UKC

THE TICKLIST: #41 Dreamcatcher 9a FFA by Paige Claassen, Hard Trad and Multipitch Ticks

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
 UKC News 05 Sep 2021

Big sends by women and some bouldering news.

Read more

In reply to UKC News:

I was recently lamenting the absence of 'spice' in climbing. I used to pore over the history section in climbing guides and their riveting personal accounts of an ascent - and I think we've lost a lot in terms of what makes climbing great (it seems to be all about the numbers rather than exploration and adventure). Perhaps its out there on social media but i don't do Facepants etc...

As a sport it needs to get out the air conditioned gym once in a while and go bush whacking.

It great to see Emma and Hazel leading the rewilding of climbing like this!

36
 Michael Gordon 05 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Dreamcatcher has had plenty free ascents, no?

33
 owensum 07 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Looks like Michaela Kiersch just did Dreamcatcher too, a few days later!

1
 Kees 07 Sep 2021
In reply to Shani:

That's weird. Complaining about modern climbers who are not adventurous enough on a news item about 4 very adventurous climbs out of 7.

2
In reply to Kees:

> That's weird. Complaining about modern climbers

You've misread my post. There was no complaint about climbers (and in fact I've commended two climbers by name).

7
In reply to Shani:

> You've misread my post. 

Along with at least 23 other people it seems.....

In reply to owensum:

Incorrect, or is this meant to be a joke about the relative photogenetics of Super Tweak? If not revise your googles. 

6
 Arms Cliff 08 Sep 2021
In reply to AtLargesse:

She really did, although all she posted was an insta story, and Paige posted her congratulations too. 

In reply to Arms Cliff: So weird then, what is « news » and what is not 😂

6
In reply to AtLargesse:

Kinda hard to report on things with little to no information don't you think? Even specifically looking for the Insta story: I can't find it.

 Arms Cliff 08 Sep 2021
In reply to Paul Phillips - UKC and UKH:

Yeah they only last for 24hrs so you won’t be able to find it! 

 owensum 08 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Paige also put something on her insta story congratulating Michaela. Im sure she'll put out something "official" in time.

In reply to UKC News:

It'll be in this week's Ticklist, once there's more info available from Michaela.

 galpinos 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Surprisingly few I think. It gets photographed a lot* with people saying they are working it but not many get the tick.

*photogenic plus easy to get good photo angles

 Rad 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Dreamcatcher has had plenty free ascents, no?

In this case, FFA means first FEMALE ascent, not first free ascent. 

 Michael Gordon 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Rad:

Well yes, but changing the meaning of a well known initialism is only going to lead to confusion. FFA has been used for many decades, ever since the first routes were freed and recorded. It's part of our history; you've only got to look at the back of most guidebooks to see examples of it being used. Frankly I'm amazed UKC journalists are seemingly unaware of this. 

21
 AJM 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It's well known for referring to both, again as a fairly long standing thing. Occasionally it's confusing but mostly from context it is obvious.

 owensum 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Everyone knows that FFA means First Flipflop Ascent. Duh?

1
 Rad 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It seems the only person confused is you. If you read the first sentence of the article you wouldn't be confused, so perhaps you just brought your acronym soap box to the party.

Good thing you found such an important cause to champion!

 Michael Gordon 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Rad:

No need to be insulting. And I didn't mention anything about acronyms.

11
 Michael Gordon 09 Sep 2021
In reply to AJM:

> It's well known for referring to both, again as a fairly long standing thing. Occasionally it's confusing but mostly from context it is obvious.

How longstanding? I can see that recording first female ascents goes back a long way in mountaineering, though generally this has been reported in the form "First Woman" or e.g. "First British Woman" to climb a peak. We also talk about First All-Female Ascents with regards to certain mountains, though this doesn't tend to be initialised. 

13
 AJM 09 Sep 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I've been climbing nearly 20 years and I don't ever recall FFA having dual meaning being "a new thing". I figure after that long the question of which came first is less important than what the accepted modern understanding is.

 PaulJepson 09 Sep 2021
In reply to AJM:

Was Lynn Hill's ascent of The Nose the FFFA? Or the FFA? Or the other FFA? 

 AJM 09 Sep 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

If you're point is that it's ambiguous, then yes obviously it is. I'm saying that it's common usage, not suggesting it's sensible.

