'Trad' climbing. Or is it?

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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 22, 2012 - 02:11pm PT
I know a few long time climbers who ONLY lead pitches that they top roped, ‘mock led,’ or followed, unless it is at least a few grades bellow their limit. Do you guys think it is still ‘trad’ climbing if you ALWAYS know you can do it? Not sure how to call it, since by definition you are placing clean pro and are going up, but something is missing here…to me ‘trad’ involves some unknown, some risk, some challenge. Any thoughts?
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Oct 22, 2012 - 02:12pm PT
If it works for them, who really cares? Do you need to feel better than them on some subtle level so as to necessitate exact labeling?

Snobbery sure feels good sometimes but it ultimately makes you a dickhead only other dickheads tolerate.
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Oct 22, 2012 - 02:16pm PT
I say more trip reports less trolling!

Trad seems to refer to one or two things.

Protection ie some type of removable gear thus placing nuts and cams makes it a traditional ascent.

Style ie ground up style is often referred to as Traditional style.


Most people call leading routes that you have top roped headpointing.

Very often done in the UK.

 Luke
jstan

climber
Oct 22, 2012 - 02:18pm PT
Very often done in the UK.

where the is often no protection at all.
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
Oct 22, 2012 - 02:20pm PT
Whatever. "Trad" means somewhat different things to different people. If they are having fun and not retrobolting established routes that take gear, I could really give a flying f*#k what they call it.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 22, 2012 - 02:40pm PT
Can you ever climb the same climb twice?
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Oct 22, 2012 - 02:44pm PT
Trad is a type of climbing.
Trad onsight is a style.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 22, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
If it works for them, who really cares? Do you need to feel better than them on some subtle level so as to necessitate exact labeling?

Snobbery sure feels good sometimes but it ultimately makes you a dickhead only other dickheads tolerate.

It is discussion I want to encourage. See what different people think about the word ‘trad,’ seems it could have many definitions to many people? Not comparing anyone to my far ‘superior’ style (Sarcasm. I do not lead hard and have mock led before!). Personal story- one time my friend convinced me to lead a 5.9 I TRd clean. At that point I never led a 5.9 or a 5.8 OS. I wasn’t comfortable with my gear placements. Next time I went up I put in gear while on TR and had him examine it. He said it was good, cleaned it, and I led the climb clean. Was super happy after I did it. Next day decked from 12ft up trying to onsight some 5.8. So this thread was started to encourage discussion, not put people down.

PS: 'trad onsight' thread got me thinking about this.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 22, 2012 - 02:57pm PT
what does it mean 'pink point'? There are a lot of terms I am overwhelmed by. I guess it will be more clear with time...


edit: got it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkpoint
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
subjective hell
Oct 22, 2012 - 03:20pm PT
good points, all. while i dont think it really matters at all, one way or the other, my personal take is this : "traditional" climbing simply applies to the means used at the current point in time on the climb, irregardless of whether it has been seen, practiced, etc previously.

would practicing something on tr mar the experience somewhat? ofcourse. but climbing is a personal thing so i guess it depends how "traditional" one wants to be.

that being said, i can honestly agree that a purer "traditional" experience is had when it is genuinely onsight, unpracticed.

however, this does lead me to wonder, if it isnt trad climbing simply because you have climbed it on tr, practiced it, or in some way it wasnt truly "onsight" then anytime anyone uses a guidebook that gives any sort of beta whatsoever this would in this same vein not be "traditional" either because they didnt have to figure out all out on their own.

is truly "traditional" climbing only when you make your own first ascent, ground up? maybe for some, but not for me.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Oct 22, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
It is discussion I want to encourage.

It's a topic beat into the ground already, and one that quickly devolves. Luke's right, less trolling, more trip reports ;).

