'clean' climbing... AND low impact

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Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 14, 2007 - 04:59pm PT

It’s ironic that those making the loudest noise about “clean” climbing are the very same that have made a very high impact on the rock. Putting up first ascents, installing bolts, rivets, fixed gear, chipping “constructive” placements, are all VERY high impact to rock climbing.

I think it’s a general consensus that we as climbers strive to do both, low impact climbing and make “clean” placements if at all possible. But, there are some exceptions. Everyone has a unique set of circumstances and we must acknowledge this.

Should a climber with children at home make the same risks as the young buck who doesn’t have the responsibility of putting food on the table for his family? Should the two hundred plus pound beginner make the same placements as the hundred and twenty pound veteran?

Some elitist attitudes would say “yes” to both questions. Or maybe they would say; they shouldn’t be up there in the first place. I call bullshit! We all have the right to be on the rock. We should regulate ourselves as a whole. But, it seems that a few have taken it upon themselves to dictate the rules… Beelzebub comes to mind

One of these dictators said in an interview; after being asked if he would go back and finish a route he started:

“Oddly enough, it just seemed like a silly route to me, just something to do at the time. I probably should go back up there, but it wasn’t such a great prospect.”

How many other “silly” routes has this person installed? How much impact is putting hundreds of bolts in the rock? Is installing permanent bolts considered “clean”? How much impact is it to dumb-down the rock by manufacturing clean placements, so thousands of climber’s can do their routes?

We all make some kind of impact while rock climbing. We should all strive to keep it as low as possible. The dictators should take a deep look within themselves and figure out why they are being so loud; to teach, or to be heard?
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
Jun 14, 2007 - 05:07pm PT
Hrm...I smell a larger drama behind the question.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jun 14, 2007 - 05:33pm PT
you are correct of course ammon.

although i dont know this beezleboo or whoever that is.

pitonron rants all the time about clean climbing but has carved holds in the rock before to make something more climbable. for some reason that does not sound too clean to me

plus, he complains about how through shear numbers the routes are being destroyed. while this may be true, the only course of action sounds like to ride in the damn tourist cart and stay only on paved trails and dont touch the rock, just look.

most of us found that was not too exciting otherwise we never would have been involved in this activity....
Euroford

Trad climber
chicago
Jun 14, 2007 - 06:03pm PT
hammering can be fun, but really 99% of the time, it don't make much sense. didn't the climbing world already figure this out, what back when i was a twinkle in my dads eye?


f*#k clean climbing, the next new rage is going to be old school ALL IRON ascents of the big stone.

G_Gnome

Trad climber
Knob Central
Jun 14, 2007 - 06:13pm PT
Haha, well all of MY Routes are perfect!

As for those new guys....
jstan

climber
Jun 14, 2007 - 06:38pm PT
There are two components to the larger problem.
1. Expectations. When people come to an activity they come with expectations partly conditioned by personal characteristics and partly conditioned by their prior experience.
2. Population. When a resource is shared by a rapidly increasing population, inevitably, people will get increasingly less of that which they seek. Either because the resource is simply not available or because it has been changed by its users.

In 1970 I looked at the recreational statistics of the day and it looked very hopeful that US population would level out at 250 million or so. This in combination with less damaging methods of use( trails, nuts, etc) and an increased realization that we need to reduce our impact upon each other would ultimately allow much that we knew to be preserved.

It will not happen.

Will we someday see dayglo orange holds bolted onto the Captain’s Face? Probably. Will there be TV star climbers wearing thong bikinis? Without doubt. Will humans ultimately destroy the planet and themselves? The number of people who believe so – is increasing.

I don’t say this to be discouraging. There is something sad here but to get at it I need an extreme analogy. If it pleases me to smash my thumb with a hammer all day every day, is that sad? No, because it is my choice. Now imagine I am in a room elbow to elbow with people, all of whom are busily smashing their thumbs. Is that sad? It is not sad if the room has a picture window looking out on the Maroon Bells with the aspen in full color and kids in the meadow throwing cartwheels. It is not sad because they know there are things other than thumb smashing, and they choose to continue. It is sad if there are people in that room who have never been exposed to anything other than thumb abuse.

