What Is Trad ?????????


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right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
Just keep that relevant stuff coming Ed Hartouni!

The last bit by Al Rubin was pretty cool: essentially no one knows just what kind of evolution will take place in the context of our pursuits, our tiny brains, and these great big fat bleeding hearts of ours!

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
So Western climber:

To get back to your recent post. I just re-read everything on Tom Higgins site again concerning all of the style stuff; something like four or five pieces in all. I think the first thing that you are addressing is this idea that Classical Trad, as just coined by Warbler (and I like that), is something currently in the minority. It isn't just trad versus tricksters anymore: it's classical trad at the bottom of the heap, then modern trad, then sport climbing.

Good Lord I feel all the weight of that dog pile of modern styles pushing down upon my sad classical trad ass right now! Ha ha

Then you re-address this idea of how can it be saved? And the reason you reference Higgins is because he talks about democratic process for these kinds of things. For that I think you have to go back to my post dated: Topic Author's Reply - Apr 27, 2013 - 11:04am PT .

In short it's through print writings, blogging, threads like this, and frankly through younger people at some point angling toward a renaissance of classical trad. There's nothing really happening here to classical trad other than it being forgotten, so I don't know what kind of democratic process would really be brought to bear here, other than this renaming thing which we are sort of hashing out right now. It's not nearly so divisive really as was the original trad/sport conflict. It's just that modern trad is subsuming classical trad and making it harder to see. Oh well. Like I said earlier, much earlier, it's something akin cultural absorption following a war or simply a species dying out.

As to the stance grading: not to make light of your concept but I'm not so sure such a thing will catch on other than in reportage of first ascent experience; similar to that passage that I put up about my experience on West Side Story in the California Needles perhaps. For example: the stance I had with the hook pulling sideways on a tiny thumbnail flake while standing on smears was something like 5.7/5.8 feet with some ludicrous aid grading for the hook placement itself. I mean it wasn't even really taking full body weight. Rather it was just allowing me to lean out and drill.

The other stance was probably like standing on a 5.7/5.8 crux as well and with no hook for assistance, but with a binding drillbit that wasn't going to work out very well: ziiiiing!!!

Just think how some sport climbing clips all by themselves are in the 5.14 range!
Top sport climbers sometimes are getting to the point were they just have to blow past bolts.
Nevermind what Dingus McGee said about gear being a pain in the ass to work with; on superhard sport just clipping is a stupid nuisance!

I hope I am addressing what you were angling toward.
patrick compton

Trad climber
Apr 30, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
But to clarify your last post: was this meant primarily to address the Indian Creek schism inasmuch as it is essentially seen as "soft trad" by yourself and the fellow with whom I spoke yesterday?

Meaning, is that pretty much all you are addressing for the moment or are you saying any more than this?
[edit] (that was kind of rhetorical: I know you are saying more).

So I did read you correctly that you were being a little facetious with my reportage on the Northern Arizona guys as categorically climbing trad in Indian Creek. Thanks for copping to that! It was pretty clear to me.

Yes. no. yes.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
As I re-read this thread, I think rgold comes the closest to my personal definition of "trad:" " an insistence on having nature determine the protection opportunities." I would only add the words "climbing and" before "protection."

I think we can all acknowledge that "traditional" protection, at least, has changed over time. The use of bolts for anchors and protection on the first ascent of Shiprock in the 1930's represented an expansion (so to speak) of acceptable practice, but still within Rich's suggested criterion for "trad," because the leader on the first ascent still had to stop long enough to place them. That holds true even for BY, because they still needed a place where a hook would hold, and nature, not the FA party, determined that.

Rap-bolting, aid-bolted ladders, and chipped holds remain outside my personal trad rubric, since they can be placed anywhere the rock is sufficiently solid, regardless of the formation of the rock. This allows both protection and climbing anywhere a human wants, rather than where nature makes possible.


Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Apr 30, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
define chipping John, if you would?

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 30, 2013 - 03:54pm PT
Good question, bravecowboy. I was thinking of the intentional alteration of the rock to create a surface the "chipper" can climb, as opposed to pin scars created as collateral damage by those of us who once relied on pins for aid or protection. I can see how even that definition can get slippery, though.


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
And while we are at that little side note:
Jardine's passage on the free version of The Nose of El Capitan has to be the most iconic example of chipping extant.

(Note to anybody just walking into this thread: we are not arguing about chipping here. FYI only ... Thank you)

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
Okay folks: it's beer goggles time once again!

