/ NEWS: Wideboyz USA : Century Crack First Ascent

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
UKC News - on 07 Oct 2011
Tom Randall finishing off Century Crack in Utah, 4 kbFollowing on from their recent successes in Little Cottonwood Canyon and Vedauwoo, Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall have now gone on to climb the BIG DADDY of them all. In this third report from the Wideboyz trip across the biggest, widest and nastiest cracks in America, Tom describes their first ascent of this amazing feature.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=64429
Double Knee Bar - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Well done! What an amazing looking line.
CurlyStevo - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
Aye nice one!
gribble - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Fanatstic stuff! Very well done.
In reply to UKC News: Totally amazing a great ascent and I'm sure totally worth the two years training!!! Those Peak routes are going to feel a bit tiddly after that...
And Tom you were right you did need that many big Friends....i thought you were taking the mickey when you asked for 10 size 5's and 6 number 6's but hats off to you guys.
And in my opinion 9A's a nice round number!!!! Stevie won't mind...!
Graeme Alderson on 07 Oct 2011
Calder - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

These guys are on it! Are there any cracks they can't climb???
Guy Atkinson - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:
That's gotta be one of the best routes in the world it looks stunning!
Awesome effort guys!
IainWhitehouse - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Nice one boys.
MHutch - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Awesome.

Must be a big cellar those boys have.
JimmyKay - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Looks unreal! What an inspiring adventure. All that training really is worthwhile, eh?! I wonder whats next on list.
Chris the Tall - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Richie Patterson, Wild Country:
> And Tom you were right you did need that many big Friends....i thought you were taking the mickey when you asked for 10 size 5's and 6 number 6's but hats off to you guys.

No wonder they had to pre-place the friends - can you imagine having to rack that lot of your harness !

What an amazing and totally ridiculous route - awesome effort for them both to get it first go on their second day
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Brilliant. Added that to the report.

Alan
Tyler - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

This is utterly inspiring story.
mkean - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:
Amazing bit of climbing. So when are we going to see a training article with the instructions on how to build this 'super cellar'?
Simon Caldwell - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Wow. Can't wait to see the comments on supertopo :)
Brannock - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Very inspiring story of the training they've put in paying off, even if the route looks horrific.
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Wow. Can't wait to see the comments on supertopo :)

I expect there may be some debate about pre-placing the cams. The established ethic is one of carrying the gear with you, and a rack of cams does weigh a bit, but the normal method for off-widths is to place the gear behind you as you climb since you need the crack clear of obstructions.

I think Tom describes their thinking on this well though and he also says it wasn't an option due to time constraints.

Alan
Dave Warburton - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Alan James - UKC: Just gives the locals an opportunity to do it 'in better style'. I'm sure they're up to the task.

Excellent effort, outrageous looking line
koalapie - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Great efforts, well done, keep going!!
Franco Cookson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:


That's MEGA
tony on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Wow. Can't wait to see the comments on supertopo :)

Yup, they seem to have woken up in the US and are duly impressed.
Craig Smith on 07 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to UKC News:

Phenomenal. Gets my vote for ascent of the decade. Stunning line.
Quarryboy - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Holy Sh!t that's an impressive line!
mike kann - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: "Oh my feckin' achin' root ! !

I just threw up on my keyboard.

Those dudes are truly badass and appear to be in a league of their own.

Sick f*#kin' Brits anyway......"

Hehe... good work boys. Retribution is sweet and calorie free... there were a few of them, and only two of you... keep at it!
TRip - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Pete and Tom - you guys disgust me. That look unbelievably unpleasant. Well done!
Oliver Hill - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Really great to see how a professional approach to climbing pays off: identify a weakness in the market, set project goal for success; train; practise and build up near home and far away; what else but achieve. Well done.
I am afraid though you have set yourselves up to repeat the route placing gear on the way. Why not a bidding process for the repeat? including a new ticket home?
Craig Smith on 07 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to Oliver Hill:
Interesting take on it...part of me agrees, but then again maybe they just like climbing wide cracks?
Franco Cookson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

I agree, these chaps just like climbing and seem to love cracks. They're bound to like it even more because not very many people are good at it and they're at the top of the game, but lets not forget that they have both climbed very hard in totally different styles, so I don't think they get on cracks for easier recognition, as they could get recognition elsewhere, if they so desired.


I can't believe this line though, makes me want to get into cracks. The difficulty is almost irrelevant, when the line is THAT good.
franksnb - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

that is awesome!

what are you going to call it?

you should give it an UK grade.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Franco Cookson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to franksnb:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
>
>
> you should give it an UK grade.



Agree.
TRip - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:
> (In reply to Oliver Hill)
> but then again maybe they just like climbing wide cracks?

On a similar note did you enjoy climbing Gin Palace? That looks horrible!
In reply to UKC News:

Astounding!


Chris
thedatastream on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Inspiring stuff! Well done guys!
Craig Smith on 07 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to franksnb:

Despite their achievement, which I do not want to smear, IMO they are not in a position to rename this climb because they have not climbed it without recourse to preplacing the gear. As they point out, climbing this crack placing the gear would be a totally different challenge. Stevie Haston would never dream of preplacing gear and this is probably why he didn't manage to complete the climb. As it stands, the way these guys climbed the route is nearly akin to climbing it with bolts; except circumnavigating the preplaced gear is not without problems and makes it harder than if the crack had been bolted!
Craig Smith on 07 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Gin palace was fun to climb. A little harder back in the day because the frictional coefficient of lycra on slate is much lower than denim on slate.

My only regret is that in some respects I wish it wasn't bolted...

Cheers,

C
metal arms on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:
>
> A little harder back in the day because the frictional coefficient of lycra on slate is much lower than denim on slate.

Love it!

But incidentally didn't Haston call it Century Crack without climbing it?

Anyway, none of this really matters to me.

Amazing climbing Tom and Pete. It's brilliant and inspiring seeing reports of you guys.

Chris
willworkforfoodjnr - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith: Actually Haston preplaced a cam or two on Greenspit...
Jon Read - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:
But the lycra has been kind to you overall, Craig. You wouldn't have appeared in a Hollywood film without it! ;-)

On topic: Well done boys!
Jus - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Words fail me!
simon rawlinson - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

absolutely brilliant!!!!

amazing line, and i love that you can see it from space, kind of puts some scale on how huge this thing is !

PeterJuggler - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to simon rawlinson: I doubt you could see it with the naked eye from space. You could see anything from space with a powerful enough lens. Isn't the higher zoom factors taken with aerial photography anyway?
Very well done to the climbers anyway.
franksnb - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith: you must have trouble reading( unnecessarily provocative :) ). preplacing the gear made the route harder. they finished the route therefore they should name it, in my opinion.
Franco Cookson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to franksnb:

They've got the first free ascent with (probably quite unhelpful) pre-placed gear. There for they should name it. If someone does it without the pre-placed gear, then it is debatable whether they should be able to re-name it, but hopefully the person will respect (and like) these guys' name and keep it how it is.

Preplaced gear is basically a step above side-runners, for which I believe an ascentionist who climbs a route without side runners should be able to rename it, but others disagree.
franksnb - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson: side runner could change the grade whereas pre placed wouldn't. for the onsite.
Franco Cookson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to franksnb:

Yeh, I don't understand why people can't see how different a route can become with side-runners, as opposed to not having them.
andi turner - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Wow, that's incredible! I wonder what's next, there must be something big on the horizon if they only set aside two days for this one. What a line to take!
USBRIT - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: There is still lots and lots of unclimbed Off-Width cracks in the Utah desert areas.Up until the last few years most US climbers have stayed away from them,prefering the finger and hand cracks.I hope more Brits after of course a wee bit of practice in their basements travel out here to show how easy these nice wide cracks really are.
Graeme Alderson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Crusher just sent me some shots of Pete's ascent, I will see if I can get them published somewhere.
jacobjlloyd - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Beasts! I love this 'international raiding party' fad. And I have to agree, that is one of the best lines I have seen anywhere. Inspiring stuff!
Escher - on 07 Oct 2011
USBRIT - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Escher: The technique used for on-sight leads ground up in the desert on routes that require lots of big stuff or "what ever" is to use a lighter trail rope. Hawling extra gear up as you need it,sometimes teeth and one arm. Simple as that.The lighter trail rope is then often used to rap off pitches that can be up to 60m long.
mike kann - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Escher: Haha I sense a disturbance in the force luke...
USBRIT - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to USBRIT:PS. They should now find Belly Full of Raspberries pretty straight forward.
Steve Clegg - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to USBRIT:

Paul, raspberries ... lol
Christheclimber - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

What a monster!
Russ Walling - on 07 Oct 2011
A+ gents! As the kids say, "Way to send"
Michael Gordon - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Escher: Typical Stevie!
Russ Walling - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Russ Walling:
> A+ gents! As the kids say, "Way to send"

Ok, I'm going to A- because of the pinkpoint. Stevie has just sorted me out.

Still a tremendous effort lads!
cheers
jas wood - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: awesome stuff lads, felt hard enough getting up charming crack earlier today so this effort must be biblical !
chris_j_s - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Escher:

Ha ha, reminds me of a chap who climbed Greenspit on preplaced gear!
Bulls Crack - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Awesome in the unabused sense of the word

But 'It's like my cellar'?

Weird cellar you have there boy!
crusherbartlett - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

I watched Pete send this beast, day before yesterday. Amazing display of skill and persistence, combined with an unreal mastery of hanging upside down for ten, twenty minutes, seemingly without effort. The suspense, as he methodically, patiently shuffled horizontally for the meat of the climb, with the crux was at the end, was hard to take.

