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watchme


Jan 24, 2004, 8:04 PM
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Definition of Trad climbing?
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When people call themselves "trad" climbers, does that mean that they place gear, or that they adhere to the strict traditional ethics from before the sport-climbing movement in the 80's? By strict traditional ethics I mean no hangdogging (even on gear routes), no top rope rehearsals, and every time you fall you get lowered to the ground.

What I am getting at is that someone could be into climbing gear routes, but not be a traditional free climber.

The reason I am asking is that I see all these labels of "trad" this and "trad" that. When I think trad climber, I think of someone like Mark Wilford, John Sherman, etc.


rokshoxbkr19


Jan 24, 2004, 8:11 PM
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Trad climbing or Traditional climbing refers to climbing a route that is protected by placing gear on lead.


hammer_


Jan 24, 2004, 10:53 PM
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When I was still a beginner I didn't understand the honor of leaving something until I deserve it. It is a crack climbers mentality (notice I didn't say trad), sport lines rarely command such beauty and thus reverence. This I believe explains the vast difference in mentality among the two disciplines.

Well said!


skiclimb


Jan 24, 2004, 10:58 PM
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Placing gear on lead. To me it is the most ideal of technical climbing situations...it is what allows you to go to any unclimbed technical route anywhere in the world and climb it. Especially multipitch climbing. That's always what I dream about when I think of the things I would like to do and on ocassion have had the chance to.


Partner coldclimb


Jan 25, 2004, 12:50 AM
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coldclimb moved this thread [In reply to]
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coldclimb moved this thread from General to Trad Climbing.


andypro


Jan 25, 2004, 1:19 AM
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There are differences in "Traditional climbing" (trad climbing) and a traditionalist climber. Trad climbing has come to mean placeing your own gear as you make your way up the rock. A traditionalist climber would be someone who sticks to old school ways and such. Thats the way I figure it anyways.


watchme


Jan 25, 2004, 6:00 PM
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I didn’t mean to sound confrontational, arrogant, or anything. I just was curious because I started climbing in the late 80’s/early 90’s when the sport climbing movement was gaining momentum, and there were lines being drawn between “sport” and “trad”. I saw and heard first hand the “discussions” of ground up vs. top down establishment of routes, bolt placement and chopping, hangdogging, etc.

But, “trad” climbing was more than just placing gear, and “sport” climbing was more than clipping bolts. It was a change of style:

Sport – whatever it takes to free the route, and the danger should be minimized.

Traditional – don’t hang on the rope. Don’t pre-place gear. Danger is part of the game.

At this time, bouldering was practiced by both schools. There are boulder problems that are safe and can be worked, and there are high-ball problems that you need the traditional approach (unless you top-rope it first and then send it).

I’m not saying now that one style is better than another. It’s all climbing.


leadbelly


Apr 5, 2004, 10:17 PM
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is there a place in between trad and aid...i understand that hangdogging includes hanging off an anchor but for petes sake are you really expected to make it all the way up without a rest? if you rest during a trad climb how is it done "ethically"


kalcario


Apr 5, 2004, 10:51 PM
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*Trad climbing or Traditional climbing refers to climbing a route that is protected by placing gear on lead.*

Nope. There are thousands of trad routes that are bolt protected - Tuolumne fo example. Bolt protected face climbing has been around way longer than sport climbing.


Partner coldclimb


Apr 5, 2004, 11:00 PM
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*Trad climbing or Traditional climbing refers to climbing a route that is protected by placing gear on lead.*

Nope. There are thousands of trad routes that are bolt protected - Tuolumne fo example. Bolt protected face climbing has been around way longer than sport climbing.

This has been a really popular statement around the site these last few days, and yet it goes against every definition I have ever learned of sport and trad. Can you explain that? :? Not flaming or anything, I'm genuinely interested.


kalcario


Apr 5, 2004, 11:01 PM
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* When I was still a beginner I didn't understand the honor of leaving something until I deserve it. When I was still a beginner I didn't understand the honor of leaving something until I deserve it. It is a crack climbers mentality (notice I didn't say trad), sport lines rarely command such beauty and thus reverence. This I believe explains the vast difference in mentality among the two disciplines.*

Kids - don't listen to this kook. What if you're trying to free a big wall, or on a road trip to someplace you're never going back to? If you approach climbing this way you will end up with a long list of routes you never did. Free climbing is free climbing, whether sport or trad, there is no "vast difference in mentality"- unless you're trying to justify not trying hard.


njari


Apr 5, 2004, 11:04 PM
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I'll concede that the presence of bolts doesn't make a line "sport," (this horse has been beaten beyond death, BTW) but I can't bring myself to call someone a "trad climber" unless they are placing gear (FA excluded).


karmaklimber


Apr 5, 2004, 11:07 PM
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and every time you fall you get lowered to the ground.

