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A Shift In Climber Attitudes
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timhinck


Dec 2, 2001, 9:04 PM
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A Shift In Climber Attitudes
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I posted a similar message in the Bouldering Section because I believe it applies to both.

I was talking to one of my friends who is an old climber, who learned his stuff in the Valley in the late 60's. We got on the topic of climber attitudes/ethics and several of his observations were interesting to me.

He said that the thing that disturbed him the most about modern climbing (of which he is in awe!) is the fact that most people will describe a route soley by naming its grade. He told stories of he and his buddies roping up simply to check out the view on a climb, or to get to a particular formation, or just because they wanted to pull down on a set of jugs above. He said that it seems modern climbers have lost some perspective. That we don't take enough time to stop and really enjoy/appreciate what it is we are doing. To appreciate the fact that when we are up there looking birds in the eye, we are seeing things that few others on the planet will ever see. He explained how, in his day, ratings were used as a way to tell other how amazing or enjoyable the climb was as well as a warning system.

Well, what do you guys think? Are these valid arguments? Do we need to slow down and take another look at what we're doing? Are we taking the sport for granted and missing out on part of the experience that our fore-runners enjoyed?

some food for thought,

peace out,

tim


addiroids


Dec 2, 2001, 10:02 PM
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[Attempting to put all personal preferences (sport -vs- TRAD) aside here.]

Notice that you talked to an OLD climber. They could go on and on about their climbs because they were most likely climbing routes with:

1) Character
2) Difficult protection
3) A nice view from top
4) Describable features (beautiful hand crack, left-facing corner, runout blank face)
5) Serenity and solitude

I'm sorry, but sport climbing just does not afford these kind of opportunities. Climbing has gone from enjoying the wonderful time of moving over stone and enjoying nature, to "rock gymnastics" and taking all the fun out of climbing. I trad climb because I want my time spent climbing to be "fruitful" not "sterile". They also were able to talk more about the climbs because they weren't jaded from the present raping of the rock that is happening today.

Besides, you said your old buddy climbed in the Valley. Can it get any better than that??

TRADitionally yours,

Addiroids

[ This Message was edited by: addiroids on 2001-12-02 22:04 ]


naturalhigh


Dec 2, 2001, 10:42 PM
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I agree... Ever look at the difference in route descriptions for trad vs sport routes? Sport route desc. - climb up, following bolts.
Trad route - start at base of old stump, near large dihedral, follow natural line up to first belay.. etc

My climbing partner and I use the rating system merely to find routes within our reach. We'll pick an area that has climbs we can do, go there, then just look at the rock until we see a climb that looks... wait for it... FUN! Yes, fun, enjoyable, and worth spending the day climbing. My favorite climbs haven't been the hardest I've done, but rather that awesome, perfectly vertical crack with beautiful fist jams that were just solid. And then the view across the valley from the top... can't be beat. =) Climb on!


passthepitonspete


Dec 2, 2001, 11:53 PM
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Big wall climbing is the best way to get to the bitchin'est campsites.

Every night I move the party to a higher balcony with a better view.


graniteboy


Dec 3, 2001, 10:20 PM
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These general ideas presented here are the reason why Alpinism and alpine rock climbing are so damned fine. Yeah, sprot climbing is missing something. It's also a damned good way to train for alpine rock, so you get your moves wired in disneyland, then go to the whitney region or the bugaboos. Balance.


darkside


Dec 3, 2001, 11:48 PM
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Take your time, enjoy the climb. Sometimes you get more from a climb that way. On my first trip to the Red in Kentucky I ended up on Roadside Attraction. An absolutely fun climb, usually done in two pitches, my buddy and I sat at the belay ledge for over 20 minutes chatting about the view, the climb, our other buddies we could see on the sport climbs further along the crag, and other stuff.
Numbers are definitely not everything in climbing.


saltspringer


Dec 4, 2001, 12:30 AM
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I think there's just as much enjoyment to be derived from the view on a sport climb as one on a trad climb...this constant need for one-up-manship between sport & trad climbers is disheartening. I've said it before & I'll say it again: I love the whole climbing experience from bouldering to sport to trad, whatever gets me outside & on the rock...the spirit of climbing is just as much alive in a lot of the sport climbers out there & they respect the rock and the environment perhaps more than their predecessors. I've seen quite a few people who are climbing trad that are obnoxious, self-centred and a danger to others & I often wonder what they get out of climbing other than the ability to spray about their latest ascent. Every facet of climbing offers its own unique experiences: ever boulder over the ocean near sunset? I've had amazing experiences 5 feet off the ground as well as 2000 feet off the ground: maybe it's what you bring to the climb that determines what you get out of it!


rocmonkey


Dec 4, 2001, 1:15 AM
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Modern climbers, that includes me, sometimes tend to push our grades so mush that we lose track of the splendour of our surroundings.

It is a valid point to just enjoy the climb for once and take in the view...
I now end my climbs by just sitting on a ledge for at least a few minutes and just suck it all in... it's wicked!

breathe stone
R C


jcs


Dec 4, 2001, 1:17 AM
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What Saltspringer said- that about sums it up. How can anyone argue with all that ("someone" will definately think of a way!)? Besides, rock gymnastics is fun. Bouldering in fun. Being really high off the ground is fun. Climbing is fun- right petonpeter? :0)


[ This Message was edited by: jcs on 2001-12-04 01:21 ]


timhinck


Dec 4, 2001, 8:58 PM
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I really like saltspringer's comment about what makes climbing is "what you bring to it". For example, it takes determination and mental stamina to get you up a sick problem just as it does to get you up as stout lead. Also, forcing yourself to stop at take a few minutes at the top of a climb can make it seem even more amazing in your own mind. I think the key is perspective, and remembering to not take things for granted: the earth, the view from above, the fact that you are breathing and not at work, or the victim of one of the several tragedies that has recently hit our country.

peace,

tim


hardcoredana


Dec 4, 2001, 10:25 PM
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I agree with saltspringer on this one. Any type of climbing still contains the essence of what I love about climbing.

And Rocmonkey, you should think about spending several hours at the top. Last year, I took a trip to Seneca, and I think I spent more time sitting on the summit than I did climbing. It was one of my best climbing trips.


clmbngfiend


Dec 5, 2001, 6:00 PM
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I think that the reason that climbers are using grades to descibe climbs these days is that the reason people climb is different. Back in the "good old days" people climbed to explore. They wanted to see what was out there. Sure, they would try to find a difficult way up but it was more for aesthetics. These days every prominent feature in the continental United States has been climbed so climbers can't forge ahead on new ground. They cant describe a climb by saying "follow the prominent natural feature to the top". If so, it's probably already been climbed. They have to find a different way up and the easiest way to describe that climb could be by the grade. I don't really like this new trend. Often i will rate and describe a climb between three grades. 5.easy, 5.fun, and 5.hard. Oh and by the way trad rules


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