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TRAD CLIMBERS: so why do we call this style FA?
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By Jon O'Brien
From Nevada
May 21, 2010
Hey y'all,

honest thread post here... i'm a bit stupified when i open up the magazines to read about some of these impressive first ascents in trad climbing. Many of the FA's i see listed make little sense to me when i read further and see "this was done on two pre-placed pieces of gear" or "this climb was led on ALL pre-placed gear" or anything to that effect...

Now, i don't really get stick clipping and calling it a send/FA in sport but i won't go there because i don't care...

HOWEVER,
trad climbers:
what do you think? is it an FA if its on pre-placed gear? what is it then called when someone comes and does a legit ascent on all of their own gear placed on lead? IMO that would constitute the actual first ascent. the rest, in my opinion, is just headpointing in the attempt to someday lead it. no disrespect to anyone's accomplishments, i just find trad to be moving in a direction that has me curious as to y'all's opinions...

thanks!

jon

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 21, 2010
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord
FFA

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By slim
Administrator
May 21, 2010
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
I just do the best I can and be honest about it. If I sent something with pre-placed gear, I add that info when I am bragging about it. It's when you try to hide stuff that you get in a pickle.

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By USBRIT
From Cumbria.UK
May 21, 2010
desert
Well I would not consider it a true FA if it was climbed on preplaced gear .. as how did they put the pro up there before the ascent ...usually by top roping it first and that was the FA (mainly done on one pitch climbs) .. perhaps it should then be called a sport/trad route. I do agree even on El Cap I have seen photo's of some of our so called top climbers making FFA with cams already placed above them.I guess the only real FA of a trad climb is from the ground up,on sight ,gear and bolts placed on the lead.....quite rare these days ,probably practiced by less than 2 percent of all climbers.

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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
May 21, 2010
It's easy to get the gear up there ahead of time, usually from a failed attempt. Easy to just hang, finish the route, lower and pull the rope and leave the gear in situ.

Which brings up a lot of questions about FAs. Some are noted in the guidebook as being done on preplaced gear. But you almost never hear about whether stuff was toproped first, wired into submission, etc. Was it done/worked true ground up? Was it done onsight? How many FAs were done on preplaced gear where this was never really advertised, or lost in the sands of time?

Clearly, our method of recording FAs leaves out a lot of information (ie, style of ascent) for 95% of the routes out there.

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By Scott O
From California
May 21, 2010
Batman Pinnacle
Climbing on pre-placed gear? That, my friend, is sport climbing. Just because the gear is removable doesn't make it trad.

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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
May 21, 2010
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!
Yeah I nabbed the FA if this sick climb with trad gear. I used these sweet bolt things and just decided to leave them in for the FA since I already got them in, Even left the draws on em too.

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By 1Eric Rhicard
May 21, 2010
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
I might have them racked in order and have the placements wired but I put them in on the way up. That is a trad lead for me. Pre-placed is still a free ascent but it isn't what I want to do if I want to call it a trad ascent.

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By mucci
From sf ca
May 21, 2010
"I guess the only real FA of a trad climb is from the ground up,on sight ,gear and bolts placed on the lead.....quite rare these days ,probably practiced by less than 2 percent of all climbers."

I would have to disagree. Maybe not on cutting edge 5.14 naturally protected routes.

I know more than a few developers who hold this style on most if not all of their new routes.

Every FA I have done is exactly as you describe it above.

I have to second that honesty is a valued trait among FA's.

Mucci

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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
May 21, 2010
So just playing devils advocate here, but if you attempt a route and fall and fix a stopper and use it on subsequent attempts can you not claim the FA? Do you have to cut out any fixed gear to consider your ascent valid? Should people trying to free aid lines need to remove all of the existing fixed gear and place it on lead to be valid?

I think we need to use common sense when it comes to this topic, and as others have said disclose your methods. If I free a route and use any fixed gear I will leave it in for the next person.

