UKC

Bottom-up or Top-down?

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 Basemetal 14:38 Mon

Do you think of climbing in the UK primarily as a top-down organised activity or a bottom-up grass roots hobby? Is one of these more desirable than the other? 

Click up arrow for Bottom-up

Click down arrow for Top-down 

 Lankyman 14:41 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

But what if you like traversing?

 Basemetal 14:47 Mon
In reply to Lankyman:

> But what if you like traversing?

Left-to-right or Right-to-left?

 Marek 14:56 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

Top-down would be caving, surely?

 Marek 15:00 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

Anyway, 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' are geometrically the same and not a comfortable way to climb (except off-widths, sometimes). It's rattled some deep buried brain cell which says "wasn't there some video around with Russian climbers downclimbing slabs head first?" Or am I imagining it?

Ah, yes, top-down climbing:  youtube.com/watch?v=lwCyM84HCcA&

Post edited at 15:07
 deepsoup 15:02 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

Organised?

 Basemetal 15:32 Mon
In reply to Marek:

Ever have one of those days where you regret using a figure of speech?

 Al Randall 15:38 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

It was most definitely bottom up, grass roots when I started in 1964. I think it would be hard to argue otherwise.  It's far more top down these days, indeed to such a degree that I have often asked myself if I would take up now if I was once again 16. That's a very difficult question to answer and I'm not yet decided. I certainly do not find it as appealing as I did then but then I've also changed.

Al

 Marek 16:04 Mon
In reply to Al Randall:

I'm sure some things have changed, but for me it's still bottom-up. I got into it in the 70s when walking became scrambling (in all but name) and eventually someone said "do you think we should get a rope?" My kids just started climbing with me on Lake District holidays (as children do) and my grandson (age 2) has just had his first day out on Peak limestone yesterday and loved it (apparently). That's the way it should be and I think largely still is. I'm sure there are now more 'organised' opportunities for those that haven't had a more traditional (family and friends) introduction to the vertical world, but I can't see that as a bad thing. Perhaps not for you or me, but for others?

 Basemetal 16:14 Mon
In reply to Marek:

Same story here. When I found myself at the "do you think we should get a rope?" stage I went along to the local club that happened to be the university one (as I had an inclusive "all sports" membership). Learned the basics, made friends and kept going. 

I started the thread because I was wondering how pervasive the notion of governing organisation had become in climbing. I was thinking in context of groups like RYA and British Cycling. Perhaps the notion of 'sport' is the triggering factor for organisation whereas 'hobby' stays individualist?

 Marek 16:24 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

> ... Perhaps the notion of 'sport' is the triggering factor for organisation whereas 'hobby' stays individualist?

I think that's it. Sport (as opposed to pass-time, hobby...) is almost by definition rule-based and someone has the set the rules and enforce them. That's inevitably top-down. But then I don't think of what I do as 'sport' - neither on the rock nor on the bike.

 Al Randall 16:27 Mon
In reply to Marek:

> I think that's it. Sport (as opposed to pass-time, hobby...) is almost by definition rule-based and someone has the set the rules and enforce them. That's inevitably top-down. But then I don't think of what I do as 'sport' - neither on the rock nor on the bike.

You and I may not but an increasing number of newcomers do.

Al

 DaveHK 16:28 Mon
In reply to Al Randall:

> It was most definitely bottom up, grass roots when I started in 1964. I think it would be hard to argue otherwise. 

I agree, hard to see how anyone could consider it to be top down.

To the OP, why are you asking what seems to be so obvious a question?

Edit: Sorry, just seen your explanation.

Post edited at 16:29
 DaveHK 16:37 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

> I started the thread because I was wondering how pervasive the notion of governing organisation had become in climbing. I was thinking in context of groups like RYA and British Cycling. Perhaps the notion of 'sport' is the triggering factor for organisation whereas 'hobby' stays individualist?

I think it's probably more down to whether or not the activity needs organised events. Athletics for example does but climbing doesn't. Even with activities like athletics I'm sure there's an argument for saying it's more bottom up than top down as most people will be involved in grass roots events more often than large scale events.

