What is the essence of sport climbing? :)


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Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 6, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
Eigths, quarters,...you guys sellin' weed, or comparing heights Mark? ;^)

on a trad route is definitely pure athletic movement.

So when you're standing there fiddling with trinkets, not moving anywhere for minutes at a time in some cases...that is "pure athletic movement"? O.K. Not in my book, and I spent at least twice as much time climbing gear routes as I do sport routes.

I do enjoy intricate and scary gear routes on occasion, but have no illusions that it has more appeal from an athleticism or movement perspective. I personally prefer crack climbing to anything else, but that's also why I like soloing...cracks without the stopping and futzing with gear. Sport climbing gives me the "no futzing" part, with challenging terrain that I can, and will, fall on.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 6, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
Dingus, thank you for sharing Monique's clip... damn awesome! SHE is an inspiration!

I find it quite a moving video :-)

My daughters loved it :-D

The reaches Monique makes are so freakin cool. One full extension after another, full effort. And that stem near the top... un... believable.


Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 6, 2013 - 03:56pm PT
I think ol Caughtinside has spent some time climbing with Monique and Simon (Carter, the stellar aussie climbing photog)
The Larry

Moab, UT
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
I wish my sport climbing area wasn't scary but the majority of the climbs were bolted ground up by bold climbers. I have to head point my projects because I'm not so bold.

Awesome vid of Monique.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
Roll em around a bit for the SEND!
The Larry

Moab, UT
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
Wax and roll.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
I went to The Verdon once, years ago, and had the good fortune to be shown around by JB Tribout. Nearly my first question when we walked up to the railing along the top of that stupendous climbing area was about the colonets and the giant shaded wall across the gorge which the woman in Dingus' video is climbing. At the time he told me there were no major routes on that side of the Verdon Gorge because it was too hard to get to.

Looks like it was worth the trouble.

Anyway, if you're still cynical about sport climbing after watching that video, a trip to the Verdon, or Ceuse, or Buoux would probably change your mind.

Unless you're just into wide cracks or aid climbing...

Sport climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:45pm PT

A bit of Cese, Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda

The Larry

Moab, UT
Sep 6, 2013 - 05:07pm PT
Awesome video. Sharma = Greatness.

Social climber
The internet
Sep 6, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Oh yeah - starting at 3:00 - exactly how the Bachar-Yerian went in - except different because Sharma goes back and frees the thing w/o hanging from the hooks before calling it an FA. Suck it up wankers.

The Larry

Moab, UT
Sep 6, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Sharma didn't call it anything. He just went climbing.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 6, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
Sport climbing has opened up a lot of climbs that simply would not exist otherwise. I have been developing a cliff that is 15 min from Dartmouth College, 180ft tall and a half mile or so long that had 4 or 5 never repeted, obscure scarefests mostly on the less appealing features. It now has 16 new climbs many of them 5 stars. A few are mixed climbs. A few are ground up but most are sport climbs as that is what the rock offers.

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

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?


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:59pm PT
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
without which it would lose its identity
most of its attributes, of which there are many, seem accidental
the opposite
of essence

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.

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.

Trad climber
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...

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
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.

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