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By JML
May 21, 2010
It IS a FA no matter what style it is done in.

The argument is with the style used in the FA, not whether it was an actual FA or not.

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By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
May 21, 2010
First climb after knee surgery <br />
Sometimes photos don't tell the full story. If someone attempts a route, falls, lowers from the top piece, cleaning everything except the top piece and then re-leads it cleanly; in MY book has done a valid ascent if the top piece is not in the crux region and doesn't change the difficulty of the climb. Like everything else, just be honest about what you have done.

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By Marc-Andre
From Squamish, B.C
May 22, 2010
I dislike stick clipping in sport for many reasons. It is made to make things safer, ie. TR up to the first bolt rather than boulder to it. Then people start saying, 'well clipping bolt #2 is sketch and you could deck' so they start with the second stick clipped and so on... I mean why not just start with the fucking anchor 'stick clipped' and TR the thing? That would be hella safe!!!

After hearing my posisition on stick clipping in sport, imagine how I feel about stick clipping/pre placed pro in trad... GAY!

There is also a difference between 'trad' and 'gear routes'.. trad is going up, on-sight on a naturally protected route, runout slab counts sometimes too... bolts 40ft apart is not sport climbing.

The people who TR the shit out of a route, perfect the gear placements and so on, then send is not traditional climbing. It is applying sport climbing tactics on gear routes. The intentions are exactly the same as sport climbing, to climb as hard as possible, just the protection can be taken out after the send.


when you see pro climbers on El Cap with gear already in place above them, they probabably just fell on a previous send attempt of the pitch and lowered, pulled the rope and tried again. I don't see much reason to pull all the gear and place it all again next try. Especially not on a big wall, that takes so much time and effort when speed and effeciency is crucial!

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By matt davies
May 22, 2010
Marc-Andre wrote:
. The people who TR the shit out of a route, perfect the gear placements and so on, then send is not traditional climbing.

I think traditional climbing has lost a bit of its meaning. Truly traditional climbing might be more popularly known as adventure climbing now. Or else all the tradsters would be out hammerin' pins.

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By jonathan tondi
From Blithe, Ct
May 22, 2010
I think is the question do you know what you want out of climbing or are you doing it to impress girls at the gym with your muscles or something I'd say? It's kind of like how my mentors taught me to put your hand on the brake to stop the fall doesn't matter which one!

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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
May 22, 2010
Me scaring years off my mom's life
Jon O'Brien wrote:
i just find trad to be moving in a direction that has me curious as to y'all's opinions... thanks! jon


Jon - I just bought my first trad rack so I have no opinion on the actual substance of your post. As a native Texan, I just wanted to express my appreciation for your use of the "y'all's" with two apostrophes. IMO, that's the only possible way to spell that word - grammar Nazis be damned.

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
May 22, 2010
To the OP, if you don't like how shit is getting done, you go out and you do it in better style...it worked for Robbins, it worked for Bachar, it worked for Messner. Do that, and I'll stand in line to buy you a beer.

What you don't do is preach to your choir on the internet. Now, if you don't have the firepower to send 5.14 ground up, on sight, then I guess you don't know wtf you're talking about. Let me give you a hint; if gear was straight-forward to place, it wouldn't be 5.14.

To the others... alot of good points. The term "trad" climbing is out-dated and inaccurate...we probably should come up with something new. Climbing in the "traditional" style would mean ground-up, hammering pins, yo-yo'ing, lowering immediately after a fall, aiding the crux and claiming an FA, etc. Nobody climbs in this manner anymore.

On the other hand, many so-called "trad" climbs (like 95% of Indian Creek) are better protected and more heavily ticked and hang-dogged than the most offending sport routes. These are sport climbs, as far as I'm concerned. Another beef I have is the "rock star" mentality where some uber-huber leads all the pitches while a belay bitch carries all the gear. That ain't "trad" either. The "tradition" is to have a team of equally invested climbers sharing the leads, sharing the work, and succeeding together. I've always held Todd Skinner and company's "team free" ascents in more esteem than the Euro's for that reason. It acknowledges the fact that no single person climbs a big wall "alone" unless they're free soloing.

