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Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing?
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caughtinside


Aug 10, 2006, 11:49 AM
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Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing?
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Think about it. back in the days of yore, what we think of today as single pitch trad cragging was considered to be mere practise.

'Climbing' (at this time predating the terms 'traditional' and 'trad') seemed to be about finding a large stone objective, and getting to the top. Doing so could employ a number of techniques, including aid, bolting, and heinous chipping via pitons. The summit was the goal, not the difficulty, it seems.

With that in mind, does an 80 foot crack really stack up to this definition of climbing? Is 'trad' described by mere widget wankery these days? I plug a cam in a splitter, therefore it is trad? even if I do not reach the summit of my 200' local pile? Numerous climbs in yosemite only go a few pitches and stop short of the summit, despite the fact that there is still stone to be climbed. Is this 'modern trad' to scoff at the summit?

I only bring this up because I think the term 'trad' is tired, over used, and abused. 'Cause there ain't nothing traditional about cragging.


elvislegs


Aug 10, 2006, 12:05 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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i see what you are saying / asking CI but as i really start to think about it, i realize that i don't care.

i enjoy the long stuff, where i'm gunning for a summit. i enjoy doing short, hard (for me), crack lines at my local pile. i REALLY enjoy perfect 160' wingate splitterz, and i can even be caught clipping bolts occasionally. i can't help but laugh when people feel they have to designate some draws as "trad draws" and some as "sport" draws. or when people clip their big, shiny, cams to the outside of their packs for all to see (OMG that's so TRAD!). but in the end, i'm a pragmatist. if it feels good, i do it. does the fact that i mostly climb above my own gear make me "TRAD"? does the fact that i have been working sport routes lately taint that hardkoreness? fuck that shit, i really don't care, i just want to send.


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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Caught...

I went climbing with a friend last weekend at a new area we're working on. Its all single pitch stuff. We went in there with lopers and trail cut for a couple of hours to extend our 'sphere of influence.'

Then my friend said, "Dingus, I want to climb that crack."

I looked up at an overhanging hand looking thing, maybe, MAYBE, 8o feet tall. Bushes were growing out of it here and there and there were 3 obvious blocks that may or may not have proven to be loose. Two of them were big enough to kill the belayer if not the leader.

My buddy, with no friggin around, and absolutely no preinspection of any sort what so ever (we weren't sure how we'd get down) he launched up that thing.

In this case he didn't flash... the first block was loose and he inadvertently sent it my way. It missed! Anyway, he had to hang a couple of times to clean and to be safe. I hung like a side of beef, pulling on his cams without shame.

So in the classic Higgins definition of Traditional Free Climbing, no, it was not 'trad.' But nearly no one uses Higgins' definition anymore. But the spirit... ground up, the Spirit of Trad as I like to call it, is as alive and applicable to a crag as it is a long route.

In my opinion.

And I was humbled by the pure gut it took. I have always been humbled by first ascent artists who can do that.

Cheers
DMT


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 12:22 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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'Cause there ain't nothing traditional about cragging.

Yo caught, I just saw this comment. I know you're not as widely traveled yet as you will be brother, but get thee to the Gunks and do High E and come back and tell me there is nothing traditional about cragging.

Do a Wiessner route or a Hans Kraus route, you'll see what I mean. The tradition was imported in a sense, from Europe, by guys like these. And the essence of their approach was 'ground up.'

Tools change, attitudes change, but the essence remains. Pick a line, walk up to it and climb it, however you can, from the bottom up. You can layer on other 'rules' if you wish, like no bolts, or no pins, or no hanging, or whatever. But the essence, ground up, remains the one thing common to all trad climbing from big walls to boulders.

There are and were blurry distinctions, like yoyoing, that sort of bridged the gap from 70s trad climbing to the vast explosion of styles we see today.

I think this reall essence of trad is best appreciated on the sharp end of a first ascent. There is no hiding from the essential character of the thing then.

Cheers bro
DMT


ne_dan


Aug 10, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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Yes, and who cares.


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 1:16 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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Caught, check out a couple of posts in this thread on summitpost:

http://www.summitpost.org/...php?t=21476&start=30

I don't think you need to register to read it. Scroll down and look at The Chief's post about Wiessner, then two more down to ksolem and read his 3 line post.

THAT to me, says it all. I made my High E post after the chiefs (he put the man's name in my head) but before ksolem posted.

Cheers
DMT


Partner rgold


Aug 10, 2006, 2:06 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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Perhaps the problem is that nobody knows any more what trad really means.

