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trundlebum


Sep 24, 2007, 4:17 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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I am a trad climber that 'dropped out' for many years and now I am taking up climbing again. I had the term 'old trad guy' applied to me a little over a year ago and it was the first I had ever heard the use. I had to have it explained to me. I am exploring these terms in an effort to understand them better before I use them.
However so far this is what I get out of these new terms:
It's all a bunch of B.S.
IMO Rock climbers are a subset of traditional mountaineering, the ethics and styles have not really changed all that much in over 25 years. Sport climbing (under that term) did not even exist 25 years ago, let alone this phenomenon of 'seasoned, gym climbers, that have never climbed outdoors".
I say B.S we should stop using the term 'trad', trad "IS ROCK CLIMBING" I don't understand all this accommodation of sport lingo ? Let the sport climbers use the terms, but I don't understand the erosion of the simple premise of "free climbing". Free means free, no hangs, no falls and a fall is equated with a hang.
You never have a second chance to make an onsight.
I can recall getting and giving scoldings, for stopping on rap to try on a finger lock or two on route that you had not done yet. The scolding being, "hey hey hey, no preinspection or you can't ever did it onsight"

So in trying to understand all these new terms, for the most part I say bah to them. Not because they can't concisely communicate a situation but it puts the whole experience into a weird twist for me.
There is no such thing as "Trad" that is just plainly called "rock climbing".
Within rock climbing you either free climb or aid climb, no biggy, no rocket science, no gray or in between.
Basically 'sport climbing is a subset of rock climbing that has was termed decades ago:
"aid climbing". There is not much difference between a 'top down' sport climb that gets freed or a bottom to top, aid route bolt ladder that got freed. they both began as aid climbs and got freed later.
These discussions used to be so much easier when the questions were like: "if a route has a hanging belay can you still call it a free climb?"
IMO, in the years of my absence I think "rock climbers" have been accommodating and allowed the situation to become completely wishy washy and
muted. Rock climbers in general have allowed a subset of climbers to take the upper hand in evolving the overall lingo, seemingly because they just didn't want group sport with aid climbing.

All this banter, all these new terms, sure I agree with 'blueeyedclimber, it is lot more concise to say "redpoint' than a couple sentences to describe the style. But it can be so much easier than all that. If you say or it is assumed "free climbed" a route, either you lead or followed.
So if the accepted and assumed style is free climbing, then suffice it to say "I lead it" means no falls no hangs. If you lead it and took falls then you should feel obliged to mention.
I look at my notes in old guide books and see under the route names concise notes, the date I did it(noting subsequent or previous ascents), If no falls denoted then it was done all free. Simple.
On longer routes that had gone all free, where I climbed them with more free climbing than the early ascents but not all free I would append the rating in ink and brief note it, a good example:
Chouinard-Herbert, Sentinel Rock. The Guide book I have calls the route V .11c or 5.9 A2. My note:
9/16/83 with Ed Keller, 9 hrs camp to camp, couldn't free the cubans V 5.10d A1
(then usually a rack inventory that was used)
Simple.

So should we stop trying to accomadate sport as a subset of trad.
Whatever happened to the original term for sport, 'siege climbing'?
I know that term originally came from massive Himalayan expedition climbing, but we used to use it for 'sport climbing' before the term came to be. Remember 'siege tactics' ? A boom box playing Zappa or Jimmy, five guys all taking turns on burning off something totally extreme (for the group's standard). The oft used phrase as a new suitor ties on, "Here's your one piece, just get it at least 4' higher than the top piece and your a hero"

Siege tactics can be total fun. Once we had a Plymouth fury 3 parked as close as possible to the base of 'More Monkey Than Funky', speakers on the roof blaring away. Five of us attacked it with vigor, for hrs. We had a gas, however as we set the top rope and taped up, we all knew it meant a good route that could never be lead 'onsight'.