Regarding the name: Tom and Pete should call it what they want, and out of respect for Stevie, who had the vision to try to free this, they seem to like his working title of Century Crack. Such a unique, magnificent climb deserves something a bit more, ahem, dignified than the name some old fool bestowed on the thing after aiding across it on cams, years ago.
Ian Patterson on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to crusherbartlett:

Good post and even better on supertopo (with great photos)

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1630348/UK-Wide-Boyz-Climb-Century-Crack-in-Canyonlands

This looks to be an awesome effort and any controversy seems totally out of place - they've been completely open about how (and why) they climbed it and it's much better than anyone else has achieved. A free ascent placing gear is waiting if anyone is up to it.

BTW the missus looked at the picture and said that's not climbing it's just ridiculous!
johncoxmysteriously - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Awesome effort. Congratulations.

jcm
Denni on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Ian Patterson:

Supertopo is rad man, rad.
snoop6060 - on 07 Oct 2011
In reply to Escher:

"I leave it to you to try and understand the absurd comment that it is ok to leave this gear in, and not carry it. Trad climbing is absurd nowadays, the climbers are good but their approach is silly."

Hypocrite!

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=50641

I sense a belly full of sour grapes.
Mick Ward - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to crusherbartlett:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Such a unique, magnificent climb deserves something a bit more, ahem, dignified than the name some old fool bestowed on the thing after aiding across it on cams, years ago.

Wasn't that the same old fool who once laybacked up Curving Arete on Cloggy... the wrong side of the arete? < Shudder >

I looked at those photos and thought of you aiding it, without a rope, for most of the way - and felt sick! The original name surely defines the experience.

Seems a long time ago when you were staying at Joe's in Sheff and we went to Raventor on agonising winter days.

Stay safe out there in the desert!

All best wishes,

Mick

P.S. And, as everyone else has said, what a stunning achievement for this duo. I guess offwidth VS on grit will never quite be the same...
Tom Last - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ward:

offwidth VS on grit will never quite be the same...

Absolutely! Talk about being victims of your own success - the World's hardest offwidths in the space of two holidays!

Is there any great untapped seam of offwidths back in the uk for these boys? The only place that springs to mind is sandstone in northern Scotland judging by Burning Desire/Northwest Eliminate etc; still can't be anything even approaching this level of difficulty?

Does beg the question, what next? Maybe they'll turn their hands to roofs or something!

steev on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Those photos make my knees hurt.
Oliver Hill - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to Oliver Hill: I did not quite realise the logistical problem of carrying all that gear. Jim Dunne's Black Canyon philosophy of a rope, a rack and the shirt on your back for a first ascent of 2000 feet does seem a bit unrealistic here. In a way what the Tom and Pete did is a bit similar, considering the problem. A relatively quick free ascent. In both cases really the idea is quick gymnastic movement. What climbing is about.
It would have been even more traditional if the second climber had seconded the route. It would have been no easier and would have removed the pro, and been the normal way of climbing a route.
The smiles on the faces of the boys after the route tells its story: Lots of little successes and a few big successes! Long live climbing!
john arran - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to Oliver Hill:

Our 'traditional' ideas as to what constitutes a successful ascent have evolved to be very appropriate for most of the climbing we do, but in some cases trying to shoehorn an ascent into a predefined style reduces the enjoyment to such an extent that it no longer seems justified.

When we climbed Angel Falls (and other big wall free routes) we would try each pitch onsight but then if we didn't make it we typically would end up headpointing with the gear in, as the (sometimes negligible) extra satisfaction and difficulty of placing the gear again on lead rarely seems to justify the (often huge) hassle of stripping a pitch each time.

A good analogy is with sport climbing; in the early days people often would draw a clear distinction between ascents with or without the draws in place, but as time went on people began to realise that it just wasn't worth the effort of stripping the draws each time for what was in many ways an otherwise identical ascent.

A huge single-pitch roof like this is clearly a grey area, but if the alternative is hauling each cam on a tag line during the ascent I can see why such a contrived method might not justify the enormous effort of stripping it.

Maybe what they need are radio-controlled cams that auto contract and fall out at the touch of a button!
Bulls Crack - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

The whole size of rack thing seems a bit daft? Haston seems to say that it's necessary fro a 'true' ascent but presumably the route isn't about boldness. Would an ascent in a few years time, when some super-light cams are available, be more acceptable?
PeteH - on 08 Oct 2011
Quiddity - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

That's gotta be the best line in the history of climbing.
Flashman - on 08 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Steve Haston seems to be an unusually bitter and abrasive character.
snoop6060 - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Quiddity:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> That's gotta be the best line in the history of climbing.

Steady on mate!

In reply to Flashman:
>
> Steve Haston seems to be an unusually bitter and abrasive character.

He is funny tho, his rime tinted specs blog post still cracks me up.
johncoxmysteriously - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060:

>Hypocrite!

>http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=50641

>I sense a belly full of sour grapes.

What twaddle. Honestly. Can you really not see the difference between climbing an established route and swopping leads with your girlfriend, and making or not making a first ascent?

jcm
Quiddity - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060:

>> That's gotta be the best line in the history of climbing.

>Steady on mate!

I mean c'mon!

http://alexekins.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/IMG_0234-590x885.jpg
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_zoom.php?dpid=Mjg4PT4_JSgi
Chris the Tall - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Flashman:
> (In reply to UKC News) Steve Haston seems to be an unusually bitter and abrasive character.

Not sure if he's being serious or not. He uses the terms "absurd" and "silly", but isn't the picture on his blog meant to show how absurd it would be to attempt the route with that amount of big gear jangling around your waist.

More importantly, I struggle to believe that anyone would think that, on a 120ft horizontal roof crack, you should strip the gear after each attempt
Chris the Tall - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Quiddity:
Most major first ascents these days are really just eliminates or gap-fillers, so the way we judge it is all based on the reporting - I.e charlton chestwig has spent 40 days and 40 nights on this route, so it must be hard

How often do we hear of a new route where both the line and the difficulty are blatantly obvious?

This is one route where the grade is almost irrelevant, which as Edge regulars will be aware, is just as well
John Gillott - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Obviously, the Wideboyz team are very very good. I guess Stevie's point is that they should have worked it for longer with the gear in place and then put a lot more effort into leading it in the style that he (and others?) had been attempting it - a combination of carrying and pulling up gear for a clean lead with nothing insitu. Maybe they'll be tempted to go back and do this.
franksnb - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott: i think that would make the route easier, therefore it is irrelevant.
Simon Caldwell - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Flashman:
> Steve Haston seems to be an unusually bitter and abrasive character.

He seems to have turned into a caricature of himself
mark s - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Toreador: comes across as a right tit

well done pete and tom,brilliant effort
MJ - on 09 Oct 2011
Robert Durran - on 09 Oct 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to MJ)
>
> He's a tool.

I thought his comments there were actually quite balanced and honest.

Mick Ward - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Franco Cookson)
> [...]
>
> I thought his comments there were actually quite balanced and honest.

I totally agree. As Stevie says, "I hope this helps people understand a bit more..."

And a great photo of Crusher - like Whillans on steroids!

Mick
remus - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to MJ: In light of that second piece my opinion of him has raised markedly.
Franco Cookson on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to remus: really?
ads.ukclimbing.com
remus - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson: yeah. His point of view is a sensible one.

p.s. apologies for that last post, a grammatical nightmare!
franksnb - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: steves opinion would carry more weight if he had actually completed the route (same could be said of mine!). how does he know that carrying gear is the crux when he hasn't climbed it.
Michael Ryan - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to franksnb:

> (In reply to UKC News) how does he know that carrying gear is the crux when he hasn't climbed it.

Perhaps that is why he hasn't completed it, because he was carrying the gear!

Fine effort to all involved I say; Crusher, Stevie and Tom and Pete.

Biggest news since Joe Brown led Cenotaph Corner!

Coel Hellier - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I thought his comments there were actually quite balanced and honest.

Though they could be improved by paragraphs! (Or would that just get in the way of Stevie's stream-of-consciousness-style writing?) ;-)
Morgan Woods - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Haston Blog Part 2: -
>
> http://steviehaston.blogspot.com/2011/10/century-crack-2-by-stevie-good-job.html

confuses ethics with style, can't use paragraphs and white text on black = FAIL!
John Gillott - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

It's not clear or not all that clear from Stevie's blogs whether he was trying it carrying gear after working it to one degree or another with some gear in place, or whether he was taking the very pure approach of trying it ground up without any working (leaving the gear in place) - ie stripping it after every attempt.

If it was the former he might have quite a good idea of how hard it is using both approaches. Perhaps there'll be a part three blog post on it.
Fraser on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to OP:

Immense effort, what an incredible line!



In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to gribble) You can see the route from space

Ermm, well you can see my back garden "from space" too, if you zoom in on Google maps far enough! With that sense of exaggeration, you should be a journo ;)
Quiddity - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

stripping it after every attempt is of course ethically unimpeachable, but must surely, surely take absolutely all the fun out of climbing.
franksnb - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC: perhaps but he doesn't know for sure now does he.
jazzyjackson on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

absolutely mental tick !
def sicko category! hats off
Brendan - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Quiddity:

How on earth do you strip the gear on a route like that anyway? Second it pulling out the gear and then jummaring to the next piece each time, or is there a better way?
Robert Durran - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Brendan:
> (In reply to Quiddity)
>
> How on earth do you strip the gear on a route like that anyway? Second it pulling out the gear and then jummaring to the next piece each time, or is there a better way?

No, you second it, pulling out the gear and then hanging it on your harness. Just like any other route!

Boy - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Robert Durran:
That only works if you are stripping the route after a full ascent. To strip a partial ascent would involve jummaring to the last bit of gear and then back stripping the route.
TheAvenger - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Well, i'm glad a consensus has been reached on the issue. This coming weekend i'll be heading to Millstone to place runners at regular intervals in London Wall which i'll climb promptly claiming the free ascent. It'd just be too hard to carry the gear with me and place it, plus it'd also spoil the fun of climbing, so it is then fair game.