Personally, I suspect most would think of it as the FFreeA first and foremost.

I didn't follow it very closely but there was a lot of discussion as to whether recording FFemaleAs was a beneficial thing or not (if you Google "FFA first female ascent" you will find many such discussions).

 PaulJepson 09 Sep 2021
In reply to AJM:

It's an interesting one isn't it. I doubt when Meltdown finally got a repeat it was heralded as the FMA. Women's milestone ascents absolutely should be reported on though. 

In reply to AJM:

> I've been climbing nearly 20 years and I don't ever recall FFA having dual meaning being "a new thing". I figure after that long the question of which came first is less important than what the accepted modern understanding is.

If anyone had asked me what FFA meant before I read this thread, it would not have occurred to me that it meant anything other than first free ascent.

I'm all for first female ascents being recognised, but it seems a bit daft to have introduced this ambiguity - arguing that it doesn't do so seems to imply that it will always be men making first free ascents, and that seems ever so slightly sexist.

Post edited at 00:01
1
 AJM 10 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Who is implying it doesn't introduce ambiguity? As I said at 20.18:

> If you're point is that it's ambiguous, then yes obviously it is. I'm saying that it's common usage, not suggesting it's sensible.

In reply to AJM:

> Who is implying it doesn't introduce ambiguity? As I said at 20.18:

Apologies. That part of my post wasn't aimed at you and I should have made that clear. I replied to you because I think FFA meaning first female ascent is actually a relatively new thing compared with the very longstanding first free ascent meaning.

1
 AJM 10 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

How new do you think it is? As per one of my earlier posts, after a certain distance into the past, I think the contemporary usage starts to become more relevant than how it used to be decades ago.....

In reply to AJM:

> How new do you think it is? As per one of my earlier posts, after a certain distance into the past, I think the contemporary usage starts to become more relevant than how it used to be decades ago.....

New enough that it is only now creeping into my consciousness. Up to now I would certainly have assumed it meant first free ascent if there were no qualification. Younger climbers may, of course, see it differently.

It is just a bit of a shame that something else was not adopted. I don't know whether it is too late to change. FWA is already taken though!

1
In reply to Robert Durran:

Arguably this conversation is a touch binary. What acronym will be used for first ascents by someone who doesn't identify as male or female? This thread could be an opportunity to get a consensus opinion... or not!

1
 AJM 10 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Have a like for implicitly suggesting I am young!

If you go searching for the "is FFA still a thing we should record" discussions, as per my search terms some posts above, a lot of those were happening round 2015-2016. If it was being debated whether it had become outmoded 6 years or so ago, then implicitly it had a whole lifecycle before that in which it was common enough usage to attract this question/challenge, which means it probably is too late to change it!

In reply to AJM:

> Have a like for implicitly suggesting I am young!

Either young or ignorant🙂

4
 PaulJepson 10 Sep 2021
In reply to Mike_d78:

I guess it depends whether the ascensionist wants it to be recorded as a significant ascent? If so, they can say what they want that 'label' to be. If not, I guess it can just be recorded as a top ascent without a particular label. It's not a competition so I can't see it being exactly contentious. 

I guess the only thing that could cause some controversy would be for example if a trans woman was claiming a first female ascent. But again, I'm not sure the climbers themselves actually care about these kinds of things. 

 Paulhesketh 10 Sep 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

The suggestion by organisations, who are much better informed than me is to avoid using gender based language. I guess it is aimed more at avoiding causing offense and creating a greater awareness of the non-binary nature of gender.

Maybe the answer is to have FFA to be First Free Ascent and then add the necessary words to better describe the background of the climber?

1
 jon 10 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC News:

A few days ago I watched a video of her successful ascent, but now can't find it. Anyone got a link to it?? Thanks.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Well yes, but changing the meaning of a well known initialism is only going to lead to confusion. FFA has been used for many decades, ever since the first routes were freed and recorded. It's part of our history; you've only got to look at the back of most guidebooks to see examples of it being used. Frankly I'm amazed UKC journalists are seemingly unaware of this. 


I would agree except that since the article refers to FFA of Chris Sharma's route (ie already an established free climb) it clearly means something else.

 Michael Gordon 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It is just a bit of a shame that something else was not adopted. I don't know whether it is too late to change. FWA is already taken though!

