/ Climbing wall snobbery
I was thinking earlier, do you think that there is too much climbing wall snobbery on UKC?
I visit a wall in Lincoln once per week and have lots of fun with a great atmosphere. I appreciate that climbing's heritage is in the great outdoors but does that really mean that indoor climbing should always be sneered at?
No, and Call of Duty is equal to real combat.
We sneer at all kinds of climbing - cool boulderers, sport monkeys, trad bimblies, dry tools, scramble/walking, feckless soloing, unimaginative plastic pulling, forum baiting and of course arm chair climbing.
I guess it all depends what floats the boat and how brave folk are behind a computer/ how arrogant they wish to be.
The only thing worth looking down on are boulderers.
Most people on UKC would agree that indoor climbing offers a good way to practice for rock climbing. Not many people would think that indoor climbing and rock climbing are the same thing. Is there something wrong with that?
It's a bit like sex with a real person, and sex with a sex doll. I prefer the former, but if you refer the latter, then enjoy...
The wall or no climbing is the realistic choice I have, luckily for me I don't ace them and clearly have more than enough to keep me interested.
Climbing at a wall I don't walk round thinking i'd know sod all about gear - it's for fun, my love of failure lightly seasoned with success.
Only if you do it on warm dry days
Do trolls live in indoor walls? Is it too early to call? :)
> I was thinking earlier, do you think that there is too much climbing wall snobbery on UKC?
> I visit a wall in Lincoln once per week and have lots of fun with a great atmosphere. I appreciate that climbing's heritage is in the great outdoors but does that really mean that indoor climbing should always be sneered at?
>looking down on boulderers
This needs more appreciation.
Indoor wall climbers cant really call themselves rock climbers, but they like to! I think that may be where the issue arises from. I'm a jack of all trades, sport, bouldering, trad, winter and indoors. Each discipline has its own advantages and disadvantages in the grand climbing scheme of things. In my experience I have seen indoor climbers who would quite easily flash F7A indoors,struggle on VS rock climbs, and lower outside as there's no bright colours telling you where to put your hands and feet, not to mention the ability to place pro, judge conditions read a map ect. But to answer your question no! As long as you don't call your self a rock climber.
P.S don't snub bouldering, it makes you strong.
> Indoor wall climbers cant really call themselves rock climbers, climber.
Yes they can.
Indoor climbing is still climbing. Who cares if somebody only wants to climb indoors rather than go outside because they may have their reasons.
When all is said and done, indoor climbers are still climbing and isn't rock climbing just a generic term like sport climbing?
Personally I laugh at snobs. The only way to shut a snob up is to ignore them and if possible climb better than them.
I have climbed or rubbed shoulders with some of the big boys and I can honestly say that even though they were in a different league, they were in no way snobs but rather humble about their natural ability and free with their advice indoors or outdoors.
Snobs are just looking for attention, so don't give it to them.
Those that work their way up the social or career ladder are said to "climb the ladder" - are they climbers?
Window cleaners (that use ladders) ???
Err, the clue is in the name: ROCK climbing. Climbing is the generic term, and things like 'rock', 'ice', 'indoor', 'hooker's thigh' are the specifics.
Well. We all look down on trolls because they live under bridges....
A lot of people feel the need to be sneery about stuff. If it wasnt indoor climbing it'd be something else. (Probably top roping! ! ) Makes them feel good about themselves. Climbers are particularly prone to it.
I say stay snobbery free. Indoor climbing means I can climb on a rainy weekday eve. Right now however Im hoping its dry at birchen so I can have a bimble.
oh, please tell me more about this one, sounds right up my street :-)
What's the grading like?
Climbing indoors can teach you to climb but climbing outside teaches you to climb rock. There is nothing wrong with either.
I enjoy climbing indoors. I enjoy climbing on bolts. I enjoy trad climbing. I enjoy via ferrata. I don't enjoy having to deal with tedious and unpleasant people who belittle others for not sharing their aesthetic preferences.
You probably get it in all forms of pastimes.
I did the cheshire loop 100 mile bike ride a couple of years ago. Did it on my mountain bike (took the knobby tires off and put the slicks on of course).
Can't afford the snazzy kit so I tend to ride in a high viz jacket and a pair of combat pants.
I got quite a few sneers as the lycra clad road bikers went past me. One of them even asked if I was on the way to work. C*nts.
Jokes on them, they're adults in public wearing lycra who commonly shave their legs.
In my region of the world it seems most peoples idea of what climbing is, relates to indoors.
Though, I'd rather it wasn't that way.