It's all so simple, no need for all these fancy terms you either lead it:
"flash/cruise/motor'd it" <-- no falls, hangs or bok's
"onsight clean" <-- no falls or hangs but perhaps some contemplation
"onsight with heavy sniveling" <-- no falls or hangs but... just barely
^ all the above implies:
a fall is a hang.

The rest just falls under:
"I couldn't get up it without having to get winched, or siege it"

Maybe others can help me with understanding the term "send" ?
doesn't that just mean "I finally got up it, after sieging the snot out of it" ?
Maybe not ? I have seen the phrase "he sent it on his first attempt" <-- what does that mean?
Does it mean we have longwindedly said "he flashed it" ? or does it mean he took multiple falls but got up it on the first 'siege' session?
What is an attempt ? I figure well your leaving me to assume that we are talking about free climbing, so either you onsighted the lead (cruise or snivel, either way) or you sieged it. That simple, no need for all this 'sport talk'
Let sport climbers talk however they like.
There is no 'Trad' that's simply called 'rock climbing'
Whatever the sub culture of 'sport/siege' may introduce for terms, whatevah's!
What goes around comes around.
I Remember when I was young and thought "Cross Roads" was an Eric clapton song and that my dad couldn't understand (My generation's) music. All the while he is trying to get me to listen to Robert Johnson. It took me 20 years to figure out that for Clapton 'Cross roads' is a cover tune.
Or how about my niece recently telling me that "to be cool these days you have to wear hip hugger bell bottoms." LOL
To the sport subculture, of what I have seen of it so far, I say tongue in cheek:
"we'll leave you alone and maybe one day you'll come home"
It's all pretty basic, "a rope a rack and the shirt on your back, you free climbed it or you didn't"

So all that said and I have merely reiterated what 'quiteatingmysteak's' basic message was:
"trad, you either get it, or you won't"


k.l.k


Sep 24, 2007, 4:22 PM
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Re: [dingus] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
bachar wrote:
Trad is on-sight, ground up (free, aid or mixed).....

S'what I done been telling you people for a long time.

For your viewing pleasure and historical perspective (if by historical I mean people who in their 50s and early 60s can free solo circles around us roped up gums)

http://www.supertopo.com/...c_id=454289&tn=0

Trad. Its not just a rack of widgets.

DMT

Sort of. Even in the seventies and eighties, what constituted "onsight" and 'ground up" varied considerably from place to place and year to year. "Ground up" in JTree, one of the key "trad" areas in the seventies and eighties, frequently meant that one started on the ground, then walked up the backside, hung a rope, and climbed "up" on a tr. (Hot Rocks, Beaver, Equinox, etc.) Since Bachar's goal on most of these things was to solo them, rather than lead them, it made perfect sense to do it that way. A tr is a lot better preparation for a free solo. And the use of hooks for aid placements for bolting free leads was condemned by quite a number of prominant climbers when the practice first appeared in the '80s. Today the B-Y is practically the definition of "trad." You may not like the general drift, but you can trace a line out into the future and imagine that it's going to change some more. . . .


onceahardman


Sep 24, 2007, 4:30 PM
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Re: [k.l.k] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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hanging on hooks to place bolts on lead IS trad...

but it's NOT free. and the OPs question was, "what is traditional free climbing."

free climbing=ropes and equipment is not used to rest or for upward progress, only to protect oneself in case of a fall.

like the guy above said, it's just "ROCK CLIMBING", not gym climbing.


k.l.k


Sep 24, 2007, 4:45 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
hanging on hooks to place bolts on lead IS trad...

but it's NOT free. and the OPs question was, "what is traditional free climbing."]

onceahardman-- your claim here is one that is now widely shared by other self-described "trad" climbers. but it was not universally shared at the time. jb's toproping and hooking were sore points with older "traditionalists," notably tom higgins. but their views were gradually ignored by most climbers of jb's age and younger. now, twenty years later, toproping at jtree and the hooks on b-y are seen as emblematic of "traditional."

i'm not saying it's good or bad, i'm simply pointing out that what counts as "trad" has in fact changed over time and has varied from place to place. the logical inference is that it is likely to change again in the future. at some point, barring the intervention of land mangers--and much to dmt's disgust--it probably will be mostly about the widgets.


