/ NEW ARTICLE: The Evolution of Bouldering

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
UKC Articles - on 21 Jan 2014
Dave Noddings on Not to be taken away, Plantation., 4 kbIn this article, Mick Ward looks at how bouldering has progressed from being something that very few climbers took seriously to now being many climbers sole raison d'Ítre. Mick also looks at how, in the past, French and British climbers applied bouldering skill differently on larger crags and how this affected the ethics and developement of these countries at the time...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6068
Michael Gordon - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice article. By 'Drummond' do you mean Ed Drummond?
Carl Smethurst - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Really enjoyed that Mick - it joined the dots of the history in a pleasing way for me.

As someone with two small kids I've found bouldering an increasingly attractive option, being less of a time commitment and far easier to spontaneously grab a session when circumstances allow. I celebrate the fact there are so many different facets to climbing these days!
mrteale - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great read!
owensum - on 21 Jan 2014
Good read. Bouldering is here to stay!
thermal_t - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good read. I wasn't immediately drawn to bouldering as a discipline, but a couple of years ago I found myself with some time off and nobody to climb with. I packed my car headed to Font for a week and had an awesome time and met some cool people. The anti-bouldering factions that exist should definitely give it a go.
Alun - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Very interesting read, Mick, thank you.
petemeads - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks for another great article Mick! Not touched real rock in over a year, for no good reason, but really enjoy Tuesday nights at Loughborough Climbing Station, bouldering with dozens of all ages and abilities. Feel like I have kicked by a flock of horses the next day though...
Ciderslider - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Very interesting Mick, eloquent as always.
Kafoozalem - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent article Mick which charts a progressive attitude shift over the decades. Whilst my retraining has been largely successful I do sometimes slip back into "1980's think" about bouldering.
Mick Ward - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Many thanks to those who have enjoyed it. I was very unsure about this article - I'm the world's worst boulderer (sadly, it's official) and, for a long time, simply didn't understand where bouldering was going - or might go. Things seem much clearer now (in hindsight!)

A couple of details. By 'Drummond', I mean Ed Drummond and should have made this clear. My apologies. Although I'm a little harsh on him, he made the most amazing contributions to climbing. The one time I saw him climb (on a raw, bitter day, on Censor) you had to massively respect his toughness and tenacity.

Re Midnight Lightning, I've since discovered that Kurt Smith did it just a few days after Skip Guerin (and therefore maybe before Jerry). My apologies to another superb climber.

The romantic in me loves the story that Midnight Lightning began as an hallucinogenic dream of the late John (Yabo) Yablonski. From dream to iconic reality, helping to change forever the way we view bouldering. Perhaps something of Yabo's spirit lives on in us.

Mick



bill briggs1 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Well done Mick , excellent article . Bit of information for you, I was climbing at Millstone one night with Keith Myhill when he showed me this little arete he had climbed previously, he then repeated it ( Technical Master ) . We saw it as a little trick move not really much more. A few years later Drummond was trying it as a first ascent and covering it in chalk and many tries and seemed put out when I told him Myhill had done it before, this was the Linden period.
paul__in_sheffield - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles: really nice article Mick, really captures the evolution well. Back when I started, the boulders at the Roaches or Stanage were for messing about on between climbs. What Ben and Jerry were doing on the Minus Ten wall and on Basher's Bachar Ladder set up in a tree was incomprehensible at the time.
Now I exclusively boulder apart from holiday bolt clipping, I'll use indoor sport climbing as part of training for bouldering, which is a total about turn!
Still get enquiries about the bouldering pad on telepheriques in the Alps though.

Mick Ward - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to bill briggs1:

Hi Bill, I always thought that Keith Myhill had done Technical Master circa 1970 (or very early '70s). I'm surprised that Drummond imagined it undone by the mid '70s. I can't think of anything seemingly more unsuited to his style - though I'm sure he'd have 'gritted' his way up it.

Perhaps a worse error is to assume stuff done when maybe not. In the early 80s, I did the laughingly entitled Technical Mistress at Burbage but assumed it had been done before. It was later credited to Mark Miller (the year after, though now it seems to have got 'back-dated' to the late 70s). Either way, I'm not that bothered. ('Who me? Bitter??' to paraphrase the great John Allen!) Anyway, doubtless you'll tell me that Uncle Tom Cobleigh and 10 of his mates had been up that tiny but lovely arÍte long before.

Mick (memo to self: go and do some work now!)


