/ TRAD Climbing

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robmatheson - on 27 May 2013
I read with interest about recent "TRAD" ascents and grades. Although obviously good efforts, they are NOT TRAD unless you PLACE THE GEAR ON ASCENT, traditionally speaking that is . Hanging on, in uncompromising positions and getting pumped, while placing the gear, differentiates TRAD climbing and its grading system from other types of climbing, whatever you want to call them. So an ascent, with all the runners/clips PRE PLACED is not TRAD, in style or grade. So there !! It may well be a long torturous voyage but the TRAD leader should strive to place their own gear on that lonely lead, no matter how much prior knowledge he/she may have. And ,of course,that prior knowledge is likely to increase the closer you are to your physical and mental limit and decrease to totally on- site, the closer you are to your comfort zone. So, leading a climb WITH ALL THE CLIPS IN PLACEl,no matter what the anchors are,or how spaced they are, pulls that ascent away from TRAD into the SPORT climbing realm with its own associated grades,values and traditions !!
JLS on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

Don't get so hung up on pinning a precise definition on an ascent. It is what it is.

It's also worth bearing in mind a lot of these guys doing ascents in FUNNY styles are more than capable of jogging up NORMAL trad E5's in trainers without worrying too much if the gear is good or not. Climbers find there own ways of challenging themselves and if their methods don't chime with you then so be it. Each to his own ( dry tooling excluded of course :).
JDal - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

I agree, but somebody's going to start a fight over clipping in situ pegs, threads etc. I failed on a lead in the early 70's because we were supposed to be freeing a route and I was going to clip an in situ peg for a runner, the 2nd refused to belay me (and led it himself without clipping the pegs). Your approach has a long history. Hence "trad" I suppose.
GridNorth - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson: I agree. It's a reflection on the state of modern climbing however that these distinctions have to be highlighted. Once upon a time it was just climbing. Personally I see a natural progression: indoor, sport, trad, alpine, greater ranges. I'm not saying one has more value than the other than in my eyes and if Rob is the Rob I think he is I'm sure he will think the same.
Milesy - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:
> I read with interest about recent "TRAD" ascents and grades. Although obviously good efforts, they are NOT TRAD unless you PLACE THE GEAR ON ASCENT

Well I am glad you cleared this all up. The full climbing community are glad you made this post and shall strive to become your gold standard of trad climbing. Bravo my good fellow.

** Serious **

I am not sure at what point you thinking inspecting a route and preplacing a dodgy microwire makes it a "sport" route? Preplacing gear while not the purist form of trad climbing has a place in making people better trad climbers without putting themself at more risk than they want to.

I have abbed down a route which is at my limit and placed a bit of gear or two, enabling me to climb it more confidently and making the head game a bit easier, and then gone back and lead it cleanly. Pure onsight climbing is not the be all and end all of trad climbing. Many trad climbers at the top of the game have inspected gear, cleaned holds, practiced moves on top rope, practised routes on placed gear, dogged routes, and all with a goal to be a better trad climber and be able to lead those routes cleanly from the ground up (without the onsight obviously). Most climbers are honest about the means and intentions and as far as I am concerned as long as we retain an ethic of placing gear and aiming towards clean ground up ascents, then the rules are bendable in the name of training and practice.
The New NickB - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Milesy:

If it is THE Rob Matheson, he doesn't have to worry too much about his contribution to the climbing community.
GridNorth - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Milesy: I can see a generation element sneeking into the debate with regard to this topic. :-)
Milesy - on 27 May 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> If it is THE Rob Matheson, he doesn't have to worry too much about his contribution to the climbing community.

I doubt very much every climber in the 70s was onsighting every route completely clean, and those who claimed to maybe just didn't publicise it. As you track back in time, climbers will always be critical of the "modern" way. There have been plenty of opponents to chalk, cams, rubber soles, climbing walls, modern ropes and harnesses as time has gone on which the previous generation claim as cheating.
ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

THANKS for the for sorting that OUT for us!! We were all a bit LOST until you set yourself up as the teller of TRUTHS!