I know people climbs it placing the gear on lead, but i'm not good enough for that, so i will bring it down to my level and claim the ascent regardless. Anyone who don't agree with my style or thinks it not a valid ascent is a bitter person with sour grapes.

Thanks all.

The Avenger - Soon to be climbing E10 under new trad ethics regulations
TheAvenger - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

P.S. Good effort on the climb lads. It looks mental hard and is an spectacular line. Congrats!
Brendan - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Boy: That sounds pretty scary, I can see why they just left the gear in place while working the route.
john arran - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to TheAvenger:

There's nothing 'traditional' about stripping a route before having another go. In the '70s and early '80s it was actually common to see 'team yoyo ascents', whereby different climbers would take turns to push the rope's high point higher until someone finally topped out. Even the modern version whereby the rope is pulled between attempts is a huge style improvement over that.

It comes down to what you're happy with, and as we're all social creatures at heart (or most of us anyway) we tend to be happy with whatever style of ascent is considered normal or acceptable among our peers, which tends to change over time.

If you're happy with climbing London Wall by pre-frigging the gear there's nothing stopping you, and you can 'claim' a free ascent to anyone you think may be interested. But I suspect you're fully aware that in today's society that kind of ascent would be considered well short of laudable, and your personal satisfaction at having climbed it that way would be far less than if you had gone to the (relatively little) extra effort of abseiling to clean the gear.
Robert Durran - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to john arran:
> If you're happy with climbing London Wall by pre-frigging the gear there's nothing stopping you, and you can 'claim' a free ascent to anyone you think may be interested. But I suspect you're fully aware that in today's society that kind of ascent would be considered well short of laudable.

So the obvious question is: is Century Crack any different?
johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to john arran:

>and as we're all social creatures at heart (or most of us anyway) we tend to be happy with whatever style of ascent is considered normal or acceptable among our peers,

Well, exactly. I think the issue some (well, OK, SH) perceive is that some peer group (locals and/or SH) have been trying to do this particular route in a particular style, and others from outside that group have nipped in to claim the FA in a different and easier style. You can see why people might think that's a bit off.

Of course, the above makes several factual assumptions which may or may not be true, and of course equally Pete and Tom have done what they've done (and a brilliant effort it was), and they may well be right that what they've done isn't any easier. And the first ascent placing gear on lead is still there to be done. But still, history shows that FAs made in slightly less good style than other suitors were adopting (eg Great Wall)are usually subsequently accepted as the FA.

jcm
john arran - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So the obvious question is: is Century Crack any different?

The big difference is the amount of effort required to prepare the route for another attempt. For London Wall it would take perhaps half an hour to run around and rig an abseil, and it wouldn't significantly tire you out. On Century, by the sound of it, it would be game over for the day.

I'm not saying the way Pete and Tom did it is right or wrong, justified or unjustified, but I can definitely relate to why they may have chosen to focus on the climbing and not get too hung up over style, given the huge pragmatic advantage and the relatively small (if any) reduction in difficulty of the subsequent ascent.
Graeme Alderson on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: It would be interesting to hear whether Crusher thinks that the ascent is 'valid'. He did the 1st ascent (aided), was there when Stevie made his attempts (he is an old mate of Stevie's) and was there when pete & Tom made their ascents.

Crusher has also made numerous FA in the desert and I am assuming some of these have included hauling gear to reduce the weight carried so he has a fair bit of experience in these matters.
Chris the Tall - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Robert Durran:
>
> So the obvious question is: is Century Crack any different?

Yes, because for the time being, it's very much a matter of conjecture whether the route can be done in a "better" style.

SH seems to be suggesting that the lads ascent made it more sport than trad, but there are two crucial differences. Firstly the difficulty of getting round the gear, but more importantly the fact that the opportunity is still therefore for someone to improve on the style.

But in my view, anything that involves multiple removing and replacing of gear is not a better style. OK I can't see this route ever being popular enough for erosion to be a problem, but it is on London wall and plenty of other soft rock routes. So if you do take a fall on a route, and are going to have another go, leave your gear in place. Likewise if both you and a mate want to lead the same route. Ethics are all well and good, but the most important rules is not to damage the rock.

Anyway, can't wait the next installment from Team Sheffield!

Chris the Tall - on 10 Oct 2011
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
According to Alex ekins blog, crusher witnessed the ascent and described It as the most impressive display of climbing he'd seen in 30 years

http://alexekins.co.uk/the-hardest-offwidth-in-the-world/
Craig Smith on 11 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to UKC News:


If this ascent was a student essay I would probably write:

A good attempt, but marred by an incomplete treatment of the problem at hand. You didn't quite grasp the historical perspective and pay due respect to tradition. As a statement about 'the new wave' it is well executed and clear, but totally unrealistic. I think you rushed this rather than taking time to do a really good job. I know you can do better than this.

55/100
Calder - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

I think your feedback is completely useless to the students concerned, because they have already acknowledged they are aware of how and why they could have done it in better style.

Considering they have included this well reasoned evaluation it would be harsh to score them below 60.
Duncan Campbell - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Just had a brain-wave as to how they could have removed th cams in between attempts... big hook from above and dragged the cams up through the top of the crack...

To be fair to the guys, yes they didn't place cams as they climbed, which historically, wasn't the best style. However, they did only have two days in which to complete it, so fair doos in my opinion.

Anyway, now some yank OW crusher can do it in better style!

DC
Franco Cookson on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Craig Smith)
>
> I think your feedback is completely useless to the students concerned, because they have already acknowledged they are aware of how and why they could have done it in better style.
>
> Considering they have included this well reasoned evaluation it would be harsh to score them below 60.

That's the point and why Haston's back tracked, but still existent, lecturing is way out of line.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

> You didn't quite grasp the historical perspective and pay due respect to tradition.

Hmm, you sure? I wonder what fraction of notable, cutting-edge ascents over the history of climbing have used tactics that aren't a pure onsight flash, I suspect quite a lot (and yes, I do realise that the answer will differ a bit between the US and UK).
Calder - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Can't believe I just referred to them as students - they've shown over the last couple of weeks they're fully enlightened when it comes to offwidthing!!
Franco Cookson on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

If you mark for the German dept. I'm really pleased it's anonymous!
Craig Smith on 11 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to Calder:

It's OK, they are students because they still need to learn a lot about claiming first ascents! Until somebody does this climb placing the gear on lead it is not reasonable to claim a first ascent. If they do reclimb it placing the gear as they go, which I think they are well capable of, then I'll be the first to congratulate them.

John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The onsight flash might have got them 100/100. I think Craig, Stevie and others might settle for something in between their ascent and your proposed alternative, such as working it with gear in place then stripping it and setting off from the bottom carrying gear and being prepared to pull up more if need be.

I can't see how saying they only had two days helps the argument - there's no time limit in this exam.
Craig Smith on 11 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to Calder:

OK. We do practice second marking at Manchester and it's usually also blind - which of course this wasn't.

In the light of your comments, I will come up to 60 - which represents another degree class (2.1) I might add.
: )
metal arms on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

It's all very well saying the style of ascent could be improved - 'cos it's true. But to say it wasn't a first ascent is a bit off. The article says that the cam's were placed on their working attempts (so they presumably ground-upped it without stripping the gear).

Anyway, Haston's no stranger to going against accepted style for an area - Headpointing and abseil cleaning on Craig Doris for example.

And they seem to have stuck with the name Haston gave it...
Mick Ward - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> I can't see how saying they only had two days helps the argument - there's no time limit in this exam.

But didn't they only have two days, John? I'm not sure they saw it as an exam (but sure, they always knew they'd have to face the 'examiners', on UKC and elsewhere...)

They had so little time, dug so deep and gave more of themselves than I can possibly imagine. And came out with a fantastic (though, as they accept, imperfect) result.

Stevie's second blog post fully acknowledges the continuum of climbing style. Throughout climbing history, cutting edge ascents have so often involved a degree of ethical compromise.

Given the time constraint, they just couldn't have done more. I hope that those two simple words 'Century Crack' will always give them a warm glow in their hearts.

Mick

John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ward:

I've no idea about their itinerary and the reasons for only having two days to go at it, but, well, as far as I can gather they're still out there. So there's a choice, as there (nearly) always is.

yo-yo first ascents and repeats were not unusual at all in the '70s (I did a few routes in this style myself). Such ethics are generally frowned on now. This route could be seen as a special case, but for Stevie and others it was special precisely because a lot of the difficulty or some of it (in their opinion) lay precisely in doing an unusual route in the normal (post '70s) style.

But yes, of course, from what little I know it's a fantastic effort as is everything else they've done out there. If they're still there, the icing on cake would surely be a quick stop off on the way home to climb it carrying and hauling gear.
Craig Smith on 11 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to Mick Ward:

"They had so little time, dug so deep and gave more of themselves than I can possibly imagine."
Pass me a vomit bag will you. Come on, they climbed a route on a nice day on preplaced gear!!! It's not exactly Touching the void now is it ? ; )


"Given the time constraint, they just couldn't have done more."

I disagree: They decided to pre place the gear because I'm guessing they felt they couldn't do it 'in the time they had' placing the gear on the lead.

With a little imagination they could have placed the gear on lead. Like suggested, they could have trailed a line and hauled more gear up.

It still remains an amazing achievement and one that no doubt in time will be improved upon.



Dave Garnett - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:
> (In reply to Mick Ward)
>
>
> yo-yo first ascents and repeats were not unusual at all in the '70s (I did a few routes in this style myself). Such ethics are generally frowned on now.

My recollection is that such yoyoing was always frowned on, but sieging was just about acceptable as long as the rope was pulled each time. Which sounds a lot like the style of this ascent really.

Certainly there wasn't the obsession with onsight/flash/headpoint distinctions there is now but we always knew what good style should be.
Marek - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:
>> ... the icing on cake would surely be a quick stop off on the way home to climb it carrying and hauling gear.

