/ First sports routes in UK and world

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Mark Bannan 28 Sep 2019

As an ageing bumbly, I am starting to get more attracted to outdoor sport climbing these days.

This got me thinking as to the genesis of the climbing genre. I was having a quick google and UKC forums search and I am unable to find out when the UK's first (and indeed world's first) bolted sports climbs were established. 

Does anyone have any definitive information about this?

cheers in anticipation!

Post edited at 21:57
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climber34neil 28 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

First UK route probably clarion call with the bolting, chopping and re bolting of it?

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In reply to Mark Bannan:

Sugar ray at dancing ledge was the first sports route bolted with staple bolts. 

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FactorXXX 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

> This got me thinking as to the genesis of the climbing genre. I was having a quick google and UKC forums search and I am unable to find out when the UK's first (and indeed world's first) bolted sports climbs were established. 

First proper UK Sports Route: 'Statement of Youth'? 

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FactorXXX 29 Sep 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> First proper UK Sports Route: 'Statement of Youth'? 

Dislikes?
Why?  It's a discussion about the infancy of Sports Climbing in the UK and 'Statement of Youth' is instrumental in that history.
If you've got a different opinion, all fine and good, but how about instead of stabbing the Dislike button you actually add to the discussion by saying what you think the first route was?
 

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AP Melbourne 29 Sep 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

It was indeed Ben Moon's Statement of Youth at LPT.

AP.

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wbo2 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:the dislikes are weird?? 

Statement is a good call as it was bolted with intention of being 'sport's.  Perhaps GG will chip in with what he was thinking of with Clarion Call?

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Michael Hood 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Difficult question, how would you differentiate between a sports route and just a route with some bolts in?

Would a better question be...

What was the first route climbed as a sport route; i.e. practiced etc until climbing it totally clean as a redpoint?

A lot of Ron's routes (that predate SoY) although now sports routes, might not qualify from their first ascents. This would also apply to lots of other routes climbed at that time when styles and definitions of style were developing.

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In reply to Michael Hood:

> What was the first route climbed as a sport route; i.e. practiced etc until climbing it totally clean as a redpoint?

I don’t think we’ll ever know. Placing fixed protection at the hard bit, yoyoing, repeating until it goes, could put Cenotaph Corner in the frame.😂

in reality in the UK it’s Statement of Youth, because, not only the intent, but also the number of bolts to enable working the route. The change happened after Ben and Jerry’s first French trip when they saw redpointing.

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Mick Ward 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

> What was the first route climbed as a sport route; i.e. practiced etc until climbing it totally clean as a redpoint?

I suppose early (late 1970s) well-known American examples would be Jim Collins on Genesis and Tony Yaniro on Grand Illusion. Genesis seems to be a borderline example; as far as I know, Collins simply tried to lead it ground-up. However he was prepared to have as many goes as it took (compare with Jim Erickson who, after a single fall on single pitch routes, would leave them forever). Would think (but don't know) that Yaniro would have split Grand Illusion into sections, got stronger on them (and replicas), started to link them and then did the whole route in one go. That's certainly how I'd have approached it. Otherwise you'd most likely learn to fail at the same point each time and get psyched out.

In the UK, I guess Strawberries was another borderline example. With Statement of Youth, the line was definitively crossed. The rest, as they say, is history.

Re Clarion Call, Gary discusses this in his autobiography.

Mick

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ian caton 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:

Probably right. 

But the first sports climbs with bolts. France surely?

Saussois? 

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Gary Gibson 29 Sep 2019
In reply to AP Melbourne:

Sorry Andy but Clarion Call was the year before and the first purpose sport route in Britain. Aid routes had been freed and the bolts added here and there but Clarion Call was first.

You’ve read the story in my book. August 1983, Statement 1984.

Post edited at 10:01
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In reply to ian caton:

Kurt Albert Frankenjura maybe.

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Rick Graham 29 Sep 2019
In reply to sam.sam.sam.ferguson:

> Sugar ray at dancing ledge was the first sports route bolted with staple bolts. 

A bit off topic, but for the record, ss staples were being used in Cumbria at least one year before 1992, the FA date of Sugar Ray.

Post edited at 10:52
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AP Melbourne 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Gary Gibson:

> Sorry Andy but Clarion Call was the year before and the first purpose sport route in Britain. Aid routes had been freed and the bolts added here and there but Clarion Call was first.

