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Dawn Wall was awesome, but why dismiss crack climbing?
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clee03m


Jan 16, 2015, 7:40 AM
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Dawn Wall was awesome, but why dismiss crack climbing?
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http://bit.ly/1CrgG4Z

This article doesn't sit well with me. Anyone else?


petsfed


Jan 16, 2015, 11:05 AM
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Registered: Sep 24, 2002
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Re: [clee03m] Dawn Wall was awesome, but why dismiss crack climbing? [In reply to]
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clee03m wrote:
http://bit.ly/1CrgG4Z

This article doesn't sit well with me. Anyone else?
Made clicky.

I felt like AB was a bit dismissive of the technical difficulty of crack climbing, especially considering that "pure" crack lines similar in difficulty to the hardest pitches on the Dawn Wall have been done (and the grade confirmed via repeats). There may be a limit to how hard a pure crack climb can be, but I don't think we've reached that point. On the other hand, it is true that most El Cap free routes follow crack lines, so deliberately venturing out on the face for pitch after pitch like was done here is new. Still, AB is writing for a non-climbing audience (or, at least, the sorts of climbers who need crack-climbing vs. face climbing explained to them), so he can be forgiven for oversimplifying.


Partner camhead


Jan 16, 2015, 1:31 PM
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Re: [petsfed] Dawn Wall was awesome, but why dismiss crack climbing? [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
clee03m wrote:
http://bit.ly/1CrgG4Z

This article doesn't sit well with me. Anyone else?
Made clicky.

I felt like AB was a bit dismissive of the technical difficulty of crack climbing, especially considering that "pure" crack lines similar in difficulty to the hardest pitches on the Dawn Wall have been done (and the grade confirmed via repeats). There may be a limit to how hard a pure crack climb can be, but I don't think we've reached that point. On the other hand, it is true that most El Cap free routes follow crack lines, so deliberately venturing out on the face for pitch after pitch like was done here is new. Still, AB is writing for a non-climbing audience (or, at least, the sorts of climbers who need crack-climbing vs. face climbing explained to them), so he can be forgiven for oversimplifying.

I didn't feel that it dismissed crack climbing at all. Rather, it made the very real point that in searching for extremely hard big wall lines, climbers are going to have to move away from the crack systems. The reality is that climbable cracks that are solid 5.14 or harder are incredibly rare; what is the likelihood of finding something like Cobra Crack on a big wall?


Partner cracklover


Jan 16, 2015, 2:14 PM
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Re: [clee03m] Dawn Wall was awesome, but why dismiss crack climbing? [In reply to]
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I thought it was a great article that covered some truly interesting points.

The only thing I'm suspicious of is this bit:
In reply to:
The Dawn Wall is the first El Cap free climb to really depart from this tradition of following the “lines of weakness” to the summit. You might say that the Dawn Wall is a “line of strength.”

I think it's hyperbole to call it a "line of strength", when this route is simply the line of weakness up the Dawn Wall. It is only true to the degree that the Dawn Wall itself is "strong" rather than "weak". If you call this a line of strength, you might as well say the same about all rock climbs that don't go up the gullies, but instead stick to the good steep rock faces.

Furthermore, as far as I can tell, their route mostly follows established aid routes - so while it's not a crack climb, and the hardest moves are not crack moves, it actually does follow a lot of cracks - as much as it can. The hardest pitches are face, but they are the only way to link together the easier crack lines. As such, this is exactly the classic definition of "line of weakness" - the shortest stretches of hard climbing necessary to link the natural weaknesses in the rock.

But, again, I thought it was a really interesting article, that raised a number of points I was unaware of, or hadn't thought much about.

GO


sonso45


Jan 19, 2015, 5:55 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Dawn Wall was awesome, but why dismiss crack climbing? [In reply to]
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I felt as if AB was poo pooing crack climbing by inferring that it is a weaker way to climb. At least it seems he's headed that way. Great effort no matter how you classify their style of ascent.

Every line that goes is eventually a line of weakness to the person that forced their way uphill. It also doesn't sit well with the old timer's ever present goal, the Direttisima! Obviously, Dawn Wall is no direct line, like a rain drop falling off the cliff.

It is what we saw, a line imagined and executed by a very strong climber. One that also captured the moment in USA.


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