... and then no doubt, a bunch of keyboard jockeys will complain that they should have solo'ed it and anyway it wasn't a proper ascent 'cos in wasn't ground up.

This wasn't an exam. They just went climbing. They did what they did, reported it honestly and didn't trash anything. If someone wants to do Century Crack in "better" style, then it's still there.
Carless - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

> It still remains an amazing achievement and one that no doubt in time will be improved upon.

Absolutely, and I'm sure that Pete & Tom will be among the first to congratulate whoever does that
Quiddity - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> I've no idea about their itinerary and the reasons for only having two days to go at it, but, well, as far as I can gather they're still out there. So there's a choice, as there (nearly) always is.

I get the impression they want to spend the rest of their trip visiting new areas and climbing more routes - as opposed to spending a week on one route placing the gear on lead to satisfy the UKC ethics committee.

They have been honest about what they have done and they have climbed it in a style that may be imperfect but is pragmatic given they only wanted to spend a limited amount of time on it. What is the problem?
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Dave Garnett:

yo-yoing frowned upon back then? You mixed with an ethically pure bunch ;-)
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Marek:

Of course, they can do what they like. But, it is the norm to climb trad routes without pre-placed gear, and it seems others were trying this one in that style. From what I've read, they also reckon it would be no harder to place the gear on lead as it wouldn't get in their way (so much). Shouldn't take them very long in that case.
Dave Garnett - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

Maybe, but I always assumed the VL in the first ascent list meant that more than one leader had had a go, and only the very ethically pure would trouble to strip the gear, largely because it often wasn't practical to do so.

Rather like Century Crack in fact.
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Dave Garnett:

We might have managed to ab off Stanage or Curbar to take the runners out, but thanks for the excuse ;-)

But that aside, I guess we're in agreement - it was climbed in '70s style. Which is fine by me. White trousers and headbands would have been a nice touch in that case for the full effect.
Craig Smith on 11 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to Quiddity:

"They have been honest about what they have done and they have climbed it in a style that may be imperfect but is pragmatic given they only wanted to spend a limited amount of time on it. What is the problem?"

That attitude is a big problem! This is a plumb line. Just to say 'oh let's only spend two days on it and report 'a first ascent'...stinks of the get rich quick fast food world we sadly live in. Maybe UKC should amend the head line?
Century Crack...nearly a first ascent?
remus - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith: They're the first people to climb it from the bottom to the top without weighting the rope, and you're trying to say it's not a first ascent? are we still talking about free climbing here?
Goucho on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith: If only the history of British climbing reflected this 'pure' ethic.

As Jim Perrin once wrote - "So many 1st ascents are described as the first ascentionists would like to have climbed them, not how they were actually climbed!"

Or as the old saying goes - people in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones (and this is aimed generally not specifically at an individual)
Chris the Tall - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:
> But, it is the norm to climb trad routes without pre-placed gear, and it seems others were trying this one in that style.

But is it the norm on cutting edge first ascents
Is it the norm on routes which require a monumental effort to strip,
And is it the norm to have 16 huge friends on your rack, or use a trail rope ?

I've no idea who else has been trying this route (apart from the obvious), or how close they got, but I rather doubt they were stopped by ethical constraints.


Goucho on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Goucho: I meant to add also, that they've been a dammed sight more honest in their reporting of this route, than an awful lot of 'leading lights' in this country have.

Alkis - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

Well, they didn't "decide to preplace the gear", they decided not to clean the gear after working the route. The gear didn't magically appear there, it got placed on head point working attempts.

Nowhere did Tom and Pete say that they thought it'd be impossible for them to get gear up inside the crack on the lead. What they said was:

"The mere cleaning of the route would waste one person so much that they'd have to sacrifice a whole day's high level climbing, which wasn't possible as we were down there for only 2 days."
Alkis - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

It's not placing the gear that they reckoned would waste them. They did this as a head point. They would have to clean the gear before every real attempt. Look at the route to see the problems with that.
Marek - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:
> That attitude is a big problem! This is a plumb line. Just to say 'oh let's only spend two days on it and report 'a first ascent'...stinks of the get rich quick fast food world we sadly live in.

On the contrary. They should be congratulated on not being greedy and for leaving a worthwhile challenge for someone else.

> ...Maybe UKC should amend the head line?
> Century Crack...nearly a first ascent?

Free climbing accomodates a range of styles: ground up, on-sight, headpoint, solo... This was a free ascent and the first one, so what's the beef? You may as well complain that it wasn't really an ascent since it was horizontal for 3/4 of the distance. More of a traverse-with-a-top-out.
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to John Gillott)
> [...]
>
> But is it the norm on cutting edge first ascents

It is these days, yes, certainly if getting the gear in is part of the effort. Hell, just look at Dave Macleod developing the forearm endurance so he can hang on for hours on end scraping ice out of cracks, placing gear, getting to 6 foot from the top then reversing all the way down, all to do a first ascent in the accepted modern style for mixed routes rather than pre-placing gear and pre-practicing as happened in the past (comparison just for illustrative purposes).

> Is it the norm on routes which require a monumental effort to strip,

I'd say it was, esp. if the answer to the first question applies. How monumental an effort would it be btw? Did one of them second it to get the gear out after they did it, or did one of them strip it?

> And is it the norm to have 16 huge friends on your rack, or use a trail rope ?

It's the norm to carry what you need or pull up the rest is the answer to that I guess. I've seen that on some big offwidths people get round the problem by shuffling the one big cam along with them. Not that I'd want to try that or have any idea how much of a load that would save on this route, taking account of the fact that it runs horizontally.

> I've no idea who else has been trying this route (apart from the obvious), or how close they got, but I rather doubt they were stopped by ethical constraints.

I've not much idea either, but it does seem they thought climbing it in the normal style was the way to try it. Now, taking account of your point about ethical standards, my guess is that they had been working it on insitu gear. So, in that sense what might have stopped them was the desire to, in the end, climb it carrying and hauling the gear. But we're just guessing aren't we?
Alkis - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

I'm sorry, but that's nonsense. Even a top rope ascent, without weighing the rope, would constitute a "first free ascent", based on the actual definition of free climbing.

Yes, it wasn't led in the purest trad style but they are open about that. Someone will come along and do it in that style. Maybe themselves, if they get tired of people throwing this nonsense at them from the comfort of their armchairs.
metal arms on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> ...my guess is that they had been working it on insitu gear.

Which the article says they placed on the lead on their 'working attempts'.
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to metal arms:

No, I meant Haston and whoever else. I'd be surprised and amazed if Haston et al rocked up, took a look at it, decided to try it, stripped it as soon as they fell off, then carried on doing this.

I was suggesting that Haston and whoever else were working it in the same style as the Wideboyz - try to climb it, get some gear in, fall off, leave the gear in, try again, etc. The difference being the final aim once enough working had taken place.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> But, it is the norm to climb trad routes without pre-placed gear, and it seems others were trying this one in that style.

Is this actually true? Was anyone else anywhere near a gear-placing lead? For example, from Steve Haston's blog: "I stopped trying this route years ago ...". Anyone else?
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Is what actually true? If you mean is it the norm... then in general yes. Clearly trad climbs in the alps are littered with pegs and there are plenty of in-situ threads on pocketed walls. But in general wide cracks without fixed gear are not, as far as i know, usually climbed on in-situ large cams placed by the first ascentionists.

As to the second question, on the supertopo thread someone said they'd heard that Stevie did it with one rest carrying the gear, which as all multi-day siege sports climbers know makes it as good as in the bag (sacrasm alert). But that's me reading someone on the internet saying he heard someone else say something, which really is not very informative.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> Is what actually true?

Is this: "... and it seems others were trying this one [Century Crack] in that style [without pre-placed gear]" true? Meaning, were there contenders who were nearing a placing-gear ascent of Century Crack? If so, it might be considered unsporting for the Wide Boys to step in, but it's different if no-one else was anywhere near that.

> on the supertopo thread someone said they'd heard that Stevie did it with one rest carrying the gear

Stevie says on his blog: "So the Century crack, a very good crack that is awaiting an ascent. I stopped trying this route years ago because the chance of me doing the route with this rack of gear seemed low, to verrryyyy low." That suggests to me that he was way off an ascent, and had given up the attempt.
Erik B - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier: sounds like they didnt actually need the gear such was the ease with which they climbed it, and folk cant even say it was headpointed into submission

in this instance i cant see what the big deal is preplacing the gear, it is such a unique route, just delighted it hasnt been bolted
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I read that too, hence the sarcasm alert.

If I read it right, the Wideboyz suggested it would be no harder placing gear on the lead. This may be why Stevie was a bit hacked off in his first post (the annoyance works whether they were right or wrong in their assessment).

The Wideboyz are in scintilating form. But regardless of whether or not anyone was trying it carrying gear, it still wouldn't be the norm to claim an FA on pre-placed gear. To bring it back to grit, as we must, recall that interview with John Allen in the '70s when he talked about having been obsessed with doing Ulysses on Stanage? He'd toproped it but hadn't soloed it. Livesey's done it, said the interviewer. 'What, soloed it?' No, he had a runner in Goliath's Groove. 'He can't claim that' came the response. He's not doing, said the interviewer. 'Oh, that's alright then' (or words to that effect).
Mick Ward - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:
> (In reply to Mick Ward)
>
> "They had so little time, dug so deep and gave more of themselves than I can possibly imagine."
> Pass me a vomit bag will you. Come on, they climbed a route on a nice day on preplaced gear!!! It's not exactly Touching the void now is it ? ; )

Sorry to offend your academic sensibilities. However I would imagine it's unbelievably physical, like having shit kicked out of you again and again.

Sadly I'll plead guilty to having climbed several routes on nice days on preplaced gear. This seems somewhat different.