Caughtinside equates it with what used to be called "climbing" before climbing fractured into so many subdisciplines. Dingus equated it with first ascents. The most common definition in terms of gear surely misses a good deal of what a previous generation would have understood. Conclusions based on these definitions are only as valid as the definitions themselves, and have conflicts that ultimately trace back to the initial assumptions.

I don't think any of these definitions manages to capture what trad is really about. For many years the British practiced a form of one-pitch cragging that was, I think, as trad as anyone could possibly demand. Anyone in the East who thinks trad climbing doesn't exist on small crags needs to spend a day with Rich Romano. Many climbers have put up bolt-protected routes, ground up, drilling from stances when they can be found, that embody all the characteristics of trad climbing at its best. Splitters into which one can plug a cam whenever one wants are only marginally different from a bolt-protected sport climb. The one thing that ought to be clear from this is that neither size nor gear can, by itself, define trad climbing.

I'm not going to offer a definition here, but there are some principles I think belong in the definition. I think the fundamental difference between sport and trad climbing is that sport is about performance and trad is about the unknown. Sport climbers will allow themselves all possible techniques and methods in pursuit of the ultimate redpoint performance. Trad climbers (to the extent that they are trad climbers) voluntarily deny themselves both information and support from equipment in order to keep the unknown level high.

None of this is meant to diminish either discipline. But it is true that sport climbing practices, when applied in a traditional setting and combined with the acquistion of extensive beta, can drain the essence of traditional climbing from the activity, leaving it as a poor cousin to sport climbing with gear instead of bolts. It is not uncommon for this to occur on popular crags, and this may account in part for Caughtinside's observations.

[Edited for a repeated word.]


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 2:12 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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My definition of trad is pretty simple rgold - 'ground up.' I used the FA example to illustrate the mystery, as you called it, that can go down at a lowly 80' crag. I know there are nuances, but those change from area to area. The one common thread to me, is that ground up thing.

When are you going to write a book about the history of the Gunks brother? I bet you have a pile of Wiessner stories!

Cheers
DMT


fracture


Aug 10, 2006, 2:36 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I only bring this up because I think the term 'trad' is tired, over used, and abused.

I agree.

The term "trad" is just too overloaded and has too much historical baggage to be particularly meaningful, these days.


sbaclimber


Aug 10, 2006, 2:49 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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Numerous climbs in yosemite only go a few pitches and stop short of the summit, despite the fact that there is still stone to be climbed. Is this 'modern trad' to scoff at the summit?
Yes, otherwise it would be called 'mountaineering' :wink:

I think for most people (myself included) the 'modern definition' of trad climbing (not the syle/ethic/spirit/whatever....those are different) is synonomous with 'gear wankery'.

You can wank with your gear no matter how long or short a route is. Hell, you don't even need to be on a climb at all :P


petsfed


Aug 10, 2006, 4:06 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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I always understood trad to mean "traditionally protected". So if there is fixed protection, its placed from stances and not for convenience. But what the hell do I know? I don't really widget fiddle anymore.
Alpine trad, single pitch trad, bolted run-out slabby trad. Its all climbing, right?


foeslts16


Aug 10, 2006, 4:15 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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or when people clip their big, shiny, cams to the outside of their packs for all to see (OMG that's so TRAD).

dude, he only did that because you can only fit so many #5's in your backpack. if you were any kind of REAL trad climber you would know that most routes require 5-6 BD #5's.....

go back to climbing sport man.


alter_nate


Aug 10, 2006, 5:44 PM
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Hmmm...
If "trad" is solely defined by the gear utilized, then I've sure climbed a lot of "spad" routes in my day.

And reversely, if "sport" = bolts, than the gym set will love all those "sport" routes up in Tuolumne.


I love the idea of trad being simply ground-up, dingus. Very commonly misunderstood these days.

Not that it really matters, but, by that definition, would you consider a single pitch bolted climb, ground-up FA with no previewing, no runouts, to be "trad"?


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 5:54 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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If the bolts went in on lead, maybe. Crest Jewel is most certainly trad. If the bolts went in top down, nope.

Spad, I like that.

DMT


getsomeethics


Aug 10, 2006, 6:03 PM
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'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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I always understood trad to mean "traditionally protected"

this has always been my take as well. if yer placing gear you were trad climbing.....

as far as ground up FA's, that seems to be what has been accepted/deemed as the "best" style for a FA, but some lack the motivation, desire, nerves or whatever and find what works for them.....but anyway, i consider myself to be trad climbing when i have to place my own protection....but what if there is the odd bolt?....the dilemmas never cease.....

