/ Free climbing, what is it?

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SCrossley on 13 Mar 2014
Unusually I have bought a climbing mag, climb or climber or something, because it has an article about Morocco.
In the front inside there are some profiles on some of the contributors, Don Sargent, Ben Bransby and Tim Emmet IRC and the wife was reading it and says "oh this chap has free climbed El Cap" which impresses her no end as she has stood at the foot of it. She asks me what is free climbing? and to be honest I`m not sure, is it climbing a route without aid or soloing?
As this is a British mag the terminology seems odd.
Choss on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:

Just Means to Climb a route without using any Points of aid for Progress.
mattrm - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_climbing

It's just normal climbing, i.e. with hands and feet. As opposed to aid, which is with pegs.
Mike Stretford - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:
It means not using aid and is a term most British climbers would be familiar with. There's another thread on aid climbing were Al Evans amongst others talks of old aid routes that were 'freed'.

Not often mention when talking about British crags as people assume you are free climbing, but appropriate when talking about El Cap as I believe aid is often used.
Post edited at 13:30
Choss on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to mattrm:


> It's just normal climbing, i.e. with hands and feet. As opposed to aid, which is with pegs.

Pegs and or Clean aid with nuts cams etc. Pegs are still used in Free Climbing for Protection.
Dave Searle - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:

Climbing outside as supposed to in a climbing centre???
SCrossley on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to : Ah I see, I will have another look. The way I expected this to be phrased is . "Fred Bloggs climbed Three Pebble Slab, free". as opposed to "Fred Bloggs free climbed Three Pebble Slab".
Possibly I read it wrong and I`m hardly in a position to be a grammar pedant, but it did confuse me.

alooker - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Dave Searle:

You've obviously never had the joys of Bowles...
Bob on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:

Within climbing it means climbing without artificial aid for progress, so no pulling/resting on gear or standing in slings.

To the general (non-climbing) public it has come to mean soloing.

cb_6 - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Bob:

> To the general (non-climbing) public it has come to mean soloing.

Indeed, rather annoyingly so.
Skyfall - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to cb_6:
> Indeed, rather annoyingly so.

Yes, my old neighbour used to accost me all the time to ask me if I did this proper free climbing thing without ropes. I'd try to explain the difference between free climbing (ie. no aid) and soloing but to no avail and he clearly thought I wasn't a "proper" climber as I don't habitually climb sans ropes.
Post edited at 14:14
Rog Wilko on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to cb_6:

I think weíre fighting a losing battle here. In the past nobody knew, or even thought they knew, anything about climbing unless they were a climber. Today, everyone has seen impressive climbing feats on the TV (often with commentary by people who knew little about it) and so most think they know something about it. Most punters know for certain that free climbing means climbing without ropes. On occasions (Iíve learnt more sense recently) Iíve tried to enlighten the odd non-climbing friend but I rarely seem to get anywhere - they just don't believe what you say. Many non-climbers just cannot seem to take on board the difference between gear for aid and gear for protection, so understanding what aid climbing back in the 50s & 60s was, as distinct from free climbing, is quite beyond many.
Perhaps climbers should put an embargo on the phrase free climbing, neither using it nor admitting to hearing it. We donít really need the term any more, as aid climbing per se, as opposed to use of the odd point of aid, doesnít really exist (apart from dry tooling). So instead of asking whether such-a-body climbed their new wonder route free, just ask whether they used any aid. Letís just leave the term free climbing for non-climbers to play with amongst themselves.
M0nkey - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:


Free climbing is the near forgotten art of cadging into the climbing wall without payment.
deepsoup - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to M0nkey:
> Free climbing is the near forgotten art of cadging into the climbing wall without payment.

Here's a good little tutorial from the master: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2zg23N5zXY
Ian Parsons - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Skyfall:

> Yes, my old neighbour used to accost me all the time to ask me if I did this proper free climbing thing without ropes. I'd try to explain the difference between free climbing (ie. no aid) and soloing but to no avail and he clearly thought I wasn't a "proper" climber as I don't habitually climb sans ropes.

As I recall such questions usually included the phrase "like that french girl on the telly", which may well have been the root of all this; if so then CD has a lot to answer for!

IanMcC - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to deepsoup:

Excellent strategies!
Al Evans on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> It means not using aid and is a term most British climbers would be familiar with. There's another thread on aid climbing were Al Evans amongst others talks of old aid routes that were 'freed'.

I'm not sure what point you are making here, the principle of first free ascents is well established and I was merely stating that we sometimes free climbed old aid routes, hence first free ascent? By that I mean they were climbed completely free.
Michael Gordon - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:

> Ah I see, I will have another look. The way I expected this to be phrased is . "Fred Bloggs climbed Three Pebble Slab, free". as opposed to "Fred Bloggs free climbed Three Pebble Slab".
>

What's the difference?
cb_6 - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Al Evans:

> I'm not sure what point you are making here, the principle of first free ascents is well established and I was merely stating that we sometimes free climbed old aid routes, hence first free ascent? By that I mean they were climbed completely free.

Where's the confusion? As I understand it he's saying the same thing you are.
Blue Straggler - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to GLUF:

Free climbing described in the first 45 seconds of this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kestt5BI3eg
ads.ukclimbing.com
alan moore - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

If 'The Shat' says it: it must be true.

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