> It still remains an amazing achievement and one that no doubt in time will be improved upon.

And there we agree.

Mick

Coel Hellier - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> No, he had a runner in Goliath's Groove. 'He can't claim that' came the response.

A side runner is a whole 'nother issue.

> ... it still wouldn't be the norm to claim an FA on pre-placed gear.

Perhaps not "the norm", but common enough. Knockin' on Heaven's Door springs to mind, and if you read through guidebooks there are plenty of hard routes that were first led with pre-placed gear.
Chris the Tall - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:
Side runners, top-ropes and yo-yos (which I understand to mean gear in situ AND clipped) are all substantially differant to ground-up.

You mentioned Dave McCleod earlier - did he place every bit on gear on each of his attempts on Rhapsody ? Did the guys who have made the subsequent ascents ?
Goucho on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott: I watched Livesey do his ascent of Ulysses, he had a high (very!!) runner in Goliaths, and his second Jill Lawrence, had him on a very tight rope to such a degree, that it was, somewhat mischievously judging by the grin on his face, actually 'pinning' his hand to the arete.

But of course, as you say he never claimed it.

I've witnessed a few first ascents of 'important' new routes during this period, where the routes were certainly not reported in the manner they were actually climbed.
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Trotter thought it worth doing again placing everything on lead, just to be on the safe side.

Macleod took a year for every day the Wideboyz took. But It was worth the effort he thought.
John Gillott - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Goucho:

Yes, I only saw the photo of Livesey's lead, but that was some 'side' runner!
Coel Hellier - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> did he place every bit on gear on each of his attempts on Rhapsody ? Did the guys who have
> made the subsequent ascents ?

Well McClure didn't [but then he's a sport climber ;-) ]. According to McClure, MacLeod placed all the gear on lead, downclimbed 25 m (!), rested, and then went for it with the rope through his high point. Sonny Trotter did it placing the gear and without the extensive downclimbing. http://www.steve-mcclure.com/articlepages/rhapsody/
Coel Hellier - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Didn't Seb Grieve pre-place the gear on the 2nd ascent of Parthian Shot? I suspect the majority of the ascentionists did.
Alan Dixon - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Regardless of ethics I think it is a fantastic achievement. They did something that no-one has done before, They are british, they trained in a cellar (what was in that cellar!)in Sheffield and they are having a great time doing it. I can't wait for the next blog installment!
mark s - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith: i remember your name from when pete and tom did a new e8 down in the churnet.
you came on here announcing that it can never be e8.you have never even to the crag
you can have an opinion,but if anyone listens,i doubt it.
i certainly could not give a hoot what you think
all i know is tom and pete have done the 1st ascent.if i was them id rename it to get some backs up from people who have never climbed it
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Alkis:

>I'm sorry, but that's nonsense. Even a top rope ascent, without weighing the rope, would constitute a "first free ascent", based on the actual definition of free climbing.

No, it wouldn't. Good grief - you've been climbing five minutes and achieved f*ck all, and all of a sudden you're redefining climbing ethics and language?

Do you know who you're talking to, btw, (and I don't mean me)?

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to Goucho:

>I watched Livesey do his ascent of Ulysses,

>But of course, as you say he never claimed it.

Would it be very unkind of me to wonder whether these two facts were connected?!

>I've witnessed a few first ascents of 'important' new routes during this period, where the routes were certainly not reported in the manner they were actually climbed.

Oh, do go on....

jcm

Goucho on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: I'm afraid I was too much of a minnow (still am lol) for my reporting of his ethics to have bothered the great man, and also, there were several others watching as well.

As to some of the others - well, that might be indiscreet, and whilst I know I could have some of them in a fight, I'm not sure about them all....:-)

All I can say, is that yo yoing, frigging, side runners, resting, and a LOT of top-rope practise, were very common tactics, but seldom mentioned when recorded in the new route books!!!
Alkis - on 11 Oct 2011
You are right, my tone was completely out of line and I apologise if I came across as a bit of a knob. I have absolutely no disrespect for Craig (or for you for that matter), he is more of a climber than I am ever going to be.

But I did not try to redefine anything and please correct me if I am wrong. I am trying to separate style, ethics and whether it's a free ascent or not. I never tried to claim that TRing something would would constitute a trad ascent of a line.

Whenever someone comes along and does the route in a better style, they get the credit.

I'll just illustrate my dilemma meant with an example: Someone finds a line somewhere that looks completely improbable. He works it on a top rope and manages to climb it cleanly. At that point, he decides that there is no way that he would lead it, for x-y-z reasons. So, the technical difficulty of the climb is known, but it has never been led, it has never been climbed with a traditional climbing ethic. Of course, if the climber then goes and claims an adjective grade, it would be silly, but I would think that the *line* has been physically climbed free, the challenge is on for some better climber to come along, do a proper ascent and claim it in a better style. Is the original climber not worth mentioning at all?

Again, apologies if I sounded like a tool.
royal - on 11 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:
All the time some people spend fighting with keyboards they could be training in their basements. If its such a massive deal why hasn't anyone else managed to do it in this style? Are all these people really so ethical that they can do it on pre-placed but decided not to because they only want the true 'first ascent'?
johncoxmysteriously - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Alkis:

Well, Ben Moon had climbed Equilibrium in that style, Jerry had climbed Blind Vision, Livesey had climbed Ulysses, and Jonny D had climbed Parthian, to name but four. Do they get credited with the FFA, or indeed recorded much in the history of the route at all? They don't. Of course the moves have been climbed without resting on the rope, but that isn't a free ascent as the term is usually used. It's just a matter of language.

jcm
abseil on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> Even a top rope ascent, without weighing the rope, would constitute a "first free ascent"....

That made me think, toproping Century Crack would be fun?
Morgan Woods - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Quiddity:
> (In reply to John Gillott)
as opposed to spending a week on one route placing the gear on lead to satisfy the UKC ethics committee.


HERETIC!!!! I cast thee out!
franksnb - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

so hands up if you contest the FFA and why

also would you stop bitching if they gave it a sport grade.

(my opinion is that it was a valid FFA in a less than ideal style, they should name it n grade it)
franksnb - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to franksnb:

also freom their blog wideboyz..

"THE WORD on the grade on Century..."

"...Pete's prognosis on formely the hardest offwidth in the States - Gabriel."


so it will be harder than 5.13c!
mike kann - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: Could I just point one thing out in this debacle. Tom and Pete climbed it in the presence of the first aided ascentionist (albeit the quite bold aided ascent) who is a local, and who understands fully the local ethics. I don't hear him saying that it's not the first free ascent, so perhaps, the local ethic is not as strict as Stevie is making out? Surely he would have had the balls to say to Tom and Pete, "actually guys - brilliant effort but for this to really stand up you need to carry the gear." And I bet Tom and Pete would have pulled out an extra stop to do it in this way if he'd said this? I mean afterall he has been closely involved with previous attempts and knows the history better than most of the armchair critics here with the exception of SH... I can't see what he would gain from classing it as a FFA...
Chris the Tall - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to franksnb:
There was a great comment on supertopo a few weeks ago, along the lines of

"anyone know their itinerary, we need to know which cracks to grease..."
Graeme Alderson on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to mike kann: Actually Crusher didn't see Tom's ascent, which is why Crushers pics on Supertopo only feature Pete :-)
Craig Smith on 12 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to UKC News:

The issue as I see it is that Century Crack is a plumb line and hence deserves a proper ascent. It's as simple as that. Being greedy and claiming a first ascent when one hasn't done a true ascent - for trad climbing that usually means placing the gear on lead - basically isn't on.

I will repeat that what they have done is amazing, but it is flawed. They acknowledge this.

p.s. Mike s...I hope you aren't listening ; )



Calder - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

Maybe we should go a step further and only count the first onsight ascent as the first true, free ascent. Until then - it is effectively unclimbed...
Steve Clegg - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

... do you mean:
plumb (noun) - a small mass of lead or other heavy material, as that suspended by a line and used to measure the depth of water or to ascertain a vertical line?
or
plumb (adjective) - true according to a plumb line; perpendicular?
or
plum (adjective) - extremely desirable, rewarding?

These things are important.
Marek - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Craig Smith)
>
> Maybe we should go a step further and only count the first onsight ascent as the first true, free ascent. Until then - it is effectively unclimbed...

Just to be clear...
Is that with or without mats? Siderunners? Are you allowed to downclimb without weighting the gear? And untie? Come back another day? Look at a guidebook? Use binoculars to spot holds? From above?

The great thing about "truths" is that there are so many to choose from.



Calder - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Marek:

None of any of that. And if you've looked at the route from the ground you may as well not bother and leave it someone man enough to do it blindfold. It's the true path to enlightenment, you know.
Chris the Tall - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Craig Smith)
>
> Maybe we should go a step further and only count the first onsight ascent as the first true, free ascent. Until then - it is effectively unclimbed...

Or maybe we should just accept that climbing isn't like golf, doesn't have a rigid fixed set of rules, no two climbs are the same and what applies in one case doesn't neccessarily apply elsewhere.

At the end of the day climbing should be about doing what's practical and having fun.

Though admittedly I wouldn't call what these two do "fun"...
Marek - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to Calder)
> [...]
>
> Or maybe we should just accept that climbing isn't like golf, doesn't have a rigid fixed set of rules, ...