 Basemetal 16:51 Mon
In reply to DaveHK:

> To the OP, why are you asking what seems to be so obvious a question?

> Edit: Sorry, just seen your explanation.

Yeah, I just thought I'd ask. Sometimes I find myself surprised by threads and responses  so wondered if the question would throw up an interesting discussion.

I'm continually suprised by the amount of new gear that gets produced, but that's another thread...

 Marek 16:55 Mon
In reply to Al Randall:

> You and I may not but an increasing number of newcomers do.

Perhaps. I'll run survey with all the newcomers I know, analyse the high-quality data and see. But I suspect the answer might be "Wanna bikkit!" (apologies to TP).

 Marek 17:05 Mon
In reply to Al Randall:

I also think we've sort of fallen unwittingly into a trap. "Pass-time" or "hobby" sound a bit childish and old fashioned. "Sport" is so much more grown up and serious - we're sport-people, we're not just playing games. We've been brainwashed (by ourselves?) into thinking of informal 'messing around' as 'sport'. But now of course, sport has to be managed, rules have to be made, you have 'training', 'certification' (you can't have just *anybody* doing it) - of course it need a *governing* (rather than representative) body to make sure it's done right. Because if it's not done 'right' then it shouldn't be done at all! OK, I got a bit carried away... (or have I?)

Post edited at 17:07
In reply to Marek:

>  "Pass-time" or "hobby" sound a bit childish and old fashioned. "Sport" is so much more grown up and serious - we're sport-people, we're not just playing games. 

A long-time climbing partner of mine used to insist it was none of these: "Climbing's not a sport or a hobby - it's a lifestyle." I didn't really agree - but I did applaud the sentiment.

 fred99 17:18 Mon
In reply to Marek:

No you haven't.

Nowadays we have a number of Universities churning out people with degrees in "Sport & Business Management" or similar titles. Mostly taught by lecturers who couldn't get employed actually managing because they aren't good enough ! **

Industry is wary of employing these newbies to run their businesses, but sports (and unfortunately Mountaineering has been lumped in with them) seem to be fighting with each other to employ these youngsters - who then try to teach us grannies (and grandads) to suck eggs. (In a demonstrably Healthy, Safety Conscious, and Equitable manner of course).

** My experience in Athletics is from which I base this, but I have heard similar from other sports.

In reply to Basemetal:

> I started the thread because I was wondering how pervasive the notion of governing organisation had become in climbing. I was thinking in context of groups like RYA and British Cycling.

Climbing certainly doesn't have any kind of governing body. The BMC just represent their members' interest. They don't make the 'rules'. The rules are just a list of ethics that evolve over time. I'm sure I was going to make a point, but it's gone.

I suppose that makes it very bottom-up though

 Marek 17:32 Mon
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> >  "Pass-time" or "hobby" sound a bit childish and old fashioned. "Sport" is so much more grown up and serious - we're sport-people, we're not just playing games. 

> A long-time climbing partner of mine used to insist it was none of these: "Climbing's not a sport or a hobby - it's a lifestyle." I didn't really agree - but I did applaud the sentiment.

I suppose it can be any of those - it's up to the individual. I'm sure for Janja Garnbret it's a sport. For me it's a hobby (occasional, but with some passion). There are probably people  for whom it is a life-style, in that they structure everything in their lives around climbing (without being 'pros'). It's an individual choice and all are equally valid.

Post edited at 17:34
 Al Randall 17:32 Mon
In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog:

> Climbing certainly doesn't have any kind of governing body. The BMC just represent their members' interest. They don't make the 'rules'. The rules are just a list of ethics that evolve over time. I'm sure I was going to make a point, but it's gone.

> I suppose that makes it very bottom-up though

Lets not forget indoor and competition climbing are you suggesting that they are bottom up?

Al

 Cobra_Head 17:39 Mon
In reply to fred99:

> Industry is wary of employing these newbies to run their businesses, but sports (and unfortunately Mountaineering has been lumped in with them) seem to be fighting with each other to employ these youngsters - who then try to teach us grannies (and grandads) to suck eggs. (In a demonstrably Healthy, Safety Conscious, and Equitable manner of course).

