Peter Croft's Shadow Onsight

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AidanPunts

Sport climber
Victoria, BC
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 16, 2017 - 01:18pm PT
Does anyone know if Peter Croft's onsight of the shadow has ever been repeated? I just read Stanhope's piece about his attempt and I was curious. Has anyone ever onsighted the shadow other than Peter? Such an inspiring story. I read Peter's writing about it in "the Trad Climber's Bible" but after reading that I just assumed someone else had onsighted it by now but I can't find anywhere that says anyone has.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Aug 16, 2017 - 01:22pm PT
There hasn't been a true second ascent - on sight - that I know of.

The nature of the pitch may have changed a little since 1988. It has probably gotten a bit more polished, from all the toproping and sieging that goes on. But the fixed pins have been removed, opening up holds.
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Aug 16, 2017 - 02:20pm PT
As impressive as Peter's effort was it was technically a first try ascent and not on an sight flash.
You're staring straight at the corner from a couple meters away from both belays on the free variation out left.
To the best of my knowledge the Shadow corner hasn't yet had an on sight flash.

PB
ec

climber
ca
Aug 16, 2017 - 02:36pm PT
Alex Honnold; roped and unroped

Edit: Roped only, my bad...
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Aug 16, 2017 - 02:40pm PT
Chief - you drive a tough bargain. You're not allowed to be able to see the route?

No beta - no watching another climber on it (successful or not) - no video's, pictures, etc. - no previous tries on your own (obviously) - climbing it first try with no pre-placed gear other than what's fixed = on-sight flash.

One could also argue that lengthy study with binocs etc., taints the ascent.

I'm not sure what you'd have to call it with a blindfold on... :-)

ec

climber
ca
Aug 16, 2017 - 02:44pm PT
Merely, hearing or reading about a climb would be NOT on-sight either, so, one must have to consequently be strolling along, clueless and climb it...BS
looks easy from here

climber
Ben Lomond, CA
Aug 16, 2017 - 02:54pm PT
As impressive as Peter's effort was it was technically a first try ascent and not on an sight flash.

What the heck is an "on sight flash"? To my understanding, there's
-onsight: climb it clean, first attempt, without any beta
-flash: climb it clean, first attempt, with beta
How do you combine those?

Edit: and the word "onsight" suggests to me "as you see it", which means looking is okay.
ruppell

climber
Aug 16, 2017 - 02:57pm PT
You can look at a route all you want. As soon as you step foot onto it that's when the OS begins. At least for me.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Aug 16, 2017 - 03:16pm PT
What the heck is an "on sight flash"? To my understanding, there's
-onsight: climb it clean, first attempt, without any beta
-flash: climb it clean, first attempt, with beta
How do you combine those?

Now that you mention it...
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Aug 16, 2017 - 03:45pm PT
My only rules are: Who cares
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Aug 16, 2017 - 04:58pm PT
I guess the OED won't help us with these definitions?

I agree, probably alongside Ken Wilson, that there is a difference between walking up to a new line and climbing it, versus what Mountain Magazine used to call pre-inspection, such as rapping down to have a look before committing.

In the case of The Shadow I would think that prior inspection could be a deterrent and a handicap rather than a help, except that it might be reassuring to see pins. Or it might not.

I remember hearing when Andreas and Devon both repeated the route, 13 years after Peter, and only thinking "WOW!", and have never wondered what the style of their ascents had been, until now.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Aug 16, 2017 - 05:24pm PT
Yep. But there's little shame in being blown out of the ballpark by Honnold... :-)
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Aug 16, 2017 - 05:45pm PT
@Tami: Maybe. A couple of things: First, Honnold knew it could be climbed and that it had been climbed. Second, Honnold did a roped ascent first, so he knew what he was getting into. To do an on-sight FIRST FREE ASCENT of a route of this caliber is freaking out of this world. I think, for example, Reardon's on-sight solo of Romantic Warrior is perhaps the greatest rock climbing feat of all time. Unless he rehearsed it--correct me if I'm wrong--but the whole "on sight" aspect of both Croft's and Reardon's ascents make them exceptional. We all know this from our own experience on the rock. Once you know what's coming, the game changes in so many ways.

