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Topic - Is it an onsight if...

MichaelGallimore - on 17 Aug 2014
I climbed a route at Bowden Doors on Saturday, placing gear on lead, then down climbed the route and stood on the ground for a rest. Up until this point I'd say the on-sight is still on the cards.

I then untied from the ropes, went to the car and put a coffee on the stove, ate lunch, soloed a couple of routes, pulled the ropes as I got rescued of another route, then returned for another crack at Slab Crack. I clipped the same pieces of gear I'd placed on my previous half ascent and finished the route clean.

What would you call that?
JoshOvki on 17 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Headpoint, by your own admission you weighted the rope ;)
Dominicandave on 17 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

You can't have a coffee break at your car on an O/S, that's nuts. That's like doing the Tour de France in 2 consecutive years starting halfway and claiming the combined time.
The Pylon King on 17 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Onsight 0.5 + 0.5
mkean - on 17 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Did you weight the rope when you were rescued?

aln - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

> I climbed a route at Bowden Doors on Saturday, placing gear on lead, then down climbed the route and stood on the ground

> What would you call that?

I'd call that climbing. What's your point?
wbo - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore: if you didn't weight the rope then yeah, it's onsight. I've climbed up, placed gear,down climbed, rested and then gone back and done it bottom to top, I just missed out all the other stuff you did

leland stamper on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

A good day out by the sound of it.
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I don't see why you are asking a question about a simple matter of honesty. If you have several goes at a route (or top rope it) and then succeed in leading it from the ground up, and people turn up at the crag while you're doing so and you claim to have done it on sight, you are simply lying.

The second point is why an onsight lead is regarded as the best style in which to climb a trad route (certainly in the low to mid grades) when using a rope as a safety backup: because it shows that a climber is both sportingly bold and technically skilful i.e the opposite of an incompetent bullshitter - who claims they can do a route but can't, or only succeed after multiple attempts, resting on the rope etc.

Of course, it's no big deal if one fails on a climb. Climbing is a contest between the climber and the mountain or crag, and if the climber fails it simply means that on this occasion the crag has won. Fair game.
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I was probably a bit unfair in the last post, because your question was about 'what counts as an onsight', and you suggested being lowered (or being rescued) and taking a tea break half way through might still count. The problem with that is that almost any climber who fails on a crux will then have 'seen' the moves and holds closeup, and may even have explored them while resting on the rope - so any later attempt will be 'with prior knowledge' (i.e close-up visual knowledge).
LakesWinter on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I think he meant he fell off/got rescued off a different route and then after climbing about 3 routes went and completed the route he first started, which is probably a really tenuous onsight as he never fell or weighted the gear and had no knowledge of the route before doing it?
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to LakesWinter:

Ah, I see what you mean. The critical point being that he says he downclimbed the route (presumably from just below the crux), implying that he did not rest on the rope. The trouble is that we use the term onsight rather naughtily sometimes to include a certain amount of 'yo-yo-ing' like this. Of course, most of us would agree that this is not as good or satsifying a style as doing a climb on-sight in one continuous push.
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to LakesWinter:

Of course, it's not really what we claim, or what words we use, that matters, but what we actually do. Which is something we will know in our 'heart of hearts' ... i.e how well we really climbed something. All the rest is bullshit, to one degree or another.
The Pylon King on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Of course, it's not really what we claim, or what words we use, that matters, but what we actually do. Which is something we will know in our 'heart of hearts' ... i.e how well we really climbed something. All the rest is bullshit, to one degree or another.

Spot on!!
MichaelGallimore - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

To clarify, I didn't weight the gear at any point, but got rescued off a nea by route.
USBRIT - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I personally think the only true on sight is ground up on a first ascent. Most popular climbs have chalked up holds or have a guide book discription.Pushing it a bit to say "on sight"
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

But the definition of onsight will determine to a large extent what is in your 'heart of hearts'. If you don't know the definition of the word, it's difficult to have any feelings about it, whether you're cheating yourself or not.

If you had only guidebook beta, and didn't weight the rope, that's fine isn't it? I don't think there are any other criteria (some would argue about chalk). Not sure about pulling the ropes, but it doesn't give you any advantage does it?
BarrySW19 on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I guess it's like the tree falling in the forest. If you log an onsight and nobody cares is it still an onsight?
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> But the definition of onsight will determine to a large extent what is in your 'heart of hearts'. If you don't know the definition of the word, it's difficult to have any feelings about it, whether you're cheating yourself or not.

The point is that I'm much less interested in the word than the exact style. When I was leading (up to E2) my goal was always to try and lead a route on sight in one push. Even then, though, there was such a thing as onsighting something well, and onsighting badly (i.e finding it a struggle and only just making it.) Towards the end of my climbing (c. the last seven years), because I was no longer trying to push my standard, my goal was always to see how well I could do a route, not whether I could do it. It was actually very satisfying. I would always try to be ruthlessly honest in my private logbook and if I wasn't satisfied with the way I'd led a route/ had climbed it badly, I'd say so. If I felt/knew I'd climbed it well, so that the whole thing was a great experience, I would actually write the name of the climb in red ink. There weren't so many of those (c. 10-15%).
pebbles - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

ah, but at what point is it unacceptable to climb up, place gear, climb down part way, but still on the route for a rest then climb back up? what if its a big ledge that you downclimb to and have a cigarette or a mars bar? "who gives a monkeys" you quite rightly say, but for the sake of pub arguments I think its still onsight even if you have a little snooze
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to pebbles:

My attitude, often, if a crux looked harder than I expected, or I was feeling tired, was that I might as well do it in less than perfect style by coming down to have a rest. Then of course there are lots of routes where the crux comes quite soon after a stance, and you go up and put in the gear, come down for a rest, and then go up and do it in one push. That just seemed fair enough to me, certainly for maximum enjoyment. Anyway, in all the time I was climbing we never had big debates about these things, or bothered by the terminology (a lot of the words hadn't even been invented when I started e.g. headpoint.)
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I agree with your sentiments about climbing generally, I think pretty much the same way (apart from my log), but the OP is interested in the word. If you're going to log the style of ascent (onsight/flash/whatever), and you care about your log being accurate, it's important to know what those words mean isn't it?
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
I think climbing up and down, using rests properly, etc, is good style. It's good use of tactics, and a very important skill to learn.
Post edited at 11:42
CMcBain - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

I don't know if 'good style' is the best word for it, although arguably it's still an O/S. If someone cruises up a route protecting it as he/she goes and not down climbing to a ledge and then someone else comes along and does the same route but down climbs to the ledge several times after placing gear and working out the crux sequence. Who would you say has led it in better style?

FWIW, for me i've lost the O/S if I down climb back to the ground. On the other hand, placing gear after several up/down climbs and resting on ledges is probably still an O/S, however I'd feel like I hadn't climbed the route very well if I did this consistently. In the end it doesn't really matter as you are only ever cheating yourself, it only becomes problematic when you start bragging at the pub...
Al Evans on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Eeeeee! I'm reet glad when I were a lad nobody gave a rats arse how they gor up summat long as they dint bullshit abaat it.
pebbles - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

>

> FWIW, for me i've lost the O/S if I down climb back to the ground. On the other hand, placing gear after several up/down climbs and resting on ledges is probably still an O/S,

so how high off the ground must the ledge be - I can think of a few routes which are steep and pumpy (for the grade) except for the huge ledge a metre off the ground. theyre only low grade routes so no-one in reality gives a monkeys, but its a good one for after you've had a few beers...

Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

Precisely.
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

I wouldn't say either. Both are using their own skills and abilities to get to the top. Good tactics is part of that.
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Al Evans:

I suspect you're memory might be failing you Al. :)
LakesWinter on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

I'd say it doesn't matter as long as you don't rest on gear, pull on gear or fall off and you've not previously done this then it's onsight. Onsighting something in a not very smooth way can actually be really impressive, as if the route is close to your limit then it might not all flow nicely and might need a battle.

The most impressive lead I've belayed this year was my mate on a multipitch route that was hard for them. They climbed up and down a section about 8 times from a rest/jug til they had worked it out and then they did it and only just made it, all without giving in or falling off or aiding a move. That was much more impressive to me than watching someone cruising something.

That said, it's all a matter of personal taste, the above
ads.ukclimbing.com
ianstevens - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

> What would you call that?

If you have to ask if its onsight, then it probably isn't.
JamButty - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

but did you enjoy it?.......................
SCrossley on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to USBRIT:

> I personally think the only true on sight is ground up on a first ascent. Most popular climbs have chalked up holds or have a guide book discription.Pushing it a bit to say "on sight"

Until I new routed in Morocco I would not have fully appreciated your point of view, but now I do, it is just so pure a form of climbing and so intense. Sadly the opportunities for walking up to a crag, picking a line and going for it are pretty rare in the UK, even if it`s a "new line" chances are you have abbed down it or climbed next to it.

to the OP. In UK terms I would say you have onsighted it, but really it`s what you think that matters.
Al Evans on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to SCrossley:

to the OP. In UK terms I would say you have onsighted it, but really it`s what you think that matters.

Well said, and to US Brit's comments as well.
Al Evans on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to SCrossley:

Sorry, USBRIT paul.
Chris Harris - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Feel free top correct me, but when he finally came to ascend the route, he had done an apparently substantial portion of it previously, so he knew where the holds were, knew the moves & sequences to use them etc etc.

How can this be an "on sight" by any definition?

Robert Durran - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:

> Feel free top correct me, but when he finally came to ascend the route, he had done an apparently substantial portion of it previously, so he knew where the holds were, knew the moves & sequences to use them etc etc.

> How can this be an "on sight" by any definition?

The knowledge was gained without beta and without weighting the rope. Therefore onsight.

Mick Dewsbury - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I'm with Al on both his comments. Jeez, what have things come to!? You climb a route from top to bottom in one go as a route. If you're not good enough then you might come down for a rest or even lob off, but if you get up it cleanly eventually then well done, you're pushing yourself and maybe next time do it in one push. Just climb for yourself, it doesn't matter about headpoint, onsight, redpoint until you're in the magazines! Oh, and ther's no such thing as 'onsight with a coffee break'...
pebbles - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Mick Dewsbury:

> 'onsight with a coffee break'...

would make a good route name though ;-D


The Pylon King on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Mick Dewsbury:

If you take a hanging stance halfway up a route then have you partially aided it?
Chris the Tall - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The knowledge was gained without beta and without weighting the rope. Therefore onsight.

+1
Enty - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The knowledge was gained without beta and without weighting the rope. Therefore onsight.

It's not that hard to understand is it?

To the OP - you can down climb and have as many rests on the ground as you want mate so long as you don't weight anything on the route. I have quite a few onsights like that.

E
Enty - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> If you take a hanging stance halfway up a route then have you partially aided it?

That was always the joke - I think I did Bloody Sunday in two pitches ;-)

E
Al Evans on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:

How can this be an "on sight" by any definition?

Who cares?
tom_in_edinburgh - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The knowledge was gained without beta and without weighting the rope. Therefore onsight.

If someone went up and saw the crux move was too hard could they downclimb, go to the wall for 6 months to practice that specific move, come back, do the move and still call it an onsight?

There needs to be some common sense time limit between starting a route and finishing it for it to count as one go.
Lord_ash2000 - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

No it isn't. Who cares, why do you care?

You on sighted the first half, came down, then proceeded to climb the route.

So on the actual accent, the first half of the climb was head pointed with pre-placed gear then the second bit was on-sight but with the benefit of having got there by climbing a rehearsed section of rock.

You might as well have abbed down from the top to your last high point and started leading from there feel fresh.

Personally, I don't agree with this climbing back to the floor crap. Climb down to a ledge (assuming it's on route) and rest if you like because you haven't left the rock / route, a ledge is just a big foothold. But to actually end up n the ground I count as having backed off and failed.

Think about it, if you fall off the first few hard move of a route and land back on the floor, have you failed or just reverse dyno'd back to the floor for a rest?
DubyaJamesDubya - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Of course it is 'onsight'. You didn't fail on the route. The only knowledge gained was from a non-fail attempt.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> [...]
>
>
> There needs to be some common sense time limit between starting a route and finishing it for it to count as one go.

Why?
scott quinn - on 18 Aug 2014

> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> [...]
>
>
> There needs to be some common sense time limit between starting a route and finishing it for it to count as one go.


My friend regularly puts me on "count down" belay, he even does the theme tune when the times nearly up.....
DubyaJamesDubya - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to scott quinn:
>
> [...]
> >
> > [...]
> >
> >
> > There needs to be some common sense time limit between starting a route and finishing it for it to count as one go.
>
>
> My friend regularly puts me on "count down" belay, he even does the theme tune when the times nearly up.....

I wouldn't be managing many 'onsights' under those conditions.

Robert Durran - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> If someone went up and saw the crux move was too hard could they downclimb, go to the wall for 6 months to practice that specific move, come back, do the move and still call it an onsight?