That is very sad.

Now I don’t want anyone to think I am drawing a parallel between thumb abuse and dayglo orange holds. I most certainly am not. Anyone who does draw that parallel is doing so entirely on their own.
Matt

Trad climber
State of Mind
Jun 14, 2007 - 06:41pm PT
all routes are silly
all routes are just something to do at the time













only werner know what is meaningful, and i don't think he'll say it's this route or that route.
Euroford

Trad climber
chicago
Jun 14, 2007 - 06:42pm PT
as are those who climb them.

Matt

Trad climber
State of Mind
Jun 14, 2007 - 06:43pm PT
and argue about them and the style they went up in
or were repeated in, for that matter

=)
WBraun

climber
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:03pm PT
"It’s ironic that those making the loudest noise ...."

That must be me as I sing you this song.

Help me if you can I'm feeling down ...

Because we are standing here on the ground ,,,,,

Won't you please, please, help us get off the ground.


Time to rack up boys, and blast off.

It'll be grand!
up2top

Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:11pm PT
As mentioned in the other thread and alluded to by Ammon, one of the biggest factors contributing to how low impact we can climb is a variable we can't control. To completely ignore that there are vast differences that separate us, individually -- both mentally and physically -- is purely ELITIST. It is to say "I can climb 5.13 -- why can't you? And if you can't why do you bother? Please don't waste your time dreaming you can climb my 5.13 if you don't use the holds I've used and shouted "SEND!" the way my hommies do." I certainly can't climb 5.13, but if the route is compelling enough I may try to find my own way to make it to the top. I may bust out my aiders and hooks. Ooooooo, but won't that have some impact on the rock? Yeah. And so does your chalk, your sweat, your rubber, your tape, your bolts, your anchors, etc.

In the case of clean climbing an aid route I'm in agreement with most everyone involved in the discussion. Climb as clean as possible. But you can't ignore that I'm less talented than Ammon. You can't ignore the laws of physics that would allow a flared #1 HB offset to remain in place for Beth Rodden, but not for me. And if there is no other alternative placement what are my choices? Believe me, I'll look for another way and use every tool in my arsenal, but if placing a sawed-off is my last option between upward progress and bailing...what would you do?

I'll go one step further. Let say we're talking about a variable we can control -- courage. There's a lot more grey area for this factor, but some of you would insist that unless I'm willing to look the reaper in the face, give him a French kiss, and climb C5 that I don't have any business on the route. Well, I think that's bullsh#t. I will climb as clean as possible, BUT I'll also be the one deciding the risk factor I'm willing to take. I have no shame in saying that. If you want to think your big brass balls make you a better man (or woman) and that you're doing such a monumental service to the climbing community by stringing together 20 c4+ placements in a row over "broken pelvis ledge" then by all means think what you want! You can even walk up to me and mock my small nads if it makes you feel better. I couldn't give a flying f*#k.

I'm just suggesting that we stop with the dick measuring contest when it comes to clean climbing. There are some who need to be convinced that they need to strive for less impact, but most of us don't. Stop splitting hairs with me about the small sh#t. You're not superior because you sent a route clean. My hats off to you for your accomplishment, but do try to diminish mine with your pretentious egos.

Ed
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:16pm PT
Ammon...

say, ain't you that dude I heard about on the internet that was doing all these climbs really fast and shiit, and then one day you placed a pin or something in a blind placement over a roof and fukked up your whole legacy as a fast as hell, big set O'nuts, cool asss guy? yeah... that's the guy. I used to really dig him, but after placing that pin he is fukked and if I see him I'm gonna do something. Hear that son!?! I'm-a gonna do something...... I better see you at the Shiit Talkers fest so I can do something..... missed you last time, but I did not know about all this shiit last time so things will be different this time 'cause I'm gonna do something......



















