WoS / PTPP, part XXV (continued from XXIV )

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Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 7, 2006 - 10:55am PT
Here are the previous 207 or so messages.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=231718&f=0&b=0

This thread was split again at about 235 posts.

Go here to post new messages:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=237614&f=0&b=0

Please do not post all additional messages to this thread.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:07am PT
I'll tell you what - no matter what you think about Wings of Steel and Mark and Richard, this climb and what happened has generated more interest than anything else in the history of Supertopo, as evidenced by the number of posts that continue to be written. Wow!


Uh, knott quite.

Both the Stonemaster Stories and Mussy Nebula threads had at least triple
the number of posts of all of the combined WOS threads...
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:20am PT
Matt, I'm quoting Maysho's post on a different thread...

"...Referring to the endless WOS issue and Dueces post about bolts per pitch. ZM and Aurora both done in Sept 81, were probably the last new routes before Wings of Contention. Aurora had about 80 holes for 10 new pitches, and that was a better ratio than the Trip on which we began and ended. So WOS might not have been much of a bolting departure.
Peter"

Did you get that? still think is the overbolting (not) that got these guys in trouble?

Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Tardbuster did not get the memo:

Here is what he posted on the other larger thread:


Tarbuster writes:

Twight,
Here is the distinction as I see it.
We've got locals/non locals.
We've got accpeted practices/new practices.
And the mix of those 4 elements.

Burton and Sutton, with the Magic Mushroom, came in with their own independent experience and logged an outstanding new route, under the noses of the locals if need be said, but they did it by playing the "accepted rules" by linking features.

Henry Barber travelled widely and snagged first free ascents "out from under" locals world wide. So did Mike Graham. This is straight forward competition carried out under accepted norms of play.

Bachar changed the rules when he introduced hanging from hooks as a means to extend the linitation of stanced drilling. He was a local, pretty much no uproar.

Carrigan came to this country and instituted hangdogging; a big uproar ensued, much like this Wings experience. He was not a local.

Kauk brought in hangdogging, big uproar: he was alocal.

The Wings was an institution of a new approach both in terms of goal and tactics, yes it was wrongly reported interms of boldness. This is what Matt, albeit long winded, has been saying.

As times have changed, a lot of people are espousing less provincialistic behavior, less xenophobia. A broader sense oc community. Bravo I say. We now have a more global community. We have many co existent styles. Yes, we still have disagreements, that is as ever will be.

Hey Nefarius/Pete:
What truth about the route WOS is not yet known?
Do you mean the truth about the publicly known identity of the vandals?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Thanks Russ.
(i am a slow typer and the ship sailed while I was in the hole)
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:36am PT
darod- i'm saying it ain't up to you, in 2006, to decide the route is this and not that. you can only see it through your own eyes, in your own era, same as me. you cannot vindicate nor validate either the route or the climbers, you can only editorialize and express your opinion, and it needs to be done in the proper context, with all the disclaimers that ought to be associated w/ 2-1/2 decades having past. those were different times, and the culture was what it was, period.
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:51am PT
You know Matt, I honestly agree with you, things need to be analyzed within an historical context, however, that same historical context is what i'm trying to get at, and as you can see, JM has one idea about hole count that is not shared by other notable first ascentionists of the era.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:01pm PT
Darod,
Not a wall climbing (hard nailing) expert but I was there for all of this.
(I had done a handfull of grade 5/6's and already guided a grade 5)

To clarify, hole count spread out over an entire route which links features needs to be distinguished from several contiguous pithces of aid drilling/hooking primarily/entirely on blank slab. This is the historically relevant difference.

edit-
I will say this is an aid climbing distinction. I also think the mis-reportage of run outs perhaps skewed acceptance of the style.