Yes, of course. It's pretty common and often called "preserving the onsight" (though that specificity of training might be a bit unusual!).
Robert Durran - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Think about it, if you fall off the first few hard move of a route and land back on the floor, have you failed or just reverse dyno'd back to the floor for a rest?

The onsight would still be on (no gear weighted). Though an inadvisable tactic from too high or with a bad landing. It's often called "bouldering out the start"

Stevie989 - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I'm half way between not caring and thinking that it isn't really an on-sight.

It sounds very similar to yo-yo-ing which was onced alright but is now bad form.


Robert Durran - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Stevie989:

> It sounds very similar to yo-yo-ing which was onced alright but is now bad form.

Totally different (lowering off weights gear).

1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Stevie989:

You can weight the rope for a yo-yo. I'm not sure anything is considered bad form, unless you lie about what you've done or damage the rock. At least it isn't by me anyway.
mike kann - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

So you're asking this about a 10-15m e1? Does anybody care other than you? You know in your gut whether it was an onsight, otherwise you wouldn't be asking. Which means either you don't, or your belayer has been taking the piss out of you for claiming it as such. Just write it down as a beta flash and put us out of our misery...
Enty - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> If someone went up and saw the crux move was too hard could they downclimb, go to the wall for 6 months to practice that specific move, come back, do the move and still call it an onsight?

>

Course they could.

E
Goucho on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

> I climbed a route at Bowden Doors on Saturday, placing gear on lead, then down climbed the route and stood on the ground for a rest. Up until this point I'd say the on-sight is still on the cards.

> I then untied from the ropes, went to the car and put a coffee on the stove, ate lunch, soloed a couple of routes, pulled the ropes as I got rescued of another route, then returned for another crack at Slab Crack. I clipped the same pieces of gear I'd placed on my previous half ascent and finished the route clean.

> What would you call that?

An awful lot of fuss to climb a short E1.

Enty - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Stevie989:

> I'm half way between not caring and thinking that it isn't really an on-sight.

> It sounds very similar to yo-yo-ing which was onced alright but is now bad form.

It's nothing like Yo-Yoing at all.

E
Stevie989 - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:

Yeah I see that now - cheers.
Dispater on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

A good rule of thumb: if you have to ask if it counted as an on-sight - it didn't.
Dan Arkle - on 18 Aug 2014
I think the OP has recieved some undeserved stick for asking a fairly straightforward question.

As there is no consensus on the answer, it shows the question was a valid one.

Does it matter? Of course it doesn't to you, but everyones' climbing achievements matter to themselves.

My opinion:
I agree with James McHaffie who says the Onsight film:
"Some people think you've lost the onsight if you downclimb to the ground - of course you haven't - you've lost the onsight when you weight the gear"
This is after he downclimbs 80% of Masters Edge after splitting a tip!

Many really hard onsights (top level or at your highest level) involve downclimbing sections to rests. Its simply good tactics. If going back to the ground is the best rest then do it. If the gear isn't weighted then the onsight is still on.

As to the suggestion that the information you've gained about the route constitutes 'beta', I'd describe that information as 'alpha'! Its first hand information you've fought hard for. Not beta which is others giving you the information second hand.

There is no logical difference between getting back on it immediately
or in a years time.

Whether it is worth the hassle of downclimbing all the way is a different question. There is certainly merit to pushing yourself on to the point of falling.
Enty - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Amen!!

E
Lord_ash2000 - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The onsight would still be on (no gear weighted).

So o you only fail to make a successful accent if you weight gear now?

I've had thought it was when you failed to get to the top in one push, ie fallen off or forced to retreat. If in future you then set off again and complete the climb then you've climbed it, although no longer on-sight. Doesn't matter if that is after 10 min's or 10 days.
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

You can make a successful ascent and weight gear, but the route was dogged. :)
earlsdonwhu - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Sorry, but who actually cares?
MG - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Does one reply invalidate a troll?

bpmclimb - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Ok, I'll add my tuppence worth Ö.

Clearly the term "onsight" is not completely defined - there's obviously a little room for personal interpretation - so I don't see much point in getting too stewed up if someone else's interpretation is slightly different. I think takes a pretty extreme case to justify banding around words such as "liar".

FWIW, I would still call it an onsight if at some stage in the ascent I downclimbed a short section back to a rest point - that's just a sensible tactic. That would also apply if I downclimbed the initial moves to the ground; then got straight back on the route. On the other hand, if I went to the pub and then went home for a sleep; then led the route clean the following day, I definitely wouldn't call it an onsight, I'd call it a clean lead with beta. For me, the big time lag would make a difference.
FactorXXX - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Dave Macleod did something similar, but took the gear out: -

http://davemacleod.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/tempest-in-teacup.html

The relevant excerpt: -

After 2.5 hours, I was 6 metres from the top, but had run out of gear. Iíd managed to take plenty of gear I didnít need and not nearly enough of what I did. I didnít fancy a major peel from the final moves without gear but was desperate not to lose the onsight either. Solution? Downclimb the whole thing taking the gear back out and come back after a rest. A day later I was stuck for a partner but an emergency Tweet and gracious response from Iain set me up with Matt and Nic to finish the job. After the alpine sun of the last month, it was Scottish business as usual, getting lost in the Coire for an hour just trying to find the route through the mist and snow. Various rubbish wires were found underneath the ice smear, as I waited for the constant dousing in spindrift avalanches to let up for just a bloody minute and allow me to gasp through the final moves.
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

What if you didn't bother going to the pub, instead you went straight home? :)
Hardonicus - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Definitely onsight. Sleep well tonight my son.
ripper - on 18 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

definitely an on-site ;-)

DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to MichaelGallimore)
>
> So you're asking this about a 10-15m e1? Does anybody care other than you? You know in your gut whether it was an onsight, otherwise you wouldn't be asking. Which means either you don't, or your belayer has been taking the piss out of you for claiming it as such. Just write it down as a beta flash and put us out of our misery...

Actually he's just putting an extreme case which he may have made up for the sake of 'Devil's advocacy'. As for 'misery' speak for yourself and you cared enough to post. Yes?
DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Dan Arkle:
> I think the OP has recieved some undeserved stick for asking a fairly straightforward question.
>
> As there is no consensus on the answer, it shows the question was a valid one.
>
> Does it matter? Of course it doesn't to you, but everyones' climbing achievements matter to themselves.
>
> My opinion:
> I agree with James McHaffie who says the Onsight film:
> "Some people think you've lost the onsight if you downclimb to the ground - of course you haven't - you've lost the onsight when you weight the gear"
> This is after he downclimbs 80% of Masters Edge after splitting a tip!
>
> Many really hard onsights (top level or at your highest level) involve downclimbing sections to rests. Its simply good tactics. If going back to the ground is the best rest then do it. If the gear isn't weighted then the onsight is still on.
>
> As to the suggestion that the information you've gained about the route constitutes 'beta', I'd describe that information as 'alpha'! Its first hand information you've fought hard for. Not beta which is others giving you the information second hand.
>
> There is no logical difference between getting back on it immediately
> or in a years time.
>
> Whether it is worth the hassle of downclimbing all the way is a different question. There is certainly merit to pushing yourself on to the point of falling.

++1
DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to MichaelGallimore)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> An awful lot of fuss to climb a short E1.

A bit elitist?
A short E1 can be the world to someone.
Enty - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

> Sorry, but who actually cares?

Climbing means alot more to some people than you might think. I'm one of em, my ascents are important to me and happy to advise climbers who feel the same.

E
Michael Hood - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000: > reverse dyno'd back to the floor

Love this expression :-) will have to work out how to use it.

No I didn't fail on the start, I just reverse dyno'd back to the floor.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The knowledge was gained without beta and without weighting the rope. Therefore onsight.

OR: the attempt was over when he untied the rope and walked away. When he went back it was another attempt with knowledge from the first attempt, therefore not onsight.
Robert Durran - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> OR: the attempt was over when he untied the rope and walked away. When he went back it was another attempt with knowledge from the first attempt, therefore not onsight.

The key fact is that the knowledge was gained by the climber on lead without weighting any gear. So would it have been ok if he hadn't untied and just stood there for ages? When I climb back to the ground during an onsight attempt, I'll almost always untie to walk away and get a better perspective, have something to drink or eat and a proper rest, and whether I get back on the rock after 2 minutes or another year when I'm going better is completely irrelevant.
Post edited at 12:31
Enty - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> OR: the attempt was over when he untied the rope and walked away. When he went back it was another attempt with knowledge from the first attempt, therefore not onsight.

???

E
Dan Arkle - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:

Here is a Gresham article on ethics for y'all.
http://web.archive.org/web/20081015071844/http://www.climber.co.uk/categories/articleitem.asp?cate=1...

(supports downclimbing to ground, no word on ascents over several days!)
Blue Straggler - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:

Maybe the onsight is retained only if something physical (i.e. rockfall) happens to the route during the rest :-)

Honestly some of the replies here remind me of The Pathetic Sharks in Viz!
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:
> ???
Like it says in the Gresham article the key thing is 'on your first go'. The question being when does the 'first go' stop if you climb down to the ground.

For me, as soon as you conclude 'I'm not going to get this today' and walk away you have ended your 'first go'. Arguably your incomplete 'go' on the first route should also be considered abandoned as soon as you have a go on another route.
Post edited at 13:42
DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Your 'go' finishes when you fail. You fail when you weight the gear.

So let's do the extremes thing:

You rock up to do the route (Main Wall say). You start to climb, you're maybe 6ft up, suddenly it starts to hammer down, you scuttle off the crag, eventually you give up and go home. Somewhere between one day and 40 years later you come back, just as you start someone shouts 'I remember you trying that once before, you've blown the onsight'
'I don't think so you reply' or maybe you say 'oh yes you are right, thanks for that'.
Post edited at 15:11
Enty - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Yep. By the way I've given up....

E
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Your 'go' finishes when you fail. You fail when you weight the gear.

> So let's do the extremes thing:

So if the crux is close enough to the ground to jump off and hit the ground before the rope goes tight you can have as many goes as you like?



tcashmore - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I think the important point is that you hogged the route by leaving your gear and ropes in place which one could consider as not very 'ethical'!
DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> So if the crux is close enough to the ground to jump off and hit the ground before the rope goes tight you can have as many goes as you like?

Err I think they call that bouldering out the start. A lot of Gritstone is like this :-)
If you want to climb to 1" from the top and reverse back down then climb it again I would call it strange but onsight
Post edited at 15:58
DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:

I'm getting there...
Robert Durran - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Like it says in the Gresham article the key thing is 'on your first go'. The question being when does the 'first go' stop if you climb down to the ground.

He clearly implies that the first go only stops when gear is weighted.
ads.ukclimbing.com
mike kann - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Bit of a contrived situation don't you think? If it was Ron Fawcett doing thesame thing on Strawberries you might have a point. But its not. In my opinion he should know himself whether it felt like an onsight. After all onsight, or flash, or red point, or headpoint, its just a contrived set of rules we place upon ourselves. The guy made a valid ascent of the route. If he wants to be absolutely correct, then he should mark himself down on the basis that he went off, had a slash, picked his nose, knew the first half of the route, rested a bit, and then got back on it. The only difference between that and a beta flash is that he didn't lower off. A beta flash is still a decent style to climb it in, so what's actually the problem? Nobody is going to care whether he flashed it or onsighted it, as it's his business whether he tells people that he went for a piss midroute - end of the day he can do what he likes... as for misery, it's misery because you full well know this is like a religion thread which will go on for ever and a day as nobody will be able to back down from their high horsed position (of which mine is one). So we'll just go round and round getting more and more indignant and outraged over something that is about as important as the EU legislation on straight banannas.
Enty - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to mike kann:

Ok one last try....if SOMEONE ELSE tells me how to do a crux on a route and I flash it first go this is an Onsight beta flash.

If I go up, work the crux out, down climb for a rest, go the pub, come back do it next day IT'S AN ONSIGHT!

E
mike kann - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:

If you say so. Personally for me, it's an onsight when I go to a crag, climb to the crux, and either climb it, or reverse to a rest whether thats a ledge or the ground, then rest up for a few minutes and then crack it off. But those are MY rules. Not Enty's or DJD's or Neil Greshams. And seeing as I'm not Neil Gresham, or Caff, and climb like a weak punter, nobody is ever going to care.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> He clearly implies that the first go only stops when gear is weighted.

Which implies you can have as many goes as you like at 'bouldering out the start' as long as when you jump off or fall the rope doesn't go tight? If it was actual bouldering jumping off or falling would end your go and it doesn't seem logical that the rope not going tight makes it OK.