> You’ve read the story in my book. August 1983, Statement 1984.

OOh err Gary, sorry about that old bean and I hereby stand corrected.

However - as some clever folk have asked: about the odd fixed piece here & there so does that make them 'sport'.

Gary, did you Redpoint or yo-yo the FA of Clarion Call?

Depending on GG's y-y or rp of CC it'll be Clarion Call or Statement I reckon.

AP.

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Mark Bannan 29 Sep 2019
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Cheers folks for all the replies! 

Seems to be early 1980s in the UK for the earliest sports routes. Does anyone know approximately when the first French or Frankenjura bolted routes were put up?

Post edited at 13:58
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AlanLittle 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Frankenjura probably 70s, I might have a look in guidebook history sections when I get home. 

But bolts =/= sport climbing, otherwise you’re going to have to count Elbesandstein probably in the 1890s or so

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Gary Gibson 29 Sep 2019
In reply to AP Melbourne:

I flashed Clarion Call.

My point about other routes was that the fixed gear on old aid routes wasn’t purposefully placed to clip as part of a sport route, hence the first ‘true’ sport route designed for that purpose in Britain was CC.

Others placed the odd bolt here and there, mixed with other gear, some trad others fixed. 

And oh the turmoil that followed. I was probably just too early and had ruffled too many feathers even before then. A friend of mine says I ‘democratised’ climbing, others say I ruined it: take your pick.

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Mark Bannan 29 Sep 2019
In reply to AlanLittle:

Cheers, Alan! Are you suggesting that non-bolted sport climbing existed in the 19th century in Elbesandstein? Given the honeycombed rock and ease of placing threads, I can see why.

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jimtitt 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

The problem is bolted climbs existed before sport climbing ethics/tactics and sport climbing ethics/tactics existed before bolted sport climbs. 

Things like the rotpunt development which one could say was one aspect that defines  sport climbing was first developed on existing routes which were aid routes using whatever was available.  Routes like Philatus at Swanage were complete peg protected clip-ups in the 60's as was the first rotpunkt route in the Franken in the mid 70's.

Who actually went out deliberately to bolt a route with modern sport ethics in mind is unrecorded.

Post edited at 17:20
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Michael Hood 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Gary Gibson:

Sounds like CC was the first UK route where the intent was that it was totally bolt protected with no huge runouts; i.e. protected in sports style.

But was your mode of climbing at that time (even though you flashed it), that you'd try routes repeatedly and learn them until you made clean (redpoint) ascents?

If yes, then I think CC could be considered first UK sport route, but if no (still climbing more in trad style, yo-yos, whatever), then it may not be.

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TobyA 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

> If yes, then I think CC could be considered first UK sport route, but if no (still climbing more in trad style, yo-yos, whatever), then it may not be.

Yep, I guess "style" is so vague that we can really define what was the first sport route. Cubby climbed Requiem before Statement of Youth was climbed I think. And if I remember correctly it is meant to be harder than Statement of Youth (8a+ as opposed to 8a). But I believe that Cubby yo-yoed it, which is in some ways closer to modern ideas of sport climbing than leader placed trad ascents, in the sense of leaving gear in and managing the danger. But still quite clearly not the modern redpoint idea of pulling your rope before each attempt.

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Gary Gibson 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

By definition it was the first sport climb whichever way I climbed it. I didn’t  try it all as it was well within my grade nor did u yo-yo it. I did try routes on a rope prior to that time but after a summer at Pen Trwyn I was climbing well. 

If you ever get chance to read my autobiography, the full story of how I made the decision to do what I did together with the fallout afterwards is there. It was a true moment of impulse, like most if my life.

Post edited at 21:33
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AlanLittle 29 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

No, quite the opposite - they started bolting back then, but I do't think anybody would describe what they get up to there there as "sport climbing" in the modern sense. 

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Rick Graham 30 Sep 2019
In reply to AlanLittle:

> No, quite the opposite - they started bolting back then, but I do't think anybody would describe what they get up to there there as "sport climbing" in the modern sense. 

In spring 1982, I went climbing with the Edelrid rep.

Despite his excellent English ,I could not quite grasp the concept of " sports climbing " or sportklettern he was trying to explain to me about what was going on in Germany.