Mick Ward - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Many thanks!

Mick
John Gillott - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Mick Ward:

Yeah, nice article as people have said. The only thing I wonder about is whether there was a bit more of it about prior to the 1980s. When we were kids (late '70s) we had the odd phase when we'd do quite a bit of what would now be called bouldering. We worked out many eliminates and variations etc, made a game of trying to do them all in one go etc. Others must have done the same. There was a discussion on here or maybe UKB a few years ago about who had done what when, people (w)racking their brans to try to work out if stuff like Trackside had in fact been done in the '70s. Go on, make it a little research project of it .....
johnl - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Fantastic read Mick, I really enjoyed that. I've just finished reading the bouldering section in Peak Rock and it helped put some of that into context.
Blobby - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to John Gillott:
> (In reply to Mick Ward)
>
> There was a discussion on here or maybe UKB a few years ago about who had done what when, people (w)racking their brans to try to work out if stuff like Trackside had in fact been done in the '70s.

It's a bit surprising to think that the Trackside boulder wasn't climbed on until the '70s.



Adam Perrett - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to johnl:

Great article Mick.

I'm off to get me magic hat on and send some problems! Gnarly, Dude!
(not really. I'm stuck at work). :(
keith sanders - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hi Mick.
Great read takes me back AGAIN Yes I agree with Bill Briggs. Hi Bill. A team of us did'nt eh Bill used to spend time in the early 70s at Millstone and other grit crags bouldering with our beer mat making problems and compeating against each other who could do them first usually after a day cragging.
PS are u still working hard Mick?
keith s
Need to go now as I am going to Eden Rock Carlisle bouldering indoors.
Blobby - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to johnl:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> I've just finished reading the bouldering section in Peak Rock and it helped put some of that into context.

Do you mean On Peak Rock? I can't find anything like this in it at all. Is there more than one edition or version?
jamiev on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Blobby:

No - he means Peak Rock http://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/categories/climbing/peak-rock.html

In reply to Mick Ward:

Great article, Mick.
deacondeacon - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Blobby:
Hey Blobby. The block would have been climbed for ever, the first ascent was probably a sheep or a goat :) They're referring to the first arete you get to from the gate which is also called Trackside.

Peak Rock refers to the new publication from Vertebrate detailing the history of climbing throught the Peak District. It's a work of art and if you have any interest in Peak climbing it's a must.
Deacon

edit:Jamie beat me to it.
Post edited at 12:57
JDal - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nicely written. Also worth a read for the history is John Gills articl on his website http://www128.pair.com/r3d4k7/Bouldering_History1.0.html
astley007 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:
Great Article Mick.
Great reading and took me back to those halcyon days? of jumping off problems onto a beer towel, until I upgraded to a rubber car mat!!!
Cheers
Nick B
Richard Hession on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article Mick.
Ramblin dave - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to JDal:
I love the bits with the hobnail brigade sending some gnarly highballs...

"On arriving in the Burbage Valley I met with Fortescue-Smythe, who insisted that we divest ourselves of our waistcoats and shirts, and instead wear a pair of knitted cloth caps of his own devising. This attire struck me as strange, but I assented with some misgivings. Indeed, either the exposure of our chests to cold air or the strenuous exertions on the rocks must have affected our faculties, because soon our conversation was reduced to gibberish - "Stick it dude! Pull down hard!" and other exhortations of similar timbre..."
Post edited at 18:16
Adam_42 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Really enjoyed reading that. Top job (y)
Mick Ward - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to JDal:

> Also worth a read for the history is John Gills articl on his website http://www128.pair.com/r3d4k7/Bouldering_History1.0.html

Agree. Lovely stuff. For instance:

'...by the 1950s others at Fontainebleau had carried those levels up to V4 or V5. Although most of my problems by the late 1950s were V2 to V7, on occasion I did moves up through the V9 and V10 range, but probably not beyond that degree of difficulty. Jim Holloway likely reached V12 and above in the 1970s.'

Well worth a read.

Many thanks for people's kind comments yesterday.

Mick



snook - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Spot on. Great read. Thanks Mick.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Graham Hoey - on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to John Gillott:

Trackside (the arete) was definitely climbed in the 70s, and prior to 76. If I recall correctly Gabe Regan had done it and I'm pretty sure John Allen and The Stokes brothers had also been on it . With many of these problems, it's difficult finding out who did them first as they generally weren't recorded.
cheers
Graham

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