el_layclimber


Sep 24, 2007, 5:09 PM
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Re: [k.l.k] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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   I think that the more meaningful term here is "clean." Like sport and trad, the term is only meaningful in relation to what came before it, namely banging in pitons and scarring the rock. Nuts meant that routes could be climbed without damaging the rock.
When I learned how to climb, no one told me anything about trad, sport or any colored points, but I was taught that clean climbing (minimizing impact) was to be valued highly.
A few bolts were chopped in local areas in those days, not because of possible hangdogging, but because they were ugly. We accepted that some routes would have to be toproped or imagined in order to stay pristine.

My name is El_lay, and I am a clean climber.


watchme


Sep 24, 2007, 5:40 PM
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Re: [dingus] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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I've given up arguing this. All of my friends, many who have been climbing for a long time and know what "trad" really means, use the term "trad" to mean requiring gear. That's it. Trad climbing means grab the rack; sport climbing means just grab some draws.

I guess I'm OK with this, as long as the tradition of areas like the Gunks, Tuolumne, etc. is preserved. If some dude wants to french free some crack and call it "trad" climbing, I don't care. I just hope that there continue to be areas where I can enjoy traditional free climbing.

I love sport climbing, but some of my fondest climbing memories are hunting for bolts among the golden knobs in Tuolumne. Those routes are amazing, and would be less so had they been put in top-down.


flamer


Sep 24, 2007, 5:42 PM
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Re: [quiteatingmysteak] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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quiteatingmysteak wrote:
tradding a route

Tradding is not a word!!

josh


onceahardman


Sep 24, 2007, 8:19 PM
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Re: [k.l.k] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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klk...i think we agree. bacher-yerian, etc, ARE TRAD. but they were not put up free. they can be subsequently on-sighted.


k.l.k


Sep 25, 2007, 8:34 AM
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Re: [onceahardman] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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Well, I think we sort of agree. Bachar-Yerian was NOT "trad" when it was put up. Indeed, it was one of the key routes that led Higgins to pen his famous critique of "tricksters." Bachar-Yerian BECAME "trad," and rather quickly, as most of the younger locals began to disregard the criticisms of Higgins and other (mostly older) climbers and embrace lead hooking as a "traditional" method of bolting.

In retrospect, the differences between, say, Higgins and Bachar seem rather petty when compared to the gulf separating both of them from the folks drilling pockets while rap-bolting. But the differences were fairly sharp at the time, and although both styles have now been assimilated to "trad," the experience should suggest that the same thing may happen again: In twenty years, "trad" may include practices that today make some of us queasy.


dingus


Sep 25, 2007, 8:40 AM
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Re: [onceahardman] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
best style? (to me) on sight free solo of a climb you have never seen before, and haven't read the guidebook description, and dont know how hard it is. (i've never actually done this.)

Bachar did this. Called it one of the hardest things he ever did. There are plenty on this board that would be ok with retrobolting that route so they too could 'climb it.'

This is an important topic... our collective past, our traditions, our stories. I don't want the Convenience Oriented 7-11 crowd to bolt over our history.

DMT


onceahardman


Sep 25, 2007, 9:56 AM
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Re: [k.l.k] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Well, I think we sort of agree. Bachar-Yerian was NOT "trad" when it was put up.

see, klk, i disagree here. bolts have been placed on lead at least since the 1950s. (see warren harding's epic bolt ladder on the nose). if they are put in on lead, (whether free or aid) then its traditional style.

but bachar-yerian's first ascent was not "free".

if it was originally bolted on rappel, that would be "not trad", or SPORT. different ethic, different style.

traditional, but not free.

ps, as someone noted above, i don't really like the term "trad"...traditional is ok, but really, it's just "rock climbing", as opposed to climbing plastic in the gym.

don't get me wrong, i like sport climbing. but there is a distinction. doesn't mean one is better than the other, but a difference exists. the harder moves, and higher grades, will always be done on bolts. less weight to carry, less stress about safety.


k.l.k


Sep 25, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Re: [onceahardman] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
In reply to:
Well, I think we sort of agree. Bachar-Yerian was NOT "trad" when it was put up.

see, klk, i disagree here. bolts have been placed on lead at least since the 1950s. (see warren harding's epic bolt ladder on the nose). if they are put in on lead, (whether free or aid) then its traditional style.