The claustrophobic, commonly crowded, noisy environment. Often smelling of sweat. The slimy nature of plastic, most shaped unlike anything approaching real rock. The wall staff, patrolling to make sure you are following the rules. The kids parties. The high prices.
If indoor climbing is still climbing, it is as poor a cousin as a step-master is to hiking.
people seem to get waay to hung up on this. The movement is the same. All crimps were created equal. Whether that's in a mould in hold factory, or compressed for millions of years under the earth. The mechanics of crimping are the same.
Now, do I prefer to do such an activity in a beautiful place? Well duh, of course I do. But the reality is when I finish work and it's dark/raining. I'm probably going to do this activity where it's warm and dry.
The reason most people look down on indoor climbing is because indoor climbers are much better than them. If someone is running laps on 8a's, it's much easier to say "oh well that's not REAL climbing" that confront the reality that wobbling up a VS doesn't make you quite the adventure rock star you thought :P
I don't climb or boulder outdoors, but do both indoors. Outdoors I walk or scramble as long as my dog can come with me. On a beautiful day yesterday on Beinn Narnain I was thinking this walking thing better than bouldering as I see more, the views & landscape vary and I am less focused, more 'diffuse'.
> people seem to get waay to hung up on this. The movement is the same.
Well it's not, is it? Not even a tiny bit. I go bouldering indoors at the Leeds Wall and I pull really hard on good holds up steep overhangs. Then the weather gets better and I go bouldering at Caley and I have to actually climb properly, using my feet and the friction of the wonderful gritstone. Oh and I have to actually get to the top too, which might involve a sloping, scrabbling, humping the rock, gurning type mantel.
Well, no. Go to Shipley Glen and climb the crimpy walls there. You'll find that the crimps are smaller and more sloping than what you'd get at the same grade in the wall. Because you're also using your feet at the Glen on subtle tiny features in the lovely frictionous gritstone.
> Now, do I prefer to do such an activity in a beautiful place? Well duh, of course I do.
Compared to Caley and the Glen I'm never entirely sure...
Climbing indoors is nothing like climbing outdoors in any sense. It is good training, and it can be enjoyable, but it is not the same activity.
> Armchair climbing
> oh, please tell me more about this one, sounds right up my street :-)
> What's the grading like?
Its OK if you like sit starts
My local wall has slabs as well as over hangs. Combined with good route setting that encourages you to use your feet ;)
I'm not saying that there isn't a greater variety of holds outdoors (obviously!). But in terms of the mechanics it's the same. The key word there is mechanics. As in, your tendons and muscles cannot distinguish whether or not there is a roof over your head while you pull on a hold.
It's like road cycling and velodrome cycling. I ride my roadie daily. But I'm not going to turn my nose up at Chris Hoy because he cycles indoors.
> My local wall has slabs as well as over hangs. Combined with good route setting that encourages you to use your feet ;)
Indoor slabs are bloody awful, and the mechanics of climbing them is completely different to climbing a friction slab.
The mechanics of indoor and outdoor climbing is not the same. Indoor crack climbing? A few very limited attempts which are created when the wall is built and can't be changed (although the Edge handcrack in the bouldering wall is fantastic and did wonders for my jamming!).
Unfortunately you kinda messed up your argument there, because road and track cycling are different sports. =]
I do get annoyed with the indoor-only climber who overhears me chatting about my day at the crag.
(fictional account follows)
Bob_the_Builder:"climbed magic crack this weekend"
Plasticus Ignoramius: "What grade is that?"
PI: "Whats that compared to indoor grade?"
BtB: "I guess its sport 5 or 5+ or something? I don't really know."
PI: "Dude are you serious? I climb 6c, you need to try harder."
(Plasticus Ignoramius then wanders off and thrutches up a 6c on toprope with 4 or 5 rests on the rope)
This specific situation has occurred to a friend of mine, though not to me. (replace Magic Crack with Agag's Groove for me) I don't mind people not interested in climbing on rock, but they must understand there's a difference and their indoor grade has little bearing on what they would climb outside.
I have a similar problem with Guitar Hero and Rock Band and similar video games.
My grades come from the rockfax grade comparison charts, no idea if they're right or not? http://www.ukclimbing.com/databases/crags/comptable.html
> The mechanics of indoor and outdoor climbing is not the same. Indoor crack climbing?
Google indoor crack climbing.
Just saying something doesn't make it so.
Let's break it down. - Noun - Mechanics
"The branch of applied mathematics dealing with motion and forces producing motion."