If I want to use any other words about CLIMBING I will make sure to check with YOU first!!
The New NickB - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Milesy:

I just think the OP is talking about honesty. In the past it was less of an issue, bu with more people publishing information about their climbs and people coming in to the sport from the wall much more it is perhaps an issue.
The New NickB - on 27 May 2013
In reply to ericinbristol:

Stop shouting!
ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

That was the point I was making about the shouty OP in mimicking the shouty style...
The New NickB - on 27 May 2013
In reply to ericinbristol:

I know, but I think OPs are allowed a little shout if in rant mode.
Elrond - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

In one of your pictures on your profile, it shows you on a climb, and the caption is 'starting the committing 6B/C sequencies past the taped on skyhook'.


Are you trying to tell us that, whilst leading the E7, you stopped, got out your tape, and taped on the skyhook?? Also, isn't using tape to keep gear in place just making it basically sport climbing???
ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

Fair enough. I found the OP to be rather patronising.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Elrond: he may have had tape on it directly
ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Elrond:

His getout is that he said 'strive to place'.
Justin T - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

So if you ab down Indian Face and stuff in a couple of shonky micros it's just a F7c clip up? Tidy.
Milesy - on 27 May 2013
In reply to ericinbristol:
> (In reply to Elrond)
>
> His getout is that he said 'strive to place'.

Pointless post then. I don't think I have ever seen any climber spending their days preplacing gear on every route they do. I have done it exactly three times in total, and im talking a few pieces, not equipping a full route top to bottom with gear, and certainly some pieces I would never consider safe to fall on - and therefor not sport climbing, and it helped me become a better trad climber. Anyone else I have seen occasionally do it, either in person or on a video/DVD have done it to improve.
JDal - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Elrond:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
>
> In one of your pictures on your profile, it shows you on a climb, and the caption is 'starting the committing 6B/C sequencies past the taped on skyhook'. Are you trying to tell us that, whilst leading the E7, you stopped, got out your tape, and taped on the skyhook??
>

Probably, another photo says "Rob trying to blutac the poor skyhook just before the scary on off section with a big hurt potential.Flattery E7. "

>
> Also, isn't using tape to keep gear in place just making it basically sport climbing???

What??? Please explain that bit of logic.
Jonny2vests - on 27 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to robmatheson) I agree. It's a reflection on the state of modern climbing however that these distinctions have to be highlighted. Once upon a time it was just climbing. Personally I see a natural progression: indoor, sport, trad, alpine, greater ranges. I'm not saying one has more value than the other than in my eyes and if Rob is the Rob I think he is I'm sure he will think the same.

You're agreeing with his distinction, but you disagree with making distinctions?
Elrond - on 27 May 2013
In reply to JDal:

>
> What??? Please explain that bit of logic.

Haha it was sarcasm, it was me trying to point out the hypocrisy of the OP..

ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
If this runs much longer without the OP reappearing it will be time to call troll...
Al Evans on 27 May 2013
In reply to Elrond: I don't care what you say, what Rob did was always ok by me :-)
Elrond - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Yeah I completely agree, what he did was absolutely fine. I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy of saying that you can't pre-place any gear or pre-inspect any route, but to then tape down a skyhook!
GridNorth - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to GridNorth)
> [...]
>
> You're agreeing with his distinction, but you disagree with making distinctions?

Sorry. Not in the mood to bite :-)
Michael Ryan - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

You are right of course Rob but you are flogging a dead horse. It's been done to death on here for years. High grades and media attention take precedent over style.

I'm not surprised many on here and posting haven't a clue who Rob Matheson is, or what he has done - and is still doing.