Also, things like going up checking a move out without committing, concluding you can't do it, down climbing and walking away to come back when you are stronger doesn't really seem in the spirit of on-sight.
Michael Gordon - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Gresham wrote an article in Climber a few years back where he gave the example of a climber (who remained nameless) who got a fair way up a sport route and realised they weren't going to make it that time. The solution? Get the belayer to take them off, pull up some slack then jump off, breaking both ankles. They apparently returned a few years later and managed it first go.
Michael Gordon - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Which implies you can have as many goes as you like at 'bouldering out the start' as long as when you jump off or fall the rope doesn't go tight? If it was actual bouldering jumping off or falling would end your go and it doesn't seem logical that the rope not going tight makes it OK.
>

Yes, but bouldering is different to route climbing.

And for routes where the crux by far is the first few unprotected moves:
(a) the label 'onsight' isn't going to mean much, and
(b) aren't usually very good routes anyway

1poundSOCKS - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to mike kann:

Nothing wrong with having your own rules, but doesn't it make sense if the words we use to communicate with each other are well defined?
Robert Durran - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Which implies you can have as many goes as you like at 'bouldering out the start' as long as when you jump off or fall the rope doesn't go tight?

Correct. It is pretty normal to ask for slack when jumping for just that reason.




birdie num num - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I'd call it an onshite.
Robert Durran - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to mike kann:
> After all onsight.......just a contrived set of rules we place upon ourselves.

There is nothing contrived about saying that an ascent is onsight (or flash) if the rope is only used for protection rather than holding your weight - it seems a pretty clear cut and logical definition to me. Indeed, any other definition is going to be vague and contrived (like allowing downclimbing to a ledge just above the ground but not the ground itself, or allowing lowering to the ground and resting for an arbitrary maximum length of time)

> The only difference between that and a beta flash is that he didn't lower off.

Er...no....If he weighted the rope, it can no longer be flash (the only difference between onsight and flash is the beta). Once he's lowered off, the best he can hope for is "ground up", which is really just another term for "fail" ;-)
Post edited at 23:37
Robert Durran - on 19 Aug 2014
In reply to Enty:

> If SOMEONE ELSE tells me how to do a crux on a route and I flash it first go this is an Onsight beta flash.

No. This is self-contradictory. The beta rules out an onsight. It is just a beta flash. Onsights are a subset of flashes, not vice versa. Flashes are those ascents done without weighting gear. Onsights are those flashes done without beta. A flash without beta is an "onsight flash", usually just called an "onsight", and a flash with beta is a "beta flash", usually just called a "flash" without ambiguity because if there was no beta it would have been called an "onsight".

I hope that is clear.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Indeed, any other definition is going to be vague and contrived

What's wrong with UKC's definition? 'Without falls' is stronger than 'without weighting the gear' (http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=33)

ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top. The "purest" way to do a route. (The ultra-pure onsight is done nude, possibly at night.) [Adam Palmer.] Any route which is led first time, with no falls. To be a true onsight the climber must not have seen anyone else perform the moves. [Wil Treasure]

The 8a.nu definition of onsight is even stronger "We don't think that you could save an onsight by down climbing. "
http://www.8a.nu/?IncPage=http%3A//www.8a.nu/articles/ShowArticle.aspx%3FArticleId%3D4007

Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> What's wrong with UKC's definition? 'Without falls' is stronger than 'without weighting the gear'.

If anything it is weaker!

ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top.

It is at best vague. "Without falls" would seem to allow resting on the rope and lowering off (unless, as I presume, "free" or "bottom to top" is meant to disqualify them). But nobody would seriously consider an ascent to be onsight if you rested or lowered off. Much simpler and clearer just to say "without weighting the rope or gear".


> The 8a.nu definition of onsight is even stronger "We don't think that you could save an onsight by down climbing."

But most people do!

Michael Gordon - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to mike kann)
> [...]
>
>
> Er...no....If he weighted the rope, it can no longer be flash (the only difference between onsight and flash is the beta). Once he's lowered off, the best he can hope for is "ground up", which is really just another term for "fail" ;-)

I think ground up is better than a flash since at least you have to work it out for yourself.
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I think ground up is better than a flash since at least you have to work it out for yourself.

Not sure about that. Presumably with ground up you can dog the route to death (or do you have to lower off and pull the ropes as soon as you weight the rope?). I don't know; I have no interest in this sort of nonsense.
LakesWinter on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

No, apparently it is only ground up if you pull the ropes every time and really you should remove the gear too but i tend not to if it was easy to place and i cant be arsed.
mike kann - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Well ok then, if you want non contrived, then onsight should mean you walk to the crag, go up to a route with no prior knowledge other than where it goes, and do the route, without coming back to the ground to have a look, i.e. you just do it. THAT is non contrived. all the other definitions are just a different way of saying you've failed at your first attempt.
Rick Sewards - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to mike kann:

Nope, because the "ground" is just a big ledge (and sometimes not even a very big ledge - where is the "ground" on a route on Esk Buttress?), and no-one in their right mind would say that shuffling back down to a resting place invalidates the onsight, and so your definition is contrived...

Rick

PS Actually there is a semi-serious point to all this ethical navel gazing. I've belayed a few climbers with no reverse gear whatsoever - it's either up or off - and it's bloody scary if they get committed above dodgy gear. If you've had practice reversing back down to a rest/the ground in a safe situation (i.e. with the gear clipped above you), rather than taking the easy option and resting on the gear (because the latter, not the former, means you've failed), then you're more likely to be able to do it in a scary situation IMO

PPS As anyone who has climbed with me knows, I take it to the other extreme and have four reverse gears and one forward. There is a happy medium somewhere...
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to mike kann:

> Well ok then, if you want non contrived, then onsight should mean you walk to the crag, go up to a route with no prior knowledge other than where it goes, and do the route, without coming back to the ground to have a look, i.e. you just do it. THAT is non contrived.

No, it is contrived because it allows me to downclimb to a big ledge 2 feet of the ground and rest there indefinitely but not to step off it onto the ground.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No, it is contrived because it allows me to downclimb to a big ledge 2 feet of the ground and rest there indefinitely but not to step off it onto the ground.

We can argue about whether the ground is just a big ledge but it is common sense that untying and walking away marks an end to the first attempt.

Ramblin dave - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

How about:
* An onsight attempt ends if you weight your gear.
* A lot of people say that the most useful bit of climbing gear of all is a car.
* Hence your onsight attempt is finished when you get in the car at the end of the day.

Of course, it could finish earlier if you sit down on your rucksack to eat your sarnies.
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> We can argue about whether the ground is just a big ledge but it is common sense that untying and walking away marks an end to the first attempt.

No, that is ridiculously contrived; it would allow you to sit at the bottom of the crag tied in for hours (or wander around at the limit of the rope's length) but if you untied and went to get a drink from your rucksack before getting back on the rock 5 minutes later you'd have blown the onsight (and any time limit would be arbitrary and therefore contrived). Call it another attempt if you like, but the onsight has definitely not been blown.
Post edited at 12:04
andrewmcleod - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The 8a.nu definition of onsight is even stronger "We don't think that you could save an onsight by down climbing. "


This may be a difference between trad and sport - obviously not as a hard and fast rule, but I suspect that you have traditionally been able to get away with more in trad than in the more recent disciple of sport. In bouldering I suspect most people would count touching the floor as losing the flash (certainly if by a reverse dyno!) and this may spill more into sport than trad? (or possibly not - just speculation)

Indoors for competitions the rules are more clear - touch the floor and the attempt is over. This may again spill more into sport than trad...
Chris Harris - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> What's wrong with UKC's definition?

> ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top. The "purest" way to do a route. (The ultra-pure onsight is done nude, possibly at night.) [Adam Palmer.] Any route which is led first time, with no falls. To be a true onsight the climber must not have seen anyone else perform the moves. [Wil Treasure]

Indeed. And if having done part of the route earlier in the day isn't beta, then I don't know what is....

DubyaJamesDubya - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
Dear Tom,

You seem to be adding a lot more hidden words to the definition than are there.

Firstly: Every attempt at a route that is not following on from a previous ascent (as a second) is 'onsight'. This includes failures, yoyos and part-aid attempts (actually the last two are just failures too)

So what we appear to be debating here is not onsight but actually clean-onsight. A clean onsight ascent is therefore one that does not weight the gear. Even with beta it is still a 'clean onsight with beta'.

But you seem to be talking about something else. I guess you mean a 'clean-onsight-flash-with-no-beta-all-in-one-push-without-doing-another-route-in-between'

Mr Durran appears to know more about what a flash is than I could hope to comprehend but it implies an ascent with no fuss (perhaps even making it look easy) something the skilled and lucky may expect as the norm but the rest of us can only hope for. We are not talking about that sort of ascent (even though you are) we are talking about climbing the route cleanly with only knowledge accrued from attempts on the route. There is no actual or implied time limit on that.

The OP therefore made a 'clean-onsight ascent' no more no less.
Post edited at 13:55
DubyaJamesDubya - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Indeed. And if having done part of the route earlier in the day isn't beta, then I don't know what is....

And if looking up at the next hold to see where it is, while climbing the route, isn't beta, I don't know what is.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Dear Tom,

> You seem to be adding a lot more hidden words to the definition than are there.

I'm saying there are several definitions and personally I like the UKC "ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top." definition better than "An onsight attempt ends if you weight your gear".

I don't see the logic of being allowed to fall off from near the ground, jump off, or go up have a look at the crux and climb back down and still claim an onsight.

Gordon Stainforth - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I repeat: why can't people just look into their hearts and ask how satisfied they are with what they have done? Rather than just play endlessly with words - magic formulas for seeing just how little you have to get right in order to claim something that sounds better than it really was? This is just so typical of the present age, which is all about ticking boxes and spouting bullshit, and not about the truth of the experience itself. When the jargon surrounding the sport becomes more important than the sport itself.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

See R. Durran's reply to same reply.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
But the OP needs the validation/abuse of his peers.
It's a brave new world Gordon: Embrace it! (going forward)
Post edited at 14:54
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:

> Indeed. And if having done part of the route earlier in the day isn't beta, then I don't know what is....

In which case any sort of down climbing would have to be beta or just feeling a hold before chalking up would have to be considered beta (which would be ridiculous).
DubyaJamesDubya - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Indeed.
andrewmcleod - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Because UKC :)
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Firstly: Every attempt at a route that is not following on from a previous ascent (as a second) is 'onsight'. This includes failures, yoyos and part-aid attempts (actually the last two are just failures too)

Sorry, but I don't think anyone else would seriously consider an onsight to still be possible once gear has been weighted.

> So what we appear to be debating here is not onsight but actually clean-onsight.

What you are calling a "clean onsight" is what everyone else just calls an "onsight" and what you are calling an onsight is what I think would generally be called a complete "frig"!

> Mr Durran appears to know more about what a flash is than I could hope to comprehend but it implies an ascent with no fuss (perhaps even making it look easy) something the skilled and lucky may expect as the norm but the rest of us can only hope for.

No, a flash is simply an ascent without weighting gear or practicing the moves (very easy to comprehend!). This includes onsights but also allows beta from other people or possibly from abseil inspection. A flash is therefore usually an inferior style to an onsight.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I'm saying there are several definitions and personally I like the UKC "ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top." definition better than "An onsight attempt ends if you weight your gear".
>
> I don't see the logic of being allowed to fall off from near the ground, jump off, or go up have a look at the crux and climb back down and still claim an onsight.

From UKC: BETA. Knowledge of trick moves or protection or just about anything about a route available before you start.

You start when you start:

ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top. The "purest" way to do a route. (The ultra-pure onsight is done nude, possibly at night.) [Adam Palmer.] Any route which is led first time, with no falls. To be a true onsight the climber must not have seen anyone else perform the moves.

Nothing in there the OP didn't comply with. (apart from the nude thing which I assume you don't insist on)

Anyway the definition is pretty flawed: 'Bottom to top'? So down climbing Lord of the Flies wouldn't count? :-)
Post edited at 15:24
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I repeat: why can't people just look into their hearts and ask how satisfied they are with what they have done? Rather than just play endlessly with words.

We're not playing with words; we are trying to sort out an unambiguous, uncontrived definition of the commonly used term "onsight".

> This is just so typical of the present age, which is all about ticking boxes and spouting bullshit, and not about the truth of the experience itself.

I can get just as much truthful experience from climbing as anybody else and tick boxes as well. I've no idea why you think they are incompatible. And, if I'm going to have the added fun of ticking boxes, I may as well do it properly.
Nick Russell on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Sorry, but I don't think anyone else would seriously consider an onsight to still be possible once gear has been weighted.

I dropped a nut on a ledge and stepped on it before picking it up. Does this invalidate my onsight? :p
tom_in_edinburgh - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> ONSIGHT. To climb a route free with no beta, without falls, without prior inspection, from bottom to top. The "purest" way to do a route.

> Nothing in there the OP didn't comply with. (apart from the nude thing which I assume you don't insist on)

I agree that one could argue the OP met this definition, the definition isn't explicit about when a climb stops. However, common sense says that when you decide to untie and climb something else you have stopped climbing the first route and the attempt is finished. The first attempt started and finished at the bottom so it wasn't 'bottom to top'.


harold walmsley - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

To muddy the waters a bit further.