If I climb up something I have to use body weight position, grip, force and friction to achieve upward momentum and direction. The development and deployment of these skills is called 'climbing'. The movement is the same, the results are the same - development of technique, hypertrophy in the forearms and shoulders, stronger tendons and supporting tissue etc etc. all the same.
One is on rock, one is on artificial materials. But the act of climbing is the same.
That's not to say they dont have their own nuances (and I enjoy rock climbing more!) but your body doesn't care what you're climbing on. Your mind might, but that doesn't change the activity you're doing - climbing.
> Unfortunately you kinda messed up your argument there, because road and track cycling are different sports. =]
Nope, that was my point. They are both cycling! :)
Ah but my friend, the MECHANICS are different! The experience is different! Only a loon who hasn't tried both would not underst-...... ohhhhhh.....
Both are equally valid, I enjoy both, but they're different sports. Fact. (the full stop there is what takes it from a personal opinion to true scientific truth)
> Google indoor crack climbing.
Why should I do that? I have been to lots of climbing walls in the UK, and I know the amount, style and quality of it.
Show me someone who climbs exclusively indoors and who can climb cracks and I will eat my rack.
> Let's break it down. - Noun - Mechanics
> "The branch of applied mathematics dealing with motion and forces producing motion."
It is sliding scale where the mechanics might be similar enough for you to say they're 'the same' but they are different enough for me to say they're 'not the same'. If you want an entirely pointless and semantic argument, you have to be exact in saying they're 'the same' whereas I can rely on any tiny difference and still be right. So there.
Yes it does, the two demand different movements and strengths.
No, sorry, you're still wrong. I said that indoor climbing was different to rock climbing, not that indoor climbing was not climbing. If indoor climbing perfectly replicated the physical aspects of rock climbing you would be have a point, but it doesn't, so you are wrong. I'm afraid I can't change that.
IMO, indoor climbing is a means to an end - the end being climbing outdoors. If you climb indoors you get better at climbing outdoors than you would be if you didn't climb at all, but there are an awful lot of differences - it's not the same but under a roof...
Except that's exactly what you just said, in the sentence directly preceding that one? Anywho. My point was it's still climbing (you seem to agree with this?) I think we've probably misunderstood each other.
The thread was called "climbing wall snobbery", I was making an argument that they are so similar it's not wroth being a snob about. You feel differently. So it goes. As long as people are enjoying themselves, I dont really care :)
I just find it weird that people are so uptight about the one true climbing. That using the term for indoor climbing somehow taints it and makes it dirty. Like some how every time you call indoor climbing "climbing" or equate it with outdoors; stanage sinks a little lower back into the ground. :P
> The mechanics of indoor and outdoor climbing is not the same.
It is sometimes, innit? Limestone tends to have more wall like moves and even grit has some.
> It is sometimes, innit? Limestone tends to have more wall like moves and even grit has some.
And Lower Sharpnose is just like a climbing wall, which is ironic, since I love LS and find grit* a total pain in the arse!
*Routes on grit that is, especially in Yorkshire. The bouldering is second to none.
Indoor wall climbing is great fun it keeps you fit, its convenient and is a good alternative to mingling with the meat heads at the local gym. There is no way that I would be as strong a climber as I am now if it wasn't for the indoor wall and that's a fact. But I totally agree that rock climbing is different to indoor climbing, I cant ever remember trying to place a nut in an awkward crack while hanging on a wet hold with my leg going into Elvis mode at the indoor wall. I cant ever remember having to walk for 2 hours through the mountains with a heavy pack to get to the indoor wall. All I will say is SPA, CWA. MLTE recognises the difference.
Rests on indoor top ropes and still consider it done?
I've discovered a new facet of this: indoor climbing snobbery against other indoor climbers.
I don't consider an indoor route done unless its done without rope rests (standing on holds etc is fine). If I get tired or come off, its back to the start. Oh yeah, and stick to the rules the route setters had in mind when grading the route: no using features for hands etc.
> Only if you do it on warm dry days
I do. They're less busy :)
> Most people on UKC would agree that indoor climbing offers a good way to practice for rock climbing. Not many people would think that indoor climbing and rock climbing are the same thing. Is there something wrong with that?
I see indoor bouldering as an alternative to going to the Gym. A bit like vertical Yoga.
Something I can do on my own without having to organise it or discuss it with anyone. I prefer to go on my own.
Occassionally I go indoors with my son, and use his ropes, and stuff. He climbs outdoors with his University Club. I've NEVER climbed outdoors but might one day soon (With him)
If there is a problem, I don't think its one of indoor climbing being sneered at, more that some indoor climbers seem to be upset about not being recognised as 'real' climbers (whatever one of those is).