This will give you a clue

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=129160

And his offspring...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=202113

No one says you can't pre-place gear, or top rope practice, just don't call it trad climbing; trad is ground-up climbing.....going in to the unknown.
JYates on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:
I see your point but i dont see any reason to get het up with it all. As long as we are having fun, being safe and respecting the environment then its all good, in my eyes.
ROBBIEB - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson: Never a truer word spoken !
Wiley Coyote - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:
Rob's right. Pre-placing gear makes it physically easier to climb and relieves some of the mental pressure, otherwise why would you bother doing it? That might not make a ha'porth's of difference when Joe Punter is repeating some long established route but would-be second/third ascenionists of new lines are entitled to know how previous ascents were done. If placing gear as you go is what we define as 'trad' then maybe it needs yet another word for pre-placed gear in the same way that headpointing signifies a particular style of ascent. Trad-lite maybe?
csw on 27 May 2013
In reply to JYates:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
> I see your point but i dont see any reason to get het up with it all. As long as we are having fun, being safe and respecting the environment then its all good, in my eyes.

Crag X?

Ed F - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

You are absolutely right. And bearing in mind the potentially huge ramifications of labelling an ascent incorrectly, it's important to define exactly what each category means...

As we've only got two categories to place a climb in (sport and trad), it only makes sense that each of them is given a precise, technical meaning.

After all, climbing is all about other people ascribing value to your achievements. Too many people here seem to forget that.
Duncan Bourne - on 27 May 2013
In reply to JYates:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
> As long as we are having fun, being safe and respecting the environment then its all good, in my eyes.

I can see the point otherwise definitions become meaningless.
Postmanpat on 27 May 2013
In reply to Ed Feldman:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
>
> You are absolutely right. And bearing in mind the potentially huge ramifications of labelling an ascent incorrectly, it's important to define exactly what each category means...
>
> As we've only got two categories to place a climb in (sport and trad), it only makes sense that each of them is given a precise, technical meaning.
>
> After all, climbing is all about other people ascribing value to your achievements. Too many people here seem to forget that.
>
You might like to read the famous essay "Games Climbers Play" by Lita Tejada-Flores to appreciate importance of the hierachy and the rules of the various climbing "games" in what is an essentially bloody silly and unimportant activity.

Jonny2vests - on 27 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> Sorry. Not in the mood to bite :-)

Yes, but you see my point surely. Its normally elder statesmen such as yourself and Al Evans banging on about overuse of terms and ever smaller delineations of style. Yet that is precisely what the OP is calling for.

If its on trad gear, I really dont see whats wrong with calling it trad and adding a caveat. Pre-placing a cluster of skyhooks, is that Sport climbing then?
Ed F - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

The rules might be important, but the categories aren't.

Style is a continuum, it can't be logically split into categories.
paul__in_sheffield - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson: I wonder if Seb knows he was sport climbing on Parthian Shot?.......
Postmanpat on 27 May 2013
In reply to Ed Feldman:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> The rules might be important, but the categories aren't.
>
> Style is a continuum, it can't be logically split into categories.
>
If there are different rules for different categories then there needs to be some agreement about what the categories are. Clearly the "rules" for bouldering are not the same as "rules" trad which are not the same as "rules" for Alpine.

It seems reasonable for the OP to argue that just because the climbs he referred to employed "trad equipment" it does not make them "trad". Essentially the tactics used were so far outside the conventional rules of "trad" they should be classified as something else-probably not sport but some sort of hybrid.

Lord of Starkness - on 27 May 2013
In reply to ericinbristol:
> If this runs much longer without the OP reappearing it will be time to call troll...



....hmmmmmmm

Blue Straggler - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Michael Ryan - UKC and UKH:
>
>
> .....going in to the unknown.


New-routing only then Mick?
ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

and on sight
Goucho on 27 May 2013
In reply to Michael Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
>
> No one says you can't pre-place gear, or top rope practice, just don't call it trad climbing; trad is ground-up climbing.....going in to the unknown.