You climb up, put in some rather dodgy, or perhaps just blindly placed gear, reverse to the ground and tug or swing on the rope to test it. It holds so you go for it and succeed. This seems quite a common scenario. I would personally be 100% satisfied with an ascent like that and would record it as onsight although obviously the gear has been weighted albeit only for test purposes not for resting, holding a fall or progress.
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The first attempt started and finished at the bottom so it wasn't 'bottom to top'.

The definition you are referring to doesn't say anything about an onsight ascent having to be in "one attempt" anyway. Whether you are allowed one or more "attempts", the whole process starts at the bottom and finishes at the top so there simply isn't a problem under the definition.

tom_in_edinburgh - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The definition you are referring to doesn't say anything about an onsight ascent having to be in "one attempt" anyway. Whether you are allowed one or more "attempts", the whole process starts at the bottom and finishes at the top so there simply isn't a problem under the definition.

I agree the definition doesn't explicitly say 'one attempt' and I don't think your reading of it is unreasonable or inconsistent. However, I read "climb from bottom to top" as implying a single continuous climb.
Robert Durran - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> I agree the definition doesn't explicitly say 'one attempt' and I don't think your reading of it is unreasonable or inconsistent. However, I read "climb from bottom to top" as implying a single continuous climb.

I read "bottom to top" to forbid abseil inspection etc.

My attempt at an unambiguous definition: "without weighting gear and with all information gained either from the guidebook or by the climber on lead or from vantage points without the use of a rope". Clearly this does leave grey areas such as having climbed neighbouring routes......
Post edited at 20:09
Michael Gordon - on 20 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> [...]
>
> Not sure about that. Presumably with ground up you can dog the route to death

Well, not on a route with decent runouts between the gear.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> [...]
>
> Sorry, but I don't think anyone else would seriously consider an onsight to still be possible once gear has been weighted.
>
Sorry I was just trying to point out to Tom that, as he was reading all sorts of meaning into the word onsight, that, if you want to be strict, onsight, in itself, doesn't specify the style of ascent. Obviously in climbing circles, over time it has come be a shorthand for a clean onsight ascent.

> [...]
>
> What you are calling a "clean onsight" is what everyone else just calls an "onsight" and what you are calling an onsight is what I think would generally be called a complete "frig"!
>
Essentially true except onsight with no further clarification would include a clean ascent (but see above for my true feelings on the issue)
> [...]
>
> No, a flash is simply an ascent without weighting gear or practicing the moves (very easy to comprehend!). This includes onsights but also allows beta from other people or possibly from abseil inspection. A flash is therefore usually an inferior style to an onsight.

But as you say above (I think) a flash is just a subsidiary definition e.g. onsight flash (and you'd have to agree (?) that if in answer to a question 'how did you get on with the route?' I answered 'Flashed it' it would sound like I'd not exactly struggled on it.

Finally, I think you overlooked the context of me trying to find a way to get my message through to a certain someone (and I'm obviously not very good at explaining myself)
Post edited at 09:40
DubyaJamesDubya - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to harold walmsley:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> To muddy the waters a bit further.
>
> You climb up, put in some rather dodgy, or perhaps just blindly placed gear, reverse to the ground and tug or swing on the rope to test it. It holds so you go for it and succeed. This seems quite a common scenario. I would personally be 100% satisfied with an ascent like that and would record it as onsight although obviously the gear has been weighted albeit only for test purposes not for resting, holding a fall or progress.

Sounds good to me.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I agree that one could argue the OP met this definition, the definition isn't explicit about when a climb stops. However, common sense says that when you decide to untie and climb something else you have stopped climbing the first route and the attempt is finished. The first attempt started and finished at the bottom so it wasn't 'bottom to top'.

Since the definition says bottom to top the clean ascent can't stop unless you reach the top.

Are you seriously saying that if I get rained off a route a few moves in, back off (without recourse to the rope or gear) and can't get back on it immediately the onsight is 'blown'. Common sense...
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Are you seriously saying that if I get rained off a route a few moves in, back off (without recourse to the rope or gear) and can't get back on it immediately the onsight is 'blown'. Common sense...

I'm saying that in a situation like that it is up to you whether you think the onsight is blown. You choose your preferred definition of onsight and you choose how much latitude you want to give yourself while trying to be consistent with the way your peer group uses the term.

If it was me making the choice it would depend on whether I felt I got any advantage in the second attempt from the attempt that was rained off and whether I thought it was my own fault for going for the first attempt when it was about to rain.

sn - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Quite agree..

Personally, if I climb a route ground up without weighting the gear or prior knowledge yet feel I've stuffed too much bomber gear into the crux I would be less satisfied than if I'd just placed the one bomber piece and pushed on up - both ascents would count as on sight but one would definitly be more satisfying - to me.

wbo - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

In that scenario how much of the climb has not been climbed onsight?

The real rub is whether or not you weighted the rope (no), and had you gone out actively looking for beta beforehand.
Chris Harris - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I read "bottom to top" to forbid abseil inspection etc.

Though the consensus seems that inspecting most of the route by actually climbing it prior to a full attempt is OK.

> My attempt at an unambiguous definition: "without weighting gear and with all information gained either from the guidebook or by the climber on lead or from vantage points without the use of a rope". Clearly this does leave grey areas such as having climbed neighbouring routes......

So you're saying that having once seen the route from a neighbouring route is potentially iffy, but having just climbed & downclimbed most of the route itself isn't? Very odd.
Robert Durran - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:

> Though the consensus seems that inspecting most of the route by actually climbing it prior to a full attempt is OK.

Yes (as long as no gear is weighted).

> So you're saying that having once seen the route from a neighbouring route is potentially iffy, but having just climbed & downclimbed most of the route itself isn't? Very odd.

Why? Seems entirely logical to me; some routes are very close together and a lot of knowledge, possible by actually feeling holds, might be gained from a neighbouring, perhaps far easier, route. By climbing and down-climbing you are only gaining knowledge by actually tackling the problems of the route in question.

Robert Durran - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to sn:

> Personally, if I climb a route ground up without weighting the gear or prior knowledge yet feel I've stuffed too much bomber gear into the crux I would be less satisfied than if I'd just placed the one bomber piece and pushed on up.

Placing bomber gear is one of the most satisfying experiences in climbing. It's almost impossible to do too much of it!

Incidentally, I'd have thought it is always a good idea to place more than one bomber pieces if possible - sometimes "bomber" gear turns out not to be so.....
Robert Durran - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> But as you say above (I think) a flash is just a subsidiary definition e.g. onsight flash.

Onsight is a subset (subsidiary) of onsight. All onsights are flashes, but not all flashes are onsight (because they might have beta).

> You'd have to agree that if in answer to a question 'how did you get on with the route?' I answered 'Flashed it' it would sound like I'd not exactly struggled on it.

I agree that it might sound like that to a layman and perhaps the term "flash" is therefore unfortunate, but a flash might in fact, of course, involve an epic struggle with copious beta.




Gordon Stainforth - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

I hope you don't mind me being a bit cheeky (all in the lightest possible spirit), and setting your last post as an obscure modern 'poem'.

Onsight is a subset subsidiary of onsight.
All onsights are flashes,
But not all flashes are onsight
Because they might have beta.

I agree that it might sound
Like that to a layman
And perhaps the term "flash"
Is therefore unfortunate.

But a flash might in fact,
Of course, involve
An epic struggle
With copious beta.


God knows what a non-climber would make of it. :)
Michael Gordon - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:

> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
>
> Though the consensus seems that inspecting most of the route by actually climbing it prior to a full attempt is OK.
>
> So you're saying that having once seen the route from a neighbouring route is potentially iffy, but having just climbed & downclimbed most of the route itself isn't? Very odd.


If you climb a fair way up the route in question, you're usually not inspecting it so much as attempting it. If you've had to climb and downclimb a lot of hard ground it's hardly just been an exercise in inspection! If you've just soloed up the easy start for a look, then it won't have made any difference to how likely you are to get up the route later on anyway.
Post edited at 23:22
Michael Gordon - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I see you chose not to correct the first line?
Gordon Stainforth - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Well I didn't do anything except take the brackets away (I think). I am absolutely not in any position to 'correct' this jargon.
Gordon Stainforth - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I suppose what triggered me off (to do nothing more than rearrange the lines on the page) was that it was somehow very dimly and eerily reminiscent of Henry Reed's classic poem, The Naming of Parts.
Robert Durran - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I see you chose not to correct the first line?

Oops! Should, of course, have been "onsight is a subset of flash"

Robert Durran - on 21 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> If you climb a fair way up the route in question, you're usually not inspecting it so much as attempting it. If you've had to climb and downclimb a lot of hard ground it's hardly just been an exercise in inspection!

Indeed not, it might have been very demanding; success has not yet been achieved but you now have some hard won knowledge and protection by your OWN efforts and the onsight is still very much on.



metal arms on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Please stop
Chris Harris - on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

So we're in agreement that "Onsighted at the 10th attempt" is a legitimate statement, as long as the first 9 unsuccessful attempts were downclimbed from the high point?



markus691 on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> If you've just soloed up the easy start for a look, then it won't have made any difference to how likely you are to get up the route later on anyway.

By that definition you could keep doing that until you have the moves dialed, saving energy for later. "moves dialed" is incompatible with the notion of "onsight" in my book. So there's a fluid middle ground.
john arran - on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to markus691:

You can get moves dialled by repeatedly climbing down to a ledge - does that cause a problem for your own individual definition of onsight?

The only things that make an ascent not onsight are if you have knowledge of some moves that you gained either from others/media, if you've hung on a rope/gear on the line already or if you've fallen off and decked. Any distinction between ascents based on whether you step down at any point / reverse to a ledge / reverse to the floor / have a cup of tea / have lunch / come back tomorrow / come back next year, etc. may be important to you but has nothing to do with whether the route is or isn't onsight.
Robert Durran - on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to john arran:

> You can get moves dialled by repeatedly climbing down to a ledge - does that cause a problem for your own individual definition of onsight?

> The only things that make an ascent not onsight are if...... you've fallen off and decked.

I would be prefer decking (no gear weighted or partially weighted as it rips) to preserve the onsight (a sort of consolation for your injuries). Otherwise it can be rather difficult to adjudicate between a semi-controlled jump and a partially controlled fall.
Robert Durran - on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to markus691:
> By that definition you could keep doing that until you have the moves dialed, saving energy for later. "moves dialed" is incompatible with the notion of "onsight" in my book. So there's a fluid middle ground.

Which is absolutely no good to anyone unless someone can think of a way of drawing an uncontrived well defined line (I doubt it). So either climbing down has to be ok or not ok. And it is ok (and the reasons it has to be ok to avoid contrivance have been well covered earlier in the thread).
Post edited at 15:31
DubyaJamesDubya - on 22 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:
> So we're in agreement that "Onsighted at the 10th attempt" is a legitimate statement, as long as the first 9 unsuccessful attempts were downclimbed from the high point?

>

No it was all one long attempt which ended with success (or not if the gear was weighted).
Post edited at 21:07
Michael Gordon - on 23 Aug 2014
In reply to Chris Harris:
> (In reply to MichaelGallimore)
>
> So we're in agreement that "Onsighted at the 10th attempt" is a legitimate statement, as long as the first 9 unsuccessful attempts were downclimbed from the high point?

Better to just think of what causes you to fail, i.e. weighting the rope. Once you've got the successful onsight the earlier 'attempts' become academic. Folk more often tend to talk about managing on the 2nd attempt if they've done it ground-up.
markus691 on 25 Aug 2014
In reply to john arran:

> You can get moves dialled by repeatedly climbing down to a ledge - does that cause a problem for your own individual definition of onsight?

Yes. I don't earn money from my climbing (and never will), so "onsight" or not is only relevant to me in terms of what difficulties I can climb in one go. That information is crucial because I want to know whether I can do the crux pitch ten pitches up before starting at the bottom. That "one go" might include a down climb, possibly several and maybe a short break but definitely ends at the end of the day or when I tie out for more than a quick leak, usually much earlier.
The moment I start to dial in moves it to me becomes redpointing as it doesn't matter to me whether I reverse at the last moment or fall off. And in terms of information it is often pointless, because in my experience it frequently just measures a mix of poor route grading and persistence. (You know, those people who can do the one route that's a bit easier than its grade at their local crag, but nothing else remotely as difficult).
If someone tells me they "onsighted 7c" I do _not_ assume they did it on one route they worked for half a year, replicated the crux at the local bouldering wall and eventually climbed through on the 20th attempt.
Blue Straggler - on 31 Aug 2014
I am reviving this thread rather than starting a new one. I may have missed some posts already discussing this (I haven't checked the whole thread)


Lots of talk of "ground-up" which seems to involve downclimbing the route, pulling the rope, clearing the gear and starting afresh (same day, or a future appointment)

What if instead of downclimbing, you use an easy neighbouring route to escape to the top? I imagine the same rule applies. It happened to me today, I couldn't commit to a strenuous crux on my route so I traversed across a corner to a (generously graded!) V Diff and brought my second up to clean the gear.
Michael Gordon - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Your eventual ascent would technically still be onsight, though it might not feel it if you were able to get a good look at the rest of the pitch from the other line.
Robert Durran - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to markus691:

> The moment I start to dial in moves it to me becomes redpointing as it doesn't matter to me whether I reverse at the last moment or fall off.