Its not just climbing wall climbers either; I'm sure we all want to somehow bracket ourselves with our heroes of the climbing world even if we are patently weekend warriors who will only ever rise as high as mediochrity.
mediocrity? I've lead hvd and top roped severes I'll have you know!
Can I just say I love climbing in either form. Indoor and outdoor are like beer and cider, not the same, but both pretty tasty.
Actually a better analogy is probably beer and a fine single malt. Since I get to go indoors all the time but a day outdoors is a rare treat to be savoured.
Living darn Sarf I climb mainly indoors. No different to the fact that I'm currently enjoying a cup of Gold Blend. No, it's not the real thing, but it does the job and is accessible.
I remember one time I was quarry to a braggart at the indoor wall as he repeatedly tried to belittle me with his tales of outdoor bravado.
A bloodied nose in front of his lady friend soon put halt to such snobbery.
> ... your tendons and muscles cannot distinguish whether or not there is a roof over your head while you pull on a hold.
Funny you should say that, cos mine seem to be able to do exactly that.
I've been climbing around 8 months and I only ever climb indoors at my local bouldering gym. I've progressed a lot but the reason I haven't ventured outside is because I stay in the middle of a city and I don't drive - if I want to climb on a regular basis it has to be indoors and I have to pay £40 a month for it. I'm quite happy with this because my job doesn't allow me to move near to a crag and I can't afford to drive, although I'm going to travel a little over summer to go outdoors for the first time.
The most irritating issue with the indoors/outdoors debacle and whether indoors is 'the same' seems so trivial and out-of-context that, as a relative beginner, I find it almost laughable when I end up on threads like this with people arguing, trolling and high-nosing over indoor climbing. If you don't see it as valid climbing then that's fine, go and climb outdoors to your hearts content and enjoy it but don't belittle others because you feel so negatively towards their version of what is more-or-less the same hobby.
That's not to say I don't understand it must be irritating to overhear apparent grade escapades from indoor climbers when you primarily climb outside, but then you have a choice to simply ignore it and do what you love. I had no idea there was any anomisty between the two variants until I came online; everyone at my local gym (should I call it that, or is someone going to retort that such a thing shouldn't exist or be named that?) seems happy to only boulder indoors or partake in both whenever weather or practicality can afford it. When I hear someone loudly proclaiming they've been to Everest base camp (this happens a lot) or they've been thrashing out F8A boulders outside I don't have any negative opinion bar a small pang of jealousy.
In short, it's only select outdoor climbers that have an issue with indoor climbing, never the other way around. There's really no need for it.
> The only thing worth looking down on are boulderers.
Thats most of the professional/sponsored climbing community then...
Why would you look down on them?
> I was thinking earlier, do you think that there is too much climbing wall snobbery on UKC?
Not in the walls and training forum there isn't
Presumably because you're higher up?
> Why would you look down on them?
Because boulders are normally below cliffs? ;-)
> I've been climbing around 8 months and I only ever climb indoors at my local bouldering gym.
Go outdoors soon! I implore you!
This is the internet. Most of the stuff here is trivial in one way or another, hundreds of posts have been written about bowlines vs FoEs -and we probably have hundreds more to write about that.
Right there, more-or-less the same hobby. You view them as roughly the same thing. We don't all see it that way. No one is belittling anyone else that I can see.
Sure, though that applies to any subject, and if we simply ignored everything it would make for a rather dull forum! On a side note if you ignored us you could have saved your previously mentioned irritation ;)
I doubt there's much in the way of animosity, though on the internet it can appear that way.
One would hope this bias sample was happy going indoors, because they're evidently doing it and presumably aren't forced to. I think gym is a good term ("crag" would not be.)
It seems to be a topic people have wanted to talk about, so we have.
I prefer to think of 'indoors' as a different sort of rock :P
For example, my local wall (the Quay in Exeter) has that super super grippy Entreprises plywood wall, which is great for smearing (and they have some fun 6a+ to 6b+ slab stuff at the moment); reminds me of smearing in Font (although not as much fun obviously).
The other wall I have climbed at indoors (the Barn near Tavistock) has some slab walls which are painted, originally I am told with grippy paint but are now mostly very slippery (like easy routes at Chudleigh or Portland) :P
I do however recognise my lack of jamming skill! And that real rock seems to have much bulges than flat sheets of wood... but while I still need practice on 'real' rock (by which I mean practice on granite, limestone, sandstone etc) it is more like a conversion course than starting from scratch.