Ok, so I'm still new to climbing (only been climbing for 2 years, bouldering and sport... would LOVE! to learn trad one day), and call me dumb or whatever you want, thats fine, but I have a question on technicality:

So if you're leading a route, place a few pieces of gear, then fall and are lowered to the ground, too tired or don't have the skills yet to free the route, how do you get your gear back? Leave it there? Get someone else to clean it for you?

Thanks


jv


Apr 5, 2004, 11:11 PM
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When people call themselves "trad" climbers, does that mean that they place gear, or that they adhere to the strict traditional ethics from before the sport-climbing movement in the 80's? By strict traditional ethics I mean no hangdogging (even on gear routes), no top rope rehearsals, and every time you fall you get lowered to the ground.

What I am getting at is that someone could be into climbing gear routes, but not be a traditional free climber.

The reason I am asking is that I see all these labels of "trad" this and "trad" that. When I think trad climber, I think of someone like Mark Wilford, John Sherman, etc.
In my opinion, you are correct, and anyone who equates traditional climbing with placing gear, and sport climbing with clipping bolts, is just wrong. Problem is that language changes, and more and more often "trad" is used as a synonym for (removable) gear. Here are a couple of definitions I've been working on.

sport climbing - n. A school of climbing that emphasizes shorter routes, extreme physical difficulty, and bolts or otherwise fixed protection placed so as to allow the climber to focus on the moves rather than on the consequences of a fall. Unlike trad climbing, any means used to install protection is fair, including any kind of aid, and rappelling. While an onsight ascent of a sport route is still coveted, there is no stigma attached to hanging on the protection and rehearsing moves before an ascent without aid from the rope. (See redpoint.) Sport climbing includes gym climbing and competitions. Bolted climbs are not necessarily sport routes. (See trad climbing.)

trad/ traditional climbing - n. A climbing ethic emphasizing boldness and impeccable methods. The embodiment of this ethic is the onsight ascent, leading a free climb from the ground up, with no prior knowledge of the route, without using direct aid (resting on gear). Rather than rehearsing the moves on a climb and hanging on the rope as in sport climbing, climbers work up to a hard route by doing many easier routes in good style, that is, from the ground up with no falls or hangs. Before the introduction of sport climbing ethics, the prevailing ethic in the U.S. was to lead routes from the ground up without resorting to aid. New climbers tend to confuse trad climbing with putting in removable gear. This is wrong. Although a sport climb usually has nothing but fixed gear, that doesnt make a bolted slab a sport climb. (See sport climbing; runout.) There are hundreds, if not thousands, of slab routes with nothing but bolts for protection that are trad routes.

JV


brianthew


Apr 5, 2004, 11:17 PM
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This has been a really popular statement around the site these last few days, and yet it goes against every definition I have ever learned of sport and trad. Can you explain that? Not flaming or anything, I'm genuinely interested.

From where I see it, the term "sport climb" implies a certain degree of safety in the climb, as in minimal runouts, etc. Those slabs and such with 30 foot runouts between bolts don't really meet this safety criteria, which doesn't really put fit them within the typical nature of sport climbing (see JV's definition). Call them "adventure climbs" or whatnot. They'd have more in common with a traditional climb than a sport climb.

Just my interpretation, of course.


curt


Apr 5, 2004, 11:17 PM
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*Trad climbing or Traditional climbing refers to climbing a route that is protected by placing gear on lead.*

Nope. There are thousands of trad routes that are bolt protected - Tuolumne fo example. Bolt protected face climbing has been around way longer than sport climbing.

As much as it pains me to agree, Joe is absolutely correct. Bolts per se have nothing to do with whether a climb is trad or sport.

Curt


njari


Apr 5, 2004, 11:20 PM
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So if you're leading a route, place a few pieces of gear, then fall and are lowered to the ground, too tired or don't have the skills yet to free the route, how do you get your gear back? Leave it there? Get someone else to clean it for you?

It all depends on the route. If you're lucky, you can retrieve it on rap or a friendly ropegun will get it. Otherwise, it's booty for the next party (unless they are as honest as some of the people at this site--It's great to see people advertise to return recovered gear.)


njari


Apr 5, 2004, 11:23 PM
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sport climbing - ...any means used to install protection is fair, including any kind of aid, and rappelling.

I'll agree with most of your definitions, but do you really want to put aid in the category of "Sport?"


jt512


Apr 5, 2004, 11:57 PM
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In reply to:
*Trad climbing or Traditional climbing refers to climbing a route that is protected by placing gear on lead.*

Nope. There are thousands of trad routes that are bolt protected - Tuolumne fo example. Bolt protected face climbing has been around way longer than sport climbing.

This has been a really popular statement around the site these last few days, and yet it goes against every definition I have ever learned of sport and trad. Can you explain that? :? Not flaming or anything, I'm genuinely interested.

