/ Aid or free?

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Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
When the big aid routes in the Peak and Yorkshire were first free climbed, a lot of climbers continued to climb them as aid routes. After all how otherwise could we train for the Alps, Dolomites and Yosemitie?
Thing is, aid is not that easy, some people who could only lead VS could actually climb better on aid than people who were leading E4.
On the big walls of Yosemitie aid ascents are still considered legitimate if not as notable.
Could we still do this here?
Many old aid routes would be a lot easier now free, as they have been bolted and made 'safe'. Skyhook moves, wooden wedges and dodgy pegs requireing careful balance moves have all been replaced by stonking bolts, but even so the moving over terrain like Mecca, The Prow or the Kilnsey Main Overhang on aid would allow more average climbers to both train and get into spectacular situations.
Would it not be possible to have some ethic where anybody free climbing always got priority but if an old established aid route was being neglected it could have a greater use if available as an aid opition.
sutty 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

Kilnsey main was done aided for the Hard Rock challenge, think it took around an hour according to Mark. A lot of the aid routes can still be done as aid using the bolts, making them a lot safer than they were as aid routes in the 60s. you may still need the odd peg between but on a day like today there are unlikely to be any sports climbers on them so why not.

Not seen a recent limestone guide to see which routes have been freed, but I suspect some have not and others have been left to go back to nature. Perhaps people should find those and reclaim them as aid routes till someone does them regularly as free routes. A lot of those Graham West did are probably in that class.
Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
In reply to sutty:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> Kilnsey main was done aided for the Hard Rock challenge, think it took around an hour according to Mark. A lot of the aid routes can still be done as aid using the bolts,


Haha! Sutty, didnt they aid 'The Scoop' too? don't think anybody has done 'The Bat' free yet, but it has got more bolts in it now than we put in on the first ascent Maybe somebody is 'working' it.
Happy New Year by the way.
Andy Manthorpe 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans: The Scoop was aided. I don't think it has been completely freed along the original line though. The same can be said for Laughing Arthur and Procastinating Giant at Swanage, and Parasol at Wintours Leap, I believe.

Andy
Yrmenlaf01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

Seem to remember someone set a record for "The Three Yorkshire Roofs" - Malham Cove, Gordale and Kilnsey

(sorry, as I type this, it does not make much sense. Clearly I have forgotton much)

Wonder how that looks now?

Y.
Mystery Toad 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

I really enjoy aid.
Over here more often than not if somebody bolted an aid route to make it "safe" they'd get strung up and the bolts chopped.
Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Mystery Toad:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> I really enjoy aid.
> Over here more often than not if somebody bolted an aid route to make it "safe" they'd get strung up and the bolts chopped.

The problem for them is, if it's to be a 'sport' route, it will almost certainly need thorough bolting.
When we first started knocking aid out of routes we would have been strung up here if we had put extra bolts in, or indeed any bolts in any form of route established without them. Times change.
Enty 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

The better challenge is to do things like Malham MO and Kilnsey with clean aid. If a sport bolt is already there by all means clip it but getting inbetween them on hooks, small nuts and cams could be fun.

The Ent
duncan 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

Aid climbing is not hard. It’s just rope-access done scarily badly.

Aid climbing requires very basic fitness and a few skills that can be picked up by reading books and leading half a dozen pitches. Old people can climb high-grade aid routes. It is quite possible to climb the hardest aid pitches after a week of practice (Kim Carrigan did the second ascent of The PO Wall when it was the hardest wall in Yosemite. He had virtually no aid experience. There are plenty of other stories like this).

You can’t climb 9a+ or cycle the Tour de France after a week of practice. These are hard.

Aid climbing is scary and seems dangerous. Sometimes it is dangerous, but it’s much less dangerous than it seems. There is a certain amount of bullshit surrounding aid climbing. It benefits some people, who are not very good climbers but have climbed quite high-grade aid routes, for aid climbing to be seen as complex and hard. It is neither.

It’s useful to practice aid climbing in order to get up some long routes. By far the best practice is just f*cking doing it. Climb an easy route where you have to aid a bit. Allow plenty of time, make mistakes, work things out yourself. If you must practice in the UK, go and clean aid some routes where you definitely wont damage the rock ( >95% of aid climbing does not involve pounding iron and you can learn the other 5% ‘on the job’). Rock is scarce in England and Wales and we need to cherish even the crappy stuff. Peak and Yorkshire Limestone is too easily damaged by aid climbing and should be left for free climbers. This includes The Dove Holes, which is now a superb free venue. There is no justification for repeating aid routes that have been freed if there is any likelihood of this damaging their free status.

I’ve done 10 routes on El Capitan and lead 150+ aid pitches. I’d recommend everyone should try it. It’s sometimes fun. It’s often quite scary, sometimes too scary for me. It’s usually a lot of work. It’s an excellent way to loose weight. You get to some amazing places. It’s not hard. I fell and hurt myself once on a wall…free-climbing.