So which is more similar to sport climbing with pre-placed draws - trad climbing or indoor lead? :P
...not to forget that what often passes for "rock climbing" in the great outdoors of the UK is some sh1tty quarry, with artificially produced, chalked up (just like indoor painted) holds, seldom reaching higher than an indoor wall.
If we're going to get snobby about indoor climbing then bouldering and single -pitch climbs are clearly as far from "the real thing" as pulling on plastic is.
That is absolute shite and you know it. Why on earth would you want to post something as pointlessly untrue as to say that the trad climbing in Pembroke has more in common with indoor climbing than "the real thing" whatever you imagine that to mean.
Bouldering is a different discipline in climbing, as divorced from trad climbing as sport climbing is. Single pitch climbing is rock climbing with only one pitch. Indoor climbing is climbing on an artificial medium, indoors, and as such it is not rock climbing, but a simulation of rock climbing in an artificial environment (and thus only captures a small part of what rock climbing is). How is that difficult?
No it is not. Your detailed examination of climbing mechanics presents climbing as being all about climbing movements, this a bit like saying football is all about running and kicking.
How well you climb indoors or out depends much more on your ability to control yourself in a particular environment. Turning those movements in to success is primarily dependant on motivation and experience, without this even the enjoyment you say is important is difficult to achieve and sustain.
Just as in any walk of life, a member of a different group who excels is more likely to be viewed as superior to the other. This means they run the risk of being labeled a snob by the other. It works both ways, indoor climbers can also be superior to outdoor climbers, BTW, people, unless arrogant or something donít usually label themselves as snobs, they just come across that way.
Feel free to enlighten us about the actual "real thing".
I would like to know myself. As apparently indoor climbing isn't the real thing, it somewhat implies a subjective real thing exists.
You seem to be quibbling over technical definitions and drawing a very arbitrary divide between what constitutes climbing and what doesn't. If you are saying there is something so fundamentally different between climbing indoor and outdoor that indoor climbers are therefore "not climbing" then why stop there? I'd say the difference between indoor climbing and an outdoor multi-pitch sports route is substantially less than bouldering and that same outdoor sports route. Therefore boulderers aren't climbing?
Why so hot under the collar about it? Plenty of people can climb just as well outdoors as they can indoors and at a level that would be impossible if they did not actually climb indoors. Clearly one is a very good approximation of the other to the point that its hardly worth the snobbery, surely?
Then I found climbing outdoors!!!
I soon found people can be just as inspiring and just as ignorant!
People are people ... do what you enjoy, anyone who is negatively concerned with other peoples climbing probably has a problem with their self esteem, their own ability or whatever labels they feel owns their life.
keep the faith
> You seem to be quibbling over technical definitions and drawing a very arbitrary divide between what constitutes climbing and what doesn't. If you are saying there is something so fundamentally different between climbing indoor and outdoor that indoor climbers are therefore "not climbing" then why stop there? I'd say the difference between indoor climbing and an outdoor multi-pitch sports route is substantially less than bouldering and that same outdoor sports route. Therefore boulderers aren't climbing?
Try reading my post again.
I'm not angry, it's just that what you said was ridiculous. You simply cannot get any more "real" than single pitch climbing on rock, although you can get longer routes.
Great. I'm not concerned with who climbs what grade.
No, it's not a very good approximation. I spent today rock climbing in the Lakes. I spent the day in a wonderful place, climbing brilliant routes, including reasonably well protected steep, sustained climbing; a classic slab which is basically a solo; some nice crack climbs; a bouldery arete; a lovely solo with thoughtful, subtle moves above dire consequences; all on the most fantastic, grippy rock covered in subtle features in which you have to find the holds that best suit your climbing, and offering decent gear here and there (but definitely not everywhere!).
Going to the climbing wall simply does not simulate more than 1% of that experience. It is not rock climbing, it is practicing for rock climbing, indoors, or you could do it for its own sake if you like. Call it snobbery by all means, but if you can't appreciate the vast gulf between the two activities, I can only assume that you don't really get anything out of rock climbing the way I do. In which case, fine, go indoor climbing and be content. Someone will be glad of the custom.
you get the same with bikers, motocrossers look down on tarmac and road riders look down on dirt bikes,
it's weird, i like em all ('cept scooters cos they aren't real bikes)
i like indoor and out door climbing for different reasons, same as i like tea and coffee
but ....aid climbing isn't realy you know...climbing
I think it's the belief that indoor climbing, and indoor achievement, is comparable to climbing outdoors which gets sneered at, rather than the activity itself.
Climbing indoors has the same relationship to climbing outdoors as an exercise bike has to cycling or a rowing machine has to rowing down a river. It's good exercise, it's good training, it helps to improve technique. It can be sociable and fun. Indoor climbing is fine as far as it goes, but it touches only part of the climbing experience. If you can't see the difference, you literally need to get out more.