Oh come on Mick, if that argument had been applied in the 70's and 80's, most of the hardest and most important routes of that era would not have been classed as trad routes.

There was more frigging, cheating and devious tactics used (remember the ongoing spat between Alan Austin and Rob Matheson over Cruel Sister - pre placed peg etc, Paladin and several others if we're going to be topical) by so many 'top' climbers, that finding out the true style of ascent, would have baffled Hercule Poirot :-)

As Jim Perrin so eloquently said - the way that many new routes are reported nowadays, seems to be more about how the first accentionists would like to have climbed it, not necessarily how they did.
martinph78 on 27 May 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Ed Feldman)
> [...]
> they should be classified as something else-probably not sport but some sort of hybrid.

I was just saying how there aren't enough classifications in climbing, and definiately not enough systems for grading them. If only someone could make things a bit more interesting, like multiple grading systems for the same climbing styles, and different climbing styles depending on the weather/shoes worn/what was eaten for breakfast/and how big a sh*t the climber had that morning. All of this, I think, would make climbing far more exciting and much more fun.


Postmanpat on 27 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> I was just saying how there aren't enough classifications in climbing, and definiately not enough systems for grading them.
>
Read the article and you might grasp the argument. I can't be bothered to precis it.

Postmanpat on 27 May 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Michael Ryan - UKC and UKH)
> [...]
>
> As Jim Perrin so eloquently said - the way that many new routes are reported nowadays, seems to be more about how the first accentionists would like to have climbed it, not necessarily how they did.
>
True, but it was pretty clear what the aspiration was, and it was not clipping a series of preplaced points of pro and calling it a completed route anymore than top roping a new route meant it had been "done'.

xplorer on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

How many people actually claim a trad route using pre place gear, who don't tell they placed any gear before hand?

If your the real Rob, you wouldn't even care

Nik Jennings - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:
I may be way off the mark here, but is this thread related to the recent news item on UKC regarding my ascent of Exodus at Kilnsey?
I initially started to write a lengthy reply to this thread but I think I'd rather clear up the above point before I start wittering too much...
Bulls Crack - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

Do you read the Daily Mail much?
Wiley Coyote - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
>
> Do you read the Daily Mail much?

With just four days to go that has to be a strong contender for non sequitur of the month

Jonny2vests - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Nik Jennings:
> (In reply to robmatheson)
> I may be way off the mark here, but is this thread related to the recent news item on UKC regarding my ascent of Exodus at Kilnsey?
> I initially started to write a lengthy reply to this thread but I think I'd rather clear up the above point before I start wittering too much...

I was wondering that Nik.
ericinbristol - on 27 May 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:

As someone suggested in another thread, perhaps we need the Daily Mail version of Godwin's Law.
rgold - on 27 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

It is far from clear what trad is any more, although there is no shortage of incompatible definitions. In the U.S., there is a growing contingent of climbers who equate trad with the use of nuts and cams, without regard to any of the other stylistic questions. Here's a lengthy discussion from Super Topo: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2110264/What-Is-Trad
GrahamD - on 28 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

I don't think the terms 'trad' and 'sport' are particularly precise when there is so much grey in between the styles. What is more important to me is that ascents are reported honestly and ascents in purer or better style are given the plaudits they deserve.
Bulls Crack - on 28 May 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> With just four days to go that has to be a strong contender for non sequitur of the month

It was the uneccessary capitalisation THAT did it
JIMBO on 28 May 2013
YYYAAAAAAAAWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnn
Robert Durran - on 28 May 2013
In reply to robmatheson:

Bolted so that a fall at any point is "safe" = Sport

Partly bolted or bolted so that a fall might be "dangerous" = Pointless contrived nonsense.

No Bolts = Trad (And can be climbed in styles ranging from laughably pathetic to onsight).

Only belays bolted = Arguably unsatisfactory but still Trad.

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