FLA (First Ladies' Ascent)? (though this sounds as though Jill Biden has taken up climbing) 

7
 spenser 13 Sep 2021
In reply to AJM:

Given that aid climbing isn't anything like as popular these days as it used to be and the increase in women participating it doesn't seem unreasonable that the commonly held meaning of FFA has shifted to First Female Ascent rather than First Free Ascent. The latter is mostly regarded as a First Ascent these days as an ascent with a point of aid often seems to be regarded as a failed attempt at the First Ascent.

TLR, Language changes based on how the world changes around it.

Congrats to everyone getting up hard things!

In reply to spenser:

> Given that aid climbing isn't anything like as popular these days as it used to be and the increase in women participating it doesn't seem unreasonable that the commonly held meaning of FFA has shifted to First Female Ascent rather than First Free Ascent. I

It may be happening but it is regrettable and, I think, shows some disrespect to the history and evolution of climbing.

> The latter is mostly regarded as a First Ascent these days as an ascent with a point of aid often seems to be regarded as a failed attempt at the First Ascent.

That is a narrow, parochial and rather ignorant comment.

Post edited at 21:57
16
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It may be happening but it is regrettable and, I think, shows some disrespect to the history and evolution of climbing.

> That is a narrow, parochial and rather ignorant comment.

We are talking about an established, indeed 'classic', sport route. Of course doing it with a point of aid would be seen as failure.

1
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> We are talking about an established, indeed 'classic', sport route. Of course doing it with a point of aid would be seen as failure.

No, we were discussing the use of FFA in general. Of course in this case and in many contexts there will be no ambiguity.

6
 spenser 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

If someone showed you a bolted route and said they had done it would you expect a point of aid to have been included?

Personally I would expect them to clarify the use of a point of aid IF one was used,if not stated I would presume none was used. If on an existing route which was typically freed I would see it as an unsuccessful attempt. I suspect most climbers who started in the last 10-15 years would have similar views. 

In reply to spenser:

> If someone showed you a bolted route and said they had done it would you expect a point of aid to have been included?

Of course in sport climbing "done" means free, but, as I said, the thread had moved on to a more general discussion of the double meaning of FFA, and it some contexts such as big wall climbing it will certainly be ambiguous without clarification. Obviously how much this matters is a matter of opinion, but I think it is a bit of a shame that such a commonly used acronym has two common meanings.

Post edited at 09:21
1
 Kees 16 Sep 2021
In reply to Shani:

Sorry for replying late, I was on an adventurous climbing trip in the Alps

On rereading your post I see what you mean, but you sure didn't make it very obvious! Never mind, reading is a difficult skill too.

I think your fear of diminished adventourism in climbing is not grouded in reality. There are still plenty of crazy galls and guys doing extreme things all over the world. But climbing got more mainstream and there are now also loads of people who aren't into climbing for the fear aspect. I think that is totally valid. Nothing wrong with athletisism.

And probably nothing new under the sun when you think about the droves of people bumpling up and down one vdiff after another. Those are now probably clipping bolts and trying to raise their level another grade or so.

In reply to Kees:

You're probably right. I don't really engage with social media so miss a lot of the climbing buzz. Also, as the sport has evolved, the 'adventure signal' to 'climbing noise' means certain disciplines get less airtime. I think I'm just getting old and not adapting to change.

Hope you enjoyed the Alps! 👍

1
 FactorXXX 16 Sep 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Of course in sport climbing "done" means free, but, as I said, the thread had moved on to a more general discussion of the double meaning of FFA, and it some contexts such as big wall climbing it will certainly be ambiguous without clarification. Obviously how much this matters is a matter of opinion, but I think it is a bit of a shame that such a commonly used acronym has two common meanings.

I assume that future guidebooks will still use FFA to mean First Free Ascent as they always have and any other noteworthy ascents - female, solo, etc. will be added as a footnote/comment.

In reply to FactorXXX:

> I assume that future guidebooks will still use FFA to mean First Free Ascent as they always have and any other noteworthy ascents - female, solo, etc. will be added as a footnote/comment.

Yes, I would have thought so.

While on the subject, I have noticed another ambiguity creeping into reports on here - the use of "partner" to mean either "climbing partner" or "life partner". I would have thought the default on here would be the former, but I have seen at least two uses of the latter which would have been entirely ambiguous without already knowing (I think!) that they were couples. Not sure what alternative word is appropriate and politically correct though!


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