But making the judgement as to whether to go for it or to reverse at the last moment is one of the finer skills of onsighting.
Robert Durran - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> What if instead of downclimbing, you use an easy neighbouring route to escape to the top?

Interesting question. I think this should probably blow the onsight. If you allow it you would have to allow runners and rests on neighbouring routes to be consistent; by incorporating other routes into your ascent, you are effectively climbing a different variation. Info gained visually from neighbouring routes is an interesting grey area.
Michael Gordon - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to markus691:

> By that definition you could keep doing that until you have the moves dialed, saving energy for later. "moves dialed" is incompatible with the notion of "onsight" in my book.

If it's a bold pitch with hard to read moves then many folk will repeatedly climb up and down sections to get accustomed to the moves, before deciding whether to go for it or not. This is just good tactics as you don't want to get injured just from misjudging the sequence.

Goucho on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to john arran:
> The only things that make an ascent not onsight are if you have knowledge of some moves that you gained either from others/media, if you've hung on a rope/gear on the line already or if you've fallen off and decked. Any distinction between ascents based on whether you step down at any point / reverse to a ledge / reverse to the floor / have a cup of tea / have lunch / come back tomorrow / come back next year, etc. may be important to you but has nothing to do with whether the route is or isn't onsight.

By that definition, reading the Guidebook description, or chatting to mates in the pub about it the night before negates the onsight???

As far as I'm concerned, on 'onsight' is when you have no prior 'physical' knowledge of the route. You start at the bottom and finish at the top in one continuous ascent. Even if you 'weight' the gear, it's still an onsight, albeit an onsight with one fall and weighted gear. You could use 6 points of aid on London Wall, and if you've never done it before, it would still be an onsight - an onsight using 6 points of aid.

If you down climb and then come back another time, you have prior 'physical' knowledge of the bit you've previously climbed, so how can it still be classed as onsight, other than under a contrivance of convenience?

In an attempt to classify and categorize every possible different style of ascent, I feel the baby might have been thrown out with the bath water regarding the definition of onsight?
Post edited at 11:30
Blue Straggler - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Thanks. I think it is a more interesting question that it may first appear to a lot of people. It could be argued that you are "downclimbing" given that what you are doing is getting back to the ground without weighting your gear...

I get what you say about using the ascent of a neighbouring route to gain information about the target route, but in the specific instance that inspired my question (me chickening out of something) it was short single pitch grit well described in guidebook and easily visible from the ground and the approach to crag. So the grey area you mention is VERY grey indeed! :-)
jon on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> What if instead of downclimbing, you use an easy neighbouring route to escape to the top?

Ah now then, this is how my mate TJ got his nickname. Traversing John. The only person I know who can tick three routes or more in one go. He often makes his combination harder than the route he's escaped with some truely spectacular rope drag!
Blue Straggler - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to jon:

I have uploaded an embarrassing photo of my specific example...it is awaiting moderation I think. Check my ukc gallery this
evening
Michael Gordon - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Goucho:

Your idea of onsight is certainly what many would have called it in days past, i.e. just turning up and doing the route 'on sight', regardless of whether you have to take the odd rest of whatever. The main thing was that you just worked it out as you went up.

Nowadays, however, the term has been appropriated away from its literal meaning to describe a style of ascent where you ideally just turn up and go for it, AND you do it cleanly, first time (i.e. not after rests/falls). So the term's meaning has changed significantly, but at least now there shouldn't be so many grey areas.
Goucho on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Your idea of onsight is certainly what many would have called it in days past, i.e. just turning up and doing the route 'on sight', regardless of whether you have to take the odd rest of whatever. The main thing was that you just worked it out as you went up.

> Nowadays, however, the term has been appropriated away from its literal meaning to describe a style of ascent where you ideally just turn up and go for it, AND you do it cleanly, first time (i.e. not after rests/falls). So the term's meaning has changed significantly, but at least now there shouldn't be so many grey areas.

I'm fine with the new definition, but I think all this nonsense about not having any prior beta, or third hand knowledge of the route, is just that 'nonsense'.

I mean on grit, how can you avoid seeing someone else do a route, or see the chalk marks - you can just sit at the bottom eating a sarny and work out most moves for gods sake, so does that invalidate an onsight by today's 'adapted' definition.

Yet these same people consider someone going up and down for 9 hours, then backing off, and then coming back to finish it 4 years later, is still an onsight as long as no gear was weighted???

And how do these people classify an ascent of Void by someone who's already done Vector, or an ascent of Vector by someone who's already done Diadic???

I'm afraid there are times when (to quote Jack Nicholson from Batman) the climbing world needs an enema :-)
Bulls Crack - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:
p.

> Nowadays, however, the term has been appropriated away from its literal meaning to describe a style of ascent where you ideally just turn up and go for it, AND you do it cleanly, first time (i.e. not after rests/falls). So the term's meaning has changed significantly, but at least now there shouldn't be so many grey areas.

Nowadays? It's a what I understood from when I very first started climbing in 1980!
john arran - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Goucho:

> By that definition, reading the Guidebook description, or chatting to mates in the pub about it the night before negates the onsight???

I thought guidebook info would be taken as read. Chatting to mates would clearly depend on whether and to what extent they told you how to do it!

> As far as I'm concerned, on 'onsight' is when you have no prior 'physical' knowledge of the route. You start at the bottom and finish at the top in one continuous ascent. Even if you 'weight' the gear, it's still an onsight, albeit an onsight with one fall and weighted gear. You could use 6 points of aid on London Wall, and if you've never done it before, it would still be an onsight - an onsight using 6 points of aid.

All agreed apart from the 'continuous ascent' bit.

> If you down climb and then come back another time, you have prior 'physical' knowledge of the bit you've previously climbed, so how can it still be classed as onsight, other than under a contrivance of convenience?

Any prior physical knowledge you've gained from your own endeavours without failing on the route is and always has been fair game. Climbing has always been about judgement and if you get part-way up a route and decide you're not up to it on that occasion then it makes perfect sense to defer your attempt to another day, as long as you've not yet committed to it in an irreversible way. That has never before been seen as a failure and it's difficult to see what may have changed recently to make it so now. The only thing that's really changed is comp climbing rules, in which reversing to the ground isn't allowed in order to make sure people don't spend too long on the route, for pragmatic reasons such as scheduling and TV timetables - surely you don't think climbing success criteria should be dictated by comps?

> In an attempt to classify and categorize every possible different style of ascent, I feel the baby might have been thrown out with the bath water regarding the definition of onsight?

It might help to think of onsight as being any valid ascent without weighting rope or gear and without substantive info you haven't gained on your own.

The cases of finishing up different routes, traversing off, or doing routes with shared sections already done before have always been the real grey areas. Generally they are likely to mean that your onsight isn't as pure as you'd like it to have been!

Goucho on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to john arran:

I might have to go through my old guides and diaries and amend my annotations :-)
Although I was honest enough on Fingerlicker to note 'dogged to death over several hours'.
LakesWinter on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to john arran:

I agree.

Separately, with side runners, if you can reach it from the route, it's not a side runner!
Robert Durran - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Goucho:

> Even if you 'weight' the gear, it's still an onsight, albeit an onsight with one fall and weighted gear. You could use 6 points of aid on London Wall, and if you've never done it before, it would still be an onsight - an onsight using 6 points of aid.

But if you told your mates afterwards that you had just onsighted London wall, I think you could be at best described as misleading them and fairly described as lying to them unless you qualified it by mentioning the aid!
Goucho on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
Absolutely, that's my point, the aid alters the style of ascent, but doesn't negate the onsight.

Therefore, the whole issue about 'weighting gear' invalidating the 'onsight' becomes another grey area depending on context and perspective.

Post edited at 22:52
August West on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to many of the post above:

It seems that the on-sight of Browns Eliminate is still on for me then:

A few years ago (actually 13 or 14 but who's counting) I soloed up the left edge of the ledge and placed a cam there, soloed back down, tied in, climbed up the corner placed some gear, traversed across the ledge, clipped the cam, climbed the short distance up the crux, divvered around a lot (I could have done with the Countdown clock there), retreated stripping the gear but didn't weight any gear.

Will I claim an on-sight if I lead it successfully? Will I shite....!?!

Robert Durran - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Goucho:

> Absolutely, that's my point, the aid alters the style of ascent, but doesn't negate the onsight.

No. My point is that, in almost all UK contexts (and many others), "onsight" is, by default, understood to mean "free onsight".

> Therefore, the whole issue about 'weighting gear' invalidating the 'onsight' becomes another grey area depending on context and perspective.

No, not really. It is absolutely black and white in the free climbing contexts everyone else on here is clearly discussing. In an aid climbing context it is also black and white (weighting the gear is allowed - obviously). It is like saying handling the ball is allowed in rugby but not in football - no grey areas at all; they are different games. And by football, I mean association football (another default understanding in this country).
Goucho on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No. My point is that, in almost all UK contexts (and many others), "onsight" is, by default, understood to mean "free onsight".

If that was the case, and everything was as black and white as you claim, why are there so many threads on here asking what constitutes an onsight?



Robert Durran - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to Goucho:

> If that was the case, and everything was as black and white as you claim, why are there so many threads on here asking what constitutes an onsight?

Because there are many grey and subtle areas as far as the term "onsight" is concerned. But,in the generally understood, unqualified use of the term, weighting gear is simply not one of them.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

I remember the only time i did Bachleor's Left Hand at Hen Cloud, I weighted the gear, and when I got to the top felt very dissatisfied with my performance. Felt I had not made a proper ascent. I didn't concern myself with the terminology, but, if anyone had asked: Did you do a proper on sight ascent of the route I would have said 'No.'
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

PS. I never went back to do a proper ascent of the route but, if I had done, it would no longer of course have been an onsight lead.
krikoman - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Is it an onsight if...

no it probably isn't. If your asking the question in the first place, then question why you are asking.
Ian Parsons - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

> Is it an onsight if...

> no it probably isn't. If your asking the question in the first place, then question why you are asking.

I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder how the rest of the climbing world interprets these various terms that we use - especially when, being between them apparently definitive, they each cover a band on a spectrum of climbing styles rather than a precise point; these bands have rather blurred interfaces which, as this thread demonstrates, perfectly reasonable people may well put in slightly different places. I recently noted, for instance, that a quite well known and presumably well-informed climber had a particular ascent logged as (roughly): onsight - got it second try, massive fall and lowered off on first try; I assume that in some people's book that would be "ground-up". It can be very confusing out there!
Mark Sheridan on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Of course, it's no big deal if one fails on a climb. Climbing is a contest between the climber and the mountain or crag, and if the climber fails it simply means that on this occasion the crag has won. Fair game.

So, does that mean if one succeeds on a climb, the crag has lost? Do you think the crag would be upset by this?
Imagine the state 'easy' crags could get their selves in with everyone succeeding on climbs. I can just see the headlines now;
'Birchen Edge suicide attempt: Crag hits all time low' !
Blue Straggler - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I have uploaded an embarrassing photo of my specific example...it is awaiting moderation I think. Check my ukc gallery this

> evening

Ta daah, what a spacka. Maybe I should pimp the photo out to companies selling half-ropes :-)

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=244953
jon on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Indeed. But why didn't you go up the corner?
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Mark Sheridan:

> So, does that mean if one succeeds on a climb, the crag has lost? Do you think the crag would be upset by this?

> Imagine the state 'easy' crags could get their selves in with everyone succeeding on climbs. I can just see the headlines now;

> 'Birchen Edge suicide attempt: Crag hits all time low' !

[Er ... a prime example of the Pathetic Fallacy]

In answer to your question: absolutely not. The only person or thing that has lost is you, the climber. And, yes, a climber who has failed to climb a climb well. will perhaps feel less than happy about it (as I did with the example I gave above).

Failure on a climb, however, if one was climbing in good style and it simply proved too difficult for one, should be no cause for shame whatever.
Robert Durran - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to jon:
> Indeed. But why didn't you go up the corner?

Presumably too scared to repeat the solo back up to the cam (and thus preserve the onsight) having made the mistake of not taking a rope the first time?
Post edited at 14:06
Blue Straggler - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to jon:

> Indeed. But why didn't you go up the corner?

