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Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Jun 23, 2014 - 01:28pm PT
What I find interesting given the comments regarding the mountaineering roots of FAs, Mallory himself felt at the time bottled O2 was not the best style to summit Everest and only conceded to its use once it became evident it was necessary to the task. So even back then they had a notion of best style. Sticky rubber and chalk are now fair means though they likely caused push back when they first came about. My conclusion is "by fair means" and "best style" evolve over time as various technologies are adopted and become the norm.

As pointed out previously, I think Ed should have made "best" well-defined in the OP. If "best" means "most badass", onsight GU FAs are it (omitting onsight naked solos). If "best style" means it will always produce a well thought out route, it is clear that is not always the case.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Jun 23, 2014 - 01:51pm PT
Whatever happened to Bridwell's ethic of " the standards will be pushed and slowly raised and those not honed to the fine edge will take the dreaded groundfall" ? I see the increased body count, but I also see the percentage of supposedly safety engineered routes compared to bold and dangerous routes has increased. Whats up? Is safety a false ethic when applied to the forces of gravity and failures of human judgement?

EDIT: Bravecowboy nails it just below.
thebravecowboy

climber
in the face of the fury of the funk
Jun 23, 2014 - 01:57pm PT
Ground-up multipitch with a rack of tricams, hexes, a #4 Bigbro, and a thin short cord. Pins and bit in pocket, no drill holder or hammer, with a heinous 98 degree 11 mile deathmarch approach. Uranium roads by cycle and sketchy routefinding to climb a short, very exposed piece of Kayenta perched on a 700 foot scree cone. The Second Longest Day of the Year, 5.4, III. Burrowing to the summit through rubble piles is so much better when your ears are clogged with gnats.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jun 23, 2014 - 02:36pm PT
So best possible style FOR A TRAD CLIMB seems to be onsight, GU ascent free solo or team on clean gear (no bolts/pitons involved). No fixed ropes. No pre-inspection. No cleaning. You show up, see a possible route, go up features following a natural line to the summit and do it without altering the rock in any way. Leave the area clean as it was.

For alpine team it is similar with a big emphasis on not using help from the outside and taking your things out after the ascent.

For a sport/slab climb I guess it would be drilling from hooks/stances GU and making all the moves free to the next stance/hook.

This seems fairly obvious. Ed, what made you start this thread if the answer is obvious to you?
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Jun 23, 2014 - 02:47pm PT
One more thing Vitaly, no report so the next party can also enjoy the adventure of a FA.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Jun 23, 2014 - 03:02pm PT
I should add that I do savor the experience of first ascents employing the minimalistic ethic far more, but sometimes the fact that the product isn't shared by others makes me feel ...

Selfish?


Interesting. On the other hand, some would say that it's selfish or egotistical to desire/seek the praise or validation of others (hopefully many) who later climb the route.

Selfishness is definitely a word that comes up often in the FA discussion department.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jun 23, 2014 - 03:04pm PT
I think reporting your ascent is fairly important for keeping the history of a cliff straight. It provides accurate info for guidebook authors and avoids the soreness some experience when another team reports their old line as a FA.

Rick Sumner, how come you did not keep your FAs to yourself and actually wrote a guidebook if you are against reporting ascents? I am a little confused here.

In this thread I think the question is the style and not how you report it. As long as the report is accurate and contains no lie, I think it goes together well with good style.

Anyway, Ed, quit wasting time on this thread, I really want to see a TR about that thing you guys climbed by Tioga pas!!!! : )
jstan

climber
Jun 23, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
Ed has posted a quite complete description of what happens when FA's are not reported. If my
memory serves me, it increasingly does not, I remember no case where I reported any new routes
to a guidebook author. Freeing of aid routes I would have.

In the early 70's, just as I am now, I was arguing not reporting ascents would be very beneficial in
the long term. At that time I focussed my efforts on selling this idea to a half dozen specific
people. Ed discusses what happens when a person who did an unreported ascent later tells
someone they did a second ascent. With the specific group of friends I was targeting, I did this in
two or three cases. I thought it might increase my ability to persuade. It did not of course and the
climb rating DYABS got generated.

My attempts to persuade were getting so little traction I was willing to court the illogical, to no
avail. More generally, not reporting kept only perhaps 10% from going into guidebooks right
away. Some 40 years later you have only to look at routes drawn on El Cap to discern the logic for
this is getting only stronger. I am guessing I will be dead before the idea begins to gain some
traction. That's OK.

Working with ideas is just as enjoyable as working with the rock. Where there is no chance for
failure, there is also no reason to try.




Now I will demonstrate I have not learned a thing in the last half century. On Netflix I found an
encomium for single gear bicycles. To prove my point I extracted the photo below. For the last
half century I have been working on litter removal and find it just as interesting as climbing was.


I see two possible conclusions:
1. We are so used to seeing litter it has become invisible.
2. A population that is drawn to litter has come into existence.