Chris Kalous has done some extremely gnarly aid climbing, second ascent of Reticent Wall, etc etc. This is what he thinks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boQHYBhlOcs


Paz 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

You know what British limestone's like. I think the concern sport climbers have is that crucial holds will get damaged - there's enough stabilisation work gone into Mecca as it is, and apparently that's one of Britain's best routes of its type for the coinosseur. And are most VS trad weekend warriors really that bothered about aid climbing in the alps, dollies or the valley?

I can understand that in a sense the redpoint process uses the bolts or a top rope for aid, so there's really no ethical superiority over a ground up aid ascent, but the deciding factor is damage to the rock. There are aid climbers out there quietly doing their thing (despite follies by tw*ts like that cave bolt route at Gogarth) and if they want to cleanly hook and nut their way up sport routes then fair play, but I think pegs have had their day in the UK.
Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
In reply to duncan: My longest falls have all been on aid.
Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Paz:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
are most VS trad weekend warriors really that bothered about aid climbing in the alps, dollies or the valley?

Certainly, most VS leaders could get up routes like Yellow Edge, Squirrels Arete, the various N Faces of the Tre Cima using the accepted style for those routes. Just because they are stuck on Xmas Crack on grit doesn't mean they don't have bigger aspirations in the greater ranges.
Mystery Toad 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Mystery Toad)
>
> The problem for them is, if it's to be a 'sport' route, it will almost certainly need thorough bolting.
> When we first started knocking aid out of routes we would have been strung up here if we had put extra bolts in, or indeed any bolts in any form of route established without them. Times change.

(prepares noose) times change but the knots don't! lol
Eddie1234 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Paz: you'd be surprised about the interests of us 'VS trad weekend warriors', aid climbing is something i've always wanted to try (but never got around to) and i can certainly see its usefulness when i venture further afield.
Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Eddie1234:
> (In reply to Paz) you'd be surprised about the interests of us 'VS trad weekend warriors', aid climbing is something i've always wanted to try (but never got around to) and i can certainly see its usefulness when i venture further afield.

Well said, I like a man with ambition, it doesn't have to be just at trad grades.
Paz 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Eddie1234:

I did say `most of you' knowing full well someone would come back and say `I think `I speak for all VS leaders when I say...'.

Good effort anyway.

There are still established aid routes to go and try - down Dovedale, Benny, aiding London Wall even, won't hurt it.

I'm just asking you all not to go and pull any holds off Mecca, Blackers Hole routes etc. with your Skyhooks and perhaps not bang any more pegs in.
beardy mike 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Paz: I think the main issue really is that any aiding done on established routes goes hammerless from begining to end. For example there are a plethora of straightforwards bolt backed up routes at the wave in Cheddar which go with nowt more than a standard rack with some micros which are excellent training for bigger stuff. Its certainly does not affect the existing holds as all the gear is on straight in cracks rather than creaking flake lunacy, so I'd say this is absolutely far game... Us punters need sommit to keep us amused
sutty 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Paz:

So sport climbing on secure bolts takes precedence over aid climbing on insecure pegs and hooks etc, not really. If the sport climbers want the aiders not to use the routes, DON'T BOLT THEM. Do them with the insecure gear an aider does or sod off and find something else to climb, not bolt it then tell aiders to sod off.
Al Evans 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Paz: + Sutty: I know you both are just taking an extreme to make a point, only way to make an argument really. I can respect Paz's request to be gentle with the holds. I don't think I have ever actually pulled a hold off with a hook, but I can see why you might be worried about it.
As Sutty says, its the sport lads that changed the rules about new or extra gear, the early free ascents were done on existing gear, or maybe at most replaced like for like. Ok, its evolved, continental influences and all that. To say its just bad practice rope access is obviously not knowing anything about the game, thats ridiculous duncan.
Mooncat 01 Jan 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

When I was climbing I'd have loved to do more aiding but I think it's a matter of climbing culture change and maybe I lacked the sense of adventure to start myself rather than try to find somebody with aiding experience.

There was a spate of aid ascents in the slate quarries on some really hard loose stuff in the early 90's, but this seemed to die out quite quickly, if I remember rightly a whole new grading system was brought in just for this.
Paz 01 Jan 2008
In reply to mike kann:

Those cracks at the Wave are fair game, yep, as long as you're not hogging the rock, but there's plenty there for everyone. Just don't make the mono finger jam you slap off on Bee Keeping... any bigger so other people can do it or I'll kill you ;-)! I really wouldn't describe the perosn who demolished the hold on the old 8b (now nearer 9a) project as an aid climber either. Surprised more people don't aid sunset any more.

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