I was trying to salvage some value by doing that VS arete rather than the Diff or whatever it is! :-)
krikoman - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder how the rest of the climbing world interprets these various terms that we use - especially when, being between them apparently definitive, they each cover a band on a spectrum of climbing styles rather than a precise point; these bands have rather blurred interfaces which, as this thread demonstrates, perfectly reasonable people may well put in slightly different places. I recently noted, for instance, that a quite well known and presumably well-informed climber had a particular ascent logged as (roughly): onsight - got it second try, massive fall and lowered off on first try; I assume that in some people's book that would be "ground-up". It can be very confusing out there!



But who really cares? and who gives a toss?

People generally know what they did and they have to live with what they think they did.
Michael Gordon - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> I'm fine with the new definition, but I think all this nonsense about not having any prior beta, or third hand knowledge of the route, is just that 'nonsense'.
>
> I mean on grit, how can you avoid seeing someone else do a route, or see the chalk marks - you can just sit at the bottom eating a sarny and work out most moves for gods sake, so does that invalidate an onsight by today's 'adapted' definition.
>
> Yet these same people consider someone going up and down for 9 hours, then backing off, and then coming back to finish it 4 years later, is still an onsight as long as no gear was weighted???
>

The difference is that climbing up and down obtains knowledge of the route through your own efforts, not through being told or shown something. And if someone manages to spend 9 hours on a one pitch route without having to be rescued, they probably deserve to claim the onsight on their eventual success (though they may struggle finding belayers)!

Basically though, folk will know deep down if the beta someone gives them has been of use or not. And if it hasn't, surely the onsight is still applicable.


Ian Parsons - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

> But who really cares? and who gives a toss?

> People generally know what they did and they have to live with what they think they did.

"...have to live with what they think they did"? That sounds like a fairly draconian view of something that is, after all, just fun - especially so from someone who, to judge by the tone of your previous line, doesn't really care or give a toss.

I suppose it all comes down to what one might mean by "care". I'm sure that few people are going to lose much sleep over the minutiae of how somebody else may or may not have got up a particular route, but we may still be mildly interested enough to hear all about it and to wonder whether our grasp of any terminology used happens to coincide with theirs. It is, after all, just vocabulary - and, like most vocabulary, is fairly useless unless commonly understood.

This whole topic is like any other matter in which engagement is completely optional; one can chose to take it on board or to ignore it entirely. What seems slightly odd, as I'm sure I'm not the first to observe, is that anyone would go to the trouble of registering their apparent lack of interest in a debate in which they apparently have no interest.
krikoman - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Ian Parsons:

I guess what I was saying, is most people know what an on sight is and it's not as if a little research wouldn't give you a wealth of information.

I suppose I was getting at the self deception that some people seem to want absolution for so they can claim an on site.

I apologise if my reply can across as too strong, it just seems a bit ludicrous to try and bend the "rules" to suit what you want to be true.

It might sound draconian, but it's goes quite deep in our society; it's a dishonesty that starts with trivial things and ends up being used for more serious situations. After all if you can't be honest with yourself then what hope is there for you?
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

Exactly. +1
Robert Durran - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:
> I suppose I was getting at the self deception that some people seem to want absolution for so they can claim an onsight.

I'm not sure that there is much in the way of self-deception going on (at least not apparent from this thread). There is just clearly quite a lot of lack of genuine misunderstanding and perhaps ignorance (which some might prefer to see as lack of agreement!).
Post edited at 12:00
Goucho on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:
> It might sound draconian, but it's goes quite deep in our society; it's a dishonesty that starts with trivial things and ends up being used for more serious situations. After all if you can't be honest with yourself then what hope is there for you?

Being honest with yourself about the style in which you climb a route - was it really a true onsight? - is important, but in the general scheme of things for 99% of climbers, there will be subtle variations of interpretations.

For instance, can I really claim my onsight of Green Death, when a couple of hours earlier, I had a sneaky peek at the holds whilst climbing Edge Lane? A lot of my onsights could well be invalidated by today's criteria, having watched people do the route beforehand - difficult to avoid on Grit at times. Should I have asked my partner to brush the chalk marks off Profit of Doom before my onsight? Was my onsight of Right Wall a genuine onsight when I'd avidly watched Dave Roberts make the fourth ascent a couple of years earlier, and the night before my ascent, I had been sat round a table in the Vaynol listening to two others talk about the route?

There are so many ways in which adhering to a 'fixed' criteria for what constitutes a true onsight - especially regarding beta - could almost be impossible.

At the end of the day, unless you're claiming some special new route, are these 'grey' areas really that significant?
Post edited at 12:12
Robert Durran - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Goucho:

> At the end of the day, unless you're claiming some special new route, are these 'grey' areas really that significant?

New routes have always been frequently claimed and accepted without being onsight (abseil inspection, gardening, taking several attempts, headpointing etc.). The onsight is more often sought after and claimed for subsequent repeats.

Goucho on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> New routes have always been frequently claimed and accepted without being onsight (abseil inspection, gardening, taking several attempts, headpointing etc.). The onsight is more often sought after and claimed for subsequent repeats.

That's the case nowadays, but I know of a number of 'claimed' onsights of new routes in the past, which were anything but 'onsight' - and that applies to repeats as well.
Post edited at 12:23
Michael Gordon - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
> [...]
>
> New routes have always been frequently claimed and accepted without being onsight (abseil inspection, gardening, taking several attempts, headpointing etc.).

Those tactics are fair game on any route, new or otherwise. If anything the onsight is to be more highly prized for a new route than a repeat.

Michael Gordon - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to krikoman)
> [...]
>
> There is just clearly quite a lot of lack of genuine misunderstanding

not the double negatives again!

krikoman - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> [...]
>
>> There is just clearly quite a lot of lack of genuine misunderstanding

> not the double negatives again!

Isn't there a triple negative in there?

Michael Gordon - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

I would say double - means the same as 'There is clearly quite a lot of understanding'.
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

K was joking.
Michael Gordon - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Ah yes! (a double positive?)
Ian Parsons - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

Apologies for the late hour; I do some of my best work in the middle of the night!

I suspect that if we were chatting about this face to face we would find that we actually had very little to disagree about; and that, with a bit of exploration, such disagreement would further diminish. But I think we differ in some small areas, which I'd like to address.

> I guess what I was saying, is most people know what an on sight is and it's not as if a little research wouldn't give you a wealth of information.

I certainly think that most people have their own idea of what an onsight is, or indeed any of the other styles that we try to define; and I think that, for the most part, people judge their own achievements based on their personal interpretation of the parameters of each style. But if someone wants to "touch base" with the rest of the climbing fraternity (or sorority) in this regard, either as a newcomer trying to make sense of it all or as a more seasoned operator seeking to calibrate his own standards against everybody else's, things can get blurred. A little research can certainly bring you a wealth of something - but, I would suggest, a wealth of opinion rather than consistent information. After all, is there actually a right answer; or to put it another way, is the right answer simply what most people think it is? As this thread has demonstrated there are quite significant differences of opinion over whether certain practices can or cannot fit within the onsight definition - mostly influenced, as far as I can judge, by logic rather than ego. My earlier mention of the "plummeting onsighter" wasn't in horror at the thought that somebody might be "claiming" something that they shouldn't - you were quite right on that one; I really couldn't give a toss - but as an illustration of how broad the interpretation of the term can actually be. I think that the BMC's take on this is helpful, but probably not definitive and certainly not authoritative - at least I hope not! This is climbing, after all - not cricket, rugby or association football; we may have "rules", but we don't have Rules - if you get my drift. No; I'm sure that the BMC, far from trying to establish "codes of practise", have simply tried to explain and define those that, through common use and consensus, already existed.

> I suppose I was getting at the self deception that some people seem to want absolution for so they can claim an on site.

I don't doubt that this can be a motivation; I simply prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt by trying not to assume that it is. I guess we're all guided in this sort of thing by our own situation and experience. I'm getting on a bit; I've been climbing about as long as Gordon has and find that I'm fully aware of my limitations and increasingly unconcerned by what other people may think of me. In short, I no longer feel any need to prove anything - not in an egotistical "I've done it all" sort of way, but in a pragmatic "it's all downhill from here" one! But I'll tell you what; I could still come up with a list of routes that I've done for which I'd be happy to debate the style in which I did them - for which my answer to the query "did you onsight it?" would probably be "well, yes - I think so; but I'd welcome a second opinion" or maybe "not sure; what do you think?" Which is a roundabout way of saying that I trust most people to ask these sort of questions out of genuine curiosity rather than any desire to inflate their own achievements.

> I apologise if my reply can across as too strong, it just seems a bit ludicrous to try and bend the "rules" to suit what you want to be true.

Not at all. We simply differ in that I see this as an attempt to identify the "rules", not to bend them.

> It might sound draconian, but it's goes quite deep in our society; it's a dishonesty that starts with trivial things and ends up being used for more serious situations. After all if you can't be honest with yourself then what hope is there for you?

My term "draconian" was perhaps, in itself, a bit draconian! I just thought that an expression like "have to live with" - more usually encountered, I'm sure you'll agree, in the sort of situation where somebody's just caused death or serious injury - was a bit OTT in a discussion about a climbing style. I concede that it becomes more serious when deception and self-delusion are involved, and that in that eventuality they'll be the things that one will have to live with rather than any less than ideal performance on the rock.

If anyone's still awake....you probably need treatment.
Robert Durran - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> "There is just clearly quite a lot of lack of genuine misunderstanding"

> not the double negatives again!

Apologogies. Just a typo. Omit "lack of".

Robert Durran - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> If anything the onsight is to be more highly prized for a new route than a repeat.

Yes, but for practical reasons (dirty rock etc) it is much less common. Without wanting to take anything away from first ascentionists' efforts, on sight repeats are often, in the sense of pure climbing, greater achievements than flawed first ascents.
Post edited at 08:59
Robert Durran - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to Goucho:
> Being honest with yourself about the style in which you climb a route - was it really a true onsight? - is important, but in the general scheme of things for 99% of climbers, there will be subtle variations of interpretations.

My motive in my contributions to this discussion has been to promote (as far as is possible) a logically consistent definition of "onsight", relying as little as possible on mere arbitrariness - more as a sort of intellectual exercise rather than because I really care. Though, if you are going to have a term, it might as well be meaningful and that requires some sort of agreement as well as a sensible definition.

Thus it is silly to say that you are allowed to climb down a bit to a poor rest but not a good one or to a small ledge or to a large one just above the ground or the ground itself. And, if you can climb to the ground, it is silly to put an arbitrary time limit on how long you can stay there. So either an ascent has to be entirely monotonic with no reversed foot or hand movements (and no one thinks this should be the case) or you have to allow an onsight to be spread over years as long as the gear is not weighted. Anything in between is arbitarary nonsense.

If you are allowed to escape onto and up or down a neighbouring route to preserve the onsight, then, to be consistent, you have to allow moving onto a neighbouring route for a rest or to place gear; you can't logically have it both ways.

If you are going to allow the use of a guidebook, then you are admitting a certain amount of beta, so what other beta is acceptable? Logically, you must either have no beta or allow any beta and this is really where things break down (unless you can somehow do away with guidebooks and route descriptions altogether!). Also, it is practically impossible not to pick up some additional beta about a lot of routes, and I think everyone comes to their own decision about what is acceptable for them without invalidating the onsight. I think I find beta acceptable if it is the sort of thing that typically appears in guidebooks for some routes. For instance being told that "protection improves above the roof" is ok, but "there's a bomber sideways Rock 5 just above the roof on the left" is not. Or "holds improve above" is ok, whereas "there's a hidden incut above round to the right" is not. In other words, if any beta I have might reasonably have been put in the guidebook by a different writer then I'd probably claim the onsight.
Post edited at 00:02
In reply to Robert Durran:


> If you are going to allow the use of a guidebook, then you are admitting a certain amount of beta, so what other beta is acceptable?

Well if you don't allow use of a guidebook how are you ever going to know where the route is, how to get to it and what grade it might be?


Chris
ads.ukclimbing.com
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> Well if you don't allow use of a guidebook how are you ever going to know where the route is, how to get to it and what grade it might be?


That is my point. You presumably do allow guidebooks and thus admit beta by that route and, if you allow some beta, where can you logically draw the line? It is not easy to do so!
Blue Straggler - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

As usual, good points with which I generally agree. However, this:


> If you are allowed to escape onto and up or down a neighbouring route to preserve the onsight, then, to be consistent, you have to allow moving onto a neighbouring route for a rest or to place gear; you can't logically have it both ways.

is one I disagree with. As it was me that added this issue to the discussion, perhaps I should clarify my position on this. I think I get what you are saying - is it that you think that a noble retreat with a plan to come back and fight another day should only retain "onsight" status if that retreat is a downclimb of the line of the route you are on? By escaping onto a neighbouring route (because it is easier than the downclimb), any onsight claim is sullied?

For the record, in the example I gave earlier, I could have downclimbed my route but for the sake of expediency and of giving my belayer something to climb (as opposed to me abbing for the gear and her going home as it was the last route of our session), I chose to finish up a neighbouring route.

