fixed pitons are trad and rad?

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tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 5, 2013 - 07:02pm PT
By that definition the clean climbing, no hangdogging or aid of any kind climbers Broke with tradition and are in fact the upstarts and Not the traditional climbers that they seem to think they are;)
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Apr 5, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
The problem is, there is a distinct form of climbing named sportclimbing, and a nebulous catch all sucking black hole of all other forms of climbing called trad climbing.

There was no such thing as traditional climbing until sportclimbing appeared, and there really is still no such thing, at least if the term traditional has any of its traditional meaning.

Fixed pins are a traditional method of protecting free climbs, but there is no specific "traditional" style of establishing free climbs. There is an ultimate method that is ground up, no preinspection or cleaning on rappel, no aid employed for resting or placing pro, ever, at all, no holes drilled, and no falls taken - IOW the gear never comes into play other than as a life saving last resort system. Even if all these criteria were met, some guy from somewhere could argue, legitimately, that the ascent wasn't traditional because chalk, hammer, or shoes were employed.

Experienced American climbers might, maybe, be able to come up with a consensus as to the definition of traditional style, but it could never cover all the different tactics that fall short of the anything-goes-to-get-the-bolts-in style that creates sportclimbing. And if this miracle were to occur, it would surely clash with definitions of traditional climbing from around the globe.

So it's absurd to categorize free climbing as either trad or sport. It's more complicated than that - the grey area is far vaster than the black and white areas. Unless you just want to call them both free climbing.

The real tradition in climbing is for climbers to discuss just how freely and stylishly each "free climb" is done.


"Trad this, trad that - it's a lot of bloody crap."

 Jerry Moffat


IOW fixed pitons are not trad and rad, but they work well in some cases.



drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Apr 5, 2013 - 08:54pm PT
but I thought free climbing meant no rope?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Apr 5, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
smart azz ;)
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:09pm PT
Sorry Kevin!
Always dig your posts bro.

I think we can all agree, at least, that the route in the OP was not a sport climb.
Big props to the gal for the repeat!
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
I think what's been lost is the distinction between an onsight and a redpoint, probably because the difficult "trad" climbs we hear about now are so hard a redpoint is assumed and an onsight with no pre-placed gear, inspection, rehearsal or whatever, would be extraordinary if not impossible.

Everyone knows what sport climbing is and that this impressive young lady was not sport climbing on this route. I think traditionally (ha!) we would have called it a redpoint but at sketch .13c that classification has been sent to history's dust bin, or rubbish bin if we want to stick to the UK slant of the climb.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Well said Kevin!
I love it when you get all noble and practical.

It was never called trad until there was an alternative. Basically we had free and aid. Our generation pursued and carried forth the immediate "tradition" of free climbing as refined by the likes of Robbins, Sacherer, Kamps, Powell et al.

The word "trad" always seemed kind of like an ill-fitting smock, more like a provisional gunnysack than any proper set of threads. Soon enough the whole thing splayed out into all kinds of expressions anyhow. Endeavors always evolve, while canned rules and stodgy nomenclature peel away like molted skin.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
Durrance Route Piton
Durrance Route Piton
Credit: mike m
this thread needs pictures.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
Credit: mike m
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
That's so trad.

Bolts=sportclimbing



Free climbing=no rope
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
On the edge noted:
I think what's been lost is the distinction between an onsight and a redpoint, probably because the difficult "trad" climbs we hear about now are so hard a redpoint is assumed and an onsight with no pre-placed gear, inspection, rehearsal or whatever, would be extraordinary if not impossible.

That is a good distinction worth drawing specifically in regard to sketchy protection, i.e. most "modern trad", while it's also true that the new generations definitely value on-site flash. We hear about it all the time with hard sport climbing. They value it and they herald it when the on-site flash bar is pushed higher.

The "naturally" protected on-site flash does push ever higher as well. But I think you hit the nail on the head as to why the term "trad" is getting blurred.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:04pm PT
For some reason, I just can't bring myself to care about definitions anymore. I do my own thing. As long as you don't go around smearing your virtual poo poo on the rock, I could care less how you drag your ass up it.

On a side note... Hey Worrall, you got a topo for that thing you did on Basket Dome a few back? Thinking about giving it a run this year. Is that "trad"?
slevin

Trad climber
NYC, NY
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
I have a limited perspective of a weakling. If you are moving upwards on the rock, you've climbed the route. For all I care you can lead it placing your own pro, pre-place the pro, top rope it, boulder it with an stunt-grade air-pad, whatever. As long as you did the moves, you climbed the route.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:38pm PT
Trad climbers got stuck with the "traditional" name as a counterpoint to sport climbing. In fact, every generation of climbers has violated tradition by choosing to abandon at least some of the cherished rules of the previous generation. This is at least partially because the previous generation had already gotten about as far as possible within the context of the rules they adhered to.