Perhaps I am being unclear. Tense is everythinhg. B-Y "is" a "trad" climb. When first done, it "was" not, at least not in the eyes of the "trad" climbers who had established the boundaries of acceptable style in Tuolumne Meadows. B-Y was one of the paradigms of "trickster" practice noted by Higgins, and as best as I can tell, his formula of "tricksters" and "traditionalists" was the first to set out the term that we now know and love/hate. Many of us still have the older Meadows guide with Higgins's essay on ethics in which decried hooking along with bolting on rappel. B-Y "became" trad largely because a younger generation of climbers simply began to ignore the older generations strictures and adopt a new set of practices.

Changes in what counts as "tradition" have mostly been generational shifts. Ice-axes replacing alpenstocks; pitons replacing the Gentleman's Belay; pitons for aid; expansion bolts; friends; chalk; hooking on lead; each has gradually been assimilated into something retrospectively described as "trad" climbing which we then think of as an eternal heritage.

The only reason I belabor these familiar points is that we like to think that a sharper historical consciousness will somehow bring all those gymbies to jeebus. As much as I would love to see folks on this forum, and at the crags, develop a more historical understanding of themselves and their sport, I am skeptical that it will really do much to preserve the dominant practices of one moment in time--a slice of the middle 1980s--in cultural amber. As best I can tell, with the possible exception of certain Britsh areas, the places that have best reconciled user pressure with "traditional" climbing practices--Elbsandstein, Fontainebleau, Shawangunks--have done so through the direct intervention of land managers. Even in Yosemite, I suspect that the NPS ban on power drilling has done at least as much as the careful cultivation of a local "trad" sensibility to limit sportification. Sorry this post is so long-- I didn't have time to write a short one.


Partner j_ung


Sep 25, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Re: [olderic] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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olderic wrote:
blueeyedclimber wrote:
So, can you not redpoint a trad route? Josh

Actually Josh by the strictist rules - no you can't. You get one chance to do a route. After that it is tainted. One of the strongest climbvers of the 70's Jim Erickson from CO - always played by those rules and did some incredible stuff - although he relaxed his standards when he was working to free the NW face of Half Dome. Most of us weren't quite that strict. If you sent a route that you had previously failed on you prided yourself as to "have gotten better" - it's human nature. But had you really gotten any better or just acquired some crucial knowledge? If you take climbing back to it's routes the goal was to get to the top of something and if the somethng was big then time was usually of the essence and there was not time for repeated attemtps. Now days of course climbing has split into many styles and most participants spout the new age mumble jumble about the journey being the core and the destination as not the goal - blah blah blah. Still the idea of on-sight still gets some recognition.

It's pretty well documented where the term "red point" came from - it certainly was not from what you kids all like to call "trad" climbing now.

I think it was drkodos who coined the term "sport tradding," to mean set-'em-up, knock-'em-down single-pitch climbing on routes that are commonly considered traditional. Seems that term probably works for the hybrid we're discussing here, too.


jt512


Sep 25, 2007, 10:50 AM
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Re: [dingus] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
best style? (to me) on sight free solo of a climb you have never seen before, and haven't read the guidebook description, and dont know how hard it is. (i've never actually done this.)

Bachar did this. Called it one of the hardest things he ever did. There are plenty on this board that would be ok with retrobolting that route so they too could 'climb it.'

This is an important topic... our collective past, our traditions, our stories. I don't want the Convenience Oriented 7-11 crowd to bolt over our history.

DMT

I'm curious as to how retrobolting a route that was once free-soloed changes the history of the route.