So way upthread,
Someone was asking after hardest on-sight climbing, whether trad or sport.

Let's fluff this thread with some thumbnail sketches of really hard CLASSIC TRAD efforts shall we?
(Just to stay in touch with our progression on the thread, the best of classic trad = on-sight, ground-up climbing) ... Just a provisional term mind you.

But first just for perspective let's cover sport climbing:

Estado Crítico 5.14D, Alex Megos
The Northern Arizona boys tell me to their knowledge the hardest on-sight SPORT CLIMB was done by Alex Megos at 5.14D

3/27/13 – DMM, a sponsor of Alexander Megos, has published an interview with the 19-year-old after his historic onsight of Estado crítico in Siurana, Spain. Megos originally wanted to try La Rambla (5.15a), but because he didn’t know where that line went, he decided to attempt Estado crítico instead. He didn’t feel strong at the start, where a hard crack resides, but after he held on through that section, he discovered the route suited his style perfectly: small crimps on overhanging terrain.

No Way, José, 5.13+, Alex Honnold
Correspondingly, the Northern Arizona boys were thinking the best to date CLASSIC TRAD (on-sight ground-up) effort is Alex Honnold's ascent of No Way, José, 5.13+

Black Diamond athlete Alex Honnold has skills—serious, bone-crusher rock climbing skills. Case in point: check out this video of Honnold onsighting two of the hardest 5.13 crack climbs in the Utah desert: Trail of Tears and No Way Jose. Lacking a second ascent since the late-great Jose Pereyra's FA back in 1998, No Way Jose had gained a hefty rep with a grade rumored to be in the 5.13+ range. Honnold, as he often does, coolly dispatched the route onsight with little fanfare, calling it one of the best cracks he'd ever done.

Alex Honnold on No Way Jose (5.13c), North Wash, Utah. Photo by Andrew Burr

One might say Yuji Hirayama has the best CLASSIC TRAD (ground up) record on El Capitan with his 2 ascents of the Salathe:

First time up the route Yuji took a couple days with minimal falls and almost no beta except for some gear beta.
No pre-working the route whatsoever, starting from the bottom and going to the top!

Second time up Yuji flashes it in 13 hours: no falls!

Salathe' Wall - 5.13b * (35p: 7 5.11, 4 5.12, 4 5.13)**

o 4th FA - Yuji Hirayama, 9/97
 used Alex Huber's variations.
 originally tried to onsight the Teflon Corner. He fell, worked it some, then bailed and flashed Huber's variation.
 2 days for an almost entirely flashed ascent.
 flashed most pitches; only 4 falls and a little work on headwall pitches. (Not counting falls on the Teflon Corner which he ultimately did not use).
 onsight style; his belayers did not provide any beta on the moves. They sometimes gave him an idea on protection, but no exact beta was given on that.
 pinkpointed the 2 headwall pitches, instead of redpointing, to save time.
 no fixed ropes were used, except to provide a brief rest and rewarming on Long Ledge, before his final attempt on the 2nd Headwall pitch.
 time: 37:30

o 7th FA (his 2nd) - Yuji Hirayama, 9/19/02
 used Alex Huber's variations, as before.
 no falls
 second one-day free ascent
 13 hours
 used a 70 meter rope to link multiple pitches -
one pitch from Sois le Toit ledge to the stance at the lip of the roof.
one pitch from the lip to Long Ledge (linking 3 5.13 pitches from the Skinner topo into one)

While Yuji’s best or most notable CLASSIC TRAD (on-sight, ground-up) is of The Quantum Mechanic, 5.13 -, Washington Column

The Quantum Mechanic 5.13 - (15p: 5 5.12, 1 5.13)
o 2nd FA - Yuji Hirayama, 9/02
 onsighted

Hallucinogen Wall 5.13+ R, Hansjörg Auer

And last, I've been wanting to dig this up.
My local source, when asked how this European completed the Hallucinogen stylewise ... said to me:
Oh, I'm sure he used FULL TACTICS. Love that one! (Not being facetious here)
So this likely represents a Modern Trad style of ascent

Here's the clip about the Free Hallucinogen Wall in the Black Canyon:

5/27/11 – Austrian climber Hansjörg Auer free-climbed the Hallucinogen Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in mid-April at 5.13+ R. Auer and partner Ben Lepesant redpointed the 16-pitch route in just 8 hours 41 minutes, after previously aiding the climb over three days. The Hallucinogen Wall was established in 1980 and goes at 5.10 A3+ as an aid route.