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By Jon Ruland
From Tucson, AZ
May 22, 2010
sending Hard Day at the Orifice
i don't think it's all black and white. as someone said, climbing a trad route using all preplaced gear is sport climbing, but using one or two preplaced pieces on, say, a 100' route? that seems fine to me.

if you watch dosage 4, tommy caldwell uses preplaced gear on the great roof pitch of the nose when doing his "2 in a day" free routes on el capitan. i'm completely fine with that. i think you just have to be reasonable when preplacing gear and not overdo it.

with regards to the stick clipping when sport climbing--sport climbing is about movement and physical ability more than anything else so just as long as you "lead it", which could mean a lot of things, stick clipping is completely fine in my book. though i rarely do it, just because i don't want to.

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By Blake Cash
May 23, 2010
Jon O'Brien wrote:
Now, i don't really get stick clipping and calling it a send/FA in sport but i won't go there because i don't care...


You don't get it b/c you haven't ever bolted a route. Lots of routes are bolted with a high first bolt that is meant to stick clip...if that gets your panties in a wad, then fine by me, go ahead and climb these in whatever style you please...

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By lance bateman
May 23, 2010
Mike, just wondering how many 5.14's you have sent ground up on sight?
sounds like you really know what your talking about. in fact I can picture you right now standing behind the pulpit with your white collar
arms waving wildly as you decry the evils of the euro trad climber

"Climbing in the traditional style would mean ground up, hammering pins, yo-yo'ing, lowering immediately after a fall, aiding the crux and claiming an FA, ect. Nobody climbs in this manner any more."

Really? You know the manner in which everybody out there climbs?

The OP was not preaching. He was asking for opinions. Maybe you should read more carefully.

It seems like FA's and FFA's are two completely different things. and there is some confusion here between the two.

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By Dusty
From Fort Collins
May 23, 2010
just teasin' the sharks...
Mike Anderson wrote:
The term "trad" climbing is out-dated and inaccurate...we probably should come up with something new.


True, and since "sport" climbing no longer involves neon tights, it probably needs a new term, as well. I propose we introduce a new all encompassing term for both pursuits. From hence forth, they shall be called.....drum roll..... "ROCK CLIMBING"!!!

But seriously, you guys are getting stressed out over a few adjectives.

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By Buff Johnson
May 23, 2010
smiley face
Dusty, why you gotta be such a hater?


Ice climbers are people too!

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By Dusty
From Fort Collins
May 23, 2010
just teasin' the sharks...
Mark Nelson wrote:
Ice climbers are people too!


yeah...right...good one! :)

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By USBRIT
From Cumbria.UK
May 23, 2010
desert
One thing I know for sure Mr Anderson will not be making a beeline to do even a second ascent of some of the on sight ground up Bateman routes in the Swell,even though the pro bolts where placed on lead with no hooks or hanging are now in place.If he does I would love to watch !! I still think on sight FA's lets say at least around 5.10 and upwards are only climbed by a very small percentage of people who call themselves rock climbers... just look in any guide book.However since the invention of cams I do agree about Indian Creek type climbing being more closer to sport than trad. Ice climbing due to the modern technical gear had to move out onto rock to make it less boring.....maybe kidding ?

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By yak
May 23, 2010
Marc-Andre wrote:
After hearing my posisition on stick clipping in sport, imagine how I feel about stick clipping/pre placed pro in trad... GAY!


What does stick clipping have to do with homosexuality (honest question)?

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
May 23, 2010
Lance, I don't think we're understanding each other here. All I'm saying, is that if you have a beef with somebody else's "style", use it as motivation to climb in better style yourself, but don't go online and criticize others.

For the record, I haven't climbed any ground up 5.14s, that's why I'm not starting threads bashing 5.14 trad climbing.

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