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cb294 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Not really. In fact, the Saxon guys refer to themselves as mountaineers (Bergsteiger) rather than climbers (Kletterer), and the local sandstone section of the DAV is called Sächsischer Bergsteigerbund/SBB (Saxon mountaineers'  association).

Sports tactics are a relatively new phenomenon there, in fact local guidebooks regularly often give two grades, one for the redpoint and one for the traditional AF (alles frei / all free) style, which allowed rests at the bolts (upward progress by the climber alone, rather than combined tactics).

This distinction makes sense in that traditionally (i.e. pre WWII) climbers would tie into a bolt with a leash, untie the rope, thread the ring bolt, tie back in again, and continue climbing. Crabs came later.

As for Frankenjura, the first redpoint route was established on the Streitberger Schild in 1974, freeing and old techno peg ladder. The inspiration for free climbing such routes indeed came from a trip to Saxony, where you were allowed to rest on bolts in AF ascents but not use them for upward progress.

All a bit before my time though. I climbed my first Frankenjura redpoint (Frankenschnellweg on the Walberla) only in 1983 or 84.

CB

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Mick Ward 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

A few years afterwards, I remember casually using the term 'sport climbing' with an old mate. His response was somewhere between smirking and scoffing. I gritted my teeth.

In the very early '80s, after being burned off by Jerry at Stoney (no surprises there!), in mitigation I whinged to my climbing partner that, after all, he was the best climber in the country, if not the world. (You'd have thought my partner would have been more sympathetic - he'd been burned off by Tony Yaniro. But, then again, he was a Yorkshireman...)

Re Jerry, my partner grunted dismissively, "Never heard of 'him!"  I thought, 'You bloody well will, mate, you bloody well will."

The times they were a changing... and they needed to change.  Thanks to Jerry, Andy, Basher and all the others, they did.

Mick

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Ceiriog Chris 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:

I used to have an excellent article from Mountain magazine, re Red Garden Wall and Collins and his affair with Genesis, from what I remember he built a training  / traverse wall  in is garage to replicate the moves, wish I still had it, 

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Mick Ward 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Ceiriog Chris:

I remember that article! I think Collins was way ahead of his time in his approach (as was Tony Yaniro). There was another American guy, older than both, who climbed very hard indeed for the 1960s and '70s. Sadly I can't remember his name (Pete ?). He did a FA of a route called Phlogiston (sp?) that I think was somewhere around Genesis level, at around the same time. Kept a low profile though.

I loved the history threads in the much lamented Supertopo. Although the Americans generally cared deeply about their heroes, they didn't seem to have much time for either Collins or Yaniro. Maybe one (or both) were brash, back in the day, but hey, if so, they were young!  Interestingly, in that film retrospective of Grand Illusion, Yaniro came across as a humble, decent guy. He was open about the old/new wave split, which Jeff Smoot's new book ('Hangdog Days'?) explores.

Innovators rarely have it easy. Looking back, we owe them so much (e.g. Pete Oxley).

Mick

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jimtitt 30 Sep 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Not really. In fact, the Saxon guys refer to themselves as mountaineers (Bergsteiger) rather than climbers (Kletterer), and the local sandstone section of the DAV is called Sächsischer Bergsteigerbund/SBB (Saxon mountaineers'  association).

> Sports tactics are a relatively new phenomenon there, in fact local guidebooks regularly often give two grades, one for the redpoint and one for the traditional AF (alles frei / all free) style, which allowed rests at the bolts (upward progress by the climber alone, rather than combined tactics).

> This distinction makes sense in that traditionally (i.e. pre WWII) climbers would tie into a bolt with a leash, untie the rope, thread the ring bolt, tie back in again, and continue climbing. Crabs came later.

> As for Frankenjura, the first redpoint route was established on the Streitberger Schild in 1974, freeing and old techno peg ladder. The inspiration for free climbing such routes indeed came from a trip to Saxony, where you were allowed to rest on bolts in AF ascents but not use them for upward progress.

> All a bit before my time though. I climbed my first Frankenjura redpoint (Frankenschnellweg on the Walberla) only in 1983 or 84.

> CB

That's why it's still only climbing seperate towers, not on the main escarpment, the summit is the achievement.

Don't know about using leashes, the old bolt standard required the ring was large enough to hook your forearm through to the elbow so you could hang to thread and retie, this was changed to the smaller ring in maybe1928 or so when karabiners appeared.