BAd
Timmc

climber
BC
Aug 16, 2017 - 05:53pm PT
Wow, Honnold soloed the Shadow? I thought he 'just' climbed U Wall ( original free version by Croft, Foweraker,and Fraser, without a rope.
Solid indeed.
AidanPunts

Sport climber
Victoria, BC
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2017 - 06:20pm PT
Wow I did not know that Honnold soloed the shadow. I always just assumed it was only the Uwall. According to Will Stanhope's story on his website, Honnold didn't do the shadow first try though.

Edit: does anyone have a link to somewhere that says Honnold soloed the shadow? I can't find anything anywhere that says he did. Just links saying he soloed the Uwall.

@chief I really don't see how looking at the holds from a distance can blow your onsight. I mean yeah if you rap down it then it's a flash, but if you just see it from a distance how is that different from seeing a picture of someone on it or even just examining it extensively from the ground. Surely the definition of onsight should be broader than that no?
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
Aug 16, 2017 - 06:33pm PT
What if you walk up to it and simply do it first go, nothing pre-placed, no fixed pins, all on wires #5 and below, but there is chalk all over it? Granted some of the chalked holds are bogus. I'd say if you walk away proud then its a great send for you.

S...

nah000

climber
now/here
Aug 16, 2017 - 06:53pm PT
yeah, i'd appreciate a source on a potential free solo of the shadow...

i did some googling and as far as i can tell, i believe the idea that honnold soloed the shadow is mistaken... that said, i'd be happy to be proven wrong...

and as far as whether croft's first ascent was an onsight or a flash? with all due respect Chief, considering you don't seem to understand the generally held meanings of and differences between an onsight and a flash, i'd suggest your quibbling is mistaken. unless croft was intentionally scoping it out and able to glean beta on the line that became the shadow while climbing nearby [and only he would know the answer to that] given what we do know, there's a reason his ascent is generally held to be the gold standard regarding what an onsight is conventionally defined to be...

anyway, an amazing route and an amazing feat... it's up there with cameron's onsight free solo first free ascent of pipeline for futuristic impeccability [given the years they were both first climbed in].

edit: to add a word as per JB's correction two posts down...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Aug 16, 2017 - 06:57pm PT
Greg can surely flesh out the following.

Peter, with Haggis and Greg, freed University Wall in 1982. They didn't do the lower, scruffy pitches - rarely done. On the second and sixth pitches, they did significant variations to the left, probably not even 5% of the length of the climb. They simply said they'd freed U Wall - as it's locally known - where it was understood that they meant with the variations.

The title of Peter's article in the Canuckistani Alpine Journal of 1982 was "University Wall - Free". It indicates that:

A. They freed the first three pitches, and fixed ropes.
B. Either before or after that, they freed the five Roman Chimbleys pitches.
C. They then returned and finished freeing it to Dance Platform, where they were driven off by rain.
D. Some time later, Peter and Hamish returned and did it all free, in a day.

It appears that they rappelled down, and jumared back up the big corner pitch, the one under discussion.

Whether Peter had done the route on aid previously, or repeated it after his and Hamish's ascent, I don't know. In 1988, he returned with Geoff Weigand and did the original second and sixth pitches of University Wall free, calling it (free) The Shadow, as it shows a very distinct shadow at about midday, when seen from the west.

Accurate nomenclature drives guidebook writers and historians crazy - ask me about South Arete some time.

There may have been five or six years between the last time Peter was on or near the route, and the 1988 ascent. He talks in his account of that climb of finding an unexpected and helpful hold near the end of the big corner, which suggests that he may not have remembered much beyond that it was a big, steep, clean corner, with a thin crack and some fixed pins. Which is what you'd see arriving from below, without foreknowledge.

An interesting philosophical question, partly depending on the memory (or not) of each climber. But a five or six year gap seems pretty much an on sight to me.

As for Alex, the reports at the time made it clear that he free soloed University Wall by the 1982 line, that is using the variation that avoid the big corner. I believe that he'd done the route roped previously.

Greg Cameron's free solo second ascent of Pipeline was also an out of the box climb. It had been tried free before, at least into the start of the big crack, but Greg probably didn't know that. He didn't know much about it all, except that Perry thought he should climb it.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Aug 16, 2017 - 07:27pm PT
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

WHOA!

Them's fightin words
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Aug 16, 2017 - 07:28pm PT
STEP UP OR SHUT UP
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