Just two I would suggest...
1. Don't trash the rock and
2. Don't tell lies.
Oceanic - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Did Fawcett pre place the gear when he made the first ascent of Master's Edge? I have a feeling that he did, because the gear needed two hands to place, but I'm not certain. Does anyone know for sure?
remus - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Oceanic: not really, paraphrasing Rock Athlete: he abbed down to clean it up, soloed up and down the start a few times then tied on. On his first attempt he got to the shot holes, placed a single amigo and fell off on the upper section. He then pulled the ropes and got it next go.
mike kann - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: WTF is this all about really? The guys have reported what they did, how they did it and why they did it that way. UKC posters seem to be on yet another witch hunt; have a look at the Supertopo thread by comparison. They have exactly the same facts as we do and yet there has not been a single cry that this was an aweful way to climb the route. Why is it that here in the UK we seem to have a particular knack for laying into anybody who achieves something but which doesn't conform to OUR rules? Surely if the whole thing was so utterly objectionable, there would be by now a groundsurge of anger in the US, by outraged locals? All I can see is these two mega strong climbers have gone out to test themselves against the hardest the US has to offer, done rather well, and then gotten so psyched by it they just want to do more and more, so have set themselves a pretty impressive timetable, which they are achieving. I doubt they give two hoots as to what you lot think as they are most likely having a great time doing it, and have been open and honest about what they've done. Now if they had reported an FFA leaving out the crucial details and then it turned out that the gear had been left inplace, THEN it would a different story but that's not whats happened!
jon on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to mike kann:

Absolutely. What you said Mike! The irony is of course that NO-ONE posting on here could come even close to climbing it.
John Gillott - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to jon:

Good as they were, I reckon Spain could have put a couple more past Scotland last night - any views jon? As for that Ronaldo, he's a bit of a one trick pony with his free kicks. But what do I know eh? Maybe I should pop out to the park and try it for myself.
neilh - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to jon:
Craig Smith might have if he was younger, if I remember correctly he did impressive ascents in the USA in the 80's/90's including some Tony Yaniro routes.

mike kann - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to neilh: But that's not the point though is it. He's not younger (not that youth has anything to do with it - SH on greenspit...), he's not currently repeating Pamela Pack routes, and he's sitting on a very high horse and criticising something rather harshly. Is the style perfect? No. Did he complete all his climbs in perfect style - I wouldn't know but I doubt it. Do Tom and Pete deserve the pasting they're getting? Not really. Would they be able to climb the route on gear placed on lead - maybe, maybe not. In the meantime they have laid down the gauntlet. They have made it perfectly obvious that SOMEONE is capable of it. Is it a first ascent? Depends on how you define your game and it's not like the whole of UKC is going to suddenly agree ion a concensus - that's not the way of the world. What does matter is that these guys are most likely going to be pretty shocked about some of the defamatory bullshit that's being written here. And I suspect that quite a few of you need to get a f*cking grip. ITS ONLY CLIMBING.
Michael Ryan - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to neilh:
> (In reply to jon)
> Craig Smith might have if he was younger, if I remember correctly he did impressive ascents in the USA in the 80's/90's including some Tony Yaniro routes.


Craig Who?

Neverheardofhim...
Graeme Alderson on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC: Do a google search for "Biggest collection of hideous lycra tights in the known universe" - he is sure to show up there
Michael Ryan - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC) Do a google search for "Biggest collection of hideous lycra tights in the known universe" - he is sure to show up there

Oh yeah I remember him.

It all seems so long ago.... like two weeks ago.

Here's the little fairy strutting his stuff.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=184232

You mean like Pyromania and Grand illusion, 5.13's, back in the day.

Century Crack...yeah I bet Powys would be able to give it go.

shark - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> The issue as I see it is that Century Crack is a plumb line and hence deserves a proper ascent. It's as simple as that. Being greedy and claiming a first ascent when one hasn't done a true ascent - for trad climbing that usually means placing the gear on lead - basically isn't on.


What a steamimg pile of horseshit.

Hundreds of first ascents have been climbed and claimed on pre-placed gear, thousands if you count pegs as pre-placed.

They can quite legitamately claim the FFA. The way is still open for an improvement in style.
Michael Ryan - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

There he goes again: just like Whillans who did the first ascent in 1961 with just a wooden wedge where the lower cams are....and three fags, over three Wednesdays.... not that I was there.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=184234
abarro81 - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:
F*ck back stripping a 100ft roof afer every go! Anyone who bothers to do that should put their mind/strength to something less anal.
That is all I have to say on the matter.
Dave Garnett - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to mike kann)
>
> Absolutely. What you said Mike! The irony is of course that NO-ONE posting on here could come even close to climbing it.

I agree. Too much idle pontification pretty quickly starts to look like mean-spirited (and mostly poorly-informed) criticism.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

> Being greedy and claiming a first ascent when one hasn't done a true ascent - for trad climbing
> that usually means placing the gear on lead - basically isn't on.

Can anyone name an occasion when someone has climbed a new route using pre-placed gear, and *not* then claimed the FA, and not had the FA generally accepted?
John Gillott - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:

One of your examples from yesterday comes to mind. Doubts were expressed at the time about the ascent and it was claimed he must have pre-placed the gear. But, the man himself says:

"in terms of the gear it never crossed my mind to pre-place it, that's not how it was done back then. Because gear was placed on lead it meant the nuts were very close to the edge of the flake and I was convinced a part of the flake would rip if you fell."

So I guess if he had pre-paced it he wouldn't have claimed it. And there was a good reason for making a special case and pre-placing on this route, as some of the repeat ascentionists did.
jon on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to neilh:
> (In reply to jon)
> Craig Smith might have if he was younger, if I remember correctly he did impressive ascents in the USA in the 80's/90's including some Tony Yaniro routes.

Well yes of course I remember that. Spectacular lycra outdoing the Needle's most spectacular rock on Pyromania: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=153860 But that's not now. So I repeat, no-one here could touch it. These boys are at the top of their game. Why do people have to denigrate their achievements. Why can't they say 'Shit guys, that's brilliant...!'
Michael Ryan - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to neilh)
> [...]
>
> These boys are at the top of their game. Why do people have to denigrate their achievements. Why can't they say 'Shit guys, that's brilliant...!'

We are Jon. You just can't hear the majority as they don't post on the forums.

Chris the Tall - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:
To be fair, most of the comments on this thread have been positive - even JCM !
Kemics - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

to be honest, only one guy has really said anything other than "Well done! Awesome". One guy.

There's always going to be the occasional bad egg. I think what makes the UKC stand out to me, is not the odd bit of negativity, but the response. Which usually goes so far and so dominates a thread that it eclipses the original troll/hate/whatever.

This thread has become people responding to Craig Smith. Had everyone just ignored it, it would have been lost in the literally hundreds of replies of people commenting positively. But because people get sucked into it, that one detractor somehow gets blown up to such importance.

This then feeds their ego. "I'm of value, look at everyone paying attention to me", this encourages them and they'll go on to do it in another thread. never mind that this all takes place on an internet forum and has no accountability to anything.

Like my mum used say, "just ignore them", it amazes me that people let themselves get so riled up by stuff on the internet that they would just walk away from or flat out ignore in real life. Literally no one cares. It only has as much importance as you choose to attach to it.

Lets do what we would down the pub when someone comes up with something retarded: Avoid eye contact, have a sip of our pint and awkwardly say "Anyway........."

ontopic: America, the British are coming :)

Coel Hellier - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> Doubts were expressed at the time about the ascent and it was claimed he must have pre-placed the gear.

Doubts were expressed, yes, but the pre-placing of gear was not really what the doubts were about.

> And there was a good reason for making a special case and pre-placing on this route, as some of
> the repeat ascentionists did.

And your phrase "repeat ascentionists" is a give-away! I'm not aware of any "first ascent" that has been not-claimed or generally discounted owing to pre-placing of gear.
snoop6060 - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Kemics:

To be fair, craig didnt exactly given them a pasting either. He just said that this maybe doesnt count as a first ascent give they didnt climb it in a trad style.

People are too touchy on here.
a lakeland climber on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060:

To get back on track ...

WOW!!!!!

I had to readjust my viewpoint when I looked at the first shot - I couldn't make out where his legs were :-) It took me a moment to realise that it was a shot looking directly upwards in to a roof so massive that filled the whole shot.

One of the most amazing bits of news and associated photos I've seen. Well done guys.

ALC
Michael Ryan - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I do like this quote from Crusher Bartlett:

Watching Pete sending Century Crack was definitely one of the all-time best displays of rock climbing I've ever seen. And that's saying something. I've been climbing over 30 years. In that time, I've witnessed many top climbers: Lynn Hill boldly launching herself up the then-aid climb Vandals; a gifted, inspired Skip Guerin displaying a cat-like grace on the boulders; a young Jerry Moffatt demonstrating his own gift of brute determination and hunger, Ben Moon cruising the Eldorado testpiece Rainbow Wall for its first onsight flash. These ascents are engraved on my brain—the very best climbers pulling it all together, showing the rest of us the potential that we all have, if we could only dig as deep. Thanks Pete and Tom!

http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=38657
Michael Ryan - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

and this one:

'Adhering to strict local ethics and a no-compromise approach, Haston made a series of valiant efforts'

What a great climb, great climbers all and a great story.

Right that's it, I'm off climbing!
John2 - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC: Bartlett's photo in that article gives the best view of the route that I have seen.
Michael Gordon - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News:

As others have said, it's funny that plenty hard routes in the UK are being put up every year with (some) gear in place and no-one really complains.
Michael Gordon - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to John Gillott)
>
> You mentioned Dave McCleod earlier - did he place every bit on gear on each of his attempts on Rhapsody ? Did the guys who have made the subsequent ascents ?

MacLeod placed all the gear on each of his lead attempts. Pretty sure his ascent of Requim in 2001 was also the first without yo-yoing or use of pre-placed gear. As I understand it he makes a point of only claiming ascents if all gear is placed on lead, the exception being the winter ascent of Anubis where a peg was left in place (but was climbed ground-up).

Again pretty sure Sonnie climbed Rhapsody twice, firstly with pre-placed gear then later without.
ads.ukclimbing.com
John Gillott - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Dunne was certainly of the view that a FA using pre-placed gear would not have been valid. Others at the time agreed with this point of view. This despite the fact that the route in question could have been regarded as a special case.