> Going to the climbing wall simply does not simulate more than 1% of that experience. It is not rock climbing, it is practicing for rock climbing, indoors...
At best, you are being extremely subjective. At worst you are creating an entirely arbitrary distinction to invalidate other's claims of participating in this sport.
The scenario you describe above is apparently rock climbing because it:
a) is in a wonderful place
b) is climbing brilliant routes
c) contains anything from steep to slabs
d) may be well protected to un-protected
e) has anything from an arete to a crack
f) can be described by various adjectives indicating "quality" of the moves
g) has holds of different types to suit your style.
But an outdoor route could contain the antithesis of all these qualities; a run-out, 7m, sports route in a quarry overlooking a motorway, at a grade where there is only one specific sequence, etc, etc....but sill presumably to you be considered climbing.
Yet, an indoor climbing might contain what many climbers (be they ice, alpine, big-wall or bumbly scramblers) would consider to be all the qualities you have described above. My local climbing wall, a wonderful place in its own right, with what could be described as adrenalin racing beautiful routes, undulating from steep to slab, arete to crack, all on a course entreprises smearable surface, with a multitude of features and bolts-ons to suit your style.
But you would say that is not climbing? In fact you would say it isn't even 1% of climbing? I'm afraid you simply aren't providing a compelling argument to back up your opinion.
Besides, for most people I get the impression bouldering is just practice for real climbing, though fun in its own right. For myself, indoor or single-pitch outdoor climbing is all just practice for multi-pitch, all-day climbs in exotic foreign destinations. Like the boulder, that doesn't make any one of those activities any less "climbing" than the other in my opinion, or devalue the experience of them.
I'm not going to look down my nose at wall-only climbers, but I do think they don't get as full a climbing experience as someone who climbs both in and out. In the same way I'd say that an outside-only climber is missing out on a valuable facet of the sport.
The climbers who seem to get the most out of it are those who embrace as many aspects and styles as they can. This should in my opinion encapsulate indoor training (especially if you live in a wet country or are tied to a job through daylight), but most definitely not be limited to it.
You're right it's subjective, it concerns experience.
We're talking in comparison to a Lakeland crag here. A deranged comparison.
I'll give you that part I suppose.
No, I'd say it's not rock climbing.
Yes I would. I suppose it might be a fairly similar to some really crap rock climbing, clipping some bolts in a quarry that should have been filled in, but that doesn't really help you out.
You're putting forward an absurd view! No one could seriously believe that indoor climbing offers a comparable experience to spending a day ticking all the classic routes on a well-loved Lakeland crag. I don't need to put forward a compelling argument because I'm only opposed by a load of spurious nonsense that isn't meant seriously.
It is for me. But it's still rock climbing, because it's climbing rock. Also, the line between bouldering and routes - for example on grit - is very blurred.
I find it quite interesting that you don't seem to rate UK trad climbing. Go and do some decent pitches somewhere really good in a fantastic setting and see if you still think it's rubbish (or just as amazing as indoor climbing, or whatever). Here's one:
It's fantastic, honestly. It's only one pitch but it's a big, rich, fulfilling experience with an awful lot to remember. Just finding it and getting to the bottom is more rewarding that a thousand trips to the wall. And once you're back safely from the bottom of the Great Zawn, the feeling is one of deep euphoria.
Another amazing pitch:
I could go on. The suggestion that indoor climbing is a good approximation to these experiences is very obviously, completely silly, and no one really believes it.
The point of indoors is to have fun or to train... outdoors is great but to climb hard outdoors all day just means shredded tips on spikey holds, tweaky pockets, sharp crystals, etc.
Indoors is hard work but gentle and fun ;-)
You don't need to extol the virtues of outdoor routes - my profile photos should make it clear I enjoy them.
I'm just failing to see why you define climbing by the best routes you can find, then include all routes on rock, no matter how shite, as automatically sufficiently comparable to also be defined as "climbing" (but perhaps labelled with some subtle variations). Meanwhile, and despite said routes potentially having less in common with a sea-cliff in Gogarth than an indoor wall, the indoor climbing doesn't even register as climbing....not even 1%.
I understand Ratho has real rock for at least some of its routes, yet is under a roof, indoors, in a climbing centre. Is that climbing or not climbing? Likewise, my local park has an artificially placed lump in it for bouldering (possibly real rock, maybe not, I'm not sure) - would performing some moves on that be climbing or not? What about the climbing champs indoor, maneouvering up some steadily steeper concoction, performing some crazy moves?