Either way, cleaning it up will be great fun.
Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Jun 23, 2014 - 04:20pm PT
What's the point of maintaining the best style if not to report the deed?

Say a climber sends a route in perfect style (naked onsight solo). She, being true to her style, does not report it and later finds out Joe "The Drill" Smoe did the "FA" of what he thought was an unclimbed line in a less than the best style. Now she's peeved by the use of bolts by Mr. Smoe, he feels cheated out of his FA and guilty for altering someone's else route, and everyone hashes out the matter on the Taco demonizing Mr. Smoe.

Reporting would be key to maintaining best style and ethics within an area. In fact, the history behind routes is one of the most interesting parts of this sport IMO. If you believe style matters, being a role model of your style is just as important as maintaining said style.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Jun 23, 2014 - 04:54pm PT
Laine does it really matter, when many reported ascents are subsequently bolted over then removed from mention in guidebooks ( the predominate source of climbing history)? A long long time ago I was doing a regular free solo circuit and found several parties clogging Corrugation Corner. No matter, I took the left sidewall to wide crack and chimney, only sharing the line of the regular route for twenty feet near the chimney belay. Well below this I found a single old FP. I never reported the line and interestingly enough at least parts of it were reported as FA's in later guidebook additions complete with protection bolts. Preserving adventure for later generations in whatever style they saw fit.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jun 23, 2014 - 05:00pm PT
...FA in "best style" that would be less selfish and much more community oriented than the competitive drive to "be first."


Is that what I was saying upthread?

Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Jun 23, 2014 - 05:12pm PT
If you are referring to the wide crack/chimney I think you are, well done. Quite a bold solo and a contender for best style. I agree some climbing history is incorrect or rewritten but does that mean we should simply stop trying?

Is that not one of the biggest benefits of this site? Communication of information regarding all things climbing, passing on history, ethics, debating matters of contention.

You've just reported the FA which I find useful and interesting. Now go chop them bolts ;)
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Jun 23, 2014 - 05:51pm PT
Yes,the very same offwidth crack /chimney which followed a long section of moderately difficult dike hiking, but remember I found an old Fp. So you see that parts of this line provided the adventure of a FA in three very different styles. Climbing history preservation is pretty spotty, usually in guidebooks derived from earlier additions. Errors get magnified when "select guides" are used in reference for future additions and compilers deem modern variations of old routes as superior, then lacking space drop the old. Eventually the error rate will be such that old routes in pristine condition will once again provide FA's.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 23, 2014 - 06:38pm PT
Vitaliy M :
"Anyway, Ed, quit wasting time on this thread, I really want to see a TR about that thing you guys climbed by Tioga pas!!!! : )"

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Great-Googley-Boogley-Tioga-Pass-ablegabel-Ed-Hartouni-July-9-2011/t12341n.html

this was on-sight, ground-up, no bolts, single push, pretty close (if not spot on) "best style"

we saw it and we climbed it
MH2

climber
Jun 23, 2014 - 08:23pm PT
Just my humble opinion, but slightly better than best style: you think you are doing a route that was done before but it turns out you were wrong. In that case you get no flack for not reporting a FA.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 23, 2014 - 08:45pm PT
Ed, what made you start this thread if the answer is obvious to you?

that's what intellectuals do... they discuss an idea to explore it. What wasn't obvious, but something I suspected, that climbers actually all know what "best style" is for first ascents. They may have reasons for doing an FA in "less than best style", and those reasons are probably all valid to some extent within our natural feelings of anarchy, or perhaps libertarianism..

the other point I wanted to make, and I've made it before, elsewhere, is that climbing today is dominated by climbing established routes, not by putting routes up. There is a huge emphasis on making the route fit for those consumers by the producers.

no one wants someone to get hurt on a climb they have reported an FA on, on the other hand every climber has a responsibility to make a choice for themselves whether or not to do a climb.

and there is an issue of the future, now that we know what climbing is about, we can pronounce what "best style" is
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Jun 23, 2014 - 08:56pm PT
Ed wrote: this was on-sight, ground-up, no bolts, single push, pretty close (if not spot on) "best style"


Go do an overhanging crack less limestone wall and see how far you get.

This best style thing is totally absurd when it comes to climbing.
jstan

climber
Jun 23, 2014 - 09:06pm PT
no one wants someone to get hurt on a climb they have reported an FA on

Never assume this.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jun 23, 2014 - 09:13pm PT
This best style thing is totally absurd when it comes to climbing.


Not when it comes to areas where clean protection and anchors are useable, safe and desirable. No, not absurd at all.

When you have overhanging crackless limestone, I leave it to others.
ruppell

climber
Jun 23, 2014 - 09:17pm PT
Survival

Then it's not a climbing ethic. It's an area ethic. Each one has it's own "best". To try and call out one as superior to all others because the OPs area lends itself to it is short sighted at best and egotistical at worse.
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