Clearly, this is different in form to an FA being questioned or discounted after being done on pre-paced gear (your narrow question), but in substance and spirit it's relevant to the issue in hand (the Wideboyz's ascent of Century Crack).
GrahamD - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Kemics:

Just because someone doesn't agree with everyone else or interprets what they read differently to you does not necessarily make them a 'bad egg'.

It would be pretty boring if every thread reply to every UKC news bulletin read "awsome, dude".
shark - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060: > (In reply to Kemics)
>
> To be fair, craig didnt exactly given them a pasting either. He just said that this maybe doesnt count as a first ascent give they didnt climb it in a trad style.
>
> People are too touchy on here.

Let's suppose for one second that you had been training like an olympic athlete for 2 years with the purpose of free-climbing an aid route on the other side of the world that you have only seen pictures of but believe to be the hardest route of its type in the world. Then you go there and do it in 2 days albeit on pre-placed gear. Woo-hoo. Let's then suppose some old climber started spraying on the internet "just" saying that you are greeedy and your ascent didnt count and so isnt the first ascent. How would you feel? Touchy ?

In reply to Michael Gordon:
> Pretty sure his ascent of Requim in 2001 was also the first without yo-yoing or use of pre-placed gear.

Really? I'm trying to remember who did it in the 90s, Stork and Dunne wasn't it? Anyway - I don't know but had always presumed they had placed gear on the lead. Cubby's yoyo ascent was the norm at the time I was told.
Dave Garnett - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Dunne was certainly of the view that a FA using pre-placed gear would not have been valid. Others at the time agreed with this point of view. This despite the fact that the route in question could have been regarded as a special case.

I think there's a big difference between placing the gear on one or more lead attempts before pulling the rope and then leading it clean (as in this case), and just pre-placing all the gear by abseil. At least with the former method you have to lead the run out and hang on to place the gear.

How good an ascent it is depends on how much dogging there is, but it's all a matter of degree not absolutes.



Kipper - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

Are your eyes (or focus) or mine getting worse?
Coel Hellier - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> Dunne was certainly of the view that a FA using pre-placed gear would not have been valid. Others at
> the time agreed with this point of view.

And yet, the previous year Andy Pollitt had claimed Knockin'on Heaven's Door with pre-placed gear, and it was accepted. And a few years earlier, Fawcett had claimed the first ascent of Strawberries, not only with gear pre-placed on abseil but the rope clipped into it yo-yo style. After a quick consult with Mr Google, other notable (and accepted) first ascents using pre-placed gear include Ron Kauk on Yosemite's Magic Line, John Dunne on The Divided Years, and Dave Birkett on Nowt but a Fleein' Thing. Then there is Ben Bransby's "first flash of an E8" on Carmen Piccaso using pre-placed gear and Jordan Buys's "onsight" of the same with pre-placed gear. Also Nick Dixon on Judge Dread. Etc, etc.
snoop6060 - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to snoop6060) > (In reply to Kemics)
> [...]
>
> Let's suppose for one second that you had been training like an olympic athlete for 2 years with the purpose of free-climbing an aid route on the other side of the world that you have only seen pictures of but believe to be the hardest route of its type in the world. Then you go there and do it in 2 days albeit on pre-placed gear. Woo-hoo. Let's then suppose some old climber started spraying on the internet "just" saying that you are greeedy and your ascent didnt count and so isnt the first ascent. How would you feel? Touchy ?

I didn't mean them two, I'm fairly sure Tom and Pete don't give a shit, what with all the climbing and no work to attend. I meant the touchy f*ckers on here who don't like it when one person doesn't get in line for a good ol bum licking.


jon on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060:

Guess you're referring to me snoop. I believe in credit where credit's due... not a bitter version of < but what's he done on grit >.
snoop6060 - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to jon:

I'm not, I'm referring to Mike K's post.

In reality, nobody has said anything negative on this thread! But of course UKC is full of c**ts because Mr Smith raised a point about the gear. And even he wrote this: "Phenomenal. Gets my vote for ascent of the decade. Stunning line."
Michael Gordon - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to TobyA:

I was almost right!

From Lowland Outcrops p12:
"The ever present Dave MacLeod... went on (after John 'Spider' MacKenzie) to repeat Requiem (E8 6b) placing all the gear on lead."
mike kann - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060: I'm not quite sure why you find my post offensive. The thread now has 220 odd posts, many of which are very positive, many of which there is a decidedly sour undertone to discussing back and forth what constitutes the game of cricket. It started with SH - indeed it was you asking whether it was a case of a belly full of sour grapes. Craig Smith has also jumped on that band waggon a long with a few others. My point has been throughout what I've posted, that people need not get so het up about the whole thing. At the end of the day its all semantics as to what the accepted style is - the boys have reported accurately and openly, and no doubt in the knowledge that they would be criticised by some for it. As far as I can tell they have been honest and honorable. What's not particularly honorable is people then continuing to postulate about what happened and criticising on that basis when they are out of the loop with no easy right to return. Maybe I've misunderstood what you found irritating about what I wrote?
shark - on 12 Oct 2011
In reply to snoop6060:

I was trying to make you look at it from another perspective - but failed.

Put plainly Smith says that they shouldn't claim the ascent - that the way they did it doesn't count.

That is a deeper level of criticism than you acknowledge and certainly much more than than "raising a point about gear"
Damo on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to shark:
>
> Let's suppose for one second that you had been training like an olympic athlete for 2 years with the purpose of free-climbing an aid route on the other side of the world ... Then you go there and do it in 2 days albeit on pre-placed gear.... then suppose some old climber started spraying on the internet "just" saying that you are greeedy and your ascent didnt count and so isnt the first ascent. How would you feel? Touchy ?

Well, in time, I'd be asking myself why, if I really did train for two years for such a climb, I only gave it two days. I'd be thinking that maybe I was too hasty going to the media and making a big claim that I knew was flawed, if only in terms of the rules of the game I play. I'd wonder why I was in such a hurry. I'd be thinking that given that I'm (not me, them!) an obviously talented, experienced, dedicated climber with the ability, resources, time and will to actually have a reasonable chance at this, I should probably have invested a bit more time in doing it 'better', maybe finding a way around the cam-carry issue, that in this context, time is no excuse. Haston freely admits he's made mistakes in this regard. Why should anyone else be immune to the same?

john arran - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to Damo:

> ... too hasty going to the media and making a big claim that I knew was flawed

Another way to look at it is that, given they weren't able to get the route onsight or flash, they had about as good a time climbing it as they possibly ever could, both led it clean, felt that it would have been an unjustifiable pita to do it in the way which would suit all the armchair police and so left the first pita ascent to people more anal about these things.

I suspect were I to have been in their shoes I may have done exactly the same, even if I'd had an extra week there.

Damo on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to john arran:
> (In reply to Damo)
>
... it would have been an unjustifiable pita to do it in the way which would suit all the armchair police and so left the first pita ascent to people more anal about these things.
>

Well gosh, if that fine description doesn't inspire someone to go free it without pre-placing gear then I don't know what will ...
Tyler - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to Damo:

> I'd be thinking that maybe I was too hasty going to the media and making a big claim that I knew was flawed, if only in terms of the rules of the game I play.

Everyone seems to be making assumptions about 'the rules of the game' but do we even know what they are, my guess is that like most trad ethics they are pretty fluid. Are people saying Pamela Pack didn't climb Gabriel:

"One of the biggest cruxes of the route was dialing in the protection, which included three bolts, Big Bros and 9” Valley Giants. Through the business part of the route, Pack pre-placed protection."
John Gillott - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to Tyler:

Implicitly Tom Randall accepts the normal rules of the game. From the original UKC piece:

'Whilst it would be ideal to have placed the gear on lead during each of our attempts, the practicalities of it made it almost impossible. The mere cleaning of the route would waste one person so much that they'd have to sacrifice a whole day's high level climbing, which wasn't possible as we were down there for only 2 days. If we had more than 2 days down there I'm 100% certain we'd do it in that style too.

In addition, we found the pre-placing of friends actually somewhat balanced out the difficulties of the climbing, as each one presented a new crux as climbing round the cam was so tricky. It's always difficult to say conclusively how different it all is, but I'm certain we've taken no short cut here!'


He says it would be ideal to have placed the gear on lead... if they'd had more than 2 days... they haven't taken a short cut...

That latter point (no short cut) and the '100% certain we'd do it in that style too' might be perfectly true, but on the other hand others trying it in the other style might think it an unfounded (and perhaps irritating?) claim.
John Gillott - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to John Gillott)
>
> [...]
>
> And yet, the previous year Andy Pollitt had claimed Knockin'on Heaven's Door with pre-placed gear, and it was accepted. And a few years earlier, Fawcett had claimed the first ascent of Strawberries, not only with gear pre-placed on abseil but the rope clipped into it yo-yo style. After a quick consult with Mr Google, other notable (and accepted) first ascents using pre-placed gear include Ron Kauk on Yosemite's Magic Line, John Dunne on The Divided Years, and Dave Birkett on Nowt but a Fleein' Thing. Then there is Ben Bransby's "first flash of an E8" on Carmen Piccaso using pre-placed gear and Jordan Buys's "onsight" of the same with pre-placed gear. Also Nick Dixon on Judge Dread. Etc, etc.

No one is disputing that some FAs used pre-placed gear. We also know of plenty of yo-yo first ascent. I'd be intrigued to know though if many or indeed any of the FAs claimed it made no difference, or was basically the same as an FA without pre-placement due to the peculiarities of the route. Ron Kauk for example was unable to lead the route placing gear. The alternative of bolting the line was not on. So he made it sporty by pre-placing the gear. That's fine. That's how it was reported.

RelatedIy I can perfectly understand why John Arran didn't want to strip his routes and I can see why climbing The Big Issue in a sporty style might be a better way of doing the route. But these are slightly different issues.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

> He says it would be ideal to have placed the gear on lead...