I won't claim an onsight of the route I escaped from. Maybe some new variation of "ground up" :-)
Michael Gordon - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's simply not possible to eliminate all the grey areas to produce hard and fast rules. Climbing right past a ledge, you might as well step on to it. If you have to traverse off a fair bit to get to the ledge then maybe that's not fair game, but it would really have to be on a case by case basis. Same applies to gear and what constitutes side runners. Same applies to finishing up other routes - it depends what you can see of your original route from the other line.

And where beta is concerned, the best way is thus: If a climber feels that some info has made a significant difference then it's probably no longer an onsight, and equally the opposite applies.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

The ideal onsight is the indoor climbing competition version: come out of isolation onto a route you have never seen and climb it in one go in front of judges that make sure every rule is adhered to. That is never going to be achieved outdoors so we are left with two basic schools of thought:
a. anything is OK as long as you don't weight the rope and
b. if you don't get to the top on your first go it isn't on-sight

Both definitions need some grey areas and arbitrariness to make them practical. There is arbitrariness in the 'OK if you don't weight the rope' definition in classifying falling off and weighting the rope as a fail but falling off and hitting the ground as OK. Two climbers could climb in exactly the same way and fall off in exactly the same place but if one had a poor belayer that let them hit the ground they would keep the onsight.
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> It's simply not possible to eliminate all the grey areas to produce hard and fast rules. Climbing right past a ledge, you might as well step on to it. If you have to traverse off a fair bit to get to the ledge then maybe that's not fair game, but it would really have to be on a case by case basis. Same applies to gear and what constitutes side runners.

Yes, but there needs to be agreement as to what is allowed on any given route. If what is agreed feels contrived then it is a "poor line". The best routes are generally inescapable anyway.


> And where beta is concerned, the best way is thus: If a climber feels that some info has made a significant difference then it's probably no longer an onsight, and equally the opposite applies.

Yes, but the words "well protected" in the guidebook can make a huge difference to whether I am likely to commit sufficiently to a route to succeed. this was my point; if we allow guidebooks (and we do) then the beta issue becomes very thorny - there is nothing "special" about beta in the route description.

Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I think I get what you are saying - is it that you think that a noble retreat with a plan to come back and fight another day should only retain "onsight" status if that retreat is a downclimb of the line of the route you are on? By escaping onto a neighbouring route (because it is easier than the downclimb), any onsight claim is sullied?

Yes

> For the record, in the example I gave earlier, I could have downclimbed my route but for the sake of expediency and of giving my belayer something to climb (as opposed to me abbing for the gear and her going home as it was the last route of our session), I chose to finish up a neighbouring route.

I think that if a successful down climb would not have been in any doubt at all (up to your conscience!), then it would be fair enough to say that the onsight had been preserved.

Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

I agree with your aims, to clearly define 'on-sight' but I disagree with what you conclude.

Mainly by classing the ground as effectively a large ledge. I think there has to be a clear line determined between what is classed as the ground and what is classed as the rock face. Normally fairly easy to define but I admit there are circumstances where the line is more blurred.

But I think to have an on-site accent of a particular route you have to find the route (with the aid of a guide book if required), Have a look at it form the ground (the sight bit) to decide what gear to bring etc, then proceed to lead climb or solo it without returning to the ground, weighing gear or baling off route by other means. (climbing off line to easier ground)

I think it's okay to move up and down again on route as long as you don't leave the climb, via the ground or other routes. If the route includes a ledge or other good rest then great, use it all you like, but to bale off onto another route to use a ledge would be a retreat. Oh course what is and isn't 'in' is a matter of judgement unless it's specifically mentioned in the guide but I think generally it's easy to know if you've got significantly off line.

The reason I think you can't class the ground as part of the climb is because you could fall and hit the ground. (the clearest definition of ones failure to climb something if you ask me) Then get up, dust yourself off and proceed to start the climb again, while still trying to maintain an on site which is clearly nonsense, this would be at best ground up.

It would also mean that it's near impossible not to onsite a solo where there is no gear available on the route. You could go for it, deck out form high up, break both your legs, spend months recovering then return, done the route and say "yeah I on-sited that".

DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> I agree with your aims, to clearly define 'on-sight' but I disagree with what you conclude.
>
> Mainly by classing the ground as effectively a large ledge. I think there has to be a clear line determined between what is classed as the ground and what is classed as the rock face. Normally fairly easy to define but I admit there are circumstances where the line is more blurred.
>
> But I think to have an on-site accent of a particular route you have to find the route (with the aid of a guide book if required), Have a look at it form the ground (the sight bit) to decide what gear to bring etc, then proceed to lead climb or solo it without returning to the ground, weighing gear or baling off route by other means. (climbing off line to easier ground)
>
> I think it's okay to move up and down again on route as long as you don't leave the climb, via the ground or other routes. If the route includes a ledge or other good rest then great, use it all you like, but to bale off onto another route to use a ledge would be a retreat. Oh course what is and isn't 'in' is a matter of judgement unless it's specifically mentioned in the guide but I think generally it's easy to know if you've got significantly off line.
>
> The reason I think you can't class the ground as part of the climb is because you could fall and hit the ground. (the clearest definition of ones failure to climb something if you ask me) Then get up, dust yourself off and proceed to start the climb again, while still trying to maintain an on site which is clearly nonsense, this would be at best ground up.
>
> It would also mean that it's near impossible not to onsite a solo where there is no gear available on the route. You could go for it, deck out form high up, break both your legs, spend months recovering then return, done the route and say "yeah I on-sited that".

Falling off in an uncontrolled manner could be considered equivalent to weighting gear but not down climbing or deliberately jumping off.

Archangel at Stanage: It is fairly normal to climb up and down the arete (to the ground) a fair bit to get a feel for it before completing the ascent.
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> Falling off in an uncontrolled manner could be considered equivalent to weighting gear but not down climbing or deliberately jumping off.

Rather than trying to adjudicate between a semi-controlled fall and a barely controlled jump (dangerously arbitarary), it makes much more sense just to stick with the clear rule that both are ok as long as gear is not weighted. If you fall and deck out and live to fight another day then good luck to you (this is entirely logically consistent with multiple slips off a bouldery start which is pretty common).
Post edited at 13:52
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Mainly by classing the ground as effectively a large ledge. I think there has to be a clear line determined between what is classed as the ground and what is classed as the rock face. Normally fairly easy to define but I admit there are circumstances where the line is more blurred.

I'm trying to avoid blurred lines. And I'm avoiding one by allowing climbing to the ground. Which most people agree with in my experience.
Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Falling off in an uncontrolled manner could be considered equivalent to weighting gear but not down climbing or deliberately jumping off.

I agree, I think the point at which you fail to hold onto the rock despite your best efforts is the point where you've failed to climb it.

> Archangel at Stanage: It is fairly normal to climb up and down the arete (to the ground) a fair bit to get a feel for it before completing the ascent.

If you've climbed up to "get a feel for it" first then you haven't on-sighted it in my book. Fallen off or not, the point of on-sighting is you climb it having no pior experience (or feel for) the route, all you can do is look at it from the ground and set off.
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> I agree, I think the point at which you fail to hold onto the rock despite your best efforts is the point where you've failed to climb it.

So no bouldering out a desperate start then?

> If you've climbed up to "get a feel for it" first then you haven't on-sighted it in my book. Fallen off or not, the point of on-sighting is you climb it having no pior experience (or feel for) the route.

In which case, to be logically consistent, you wouldn't be allowed to feel the holds at the start of a hard sequence and then step six inches down to readjust your feet or shake out.
Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

In 90% of cases the line is prety clear cut. There is some horizontal grass then some vertical rock. the only cases where it might be less clear cut are on more mountain'est crags where you may scramble up to a certain point before setting up a belay and commencing the climb proper, or again where the belayer might put you on a bit lower down then you scramble up some blocks to get to the base of the real climb before the pitch officially starts. But even those cases, if you're honest with yourself you know at which point you really started climbing.

But in each case, if you've returned to whatever you consider to be the floor then you have, for whatever reason retreated from the climb due, presumably to the fact the climber felt they wouldn't make it and wanted to avoid the risks of a fall. Either way, the accent has failed and I would record a DNF. To then reattempt the climb, whether 2 minuets or 2 months later is a fresh attempt and no longer on site due to your prior knowledge of the route.
Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So no bouldering out a desperate start then?

No, not if you want to on-site it. Presumably if you're allowed to fall off the route near the start then at what point is it no longer the start, and does it have to be hard or do we just allow say the first 3m of any route is workable and still keeps an on-site intact.

As for your other point, you can feel what you like while you're still stood on the ground but once you leave it you've started climbing, if you step off again, although it would be being a little strict then you've failed, presumably if you did the move right in the first place you wouldn't need to step back off.
Rick Sewards - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> As for your other point, you can feel what you like while you're still stood on the ground but once you leave it you've started climbing, if you step off again, although it would be being a little strict then you've failed, presumably if you did the move right in the first place you wouldn't need to step back off.

...Which just goes to show that if you exclude climbing/stepping back down to the ground from your definition of "onsight", then it becomes a totally absurd concept with no relevance whatsoever to real climbing (IMNSHO). Falling off bouldery starts is a grey area (though quite a few gritstone grades only seem to make sense if this part of the game), but I wouldn't accept that climbing back down to the ground reduces the quality of the eventual achievement in any way whatsoever - and in a lot of cases it's the only rational way to do it.

Put another way, if you imagine a continuously steep route with no rests, which starts with an easy juggy section leading to a nest of strenuous-to-place gear, followed by the crux and a run-out to the top. The climber who presses on after placing the gear, no doubt leading to the inevitable screamer, isn't being more purist than the one who reverses back to the ground for a rest - he's just a muppet with crap tactics, and somebody really needs to point that out to him...

And I can't believe I've broken one of my unwritten rules and posted on an endless ethical debate on Rocktalk - must get out.

Rick
DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> [...]
>
> No, not if you want to on-site it. Presumably if you're allowed to fall off the route near the start then at what point is it no longer the start, and does it have to be hard or do we just allow say the first 3m of any route is workable and still keeps an on-site intact.
>
> As for your other point, you can feel what you like while you're still stood on the ground but once you leave it you've started climbing, if you step off again, although it would be being a little strict then you've failed, presumably if you did the move right in the first place you wouldn't need to step back off.

In that case we'll have to agree to differ.
As RD suggests 'you wouldn't even be allowed to reach up and feel out holds and shake out'. Bouldering out a start is accepted by everyone I know and I'm stricter than many. How can it not be onsight? All the information is information you gained 'onsight'.
Post edited at 15:33
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

To logically consistent, either you can reverse/jump from anywhere or not at all. I think that in practice most people go with the former.
armus on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:
To people who love the hills e.g. mountaineers, these terms such as 'onsight' and 'redpoint' are meaningless. They only refer to competition between climbers, not between the climber and the hill, which is what climbing is all about, and always has been. Such simple competitive mindsets should only be allowed on indoor walls. Just think, we could have all onsighters and redpointers restricted to indoor, with clubs and leagues like soccer, leaving the hills to hill enthusiasts.
Post edited at 15:38
Michael Hood - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to anyone still out there: I think the critical factor in defining the on-sight (every ascent is on-site :-) is the intent in the climber's mind which is of course a personal thing. I would apply this as follows...

If the climber is making their first attempt to climb the route then if they do not complete it (i.e. they failed on that attempt) then they have blown the on-sight. So...

Climbing down to the ground invalidates the OS - you've failed - why else would you come all the way down; e.g. come down for a rest - you're too weak etc - failed, need different gear - poor preparation - failed, etc, etc, but see below.

Finishing up another line invalidates the OS - you've failed - why else would you finish up another line?

Weighting the gear, jumping off, etc all invalidate the OS - they're all failures

Falling off and hitting the ground but not weighting the ropes is a FAILURE - I can't believe that anyone is seriously proposing that falling off weighting the gear invalidates the OS but falling off without weighting it (i.e. a crater) preserves the OS - get real.

Problem areas would be things like trying the first couple of moves - I would actually say that this would preserve the OS if you were obviously just looking at these moves and not intending to climb the route at that point. Note that trying the first couple of moves fully kitted up with ropes tied on is actually trying the whole route so no coming back if you want the OS. This is an area where the climber's intent is important.

The real tricky one might be someone who only intends to climb up and place gear, then downclimb, rest and then climb up intending to climb the whole route. Again I would say this preserves the OS but with a couple of provisos; 1) the gear placing needs to be the intent of the first going up; i.e. tell your belayer, 2) no untying from the ropes, 3) no trying moves above the last piece of gear "pre"placed - that would be trying to climb it, 4) no going beyond the crux or into the crux sequence (a bit vague & subjective).

Having said all that, in my personal climbing I'm not bothered about on-sighting, although I do have self-imposed rules that tell me whether I have climbed a route in an acceptable (to me) manner.
Blue Straggler - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes

> I think that if a successful down climb would not have been in any doubt at all (up to your conscience!), then it would be fair enough to say that the onsight had been preserved.