Jay


granite_grrl


Sep 25, 2007, 11:23 AM
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Re: [j_ung] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
olderic wrote:
blueeyedclimber wrote:
So, can you not redpoint a trad route? Josh

Actually Josh by the strictist rules - no you can't. You get one chance to do a route. After that it is tainted. One of the strongest climbvers of the 70's Jim Erickson from CO - always played by those rules and did some incredible stuff - although he relaxed his standards when he was working to free the NW face of Half Dome. Most of us weren't quite that strict. If you sent a route that you had previously failed on you prided yourself as to "have gotten better" - it's human nature. But had you really gotten any better or just acquired some crucial knowledge? If you take climbing back to it's routes the goal was to get to the top of something and if the somethng was big then time was usually of the essence and there was not time for repeated attemtps. Now days of course climbing has split into many styles and most participants spout the new age mumble jumble about the journey being the core and the destination as not the goal - blah blah blah. Still the idea of on-sight still gets some recognition.

It's pretty well documented where the term "red point" came from - it certainly was not from what you kids all like to call "trad" climbing now.

I think it was drkodos who coined the term "sport tradding," to mean set-'em-up, knock-'em-down single-pitch climbing on routes that are commonly considered traditional. Seems that term probably works for the hybrid we're discussing here, too.

Yeah, its true. Especially when there's a bolted anchor at the top and you can give your second a sling-shot belay.

Most multipitch gets away from the sport-trad, but the Gunks is pretty darn sporty I find. I have also been on botled routes that I think was a stretch to call a sport climb. Felt way more sketchy and trad to me, despite there being bolts.

I find it best to say that you're climbing bolted climbs or gear climbs, sport and trad are more of a state of mind.


onceahardman


Sep 25, 2007, 11:26 AM
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Re: [k.l.k] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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well, klk, i havent read higgins essay in years.

my only point is, from a style standpoint, bolting from hooks or other aid, on lead, is "more traditional" than bolting on rappel.


onceahardman


Sep 25, 2007, 11:33 AM
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Re: [jt512] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I'm curious as to how retrobolting a route that was once free-soloed changes the history of the route.

Jay

it doesn't change the history. but it does change the route. how would salathe wall change if someone bolt-laddered the whole thing, every 3 feet, bottom to top?

the history stays the same, so why not? if you don't want to clip the bolts, you don't have to.

that said, i'm not entirely against putting a couple bolts on a route to make it possible for others to enjoy the resource. but i also dont think it's wrong to leave some "monuments to boldness".

reinhold messner called it "carrying your courage in your rucksack". boldness and courage are positive attributes, and have been since the infancy of our sport.


k.l.k


Sep 25, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Re: [jt512] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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Retrobolting an onsight free solo won't change the fact that someone put it up on the 3rd, but it does change the route's history by changing the endpoint of that history. The route now will be part of a story of how climbing once was about danger and risk but evolved into a sport that emphasized pleasurable movement in aesthetic but low-risk contexts.

One of the cliches of historical writing is that changing the ending changes the entire history. That's a consensus in the discipline. Beyond that lies a seething abyss of civil wars over whether the facts themselves change, what counts as a 'fact," etc. and etc. and on.

and onceahardman-- i wasn't trying to pick a fight. as usual on this forum i was writing mostly for the presumed audience of lurkers and n00bs for whom "Bachar" and "Higgins" sound like characters from a video game.


rockprodigy


Sep 25, 2007, 12:34 PM
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Re: [dingus] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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My understainding is that "back in the day", there was no "trad climbing", just "climbing". Therefore, the term "trad" is a modern word used to describe a certain style used at a point in time and region in the past.

So there can't be a single definition, we can only describe how things were done in certain places at certain times. Several people have pointed out how Bachar's own exploits don't fit the term "trad" based on different possible variations of the definition.

I'm also amused that you quoted John Bachar. Clearly he is an amazing, pioneering climber, but he was and is a radical. His views don't represent a consensus.