You are right though, I don't particularly rate much of the trad climbing people rave about. Birchen Edge? A day out at Froggat? The joys of Downhill Racer? I don't get it or see the attraction at all. DOWH, multi-pitch in Costa Blanca, Sardinia or France? Yep, I get that. The route goes somewhere, there is some technical rope work involved, you can't top-rope the whole thing, or necessarily reach the summit any other way and most non-climbers would look at it as unclimbable at first glance. But many of the "classic" trad routes in the UK I wouldn't bother getting out of bed for. Though I would never accuse someone doing them of "not really climbing".
> You don't need to extol the virtues of outdoor routes - my profile photos should make it clear I enjoy them.
No, you misunderstand. I'm extolling the virtues of single pitch climbing, because you said that it was more similar to climbing indoors than multi-pitch climbing:
No no, they're examples to show you that you single pitch climbing in the UK can be absolutely amazing, since you appear to have written it off as rubbish. Crappy quarries are exactly that, crappy (but still rock climbing).
Well I guess it is rock climbing, but with most of the appeal removed and replaced with increased convenience. I haven't been so I don't know whether I'd find it more similar to climbing in a quarry or a normal wall, but it's obviously a cross between the two!
Indoor climbing, or climbing on an artificial boulder is not rock climbing. I don't know how that is confusing.
A decent beginners crag, but not good for low E grades. Good place to potter around soloing, or with a pad. Midshipman is a good route worth taking a rope for though. Peaches is meant to be good too.
A day out at Froggat? The joys of Downhill Racer?
Froggat is a good crag, especially of course if you like unprotected slabs. But it sounds like you don't like grit? I go hot and cold on it personally, on the right day those unprotected routes can be incredibly intense and amazing experiences. After a summer of climbing on big crags I did Elegy and it brought home what grit is all about: intensity. I haven't done Downhill Racer, but I've done Great Slab and quite a few other dangerous low-E grade classics at Froggat, and they can be a wonderful buzz. Not everyone's cup of tea of course, I don't know if you've tried routes in that style (it has to be at your limit to get the experience btw) or whether you're just saying they don't appeal from the look of them? The pub near the crag, The Grouse is excellent too, try the steak pie next time.
Everyone gets something different out of climbing. I think your view of 'classic UK trad routes' seems a bit distorted towards grit, which is quite a 'marmite' style much closer to bouldering than multi-pitch climbing, and if covering spectacular terrain is what does it for you, you probably won't like it. Which is neither here nor there.
Though I would never accuse someone doing them of "not really climbing".
But presumably you would accuse them of "not multi-pitch climbing" the same way I would accuse an indoor climber of "not rock climbing"?
I started up a climb. The first of many slopey holds feels greasy, the surface shiny from polish. I mutter "f*cking slimy plastic". I keep going, not much further, its only 7m high. At the top I slump onto the once dynamic rope, thousands of top roping cycles have taken its toll, I don't feel any stretch.
Once back on the ground, I take off my shoes. Depending what staff are about, no shoes will get me a talking to. But, today isn't such a day.
To my left I hear a boulderer being told to climb down. He's gone too high, his feet are about 1.5m off the floor. The floor here only has 10cm of padding.
Crowded, artificial, safe, a place where the nature is dictated by the duo of profitability and liability. This is nothing like rock climbing.
I think you need to go to a different wall.
Jon, it sounds like the essential characteristics of climbing to you are being in an amazing place and the medium you are climbing on. For many other people, climbing is about the kinesthetic experience of actually climbing, and the location and the medium are nice-to-haves, not something that essentially define the activity. Climbing, then, is something you can do on amazing psychedelic rock architecture in a UNESCO world heritage site, or in a crappy quarry, or on plastic and plywood panels indoors. This is fine, climbing can be different things to different people.
You keep banging on about amazing places and the quality of the rock, and I keep thinking, sure, those are some things that make climbing enjoyable, but they are not what make it climbing.
> You keep banging on about amazing places and the quality of the rock, and I keep thinking, sure, those are some things that make climbing enjoyable, but they are not what make it climbing.
The thing is though that it has all changed. IT IS precisely what made climbing. Climbing indoors and in grotty quarries is a relatively new phenomena and generally speaking attracting a different type of character. Generalisations are dangerous but most older climbers did it for the whole outdoor experience, the walk, the views the ambience but many more newer climers are solely interested in the technical challenge.
I would argue that in reducing 'kinesthetic experience' down to 'technical challenge' you have missed some of what to me is essential to climbing, but whatever.
