this is the perfect attitude when dealing with a project. Be sure of your desire to climb on that hard route. Don't let others sway you, even though their sole motivation may be to bring you down to their level. Their level is marked with indecision and a lack of confidence. Rise above all their garbage and keep getting on that route.

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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Feb 18, 2008
OK, I'll bite...at least to stir the pot a bit.

Two climbers with similar abilities and experience spend the summer working on increasing their climbing ability, both have previously RP'ed a 5.12c. One climber decides to get on a 5.13a and proceeds to spend the rest of the summer on this route. He warms up on the same climbs and tries his route 4-5 times per weekend. The other climber sets out to increase his experience and climbs six .12b's, two .12c's, and a .12d in the same amount of time it took for climber A to finally redpoint his project after 40 attempts.

Question is, at the end of the summer who is the better climber? If they both now decided to jump on another .13a, which climber do you think would be the first to succeed?

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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Feb 18, 2008
Half Dome
I didn't get to project this climb as I was only there for one day...but I went with a good friend of mine to Shag Crag in Maine and he told me to go up and lead Ginseng - a 5.12c overhanging granite route. I thought that there was no way I was going to even get off the ground having never even redpointed anything harder than 11b and I had only been on one 12 in my life. The climb has huge powerful moves I'd never encountered before on a route.

With his encouragement I made every move on the route, even though I did hang on every bolt. I didn't come close to sending it, but the fact that I was able to do the moves and made it to the top completely changed my climbing. I could see if I came back with a bit more strength a few more times it would go down. All the sudden 5.11 moves seemed easy in comparison and there was a new view that I could climb wayyyyyy harder than I was attempting at the time.

My friend had a similar experience at that cliff. He had worked a 13b there for a ton of tries and finally one day after 1 hanging the route dozens of times...he let out a huge roar and stuck the crux hold. After that 13's have been falling all of the place and he said projecting that route until he broke through made all the difference.

So perhaps to answer the last question - it could be different for everyone and also might change at certain times in your climbing career. Maybe you just need a good solid base of routes or maybe you've hit a plateau and need a project to propel you to the next level.

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 18, 2008
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
good thought, Kevin. i like the pot stirred. I think i may put a whisk in as well.

redpointing, projecting, working routes, etc. give you tools to onsight harder routes. Sport helps trad, trad helps sport, bouldering helps both, etc. its all good. by the way, good posts, Kayte.

also amkes me think of what buddy of mine told me,

"onsighting is thinking, redpointing is remembering"

thats why most climbers' highest onsight grades are lower than their redpoint grades. if they are not, you need to try harder.

all i know is, when I RP Interstellar, i will be sure to let KC know :)

FLAG
 
By KCP
From Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 18, 2008
Darren Mabe wrote:
all i know is, when I RP Interstellar, i will be sure to let KC know :)


I'll have a beer and a hand-shake waiting for you when you send.

FLAG


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