Sport climbing it wasn't

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Mark Bannan 30 Sep 2019
In reply to cb294:

Cheers to you and Alan! Very interesting history to the area indeed.

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Mark Bannan 30 Sep 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> ...Routes like Philatus at Swanage were complete peg protected clip-ups in the 60's ...

Cheers for this info - I had suspected such routes existed in the UK before fully bolted sport routes.

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webbo 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Our Father at Stoney was/is a clip up 2 pegs and a fixed thread.;)

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Smelly Fox 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Driller Killer (6c)

First in Scotland I think, close to be the first in the UK too, although it seems Gary’s Clarion Call pips it reading the above.

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wbo2 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:  the lack of respect for Tony Yaniro and Collins is because they treated climbing like a sport rather than a lifestyle,  and trained.  

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Sl@te Head 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan

Not exactly a sport route but an account of Joe Brown placing Bolts on the back wall of Twll Mawr in 1970.....

http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/journal/original/1970-1%20Journal-p31-38.pdf

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Mick Ward 01 Oct 2019
In reply to wbo2:

I'm sure you're right - and, if so, that's terribly unfair and so sad. For me, climbing has always been about lifestyle, not sport and I cringe when climbers are referred to as athletes. But why should lifestyle preclude training? Today there are loads of lifestyle climbers who train like crazy. Why wouldn't they?

OK, maybe it's reasonable that people may not have understood Collins and Yaniro at the time. But surely, looking back, they should be accorded huge respect, not simply for their achievements but for the enormity of effort, the heart and the soul they put into those achievements? For me, they'll always be heroes.

Mick

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john arran 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:

>  for the enormity of effort, the heart and the soul they put into those achievements?

Truly horrific that climbers could be so undignified as to break a sweat ;-)

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Dave Garnett 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

> Cheers folks for all the replies! 

> Seems to be early 1980s in the UK for the earliest sports routes. Does anyone know approximately when the first French or Frankenjura bolted routes were put up?

I have an old Buoux guide, which has lots of routes dating from the early 70s.  Many of them, even when I first climbed there in 1983, had a mixture of pegs and bolts and recommended un jeu de coinceurs.  However, la Christopher, which I recall being a pretty compact bolted slab, was put up in 1970.  I'd have thought Verdon must have had bolts at least as early as this.

It's a good point about whether this makes it a sport route though.  I don't think people spent much time redpointing - many of the routes were still described as having the occasional aid move.  Certainly they were often done 'French free' by the locals. 

I had to have a couple of goes at la Rencontre if that counts, but I seriously doubt I invented sport climbing! 

Post edited at 09:37
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Mark Bannan 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Cheers, Dave. Seems that Sport climbing gradually evolved over time in many areas. Seems a bit different to rock climbing where one could propose Haskett Smith's ascent of Napes Needle in 1886 as the beginning of the sport in the UK.

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Misha 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Often claimed but not actually the first ‘proper’ rock climb in Britain - there’s a bit about this in Unjustifiable Risk. Just goes to show that ‘what was the first x y z’ is often a difficult question to answer!

This thread shows that there are two separate questions - what was the first fully bolted route (CC based on the discussion above and I would argue that was the first sport route) and what was the first route done in redpoint style (SoY).

I struggle with the idea that the first bolted route was not a sport route because it was onsighted. We don’t generally distinguish between sport and bolted routes, not least because what one person can onsight another person will have to redpoint.

Post edited at 20:42
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john arran 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Misha:

> I struggle with the idea that the first bolted route was not a sport route because it was onsighted. We don’t generally distinguish between sport and bolted routes, not least because what one person can onsight another person will have to redpoint.

I don't just struggle with it, I dispute it!

Surely to create a sport route is to bolt a line with the intention of creating a relatively risk-free objective with the goal of it being climbed without pulling or resting on gear. It matters not how much effort or how many attempts any resulting ascent requires.

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Misha 01 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

Agree!

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Mark Bannan 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Misha:

> Often claimed but not actually the first ‘proper’ rock climb in Britain - there’s a bit about this in Unjustifiable Risk. Just goes to show that ‘what was the first x y z’ is often a difficult question to answer!

Agreed! That's why I said it could have been the first rock climb.

I suspect that the first ascent of Mont Blanc by Paccard and Balmat could be the first instance of Alpine mountaineering in Europe, but I have heard of other claims too. I think Mont Buet pre-dated Mont Blanc, but one could argue whether this ascent was truly Alpine (assuming it was probably a lot more heavily glaciated in those days).