Free routes were then happening within an accepted precedent using very similar formats, this is an interesting aspect of this matter. I referenced my communication with Ed Leeper on just this matter, in the Where is PTPP thread.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:31pm PT
darod-
here is what i see, a few people who have apparently gotten to know richard and mark, primarily you, pete, tom, and nefarius (did i get that right? maybe), have joined w/ them in a defacto effort (albeit not necessarily an organized effort) to "get the truth out" and "clear the names" of richard and mark.

seems like a reasonable enough goal, honorable even.
but here is what's missing, for me:

if all the rumors, lies, and slander that supposedly miss-defined this climb among the climbing community in the early 80's were in fact the basis of the community's objections (which the "get the truth out" effort assumes is the case), why aren't there any notable posts from people of that era, stating that they never knew it was all hard run-out hooking on slab between infrequent protection bolts, and they would have accepted that as a legitimate effort, rather than having scorned the route, if only they'd known "the truth"?

the obvious answer for me, and one that is regularly bolstered by comments in these threads, is that the drilling up a featureless slab was itself the problem, and while assumptions or rumors about rivets or enhancements may have fanned the flames to some degree, the actual fire itself was the choice of the line.

all the editorializing i see here from the above mentioned group accepts the line itself, but i have not seen that from anyone of the era in question (thus my repeated comments about context, etc.).


TB- i may be long winded, but i apparently have to keep repeating myself anyway, go figure.


and again, it's not my issue, not my battle, whatever, but there are how many posts about how alpinist or someone ought to write up something that celebrates the climb and sets the record straight, i am just not convinced that those are one in the same.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:40pm PT
It would be interesting then, to understand why others, locals even, had also, in fact, tried to have a go at the slab previously too. Maybe it *is* the line that is the problem as someone feels like their toes were stepped on or something was taken from them...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
bingo matt.
read my edit above.

i was at the SAR meeting between WOS and a few Valley locals.
The facts concerning the runouts were presented by R & M: while I found this interesting from my viewpoint, it didn't seem to modify the prevailing opinion of the choice to aid a multi pitch blank slab.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:45pm PT
Nefarius,
Whether there would have been acceptance given the stated facts is now only a matter of conjecture.

You could pole some locals from the era who were held as aid afficianados and arbiters of style and ethics.

Ditto (conjecture) with any jealousy held by people who may have tried the slab.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:00pm PT
I guess the biggest question I have, and maybe tarbuster, healjye, deuce, russ, werner... Maybe one of you guys can set me straight. Seriously. I wasn't around then. You guys were. I'm wondering, and I suppose I could go check in the slab thread that ran for a while, if any of you climbed slab, enjoyed it and maybe even put up a new line somewhere. If so, why would WoS be any/so different from this? Why would an aid route up a slab be any different than a free route up a slab?

You see, maybe there *is* a point to this that I don't understand as I grew into climbing when all of this "new" stuff/ethics *did* exist already. And, apparently, ethics have changed... OK, so that last line makes no sense to me. Changing ethics kind of invalidates them as ethics. But it's safe to say that "things" have changed. Still, I don't get the reason to lie and run these guys into the ground the way it was done. If the ethics were so set in stone, so agreed upon by the entire community, then shouldn't the arguments of the locals stood, based on that single point? Without the need to over-exaggerate and lie and the desire to put them out of the climbing business for good, esentially?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:09pm PT
All good points and maybe for clarity we should define/distinguish ethics and style.

To your point Nef, which is key for sure:
I do not know exactly how the reportage was offered as it was.
I have said this in other posts.
If that was a conspiracy, it was trotted out by a very few at its point of insertion to the culture at large.

Again, at the SAR meeting, I know I heard about run outs from R & M.
I know I posed that to the other guys.
My recollection is hazy on their exact response, but as I have said, I recall they dismissed those reports as false or inconsequential to the overall composition of the goal vis a vis an aiding, by whatever means, of a very large blank slab.

The aspect of cultural absorption by all including media is what happened. Again, conjecture as to how and why, but it happened.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
if you don't think ethics can and do change w/ time, you are not very well versed in the history of climbing in yosemite. ever read steve roper's book, camp 4?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:18pm PT
Nef,
I see I did not answer your initial question.
Aiding a blank slab vs freeing a blank slab.

It seems pretty evident to me that they were thought of differently, period.
In hindsight, yes I see you could allow both,
Heck, both are bold and ground up right?
But that was not the deal then.