Yes, and I'm sure everyone agrees. In the same way, an onsight is more ideal than a headpoint. So everyone agrees that the style could be improved upon, up until the first onsight flash.

However, it is still the case that first ascents with pre-placed gear are commonly accepted as first ascents: so far no-one has pointed to a case where such an ascent was not accepted as a "first ascent".

If we're merely discussing whether the style of this ascent could be improved upon, then yes, of course it could, everyone agrees. Even if they went back and led it carrying all the gear, the style could still then be further improved by someone onsight flashing it.
Toerag - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to UKC News: From the Rock&Ice article linked to on the Gabriel thread:-
"After this success, Stevie Haston has supplied Pack with a list of his abandoned offwidths to throw herself at. She says her next project requires 18 Wild Country #6 cams."

Hmmm, Century Crack? Or is there something else out there?

Simon Caldwell - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to Toerag:
Slightly different from his reaction to the Century Crack ascent...
johncoxmysteriously - on 13 Oct 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to John Gillott)
>
> [...]
>
> And yet, the previous year Andy Pollitt had claimed Knockin'on Heaven's Door with pre-placed gear, and it was accepted. And a few years earlier, Fawcett had claimed the first ascent of Strawberries, not only with gear pre-placed on abseil but the rope clipped into it yo-yo style. After a quick consult with Mr Google, other notable (and accepted) first ascents using pre-placed gear include Ron Kauk on Yosemite's Magic Line, John Dunne on The Divided Years, and Dave Birkett on Nowt but a Fleein' Thing. Then there is Ben Bransby's "first flash of an E8" on Carmen Piccaso using pre-placed gear and Jordan Buys's "onsight" of the same with pre-placed gear. Also Nick Dixon on Judge Dread. Etc, etc.

Curious list to choose. Of course there are loads of examples of how FAs with pre-placed gear do generally get accepted, if in a slightly tainted way at some times and places, so why pick the tainted ones?! For one example among literally thousands, Requiem would have been better.

Knockin' - not accepted by quite a few people (pegs on grit - supposedly handplaced - rumours of handplaced hammers, etc).

Strawberries - repeated by Moffatt in I-forget-exactly-what style, who did indeed say Fawcett had cheated and he had made 'the first lead, therefore ascent' of the route.

Carmen Picasso - not an FA, of course, and BB certainly wasn't shouting about first-flash-of-an-E8, merely out-with-mates-and-did-such-and-such-established-route-in-convenient-style. It was the mags which did the shouting.

jcm
dr evil - on 14 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

"Until somebody does this climb placing the gear on lead it is not reasonable to claim a first ascent"

Psychocandy E6/7 6c 18m
A thin and bold pitch taking the obvious thin crack rightwards up the cleaned wall. Start by scrambling up to a peg belay at the foot of the obvious slabby corner left of the decent gully. Climb the corner for a few metres then move right to the crack. Follow this past two pegs to finish on the aręte. Craig Smith 1986

I presume the pegs were placed on lead then?

What an amazing line and piece of climbing well done boyz!
Mick Ward - on 14 Oct 2011
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)

> Strawberries - repeated by Moffatt in I-forget-exactly-what style, who did indeed say Fawcett had cheated and he had made 'the first lead, therefore ascent' of the route.

< Coughs discreetly >

Er, would this be the same Strawberries about which Jerry allegedly wrote to Ron, "I rested on the gear because I was knackered..."

Jerry was, of course, very young then (17?) And he was very keen. The follies of youth are exactly that.

Mick (Hope my memory isn't dodgy on this one! I don't think so...)

MJ - on 14 Oct 2011
In reply to Mick Ward:

Jerry was, of course, very young then (17?) And he was very keen. The follies of youth are exactly that.

Taken from the Strawberries article by Andy Pollitt in Extreme Rock: -

"...At that time we made an unsuccessful attempt to top-rope the pitch. Jerry led it in a rather untidy manner the following year".
Mick Ward - on 14 Oct 2011
In reply to MJ:

Well, untidy or not, he still did it, after a fashion. And when he turned up in the Peak shortly afterwards, there was no doubt that an exceptional talent was emerging.

The rest is history...

Mick
Coel Hellier - on 14 Oct 2011
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Curious list to choose ... why pick the tainted ones?!

I just put "pre-placed gear" into Google and posted a few that turned up, I guess the "commented on" ones were more likely to turn up in such a search!
Michael Ryan - on 14 Oct 2011
Craig Smith on 14 Oct 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
In reply to dr evil:

To quote myself from earlier...
"Phenomenal. Gets my vote for ascent of the decade. Stunning line."

At least we agree on something : )


To answer your q re Psychocandy...it was placed on ab. I think there is a slightly different ethic applied to fixed gear...I may be wrong.
The ones on Conan the librarian we placed on lead.

All this discussion about this ascent I think says that the boundaries are fuzzy. History is dotted with inconsistencies in ethics. Tom and Pete are two excellent honest climbers, on a roll...I envy them.
Please go back and lead it placing the gear on lead.

Cheers,

C

Russ Walling - on 14 Oct 2011
In reply to Craig Smith:

There is a lot of talk about the preplaced gear but the obvious nullifier is being overlooked:

Tape!

Tape is aid ladies. The FFA is still waiting.
Karl Wooffindin - on 17 Oct 2011
mkean - on 17 Oct 2011
In reply to Russ Walling:
Tape is aid ladies. The FFA is still waiting.

You can't argue with an expert opinion like that, although I notice your site does keep the tape segregated from the aid gear ;-)

Is a taped ascent A0 or A1?
billwright on 20 Oct 2011 - c-76-25-46-63.hsd1.co.comcast.net
These two are obviously amazing and their rampage through the hardest offwidths in the US has been inspiring and unprecedented. It has me all reved up to go work 5.10 offwidths! :-)

But, they severely lose credibility and respect with this line here about doing the route with pre-placed gear:

"It's always difficult to say conclusively how different it all is, but I'm certain we've taken no short cut here!"

That is just plain, flat out, dumb. They have taken a HUGE shortcut. The ascent is still super impressive and I'm quite disappointed that their egos have prompted them to write something just so ridiculous dumb. They had seemed so cool up to that point...
franksnb - on 20 Oct 2011
In reply to billwright: you're not qualified to make that statement.
john arran - on 20 Oct 2011
In reply to billwright:

Do you not think your use of the word 'dumb' to describe acts of perceived stupidity may be offensive to those without the facility of speech, especially those who are indeed dumb but actually highly intelligent?

It's a term which really should have died out long ago, along with 'spaz' and 'mong'.
Ian Patterson on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to john arran:

Seems that the guys have been back to repeat it placing the gear on the lead (and have confirmed it's not signifcantly harder), hopefully the grumpy old men are happy now!

http://wideboyz.blogspot.com/2011/11/century-crack-part-deux.html
http://alexekins.co.uk/the-wideboyz-return-to-century-crack/
Wee Davie - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Great news. Brilliant retort to the naysayers!
Goucho on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to billwright: Go and do it yourself in better style, or shut the f***k up!

A stunning piece of climbing on a stunning line - hands up who wouldn't love this on their cv!
Michael Ryan - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to Wee Davie:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Great news. Brilliant retort to the naysayers!

Hmmm. looks like they thought it worth the effort to go back, which will please the naysayers, who will be naysayers no more.

Genius ascent and what a great story, been great fun to follow it.

M

John Gillott - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to Ian Patterson:
> (In reply to john arran)
>
> Seems that the guys have been back to repeat it placing the gear on the lead (and have confirmed it's not signifcantly harder), hopefully the grumpy old men are happy now!
>
> http://wideboyz.blogspot.com/2011/11/century-crack-part-deux.html
> http://alexekins.co.uk/the-wideboyz-return-to-century-crack/

Excellent, it's brought a smile to this grumpy old man's face.

Looks like, as I speculated, they did think calling in on the way home to do it in the traditional style would put the icing on the cake of their amazing trip.

Obviously, none of us armchair critics and cheerleaders can be sure, but from the various descriptions it does sound a bit harder done in the traditional style. It sounds a bit physically harder, or at least the description of how hard they found it this time compared with the description of them cruising it last time makes it seem that way. And it sounds bolder - saving on weight by carrying only eight cams.
puppythedog on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to John Gillott: They said it was no harder placing gear on the lead.
John Gillott - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to puppythedog:

OK, fair enough, no physically harder but bolder they say.

But would be physically harder if more cams were carried to make it less bold they also say.

So, harder in trad climbing terms either way.
remus - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to John Gillott: How bold can you get on a crack though? they said themselves that you can place a cam at any point along the crack.
jon on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

I'd have thought it could well be harder with gear in place on a horizontal roof crack. Given the style of climbing, up to your thighs in the crack, climbing around the friends must be harder than climbing one more move and putting a bombproof one in just behind you. Bolder... well, it's not that bold, is it. If you blow it, it's just a harmless swing into space, whether the gear's in or not. It could almost be argued that it's bolder to have the gear in - you HAVE to get to the next piece - whereas if you are carrying it, you could put it in where you want. I believe they returned just to shut their critics up. Which they have.
jon on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to remus:

Snap!
John Gillott - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to jon:

They've written an article for UKC I read on their blog - let's see what they say about it rather than speculating more.
jon on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to John Gillott:

What's wrong with speculating? It's not like it's life or death, is it? I watched Pete and Tom doing Thai Boxing in Vallorcine. They both tried to onsight it - Tom first - with Pete hiding in the trees so he couldn't see any of the moves! When they decided they had to work it, they left gear in it. It appeared very difficult to get past it - and there's only one short section that is horizontal. When they actually climbed it, they placed the gear on the lead.
Michael Gordon - on 06 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Brilliant! Puts paid to Haston's comments that 'I could do it easy if it wasn't for having to carry the gear' or suchlike

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.