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fotoVUE 02 Oct 2019

What a lovely read.

Another question, and perhaps I should know really.

Who coined the term, 'sport climbing' ?

........there was a lovely bumper sticker in the USA, by Verm I think - SPORT CLIMBING IS NEITHER...

(Mick Ryan)

Post edited at 18:11
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john arran 02 Oct 2019
In reply to fotoVUE:

Pretty impressive how that manages to be factually incorrect twice in just four words!

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Offwidth 03 Oct 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

Well done for calling it first... for me it would have the added joy that the ignorant children will now have to sulk.

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Offwidth 03 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

Come on... the quote is correct and John Sherman (aka The Verm) is an impressive climbing iconoclast and has inspired quite a few important climbers. His wikipedia page is an embarrasment but does link his books. Sherman Exposed in particlular is an hilarious collection of opinion pieces and stories

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sherman_(climber)

Edit:   A bit more on the man who invented V grades

https://blisterreview.com/featured/john-verm-sherman-ep-12

And an article on his film (raising funds for the American Condor)

https://www.climbernews.com/john-verm-sherman-is-back-in-training-to-send-midnight-lightning/

Post edited at 11:25
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Mark Bannan 03 Oct 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Hi Toby! Hope all's well with you. Nice to see some 1990s and 2000s GUM clubbers posting here!

When I think of Cubby and sport climbing, I always think of the bolting of Tunnel Wall on the Buachaille. I'm sure he regrets his actions ever since (including the renewed shitstorm of criticism when he rebolted the routes some years back)!

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Michael Gordon 04 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

> Pretty impressive how that manages to be factually incorrect twice in just four words!

It's surely a matter of opinion rather than fact.

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john arran 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> It's surely a matter of opinion rather than fact.

So which of the two statements:

'Sport climbing is sport', 

'Sport climbing is climbing'

is, in your opinion, not factually correct?

Definitions of words result from usage and convention, and the fact that words come to have such definitions cannot be changed simply because any one of us wishes it were not so.

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GrahamD 04 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

I think the interpretation is that "sports climbing" is neither a sport nor is it climbing.

I can see why this could be applied to people just looking for a convenience quick fix or if your personal definition of climbing implies a degree of self reliance. 

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john arran 04 Oct 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

> I think the interpretation is that "sports climbing" is neither a sport nor is it climbing.

I agree that that is likely to be their interpretation. However, the widely accepted definitions of such terms establish the facts as something different.

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HeMa 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

you forgot super nice bloke and husband. and takes really good pics.

plus when he boulders, he uses double chalk bags (Metolius, I believe, on both sides)... also shown in this pic:
https://blisterreview.com/featured/john-verm-sherman-ep-12

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Michael Gordon 04 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

> So which of the two statements:

> 'Sport climbing is sport', 

> 'Sport climbing is climbing'

> is, in your opinion, not factually correct?> 

I repeat - it's a matter of opinion, not fact. So 'factually correct' doesn't come into it.

The argument presumably centres around whether putting bolts in and bringing a climb down to one's level in this way is 'sporting'.

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Martin Haworth 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Mark Bannan:

So getting back to the point...a question about Clarion Call

Clarion Call, was this an unclimbed, unattempted line that was bolted with the intention of creating a "sport climb"?

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john arran 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

You're welcome to your opinions. I'm content with the facts  ;)

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jimtitt 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I repeat - it's a matter of opinion, not fact. So 'factually correct' doesn't come into it.

> The argument presumably centres around whether putting bolts in and bringing a climb down to one's level in this way is 'sporting'.


"Sporting" doesn't come into it either, sport climbing is a sport by any normal definition and for sure involves climbing. Unless you on-sight solo unknown routes everything we do in rock climbing is bringing a climb down to ones level

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Mike Stretford 04 Oct 2019
In reply to fotoVUE:

> ........there was a lovely bumper sticker in the USA, by Verm I think - SPORT CLIMBING IS NEITHER...

CrustytradDad58 no owns that phrase

https://www.climbing.com/people/unsent-why-im-gonna-chop-the-bolts-on-adam-ondras-silence-5-15d/

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Michael Gordon 04 Oct 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> "Sporting" doesn't come into it either

Why? That I imagine is what the quote meant, unless you have another idea?