What exactly would be the difference between a "mixed" ascent and hangdogging? Isn't that the same thing? Actually, I don't care about the answer to that question, I just want to point out that not all great climbers are great at formulating ideology, and it seems like that single shortcoming causes a lot of conflict in our sport. A case in point is the Delicate Arch fiasco.


Partner cracklover


Sep 25, 2007, 12:53 PM
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Re: [trundlebum] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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Dingus and others: There are plenty of good definitions out there to describe a traditional climb if you are looking at it from the perspective of how the FA team climbed it. And those definitions are excellent for as far as they go.

But what's harder to do is to say what a traditional climb is for those who come after the FA.

That's where folks get tangled up in trying to define it as "gear versus bolts". Of course this is an inadequate definition, but what is a non-FA to do?

I think to get the answer, first we must look at the climb from a novel perspective: ignore the way it was put up, and instead look at what's there today.

Trundlebum has some nice thoughts, and one in particular is relevant to my point. When he says...

trundlebum wrote:
Basically 'sport climbing is a subset of rock climbing that has was termed decades ago:
"aid climbing". There is not much difference between a 'top down' sport climb that gets freed or a bottom to top, aid route bolt ladder that got freed. they both began as aid climbs and got freed later.

... this is a helpful way of looking at things, since if something starts as an aid climb and is then freed, that strips out the issue of what the climb originally was meant to be, and lets us focus on what it is today.

Okay, so what is the difference between a bolt ladder which is later freed, and a seam that is later freed? To my mind there are two clear differences: 1 - the commitment it takes to lead the seam on potentially poor gear, and 2 - the sense of self-determination that comes with leading a climb that is not pre-equipped.

In other words, for those who come *after* the FA, the two elements of commitment and self-determination - meeting the rock on more or less it's own terms - are the *practical* differences that determine whether it's a sport or a trad route.

I think both the definition of trad that looks at the means the FA party used to put it up, and the definition that looks at what we see today, are important. Yes, they can sometimes be contradictory. That's why we need to acknowledge them both - if we don't we risk missing the truth.

GO


onceahardman


Sep 25, 2007, 12:59 PM
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Re: [rockprodigy] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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klk...its all good...i never thought we were arguing either.

rockprodigy-hangdogging and "mixed" are both aid, not free, and off the original topic of traditional "free climbing"

they are matters of style-which only affects YOU. they become ethical matters only when they are reported as "free", when they are have not been climbed "free".

i am not in the same camp as erickson, etc. i think a climb can be done free 1000 times if you want. but the onsight free, that can only be done once.


dingus


Sep 25, 2007, 10:27 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
bolts have been placed on lead at least since the 1950s.

So far as I know David Brower of Sierra Club fame placed the first lead protection bolt in America in the 30s on the FA of Shiprock.

DMT


dingus


Sep 25, 2007, 10:31 PM
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Re: [cracklover] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
But what's harder to do is to say what a traditional climb is for those who come after the FA.

As long as subsequent parties don't retrobolt it, its quite irrelevant WHAT they call it I guess.

A tadding we will go. Hi ho.

DMT


Partner cracklover


Sep 26, 2007, 5:25 AM
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Re: [dingus] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
cracklover wrote:
But what's harder to do is to say what a traditional climb is for those who come after the FA.

As long as subsequent parties don't retrobolt it, its quite irrelevant WHAT they call it I guess.

A tadding we will go. Hi ho.

DMT

I dunno what tadding is.

And Dingus, you know perfectly well that there are sport climbs that were bolted from the bottom up. So you're simply choosing to bury your head in the sand and ignore half the meaning of the word.

Your choice, of course.

GO


chossmonkey


Sep 26, 2007, 7:10 AM
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Re: [dingus] What is traditional free climbing? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
Trad. Its not just a rack of widgets.

DMT
Its funny how people confuse gear climbing with trad climbing.

While I wouldn't be as strict with my definitions as some here. Working the piss out a route and then leading it with gear is certainly not "trad climbing". Its climbing on gear, or "gear climbing".

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