I can't explain why the definitions of sport climbing you've seen have been wrong. JV's definition, above, is about the best one I've seen. I call your attention to this part of it: "port climbing...emphasizes...bolts or otherwise fixed protection placed so as to allow the climber to focus on the moves rather than on the consequences of a fall."

So, in addition to emphasizing bolt protection, sport climbing emphasizes placement of that protection in a manner that minimizes the consequences of a lead fall. In contrast to this, there are many routes on which bolts are the only pro, but where the bolts were placed -- on the first ascent -- only where the leader felt they were absolutely essential. Often, such bolts are 30 or more feet apart, and the consequences of a lead fall can be quite serious. Such climbs, which emphasize boldness, rather than safety, are bolted in the traditional manner, and do not meet the definition of a sport climb. In fact, many, if not most, such climbs were put up before sport climbing was even conceived.

-Jay


kalcario


Apr 6, 2004, 12:10 AM
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*This has been a really popular statement around the site these last few days, and yet it goes against every definition I have ever learned of sport and trad. Can you explain that?*

There are basically 2 kinds of free climbing on rock - crack climbing or face climbing. Here in Cali we have hundreds of relatively low angle granite domes. The routes on these domes do not necessarily follow crack systems - in fact, they rarely do. Instead you use face climbing technique, which involves frictioning and tiny edges. Of course there's usually no natural protection, so since the 1960's, starting in Yosemite and a few other places, climbers drilled bolts with a hammer and hand held drill for pro while leading the first ascent of these routes, usually from tenuous, insecure stances. These routes invariably had long distances between bolts due to the labor involved in stopping and drilling. Since the prevailing ethic of the day was ground-up, no one thought to come in from above on rappell and preplace the bolts, so in terms of style, for the first ascent anyway, these were considered trad routes.

A huge limitation of this approach, though, was the fact that you could only stop to drill on the lead if the rock was low angle enough to basically let go with both hands so you could hit the drill with the hammer. The best climbers were clearly capable of climbing the steeper faces, but the ability to protect it on the lead had not (and still has'nt) advanced. It was the Europeans, the French in particular, who, in the early to mid 80's, unhindered by the "traditional" ground up ethic, and with vast amounts of otherwise unprotectable, steep, crackless limestone, began to bolt on rappell, also using motorized drills which cut down the labor of drilling and with it the justification for sparse bolting, and "sport" climbing, for lack of a better term, was born.

It's pretty easy, though, to confuse a bolt protected "trad" route with a bolt protected "sport" route. Both are bolted face climbs - really the only difference, in this country anyway, is the bolted trad route tends to be low angle and runout, and the bolted sport route, steeper and not runout. But there are bolted trad routes that are not runout, and bolted sport routes that are. In my opinion the difference between sport face climbing and trad face climbing is not really protection, but difficulty.

Up to about medium 5.12, the modern sport route is little different from the hardest bolted trad routes of the pre-sport era - it basically took sport tactics (bolting on rappell) to push face climbing into hard 5.12 and beyond. The new ethic (or rather, lack thereof) meant that the extremely difficult, gymnastic moves that were practiced on boulders could now be used for the first time on actual climbs, and the artificial ceiling imposed by the ground up ethic could be dispensed with - the door to 5.13 face climbing was opened. There was widespread resistance to this among the old guard, who believed that all the old challenges would soon be bolted on rappell instead being left as bold ground-up projects for future generations, which did indeed happen, but when the top European sport climbers came to the US and did the hardest routes in the country with minimal effort, the final nail in the coffin of ground-up face climbing was driven. The new tactics also had the huge and unforseen benefit of opening up previously unprotectable and therefore untouched new climbing areas, a process which continues to this day.


Partner coldclimb


Apr 6, 2004, 12:40 AM
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interesting... clears that up for me. Thanks guys. :)


jv


Apr 6, 2004, 8:31 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
sport climbing - ...any means used to install protection is fair, including any kind of aid, and rappelling.

I'll agree with most of your definitions, but do you really want to put aid in the category of "Sport?"
Using aid to install protection is common in sport climbing, though not always used, and is considered cheating in traditional climbing (with a few notable exceptions, like Bachar-Yerian). If a clarification is needed, maybe I should expand on the word 'install.' That means siting, and placing permanent protection devices (bolts or other fixed protection) by the route's creator, not to clip protection on an existing route.

JV


andypro


Apr 6, 2004, 10:51 AM
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Holy Crap :shock:

this is the first thread I've seen since I've been a memeber here that actually has intelligent conversation involving ethics, bolts, trad, and sport climbing together. Thank you for the refresher guys. I've learned alot from this.


bumblie


Apr 12, 2004, 6:21 AM
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Bumped, in the hopes that dirtineye will read this thread. :lol:


factortwo


Apr 12, 2004, 7:00 AM
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I find the term "trad climbing" insulting. I think we should start a grass roots effort right here and now to re-identify the different types of rock climbing. I propose "real climbing" and "sport climbing"

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