(what sort of beer do you like?)
WBraun

climber
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:22pm PT
Ed

You sound very insecure.

If you were secure about yourself you wouldn't need to constantly defend your style and relate everything else about this topic as somebodies ego trip and elitist attitude.

Take it easy man it's just climbing, and don't run any red lights.
Matt

Trad climber
State of Mind
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:22pm PT
I'm just suggesting that we stop with the dick measuring contest when it comes to clean climbing. There are some who need to be convinced that they need to strive for less impact, but most of us don't. Stop splitting hairs with me about the small sh#t. You're not superior because you sent a route clean. My hats off to you for your accomplishment, but do try to diminish mine with your pretentious egos.



now if everyone just free climbed, this would all be so simple!
besides, if yer pullin/standin on yer gear, what the hell is so proud about it anywayz?



like evolution (in another thread), it's just a matter of perspective.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:27pm PT
If Chouinard had published an essay to the effect of "You f@#$ing punters are pounding those pins because you're selfish and lack the sack to climb w/ these-here nuts," I wonder if people would still be climbing at the Cookie Cliff w/ pitons...just for spite and 'cause it would actually be harder?

I'm all for clean climbing, but sometimes the more extreme points of view and the rebuttals that they generate actually make me be more sympathetic to the fact that a range of experiences exist and are probably appropriate.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:33pm PT
Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh
Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh u can't touch this
Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh break it down
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Stop Hammer time
up2top

Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:35pm PT
Werner, as the debate goes on I'll continue to put in my $.02 where I see fit. If there's no debate then we've all arrive at a consensus (and we haven't) or I've convinced everyone I'm right (not a chance), or the opposing viewpoint has convinced me I'm wrong (not likely, but it's happened).

How about Steve? Is he insecure for continuing to reiterate his point? Are you just upset that I'm a little passionate about my point of view? I tend to get passionate about things when people suggest that I shouldn't or couldn't do something. Does that bother you?

Don't fall asleep at any green lights...

Ed
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:36pm PT
ed,

i think the clean climbers are gonna tell you that it aint a dick measuring contest, its what you do with it man....
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:56pm PT
OK I just got back and will have to give this a read, but off-hand my reaction is annoyance at others attempting to put words into my mouth.

Seems like some people can't embrace the difference between certain concepts like clean vs hammerless.
Or the idea of having a proactive impact vs unintentional negative impact.



more later
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jun 14, 2007 - 07:56pm PT
Ammon says I want to climb low impact and clean.

Wrong.
Granted that there ARE some impacts that I wish to avoid and in order of priority they would be:

1) Me. I've fulfilled my quota of personal physical trauma. I believe that the overwhelming majority of our community share in this value.
2) Placement destruction. Hey, holds sometimes break but seem to be largely durable. But even if they DO break there may be other options. But placements are potentially more critical.
Why?
(see priority 1)
3) Drag trails. I'm afraid Ed's anti-elitist attitude doesn't hold water when it comes to hauling bivy gear up Zion walls. The damage is now highly visible.
4) Trash. This includes uneeded fixed gear. Fortunately this CAN be dealt with.


I never said I always employ low impact techniques to ESTABLISH routes, quite the contrary.
But what some stick in the muds can't seem to wrap their narrow minds around is that my priority is the DURABILITY (not to mention enjoyability) of the routes I establish.

And THAT is why I advocate SUBSEQUENT hammerless ascents. You can't repeatedly whack on your climbs and expect them to last for subsequent generations of climbers, and all too often I fear todays climbers couldn't care less about them.

As for the numbers Hawkeye, we need to recognize the problems and manage them, not play blame games.

Tim, I'm disappointed in your cynicism.

stzzo, kudos for seeing the hypocrisy.

Ed, how about ackowledging that there are cumulative effects to your brand of excusing the fudging.
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