Typically, the role of the previous generation has been to complain bitterly about the transgressions of the current generation and, in so doing, prevent at least some of the outrages that result from the drive of outsize egos for accomplishment.

I think sport climbing upended this conservative process by being something different and parallel to what came before, rather than an evolution of it. Although we don't like to say so in this country, the presence of risk and the way in which it is confronted lies at the heart of what is now referred to as traditional climbing. Sport climbing has banished risk, at least the forms of risk inherent in trad climbing, in favor of other aspects of climbing, and as the sport climbing mentality spreads, it becomes increasingly difficult to even communicate about the distinctions between the genres, not least because of the irrelevant formulations such as bolts vs. gear.

Consider a trad climb with a risky section. It's been done many times, but now there is a contingent of climbers who want to put a bolt there. Why? Because that part of the climb is risky! More people could enjoy it if there was a bolt, and the community has a "right" to the route.

But the risk is exactly why the trad climbers don't want the bolt there, although somehow that never seems to be made clear. Trad climbers see controlling the risk through the use of gear that may not be bomber and the practice of self-control under pressure as one of the intrinsic challenges of the sport.

Putting in that bolt destroys part of the essence of the climb for the trad climber. People may not like this and may not agree with it, but they should at least understand that there is a genuine and irreconcilable conflict between the preservation of risk and the desire for a risk-free environment.

Saying that risk is intrinsic to trad climbing does not mean that trad climbers want arbitrary risks. Trad climbing isn't a collection of stunts like how many cars you can jump your motorcycle over. The risks of trad climbing are the ones intrinsic to the environment: unknown territory ahead, no cracks for pro, no stances to drill from. This is why those who say "just don't clip the bolt" are utterly clueless. The bolt modifies the environment and makes a former intrinsic risk into a stupid stunt.

I grew up in a time when all climbing was trad climbing. I have nothing against sport climbing, and because of the decreased risk I find it increasingly attractive as I get older and more brittle. But I also would have found the sheer pursuit of difficulty in sport climbing compelling when I was young, strong, and less likely to snap on impact. I just wish the the practitioners of the two genres would learn to respect the traditions of each (yes, sport climbing is now old enough to have traditions too) and not try to impose their perspectives and preferences on the other styles of climbing. The UK is the only country that seems to have really managed to do this.

Unfortunately, there is a substantial asymmetry in the two outlooks that puts trad climbing at an enormous disadvantage. Trad climbers, by and large, are about leaving things as they are. Sport climbing is all about permanently modifying the environment to provide a certain type of experience. Someone with a Hilti will put in a bunch of bolts somewhere, and then we hear that they should be left in because who wants to start a bolt war. According to this view, the Hilti owners have free reign to do whatever they want and the rest of the climbing community just has to be resigned to it.

Of course, the sense of entitlement that allows a self-appointed guardian of communal safety to bolt trad routes will never be fully constrained to the placement of protection. Once one type of environmental modification has been embraced, the barriers to other types become fragile, and that is why we are seeing more and more chipping, even in former bastions of traditional values like the Gunks where the owners of the land explicitly forbid such actions.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
Lots of wisdom here, very cool.
Brian

climber
California
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
Harrowing mank above Tourist Trap &#40;yes, we had to rap off it&#41;.
Harrowing mank above Tourist Trap (yes, we had to rap off it).
Credit: Brian

More mank
More mank
Credit: Brian

Harrowing mank above Tourist Trap. The pins were old and suffering after many winters in the San Juans, and the rock is crumbing choss. Perfect. We had to rap of this junk, though we backed it up with a bad nut.

On a sea cliff, I'm sure the pins Hazel pulled and replaced were worse than this by an order of magnitude...
Captain...or Skully

climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 06:03am PT
People do love their categories, huh?
Sometimes even hiking involves climbing. Is THAT "trad"?
Call it what you want to, I figure. I'm just grooving about.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 6, 2013 - 06:27am PT
If I use my alpenstock to stickclip a ring pin / rawl five piece placed by roto en rap, and no one is there to see it, am I still a climber?
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Apr 6, 2013 - 06:44am PT
Thanks rgold.
Johannsolo

climber
Soul Cal
Apr 6, 2013 - 07:30am PT
Very well stated rgold.
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