Do you have any examples of this?
 GrahamD 17:39 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

Bottom up conjures up an entirely different image for me.

In reply to Basemetal:

For the vast majority, it's not an 'organised sport', having no governing body. Whichever climbing game you choose to play, the 'rules' are largely determined by climbers themselves.

Competition climbing is a bit different, but I suspect that's only relevant to a tiny minority of climbers.

 Marek 17:45 Mon
In reply to fred99:

> ...

> Industry is wary of employing these newbies to run their businesses, but sports (and unfortunately Mountaineering has been lumped in with them) seem to be fighting with each other to employ these youngsters...

I think you've missed the point. 'Sport' *is* just another industry, in that its main purpose is to move money from the pockets of the many into the pockets of the few. OK, it's got some catching up to do in terms of sophistication, but it's getting there.

In reply to Marek:

> Sport' *is* just another industry, in that its main purpose is to move money from the pockets of the many into the pockets of the few.

Via brown envelopes...?

In reply to Al Randall:

I hadn't really considered competition climbing. The OP was referring to recreational climbing as far as I could tell.

However, to answer your point I would say indoor climbing and competition climbing are two very different animals. Indoors is top-down insofar as you agree to abide by the centre's rules during the induction. Other than that you pretty much do as you please.

Competition climbing obviously has rules and regulations, etc so yes, I would say that is top-down like any other official competition in any sport.

 Al Randall 21:45 Mon
In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog:

Then we are in agreement !  Climbing, these days is more top down than when I started if only because it now includes indoor and competition. The OP referred to "climbing in the UK"

Al

In reply to Al Randall:

> Then we are in agreement !.....

Hang on. That can't be right. Is this still UKC????? 

 Basemetal 22:30 Mon
In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog:

> I hadn't really considered competition climbing. The OP was referring to recreational climbing as far as I could tell.

The OP didn't specify

 Marek 22:35 Mon
In reply to Al Randall:

> Then we are in agreement !  Climbing, these days is more top down than when I started if only because it now includes indoor and competition. The OP referred to "climbing in the UK"

Too simplistic. You are treating 'climbing' within the context of a classical theory instead of a more modern quantum theory: Climbing exist in a superposition of top-down|bottom-up state. Until you actually make a measurement (i.e., go climbing), that's all you can say. Once you *do* go climbing, the wave function collapses with some calculable probabilities, and you now have a distinct top-down or bottom-up state depending on where you went climbing. Indoors and the probablity is that it's top-down. Trad crag and it's bottom-up. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation of QM, there is no physical reality associated with the question of top-down or bottom-up until you actually go climbing, and then it's obvious.

The maths works - I wrote it down somewhere - but now I've lost it. Yep, I've definitely lost it.

Post edited at 22:55
In reply to Marek:

> The maths works - I wrote it down somewhere - but now I've lost it. Yep, I've definitely lost it.

This is the sort of excuse I got all the time when I was a teacher: Schrödinger's dog ate my homework.

 tlouth7 11:34 Tue
In reply to Basemetal:

I wonder if there is any branch of climbing that is primarily carried out within the auspices of any organised body (including local clubs)?

Not trad, I'm sure that is mostly random individuals and partnerships. Not indoor bouldering, that is mostly random punters. Not even indoor bouldering competitions, I am moderately confident that most participation in those comes from informal ones at climbing walls.

Perhaps speed climbing or indoor lead competition where participation by random individuals is limited.

In contrast things like kayaking, sailing and caving have high club membership because these give access to facilities in a way that is not needed for climbing.

 Marek 12:57 Tue
In reply to tlouth7:

Not sure - informal competitions exist in all sports and tend to be outside the auspices of governing bodies. But as soon as you want to get seriously competitive (regional, national, international) the top-down aspects become unavoidable - in climbing as in any other sport.

I've done a bit of non competitive kayaking here and abroad - never felt the need join a club.

With sailing it's a bit different, since you need access to facilities that tend to be owned or managed by clubs (inland water, launch facilities etc). If crags were owned by clubs or clubs had negotiated exclusive access for their members we would be in a different place. Fortunately we're not.


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