As to getting all of this figured out at the time:
Look how long we have been at it on this forum, with all this new technology (internet) linking all these people and their ideas. We are still just getting to it here.

We had no instant/dynamic mode of engagement then.

Really, it took a decade to haggle out rap bolting and it was fierce: now your are asking me why we (a huge community in some regard) did not make a rapid determination in favor of WOS?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:14pm PT
"if you don't think ethics can and do change w/ time, you are not very well versed in the history of climbing in yosemite. ever read steve roper's book, camp 4?"

Apparently, in the climbing world they do, sure. But independent of climbing and for what they really are, they do not. I was simply making a statement about ethics in general.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:17pm PT
I most definitely wasn't around at the time and in fact the only climbing I was doing in '82 was running tree and roofing crews during a lapse in climbing. But I agree the "featureless slab" aspect of WOS obviously lent at least a partial [technical] rationale for some of the adverse reaction. Ammon's comments on personal taste are also probably a bit relevant in that entire routes of this kind of aid / hooking has never been in vogue and never will be - hell, you don't see folks lining up to hike the Sahara either, but we typically don't malign those that try; but maybe it's because they're out of sight so quickly and we're curious if they'll ever be seen again.

I remember my first trip to Whitehorse Ledge where I did happen to get shown around by a couple of local slab afficionadoes (sorry, I forget your names...). They said let's go check out this new .11+ route and we started walking up the slabs which eventually got steeper and steeper to a point where they somehow managed to keep walking and I had to start making other accomodations. Eventually, with much beta, we all made it to the beginning of the "route" which they pointed to with great pride. Now admittedly I was pretty stoned, but I just burst out laughing and then had to kind of reel myself in as I could see I was hurting their feelings and they didn't understand my laughter. I then told them, "First off, this is a perfectly smooth featureless slab, every square inch of which looks exactly like every other square inch - how can you possibly label a beginning, middle, or end to any of it and designate it as a line? Second, how would you find it again even if you did? Third, there's zero pro unless you count that bolt way the f#ck up there. And fourth, I don't believe you can possibly climb up any further than where we are standing..."

Man, did I get a serious education in road rash that day - I still consider it one of the most savage beatings I've ever taken - more like riding the ball return in a bowling alley than climbing (belaying was a defensive art). The bottom line was they basically looked a hell of a lot closer and harder at their granite than we ever did our sandstone and so they "saw" it entirely different than I did. It was definitely not my cup of tea, but it was theirs and had they come to the Valley it's hard for me to believe they too wouldn't have been instantly drawn to WOS and no doubt tried to figure out if it might be possible to free it.

But, to be honest, I don't think a route like WOS is about the nature of the climbing itself so much as the nature of journey / goal. Standing on a hook for a half and hour alternately trying to figure out the next placement and the reason you're doing it at all clearly isn't for everyone, but as rare and daring journey's go (however relentlessly boring and scary) my hat is off to Richard and Mark for their vision, skill, and perseverence. To me it seems that while the individuals, line, tactics, and time involved were all "outside the norm" and bound to attract some negative attention, the "community" response is a real stain that could be greatly eased with a couple of heartfelt apologies and it seems a little sad those apologies appear to be as difficult as the climb itself for those directly involved.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:24pm PT
tarbuster-- thanks. Was just curious if there was a known line drawn concerning slabs going aid versus free. Trying to understand. I guess I was wondering, mainly, because of the whole idea of aid, in general. Without change, (nothing to do with ethics) aid itself, would not be considered legit. After all, it was "cheating your way up a crack, whereas real men climb the thing without needing to ladder their way up on gear..."

If it made sense, as things got harder on cracks, to start to aid your way up a route, then why not a slab as it became featureless enough to prevent free climbing.

Again, I understand no one can really answer this question, but just posing it as an open thought process...
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:32pm PT
Just for the record, I do not personally know anybody directly involved in this issue, nor PTPP, nor the WoS crew. It's just my personal interest in the matter, as I think it really pertains us all.

Interesting comments.
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