What is the essence of sport climbing? :)

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Messages 101 - 117 of total 117 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Chim-Chim

climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 06:10pm PT
Dancing in lycra while, listening to The Village People?
RP3

Big Wall climber
Sonora
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:47pm PT
Essence of sport climbing = FUN. Pure, unbridled fun!
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
^ ^ ^ ^ I agree. . . if it ain't fun. . . and it's recreation, WHY DO IT?

?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:59pm PT
fun
allows athletic ability to be unrestricted
opened up a lot of previously unclimable rock
Revolutionized climbing standards
great training venue
popularized climbing (maybe not a positive)
took pressure off of traditional areas
extended climbing careers
brought more women into climbing

but its essence
or
without which it would lose its identity
most of its attributes, of which there are many, seem accidental
the opposite
of essence
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
It probably increased the amount of climbable rock by a factor of ten, once people got over the whole ground up thing.

I remember driving through Rifle before there were more than a handful of routes there, and it all looked either impossible to protect or impossible to climb. Both most of the time.

It has been good. There are so many climbers now. I was a stick in the mud myself around 1985, though. It took a little while to see the light. Now it is just climbing. I have friends who climb their freaking butts off.

It does bother me that a lot of sport climbers are intimidated by placing gear. They miss out on a lot of beautiful routes because of that. It is just a matter of practice. The ability is a zillion miles high now.
Klimmer

Mountain climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:18pm PT
Mental chess. Choreographed Ballet. Muscle gymnastics. Perfect movement over stone. Pushing yourself to your personal limits or beyond. All possible with the least amount of risk and maximized fun.

It's just another game that we climbers play.

It will make you a better trad climber if you were one to begin with. Think about it. Sport climbing will help your trad climbing, but trad climbing really won't help your sport climbing much.
Decko

Trad climber
Colorado
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:44am PT
Clipping bolts on a beach with beautiful topless women around (Thailand) is soo against what climbing is but it was super fun for two and a half months.......




Not to mention how strong I got and came home to send multiple hard trad classics in Eldo and RMNP...
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Sep 7, 2013 - 10:21am PT
We have two genres of climbing, each of them with enormously appealing attributes, and a lot of mostly inane arguments about the validity, whatever that might possibly mean, of each pursuit.

The pursuit of difficulty has been an intrinsic aspect of climbing from its inception. Sport climbing has swept away all the other aspects and made difficulty the centerpiece of the endeavor. At the same time, trad climbing seems to me to be running into dead ends; increasing the level of trad difficulty seems to require either prearranging relatively good protection and so making the climb a sport climb in all senses except for what is holding up the draws, or else venturing forth on rock with little or no opportunity for decent trad protection and practicing the moves on a top rope before eventually committing to a dangerous lead in which even the minutest aspects of the climb are known and practiced before the route is "led." Both of these developments involve extensive rehearsals and so have increasingly tenuous connections to the core of trad climbing, at least as I understand it.

Here are two examples of these approaches: http://vimeo.com/73599174 and http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68330.

When it comes to advances in difficulty, all the action is in the sport arena. The incredible strength, endurance, and technique displayed by top-level sport climbers has reached a point that is probably beyond the comprehension of most of the rest of the world's climbers. I doubt that most of those here casting aspersions on sport climbing have any genuine understanding of what it is about. Well, maybe I should make that no more than a personal observation. I've watched the videos of Sharma and Ondra and I'm pretty confident that after 56 years of trad climbing, I don't have the remotest inkling of what they are up against and how they are resolving it. The closest I can come is that they are stringing together scores of moves, each single one of which might well have been beyond my abilities at my very best. I think it best not to heap either scorn or criticism on an endeavor that is basically beyond my understanding.

This is not to say that sport climbing has not had many unfortunate consequences for trad climbing, and I've certainly had plenty to say about that over the years. But these problems have nothing to do with sport climbing per se, rather they involve an unfortunate transport of sport climbing norms over to the trad climbing genre, where those norms threaten to eviscerate the core of the trad experience. Making trad climbing more and more like sport climbing is, in my opinion, a very bad thing. There is room for two genres, and we ought to strive to keep two genres, vibrant but distinct, with respect on both sides for the astonishing achievements that continually advance what we imagine to be humanly possible.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 7, 2013 - 10:36am PT
Well said rGold. You have eloquently spelled out the core of the discussion.

