/ Sport Climbing Vs. Bolt Clipping
A surprising amount of people seem to have agreed with this strangely narrow minded view.
"This is just one essay about sport climbing; it's not about other genres of climbing. I know that we're accustomed to debating the merits and demerits of each discipline relative to each other, searching for some kind of ultimate superlative that can be definitively drawn from that inquiry. This is just my own essay about why I enjoy doing one particular aspect of all the many forms of climbing, of which I also happen to enjoy and do it all. Not everything needs to affirm itself by putting something else down; it can just stand alone"
I can see where he's coming from, and by his logic someone who onsights a 9a+ isn't pushing themselves to the maximum.
My own take on this is that it puts the "sport" above the climbing. If the essence is to constantly explore and push at your mental and physical personal limits, exactly the same effect can be achieved through other sports - climbing just happens to be his choice of activity. Personally, I'm motivated by quite different things but that's just my opinion, and this is his.
> I can see where he's coming from, and by his logic someone who onsights a 9a+ isn't pushing themselves to the maximum.
Really? I wonder what Ondra's opinion might be?
His point is that if you can onsight 9a+ you should be able to redpoint something even harder. I agree it seems to put no value on achieving an onsight.
Makes perfect sense to me. I don't see him disparaging anyone, he's just explaining rather well the joy he finds in hard sport.
Personally I'm delighted with his distinction. I have always been a 'bolt clipper' lacking the application, the ambition and the boredom threshold to keep hurling myself at the same bit of rock for hours on end. Now when people tell me I am not sport climbing properly I shall tell them that is because I'm a bolt clipper and go merrily on my way.
You are reading too much into the focus on redpointing. His main point is this:
Which he is totally right about, which is why the popular distinction between sport as 'physical' and trad as 'mental' misses the point.
You could also write the article around the difference between sport style onsighting, which is about attempting routes so close to your limit you are coping with the mental weight of failing on 95% of attempts, for the 5% of times when you pull it out of the bag - as totally distinct from 'bolt clipping' which is mostly choosing routes within your limit so the risk of failure is minimal.
Going for a jog around the block and training for a road race are the same thing and yet people who do the two will put very different things in and get very different things out of them. It's the same with sport climbing. Just because the greatest fulfilment often seems to come from training hard and trying hard to achieve an eventual goal (whether this be redpoint or onsight) doesn't mean jogging is a completely different pursuit.
I also often wonder why such a big distinction is usually drawn between sport and trad anyway, since a great many people treat bolts as convenient bomber bits of gear they're never going to fall on anyway as it's the falling itself they're scared of rather than any associated risk of injury.
It's all just climbing and it's what you put into it that really makes the difference, rather than the type of gear you use or the duration of the challenge.
Bolt-clipping is what is going on on all the F4s and F5s that people are demanding. People tend to climb them in a risk-averse, almost "trad" style, ie never falling off and staying well within their comfort zones. Ironic really..
Indeed it does, both by ignoring the mental skills needed for sport as you say, and the physical side of trad - getting pumped placing gear and then having to do hard moves above it is not just a 'mental' challenge.
In all these daft threads about sport and trad, people are usually presenting a case from the perspective of a very specific type of climbing that they're into. Personally, I'm guilty of equating trad with the specific sort of trad I'm into: classic sea-cliffs, bold grit (I don't like well-protected grit cracks - too hard!), and mountain routes in the low E grades. In reality, it's all a sliding scale with long bolted routes on the big mountains that have more in common with trad than sport, and people into headpointing hard protected trad routes where it is much more like sport.
The relaxed, sunny bolt-clipping beloved of a couple of our continental contributors is its own thing, and one which the UK doesn't really cater for (and never will).
I also get his explanation and obvious enthusiasm for the mental battles of long term projecting, the main thing that got me (although obviously not the main point of the article) was how he took such a broad term 'sport climbing' and narrowed down the definition. I understand his points and cant fault them or his enthusiasm its just his naming of it - petty i suppose.
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