/ The future of protection?
I saw the programme with the guy haging from the gecko-tape on the ceiling a while back; fairly interesting.
You'd have to have the gloves well attached to your hands, of course...
I've occasionally wondered what would happen if a means of protection was invented that could protect blank rock, but could be removed without damaging it in any way. I guess a whole parallel grading scheme would spring up, like grades with side-runners, or mats.
Without doubt that will come to pass in our lifetime. What will happen is that there will be a transition period wherein some people will resist the new protection and continue to climb without it on principle, but most will buy into it, especially as it won't be 100% reliable in the early stages so will still feel exciting but will allow them to get up routes they didn't dare try before. As it inevitably improves climbers will have to come to terms with a somewhat guilty conscience and a lessened satisfaction from climbing that way. A big grading debate will ensue. Somewhere along the line the boundaries will get blurred by a range of gear which can go pretty much anywhere but not quite, thereby preventing any clear 'line in the sand' from becoming accepted. Meanwhile most climbers will realise that leading with this new gear isn't a lot different to top-roping and is a whole lot more faff so will make life a lot simpler for themselves and just top-rope things instead. Meanwhile soloing routes will become more popular as people get back to the whole trusting-your-own-judgement thing which was always at the heart of trad climbing and thereafter this will exist in harmony with top-roping or whatever anti-gravity development seems most appropriate for reliably protecting any route with minimum fuss for any given terrain to allow for the purest physical challenge.
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