However, you say trad is inevitably using more sport tactics to achieve a basic level of safety while working very hard 'trad' lines. An example being the siege tactics used on the Dawn Wall?

Yet you also say:

Making trad climbing more and more like sport climbing is, in my opinion, a very bad thing.

I don't understand why. I am basically a sport/boulderer who does a bit of easy trad on the side to get into the mountains. But, as a consumer of climbing media, missions like the Dawn Wall are exciting for me to follow.

I am over 40 and could really care less about how hard teenage girls are climbing these days. The feats of the newest generation are impressive certainly, but the write-ups are repetitive, the videos boring.

I'd rather watch crazy brits take grounders off the gritstone any day.



rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:17am PT
Well Patrick, first of all, I have no business suggesting what anyone, trad or sport climber, should or should not do, and it wasn't my intention to do so. It seems, though, that the top end of trad climbing is destined to be either a version of sport climbing with pre-placed gear instead of bolts, or else incredibly dicey and dangerous leading, practiced over and over, on negligibly protected rock, neither of which seems much like what I'm now obliged to call "traditional trad." This is not to say that these pursuits are not of great value and import to the practicioners and to those who follow their exploits.

If we pull back from the frontiers of difficulty on one hand and risk on the other, then there are a vast range of climbs that still fit into the trad genre, which is to say that they can be done by good climbers from the ground up without extensive rehearsal, placing the gear on the way, with perhaps a few falls but without a lot of hangdogging. These climbs have a mixture of difficulty and risk that together make up what I think people mean by "adventure." When sport climbing norms are transported to this realm, we get bolted belays in places where gear would work perfectly well, the elimination of run-outs with via bolted pro, and a proliferation of convenience rap stations that remove the commitment factor intrinsic to the climb in its natural state. Those are the features of trad climbing that I think need to be protected from the influence of the sport genre, even if it is already late in the day for some places.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:21am PT
All this crap is one reason I have always preferred bouldering, and long before it became popular.
steve shea

climber
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:23am PT
I agree rgold. The placement of unecessary bolts in the trad genre negates the classic 'tradness'. It is late in the day for some areas. I'm recently off the couch after a long hiatus and getting educated as to what has transpired in rockclimbing since I stopped. At some crags I have been looked upon as an antique rustic as I clang my way up with a rack of pro. But in these unecessary bolted areas we have discovered a new aspect of the sport. Eliminating, not chopping, placed bolts with perfectly good trad placements. Really fun. I do like sport climbing though as well, just different. The issue for this old alpinist is I like to go into the mountains where pro is kind of needed so its good to stay honed.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:40am PT
I don't get it, what's the big deal?


I used to be a staunch "ground-up only" type of guy, and also argued that you couldn't red-point with pre-hung draws. Geesh, was that really me?

While I still have a staunch ground-up only view, I also see that many routes couldn't be protected by going ground up. I'd love to see the upper half of Growing Up to see what caused DR to go on a down-first escapade. I know Doug, and I know that the choice he made wasn't an impulse buy.

The thread title, What is the essence of sport climbing?, could just as easily be "What is the essence of climbing?" Because really, the goal for 99% of the folks who rock climb is the exact same.

Movement.
steve shea

climber
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:46am PT
I think the big deal, if there is one, is about personal values. When one is dissed over one's values things can get contentious. People get testy. So go try another way, get exposed and see what all the hype is about. The naysayers might like it. I think the goal is to get to the top, get some satisfaction and go home in one piece.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
When sport climbing norms are transported to this realm, we get bolted belays in places where gear would work perfectly well

Although this sometimes the case, often the pro is so thin on these nu-trad pieces that the belay pro is no better than the thin, run out pro on the route. I am not surprised that a minimum level of protection is allowed to prevent the ground fall deaths of both climber and belayer in the event of a fall that pull all the pieces.

In any case, the 'leader must not fall' paradigm has been deemed impractical to those pushing the limits of low-probability moves on marginal pro. Falling and working moves is inevitable at this level.

So, I would argue that if hard trad isn't worked with these tactics, then it wouldn't exist.
Chim-Chim

climber
Sep 7, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
Apples and oranges, I've seen 5.12+ sport climbers destroyed on Reeds Direct. so, some crack climbing could benefit a badass sport climber.
RP3

Big Wall climber
Sonora
Sep 7, 2013 - 10:44pm PT
^^Agreed...although some sport climbing could also benefit many trad climbers!!!
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