" Actually, the route itself isn’t all that difficult, but the pro is fairly alpine, with numerous copperheads, above all in the middle section."

Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Apr 30, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
particularly on FAs, the issue of removal of dangerous, loose encumberances is really difficult to face sometimes. i am not really too sure that any FA (at least in the sugary rock of my local domain) can really be claimed to have occurred on what you could call unaltered rock. certainly splitting hairs here...
goatboy smellz

Apr 30, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
zealotry is so hot right now.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 30, 2013 - 05:53pm PT
I can't see how the FA of Bachar Yerian survives any acceptable definition of trad that includes the term free-climbing.


If BY is trad, so too is the Nose of El Cap.


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 06:03pm PT
It doesn't Dingus.

Bachar rates the FA 5.11 A0
Then, he gets the subsequent FFA at 5.11

As I was saying earlier, the A0 rating is a serious sandbag!
Jumping on a hook 30 or 40 feet out is at least new school A2+ or old-school A4.

This is how he got around using aid on hooks.
First he did the aid ascent.
Then he bags the FFA ascent.

What is lost, is that he can't claim the FFA was on-sight.
As I said up thread, trad-guy can only be so bitchin' on any given day!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 30, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Can a first ascent deflowered using aid ever gain the virtue of being 'trad?'

Serious question....


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 06:16pm PT
Yes, historically speaking.
Here's another example Dingus:

Primrose Dihedrals on Moses in The Canyonlands has essentially a bolt ladder next to the Ear pitch, first ascent solo, on aid by Ed Webster.
The 5.11+ FFA was achieved by Steve Hong.

Nobody tries to claim Primrose is not a trad route.

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
Many many modern multi-pitch trad routes are now free climbs of old aid lines.
Think of it this way: once an aid line goes free, by virtue of the FFA, it represents an opportunity to climb trad.

We covered this some many posts ago.
But I don't think I ever underscored it for Dingus McGee who was following a stricter definition of trad which he thought somebody was pushing, which would have disqualified many of his Devils Tower routes because he had to do some cleaning on aid.

I touched on it but I failed to post a big write up essentially covering the few points here that I'm making again.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 30, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
Then the Nose is trad too? Or are the chipped holds somehow different?

Again, serious question.




right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 06:25pm PT
Chipped is a whole different story.
There has always been some sketch with the Jardine traverse.

If I remember correctly even Lynn Hill used that traverse.
There may have been or may be other ways of doing it; don't quote me on it. I can't remember for sure. I want to say an exception was made, grudgingly.
But I remember when it was an issue speaking ethically/style-wise when talking of the FFA of The Nose.

Transgressions did occur back in the day all over the place.
For instance there's a free climb called "Ray's Pin Job".

Wheat Thin was bolted on rappel.

Freestone on Geek Towers has a section which was pinned out.

Guidelines: not hard and fast rules.
Bridwell did some chipping to create free climbs; some say unnecessarily.

Remember: most of this was even before the term trad was coined ... The term trad came about much later at the onset of sport climbing.

It doesn't mean that in certain circles a very much cleaner way of climbing was already afoot.
Think: Bob Kamps.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 30, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
Yes the free Nose uses Jardine's chipped holds.

So if Nose is not trad by virtue of chipping how on earth could ANY DRILLED route, ever be trad. How could any pin scar hold survive that definition?

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 30, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
Remember: this was even before the term trad was coined ... Much later at the onset of sport climbing.

Lol so there is a Statute of Trad Limitations is there?


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
To your first question: drilled routes, I need clarification.

As far as pin scars, these were thought to be vestiges of the ironmongery aid climbing era. In simple fact they were remnant transgressions if you like. When clean climbing came along, nutcraft and all of this, the idea was that the damage would halt. Which it more or less did.

But this doesn't mean people didn't go out and try to do the FFA of all kinds of things which had been aid climbed previously. The idea of freeing the aid routes was almost like a gold rush throughout the 70s.

Look at Serenity Crack: it's one of the most horribly pinned out things you can see on the first pitch. These are all considered trad routes today. Just as they were simply considered free climbs after the FFA.

Remember Trad is a term that wasn't used until much later. It was just free climbing with all of the tacit rules that were being developed at the time.

Not that these are not good questions in service of pinning some of this stuff down or in any way to be contentious Dingus: but didn't you start climbing long enough ago to be aware of most of this historical reference concerning the development of free climbing within the context of the aid climbs that came before?
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