TF


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 6:21 PM
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In reply to:
I always understood trad to mean "traditionally protected"

this has always been my take as well. if yer placing gear you were trad climbing.....

as far as ground up FA's, that seems to be what has been accepted/deemed as the "best" style for a FA, but some lack the motivation, desire, nerves or whatever and find what works for them.....but anyway, i consider myself to be trad climbing when i have to place my own protection....but what if there is the odd bolt?....the dilemmas never cease.....

TF

I mean you no disrespect my brother but between your id name and your sig and your 'kid's these days' definition of trad, I had to chuckle a bit.

I'm gonna see if I can find that Higgins article, twas posted to supertopo a while back.

Cheers
DMT

DMT


kalcario


Aug 10, 2006, 6:54 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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If the bolts went in on lead, maybe. Crest Jewel is most certainly trad. If the bolts went in top down, nope.

It's funny, when you talk to younger climbers about Tuolumne-style bolt-protected face climbing, they don't see any distinction between that and sport climbing - and they're pretty much right. Things like Crest Jewel were only trad routes for the guy drilling the bolts on the lead - for everyone else, it's basically a sport climb, just one with runouts on easier climbing. Not every "sport" route has bolts every 8 feet, just like not every drilled-ground-up "trad" route is runout. So trying to say that a route drilled on lead is trad, but a route drilled top-down is sport, when the result in both cases is a bolt-protected face climb, is, in and of itself, meaningless.


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 7:04 PM
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Re: Is single pitch cragging really 'trad' climbing? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
In reply to:
If the bolts went in on lead, maybe. Crest Jewel is most certainly trad. If the bolts went in top down, nope.

It's funny, when you talk to younger climbers about Tuolumne-style bolt-protected face climbing, they don't see any distinction between that and sport climbing - and they're pretty much right. Things like Crest Jewel were only trad routes for the guy drilling the bolts on the lead - for everyone else, it's basically a sport climb, just one with runouts on easier climbing. Not every "sport" route has bolts every 8 feet, just like not every drilled-ground-up "trad" route is runout. So trying to say that a route drilled on lead is trad, but a route drilled top-down is sport, when the result in both cases is a bolt-protected face climb, is, in and of itself, meaningless.

Try again Kal. You missed it by that much. Crest Jewel is trad. You are flat out wrong.

It isn't the distance. THAT part is meaningless. And I didn't write it so its you, not me introducing distance into the thread.

Its the result. Crest jewel was a ground up route the day it was created and its still a gound up route today. I doubt it has ever been top down climbed or 'worked.'

DMT


kalcario


Aug 10, 2006, 7:32 PM
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Try again Kal. You missed it by that much. Crest Jewel is trad. You are flat out wrong.

It isn't the distance. THAT part is meaningless. And I didn't write it so its you, not me introducing distance into the thread.

Its the result. Crest jewel was a ground up route the day it was created and its still a gound up route today. I doubt it has ever been top down climbed or 'worked.'

I'm not following you. You say "it's the result", but the result, whether the bolts go in from above or below, is the same. Also, are you saying that "working" a bolt protected route from below makes it trad?


alter_nate


Aug 10, 2006, 8:07 PM
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If the bolts went in on lead, maybe. Crest Jewel is most certainly trad. If the bolts went in top down, nope.

Spad, I like that.

DMT

I can't take credit for the term "spad" - t'was one of my climbing partners that mentioned it as we were working on just such a route. Used for short mixed routes - trad with a few bolts, or sport with some occasional trad placements. Some areas are full of 'em, and I like it when the lines are blurred.

Anyway, it rolls off the tongue a lot better than "Trort"!


dontmaytagme


Aug 10, 2006, 8:12 PM
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Erm.. The evolution of this sport has its roots in Alpine Climbing. So.. blar.


blumsky_climbs_rox


Aug 10, 2006, 8:58 PM
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Stone Mountain-NC

Bolted Trad.


dingus


Aug 10, 2006, 9:05 PM
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Forget about it my friend. I'd rather just drop it. Its getting my blood pressure up and that's stupid on my part. It is what it is, how's that?

Back in the game yet buddy? We found a new area to play in up this way and its sort of breathed new life back into my broken body... sport and trad!

Cheers man (always appreciated your views, even when I'm too stubborn to listen)

DMT


dontmaytagme


Aug 10, 2006, 9:19 PM
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Forgot to don his asbestos suit. A shame.. really.

In reply to:
Forget about it my friend. I'd rather just drop it. Its getting my blood pressure up and that's stupid on my part. It is what it is, how's that?
[snip]
DMT


braaaaaaaadley


Aug 10, 2006, 9:31 PM
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Is it really climbing when I grab onto a rock face with all four of my appendages with the sole intention of moving upwards?

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