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GrahamD 05 Oct 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

I think part of the 'problem' is that the term "sport climbing" is used to describe two entirely different activities:

On the one hand it is a term describing the distillation of climbing to the purely gymnastic to enable the hardest routes in the world to be climbed.  This is sport. 

On the other, it is a term to describe using bolts purely as a lazy convenience making the activity no more a 'sport' than a visit to Go Ape.

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jimtitt 05 Oct 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

7a+ is the hardest route in the world for me.

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Mike Stretford 05 Oct 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

> I think part of the 'problem' is that the term "sport climbing" is used to describe two entirely different activities:

> On the one hand it is a term describing the distillation of climbing to the purely gymnastic to enable the hardest routes in the world to be climbed.  This is sport. 

> On the other, it is a term to describe using bolts purely as a lazy convenience making the activity no more a 'sport' than a visit to Go Ape.

Please enlighten us with the exact grade which separates these two entirely different activities? 

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john arran 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I repeat - it's a matter of opinion, not fact. So 'factually correct' doesn't come into it.

The reality is that your opinion, just like mine, has no bearing whatsoever on the facts. There are plenty of things that I don't see as sport and don't think should be classed as sport; ice dance, synchronised swimming, breakdancing, etc. To my mind these are not sports and shouldn't be classed as sports. But the reality is that my opinion doesn't affect the fact that these activities are officially recognised as sports by the very bodies that are in place to make those judgements. They are all sports, whether I like it or not.

I understand your discomfort and I certainly don't think anyone should be expected to be happy that some things they don't think of as sports should be classed as sport, but to reclassify international activities according to personal whim simply doesn't make sense.

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GrahamD 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> Please enlighten us with the exact grade which separates these two entirely different activities? 

Its not a grade boundry, its an attitude difference.   Some people climb bolted routes to climb as hard as they can and others do it to avoid having to use self reliance.  These are the extremes obviously. A load of us climb on bolts somewhere between, but hopefully most people wont call it "sport".

If i had to hazard a grade, the former start at 7a and the latter below 6a.

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Michael Gordon 06 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

Thanks for that more detailed response. I think the phrase referred more to whether the activity was 'sporting' rather than whether it was officially defined as a sport or not. And to be clear, at the time it was surely referring to what we would term sport climbing in the non-Olympic sense (outdoor climbing on bolts) as opposed to indoor or competition climbing.

Post edited at 14:43
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john arran 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

When the phrase was coined - was it the 80s? - the jury could be said to have been still out on whether any branch of climbing could or should be regarded as a sport; it certainly wasn't conclusive in the way that it's been now for at least a couple of decades.

The phrase back then was loaded but perhaps not demonstrably wrong, at least in its reference to sport climbing and sport. In its reference to sport climbing and climbing it's always been obviously wrong. Nowadays it's clearly wrong on both counts, even though some people clearly would prefer it not to be so.

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Mike Stretford 07 Oct 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

> Its not a grade boundry, its an attitude difference.   Some people climb bolted routes to climb as hard as they can and others do it to avoid having to use self reliance.  These are the extremes obviously. A load of us climb on bolts somewhere between, but hopefully most people wont call it "sport".

Why not? It's an accepted and quick way to tell you mates what gear to pack. I think it's a waste of everyone's time to get hung up on the semantics of 'sport', it has a broad meaning anyway.

> If i had to hazard a grade, the former start at 7a and the latter below 6a.

My point was 2 completely different activities don't seemingly blend into each other across the grade range, as 'bolted' climbing grades do.

There's also overlap between climbing and hard as you can, and the convenience of using bolts. I know people who never fancied trad, started on easy bolted climbs, then progressed through the grades to get pretty good. And if I do go to redpoint a 7a, I certainly wouldn't sniff at a good 6a warmup, then 6b ect.... totally taking advantage of the convenience.

I'll be honest, I replied as I got the feeling you wanted to post something derisory about lower grade 'bolted' route climbers, but be clear you were't slagging off good climbers.

Post edited at 11:36
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JHiley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

I think part of the 'problem' is that the term "football" is used to describe two entirely different activities.

On the one hand it is a term describing the beautiful game of skill and competitive athleticism played by the greatest players in the world.

On the other, it is a term to describe a lazy excuse to socialise for some fat blokes. No more a sport than a visit to the Angel... or a round of Golf.

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