But have fun with it, many of us have already told us our views of this topic if you weren't listening.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
SLO, Ca
Oct 22, 2012 - 03:28pm PT
No one has cared about any of this since about 1986.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 22, 2012 - 03:32pm PT
that being said, i can honestly agree that a purer "traditional" experience is had when it is genuinely onsight, unpracticed.

however, this does lead me to wonder, if it isnt trad climbing simply because you have climbed it on tr, practiced it, or in some way it wasnt truly "onsight" then anytime anyone uses a guidebook that gives any sort of beta whatsoever this would in my mind not be "traditional" either because they didnt have to figure out all out on their own.

is truly "traditional" climbing only when you make your own first ascent, ground up? maybe for some, but not for me.

Exactly the kind of discussion I wanted to encourage! You pointed out the same questions I had in my mind. Personally I thought to OS is to climb something from ground up, without hangs, without ever attempting to climb the route, or working it on TR. Somewhere I read that to onsight you can't have beta and couldn't look at other people climbing it. But than what if you saw others TRing it only, which is a lot sloppier technique than when you are on lead?

Jebus, yes maybe this subject is beaten to death, but maybe better to beat it a bit more than to have 10000 political threads.
cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Oct 22, 2012 - 03:40pm PT
Recreate the original experience of any point in climbing history by going without guide or topo and with the original equipment. Like this guy:

Inside the Tweeds of a Victorian Gentleman Climber

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5011
crasic

climber
Oct 22, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
Recreate the original experience of any point in climbing history by going without guide or topo and with the original equipment

Why?

I mean I understand doing it for fun. But BITD they were using state of the art equipment and gathered as much beta as they could before going. That spirit really hasn't changed in modern trad climbing



Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Oct 22, 2012 - 04:29pm PT
"Traditional" climbing as a term only came about in response to sport climbing. Before that it was just climbing. So the term was coined to differentiate "traditional" methods with those used in sport climbing...hangdogging, pre-inspecting, preplaced and or rap-placed protection (bolts), rehearsing etc...as opposed to the traditional style of ground-up (on-sight being the higher standard). Only leading routes that you have wired only after following, hanging, or top-roping (head pointing) puts the ascent closer to the realm of sport tactics IMO. I'm as guilty as the next guy of doing this more than I should. Nothing wrong with that as long as you are honest about things with yourself and others.
GOclimb

Trad climber
Boston, MA
Oct 22, 2012 - 05:09pm PT
I know a few long time climbers who ONLY lead pitches that they top roped, ‘mock led,’ or followed, unless it is at least a few grades bellow their limit. Do you guys think it is still ‘trad’ climbing if you ALWAYS know you can do it? Not sure how to call it, since by definition you are placing clean pro and are going up, but something is missing here…to me ‘trad’ involves some unknown, some risk, some challenge. Any thoughts?

OK, I'll bite.

Not that anyone cares about my opinion, but if the person you were describing was me, then no, I would not call myself a trad climber. To never even try to onsight a climb is to tear out the heart of trad climbing, IMO. It would be like calling yourself a sport climber, and never trying to redpoint, only ever hangdogging routes and then moving on. I mean, that would be fine if that's what you wanted to do, but call a spade a spade.

As for what to call it? Damned if I know. I guess if that were me, I'd call myself... hmmm... first thing that comes to mind is "pussy". Not terribly PC, but can't think of a better term at the moment.

GO
LongAgo

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2012 - 09:13pm PT
Once upon a time when "traditional" and "sport" first began to diverge, here were the key differences in styles of protection and progressing on the rock, in a one page table:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=19

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 22, 2012 - 09:38pm PT
I have never met a climber who never led a pitch he hadn't top roped. Is that a local phenomenon back there?
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Oct 22, 2012 - 09:48pm PT
"if your looking for the best "style" of any climb, that would be ground up, on lead everything, first ascents done with CLEAN pro ethics first and foremost. ( naked and barefoot would add mega points)
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Toms-Thumb-10-19-2012-My-first-lead-after-a-30-year-climbing-hiatus-Many-pics/t11722n.html

for further defining trad climbing:^^^^^^^^^^^^^^"

Wow, Ron thanks for the mad props!

BITD we didn't call it trad, it was CLIMBING and we got up a route using our mental/physical abilities and the tools of the trade (swami belts and hip belays) we had available at the time. Until recently I did not know what sport climbing was, that's where you just clip bolts right?LOL
Tad
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