For me, climbing should exist in it's purest-form, that is to say, with minimal technology and assistance. I'd like to think that climbing is a way of getting closer to nature in a World that is far too impersonal or sterilized.
Climbing-walls exist to give urban-man a taste of adventure, without the dangers. Whatever floats your boat and if that is enough in the way of adventure for some, so much the better ! Having said that, some 'trad' climbers are hardly any better, placing hundreds of pounds of protection, every few feet on what is a pretty easy route. Far too much importance is given to the hardware side of climbing. A climber should be able to contend with longish run-outs and place protection only where it is really necessary. For these reasons, my favourite type of climbing is long Alpine routes.
Can you really not see that they mean different things; look them up in a dictionary if you are unsure.
I don't. Have you never done a move that just felt "right", that feeling you get when you feel as though you "flow" through a move? I've felt this both indoors and out and due to be engrossed in the climbing and the move, the location/medium is normally mentally blocked out so becomes redundant.
Having said all that, despite spending a fair bit of time indoors it doesn't fall into the "real" climbing catagory in my head, more training/something fun to do. Nothing beats being sat at the belay, having just completed a dream pitch, just enjoying the view.....
Well conversely if all I want is an outdoor experience, views, a walk, and some ambiance I might as well go hill walking. If you feel that hill walking has more to do with 'climbing' than the act of climbing itself, then we have utterly irreconcilable views about what climbing is. I really don't see what the problem with having different views of climbing is, though. What you do is different from what I do, and neither is 'better' in any quantitative or qualitative sense.
However the idea that the outdoor experience, the view, the walk and the ambiance are what distinguish climbing from this:
is ludicrous. I could equally say that the physical movement in a more-or-less vertical direction is the only thing distinguishing climbing from golf.
Well I agree that I have this general sense that getting routes done on rock is what 'counts' but I admit that is more my inner puerile ticker than my inner climber.
I found I enjoy climbing indoors more when I stopped trying to force it to be an imitation of outdoor climbing, and let it be its own thing. Although outdoor climbing is a much bigger priority for me, I definitely get more out of a good day indoors than a bad day at the crag.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy indoors, it's just something different.
I got into climbing via walking and just generally enjoy the outdoors, be it climbing, biking, skiing etc, so this may skew my perspective.
> Can you really not see that they mean different things; look them up in a dictionary if you are unsure.
Ignoring your rather patronising response, I stand by what I have said.
> I definitely get more out of a good day indoors than a bad day at the crag.
Me too. I have to say that as a result of a run of crap summers and the prospect of another one, I'm more and more assuming that I'm heading to the wall rather than the crag. I'd love to be on some sunkissed sea cliff, or on Cloggy in the early morning sun, or crimping up some granite slab in the Alps in the sun, or even a limestone quarry on the Peak in the evening sun but, given the higher probability of slanting rain at about 4 degrees, I'll make do with the wall.
Anyway I don't see any conflict. I was spending two or three nights a week on bouldering walls 30 years ago, and then spending every weekend away, so there's certainly nothing new about it.
If you're going to be deliberately obtuse, you leave yourself open to being patronised!
No they aren't! I don't go to a wall for adventure - I go to train or have fun with friends when it's dark and/or raining. This means I then have friends and the fitness to enjoy adventure proper outside :-)
Like Go Ape you mean ?
> Jon, it sounds like the essential characteristics of climbing to you are being in an amazing place and the medium you are climbing on.
It varies. On grit, it is much more about the moves themselves often combined with the buzz of boldness. On a sea cliff it is mostly about dealing with hard climbing at the same time as exposure and seriousness. With bouldering, it is about the moves and the buzz of the high problems. An great setting always adds a huge amount to the above. For me, the essential characteristics can't be boiled down to a single thing, it's about the amazing experiences you can from climbing rock.
Yes, absolutely. Sport climbing singles out and concentrates on particular aspects of a much broader array of stuff found in rock climbing generally. Indoor climbing, I guess, makes for a reasonable-ish approximation to sport climbing, but it does not capture even 1% of what trad climbing is about, for me anyway.
I was banging on about how single pitch rock climbing in the UK is nothing like indoor climbing because someone said that single pitch climbing was not "the real thing" and was more similar to indoor climbing.
Perhaps not, but climbing rock is what makes rock climbing rock climbing and climbing indoors is what makes indoor climbing indoor climbing.
Which most of the time is spent wiggling bits of metal into cracks, which is not ascending rock either!
Luckily indoor climbing does not include this :-)
So let me get this straight.
Rock climbing is climbing on rocks?
Indoor climbing is climbing indoors?
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