Fair comments, ta
Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> In that case we'll have to agree to differ.

> As RD suggests 'you wouldn't even be allowed to reach up and feel out holds and shake out'. Bouldering out a start is accepted by everyone I know and I'm stricter than many. How can it not be onsight? All the information is information you gained 'onsight'.


Maybe we will, mean personally I'm not to bothered about on-sighting routes, most harder stuff I do is head pointed.

But I feel if we're going to define a clear cut rule as to what an on-site is then there needs to be a clear distinction between the ground and rock face.

When you're on the rock you're climbing, regardless of how easy it may be to stand in a rest, it's all within the scope of climbing the route, some routes have good rests/ledges and that will be accounted for in the grade.

When you're on the floor you are not climbing, you've stopped, the climb you were on has finished and fresh one will start when you return to a rock face.

So if you set off on a climb and end up back on the ground before you've reached the top then you were not successful on that attempt.

Any subsequent attempts are no longer on-site as you process knowledge of the climb beforehand which could aid you in your accent (you can do the first part smoother thus saving energy for the top as yet unprecedented section)

However if you're on the route (first go) I don't see why you could reverse some moves providing you stay on route. You can gain knowledge, by for example, pulling up to feel what a crap hold is like then dropping back down to the jug you're on before committing to the move because although you now have knowledge of that hold, you've gained it at the expense of the extra effort required to pull up and feel it (down climbing being generally tricky). I'm sure we'd all agree such a maneuver is completely valid in climbing, on-sight or not.

By extension, you can therefore legitimately climb up and down sections of the route as much as you like providing you don't fall off. Although in reality this would more often than not just pump you out and result in failure, unless you're super fit but very un-committing.

For me the difference is as I said, coming back to the ground. It may not make much difference physically, down climbing to a large ledge would give you just as much of a good rest but the ground is not the rock face, and if you're on the ground your session has ended in my book.

As for bouldering out the start, no chance. I'm surprised this is a common thing actually to do that and then claim an on-sight for it, Maybe it's just different regionally I don't know. I just can't see how on a route with a difficult start how its allowable to spend a session working it then come back, fall off it a couple more times, finally stick the move, complete the route and claim you on-sighted. Imagine if having done that another guy came along, looked at it, and just cruised it first go to the top, that's surly a better accent and a true on-sight.

Not that I've above doing any of these things, I remeber climbing a route at Wilton 2 called The Swine http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=17202 It's basicly got a 6b move about 2m off the deck with no gear, once you do this you're ok and it's no harder than 5c. I had several goes, failing on the hard move before I managed it and then finished the route, there is no way I'd consider it an on-sight though. Ground up maybe but for me on-sight is first try, failure/retreat free.


Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I think the critical factor in defining the on-sight (every ascent is on-site :-) is the intent in the climber's mind.

I find it utterly bizarre that leaving the ground with the intent of coming back down could be ok, but deciding to come back down after leaving the ground would not be ok. This must be the weirdest proposal yet on this thread.

Your idea that trying moves with the rope on then coming down is not ok but placing gear with the rope on and then coming down could be is almost as bizarre.

And not being allowed to untie from the rope when you are allowed to climb back down is truly silly.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Michael Hood:

Case in point:
On the first belay of Astral Stroll. The sea has a very big swell on and the guide book implies that the 2nd belay is not usable in a big swell. I climb 10ft of the second pitch and can see the next belay. It Looks alright but we haven't swapped gear. I reverse the 10 feet to get the gear then climb the pitch.
You can try and sell me the notion that I have somehow 'blown the onsight' by using the 'beta' I picked up by looking around the corner but I'm not buying it.
Robert Durran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Any subsequent attempts are no longer on-site as you process knowledge of the climb beforehand which could aid you in your accent (you can do the first part smoother thus saving energy for the top as yet unprecedented section)

Yes, but all the knowledge has been gained by your own effort without weighting the gear, so, to me obviously, the onsight is preserved.

> As for bouldering out the start, no chance...... Imagine if having done that another guy came along, looked at it, and just cruised it first go to the top, that's surly a better ascent and a true on-sight.

Obviously some onsights are smoother than others. I know when I've cruised a route (usually when I have a few grades in hand), but most of my hardest onsights have been anything but cruised and have usually been inelegant, epic struggles, and often all the more satisfactory for being so. The term "onsight" covers a broad spectrum of stylishness.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I can see all the logic in what you say I just think you probably need to call your definition of onsite 'one-push-onsight', 'super-clean-onsight' or something because the definition of onsight (as discussed here) means nothing more than a clean ascent. That is just climbing all the route without without weighting the gear (and, I would accept, falling off in an uncontrolled manner). But I would caveat an onsight ascent with phrases like: but it wasn't a smoothe ascent or it took ages to work out the crux.
I think you are saying on onsight has to be a near perfect ascent whereas I think onsight could represent the lowest form of 'non-failure' on the route.
john arran - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:
I'm finding it astonishing that so many people on here seem to want to add new rules to abide by. From long before the concept of onsight existed it's been the case that a successful ascent of a route could be made regardless of whether the ground was used for tactical retreat. Similarly, bouldering out hard starts is normal on successful ascents - as reflected by a much lower E grade for such routes. Failure happens only when gear is weighted or the climber traverses off, generally onto an easier line.

An onsight ascent is a successful one by a climber who has not previosly failed on the same route nor gained significant beta from elsewhere.

It seems there is a call for a new term to describe a stricter (and sometimes ridiculous) ascent where the ground is considered out of bounds once started (even though a big ledge at 1" would be fair game.)

Any suggestions for an appropriate term? "Mastermind"? (I've started so I'll finish)
Post edited at 17:21
mockerkin on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to armus:

> To people who love the hills e.g. mountaineers, these terms such as 'onsight' and 'redpoint' are meaningless. They only refer to competition between climbers, not between the climber and the hill, which is what climbing is all about, and always has been. Such simple competitive mindsets should only be allowed on indoor walls. Just think, we could have all onsighters and redpointers restricted to indoor, with clubs and leagues like soccer, leaving the hills to hill enthusiasts.

You are wasting your breath, these people don't even understand what you are saying. They should all be put where they belong, on indoor walls.
Then they will come onto TV, as it's better than darts etc. and they can make money, not cluttering up the hills that they don't really like.
The public will be introduced to words such as 'redpoint' and sitting on the sofa will shout their opinions.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to john arran:

+1
I think you got to the crux what I was trying to say better than I did.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to mockerkin:

It is possible to enjoy all that and this too you know.
j0ntyg on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> It is possible to enjoy all that and this too you know.

Yes but they should be seperated. One may enjoy the hills and rock gymnastics, but to put the two together as the same sport is wrong. Gymnasts should be indoors, climbers on the hill.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to john arran:

> Any suggestions for an appropriate term? "Mastermind"? (I've started so I'll finish)

That's actually quite good.


It would seem this climbing back to the ground to "preserve the on-site" thing is more common than I knew. I'm not still convinced about this bouldering out the start thing though, maybe it's a grit thing.

To me, ground aside for a moment, if you fall off you fall off, I don't see why whether or not you placed a nut beforehand should decide whether it is or isn't an on-site.

I'd just say I managed it 2nd go or whatever. But anyways, I'm done I think we'll just conclude that there are different degree's of strictness in deciding what an on-sight is.
Adam Long - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to john arran:

> Any suggestions for an appropriate term? "Mastermind"? (I've started so I'll finish)

I remember once struggling to work out a route with very little info - it was too recent to be in a guide, and there was no chalk or brush marks etc. - all we knew was a vague 'wall left of x'. After a while getting nowhere my exasperated partner remarked 'god we're climbing blindsight here'! Which amused me no end.
Baron Weasel - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

Why not simply make a more modest claim and say you 'flashed it?' The fact that you have already doubted if your ascent was an on-sight means that you will always doubt it I think. Enjoying the climb is the most important bit anyway :-)
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

The real problem is that a surprising number of climbing folk are f***ing dishonest with themselves, which is exactly why they're so obsessed with this jargon. If you're climbing well, and leading things on sight in good style, you couldn't care a toss.
LakesWinter on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

But it is also impressive when someone only just makes it up a route first go without weighting gear etc and they have fought really hard to stay on and do the route
DubyaJamesDubya - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to j0ntyg:
> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> [...]
>
> Yes but they should be seperated. One may enjoy the hills and rock gymnastics, but to put the two together as the same sport is wrong. Gymnasts should be indoors, climbers on the hill.

This makes no sense.
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> But in each case, if you've returned to whatever you consider to be the floor then you have, for whatever reason retreated from the climb due, presumably to the fact the climber felt they wouldn't make it and wanted to avoid the risks of a fall. Either way, the ascent has failed.

No. The retreat may have been carefully judged to avoid a fall, not through fear but specifically to preserve the onsight for later having in the meantime gained some useful knowledge. It is not failure until gear has been weighted.
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to john arran:
>> Any suggestions for an appropriate term?

Monotonic monotry onsight.
Post edited at 09:16
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to mockerkin:
> You are wasting your breath, these people don't even understand what you are saying. They should all be put where they belong, on indoor walls.

What utter bollocks. I imagine you are one of those smug people (usually a bit fat) who goes round proudly announcing to anyone within earshot at a crag that, of course, you never use indoor walls and then proceed to illustrate the fact with your hilarious technical incompetence, lack of stamina and general weakness. At least that is the picture I have of you.
Post edited at 09:31
Robert Durran - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to j0ntyg:

> Yes but they should be seperated. One may enjoy the hills and rock gymnastics, but to put the two together as the same sport is wrong. Gymnasts should be indoors, climbers on the hill.

Self satisfied, self righteous crap
Dan Arkle - on 05 Sep 2014
Right then, I'll wade back into this debate to point out an old and rarely used distinction between an on sight flash and an onsight ascent. The 'flash' part indicating a continuous first go ascent.

Most people now use the term flash as an abbreviation of 'beta-flash', adding confusion for some.

Has anyone else understood the terms this way?

Adam Long - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Yes, that's how I always understood it. Problem is there are now more folk who only understand the abbreviations and not the origins.
Enty - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Of course I was dismayed to see that Pearson's recent ascent of an E9 was only rated a flash and not an onsight after his bird cleaned the route and gave him the numbers.
That's completely messed up about 90% of my ascents ;-)

E
john arran - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> an old and rarely used distinction between an on sight flash and an onsight ascent. The 'flash' part indicating a continuous first go ascent.

I've never heard of any such distinction and I was very active in UK and US during the times when these terms were evolving. An onsight ascent has always been an abbreviated way of saying and onsight flash ascent, and I've never been aware of any attempt to differentiate between ascents that did or didn't return to the ground during the attempt. Not until now, of course, when people seem strangely keen on the idea, apparently following the lead of difficulty comps.
j0ntyg on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya and Robert Durran

"To people who love the hills e.g. mountaineers, these terms such as 'onsight' and 'redpoint' are meaningless. They only refer to competition between climbers, not between the climber and the hill, which is what climbing is all about, and always has been. Such simple competitive mindsets should only be allowed on indoor walls. Just think, we could have all onsighters and redpointers restricted to indoor, with clubs and leagues like soccer, leaving the hills to hill enthusiasts."

You shouldn't have fallen for the post above by armus, it was a wind up.
Robert Durran - on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to j0ntyg:

> You shouldn't have fallen for the post above by armus, it was a wind up.

Not sure whether you are frantically back peddling or not.

Anyway the view put (seriously or not) by you and armus, is certainly held by many and is complete bollocks.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to j0ntyg:
> In reply to DubyaJamesDubya and Robert Durran
>
>
> You shouldn't have fallen for the post above by armus, it was a wind up.

And as such made no sense.
krikoman - on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

what if you intend to jump off, but your belayer doesn't let enough rope out and you weight the gear before touching the ground?

Can I still claim the on sight?
john arran - on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

No. Blame the belayer!
Robert Durran - on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to krikoman:

> what if you intend to jump off, but your belayer doesn't let enough rope out and you weight the gear before touching the ground?

> Can I still claim the on sight?

No. And nor can you claim the onsight if you fall off because your belayer doesn't give you enough slack to do a move.

MichaelGallimore - on 08 Sep 2014
In reply to MichaelGallimore:

I'm amazed at all the responses to this. I haven't read the whole thread yet.

I just wanted to see what people on UKC thought. Whether I call this particular climb an onsight or not is no big deal. But it is a tricky one to pin down.

I think its an onsight if you don't dog the climb or have beta.
I feel better about a climb if I do it all in one push, but sometimes downclimb back to a rest position to shake out.

At Bowden doors I just got distracted during the shake out. My parents arrived and we went for coffee. I wanted to warm back up before jumping back on route, hence the solos and rescue.

Like most of you, I'm not posting because I particularly care about the onsight. I just found it interesting that by the definition I currently hold, a coffee break and other climbs didn't blow my onsight attempt. Isn't that funny?


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