/ ARTICLE: Franco Cookson's Guide to Headpointing

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UKC Articles - on 15 Jan 2019

Franco Cookson on his 2013 route Psykovsky's SequinsThe evil word. Pre-practice, top roping, working: all synonyms for that most diabolical of threats to stylistic purity. Even before Alastair Lee's aesthetic masterpiece Onsight, headpointing had got a bit of a dubious reputation for allowing Trad climbers to "cheat", bypassing the unknown, and using session after session to work moves on a hanging rope from above. After Lee's film, the last tatters of the headpoint culture stood like the war banner of a defeated clan.

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12
Fiend - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Every single week the UKC """Top Ascents""" is filled to the brim with headpointed ascents of 1980s (or before) E5s and E6s, climbs that should be very achievable as absolutely normal onsights with modern gear, training, information, pads, etc.

The very LAST thing the UK climbing scene needs is any more encouragement to headpoint at all - it needs much more encouragement to use all the many increased factors - "when training facilities and Trad protection are the most advanced they've ever been." - to further people onsighting routes and accepting and tackling their true challenge.

Post edited at 16:07
136
In reply to Fiend:

or people can go out, do what they want, in whatever style they want, have fun, respect the rock, and we could all continue to live our lives in peace...

 

9
Valkyrie1968 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Fiend:

Your true challenge is to be less of a bellend. What does how other people climb matter to you?

15
pasbury on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> or people can go out, do what they want, in whatever style they want, have fun, respect the rock, and we could all continue to live our lives in peace...

I can see where Fiend is coming from, though he is overly prescriptive. Yes do what thou wilt but not if it affects other's enjoyment of the routes. In many cases certain routes become 'headpoint honeypots' and would get trashed pretty quickly.

Though there is the balance between holds getting worn by repeated practice or placements getting trashed because of lack of practice by feckless on-sighters targeting routes with 'bomber' gear.

11
spidermonkey09 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> In many cases certain routes become 'headpoint honeypots' and would get trashed pretty quickly.

> Though there is the balance between holds getting worn by repeated practice or placements getting trashed because of lack of practice by feckless on-sighters targeting routes with 'bomber' gear.

Ground upping things is often just as damaging if not more so. See Parthian Shot, The Angels Share, etc etc. I'd wager that Nosferatu is in a better state than either of these and is the ultimate headpoint honeypot. 

Post edited at 16:44
1
Rick Graham on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Fiend:

> Every single week the UKC """Top Ascents""" is filled to the brim with headpointed ascents of 1980s (or before) E5s and E6s, climbs that should be very achievable as absolutely normal onsights with modern gear, training, information, pads, etc.

> The very LAST thing the UK climbing scene needs is any more encouragement to headpoint at all - it needs much more encouragement to use all the many increased factors - "when training facilities and Trad protection are the most advanced they've ever been." - to further people onsighting routes and accepting and tackling their true challenge.

It might be more realistic if a head point declaration style of ascent was permitted on the logbooks.

The criteria for inclusion in top ascents this week could then be E5 on sight and E7 headpoint.

1
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Well, I for one found it a very good, well-written and interesting article. And very nicely illustrated.

JMarkW - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Well, I for one found it a very good, well-written and interesting article. And very nicely illustrated.

agreed.

Jon Read - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

> It might be more realistic if a head point declaration style of ascent was permitted on the logbooks.

Hi Rick, it is: you can record it as Lead RP (redpoint, but essentially the same as a headpoint).

 

Mark Bannan - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> or people can go out, do what they want, in whatever style they want, have fun, respect the rock, and we could all continue to live our lives in peace...

Well said! 

So long as folk are honest about what they are doing.

1
jonnie3430 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It was missing a historical section that covered all the peak routes that were "practised on a top rope," which is the old name for head pointing. But not so cool, or some such.

Essentially, it is practising on a top rope. It should be discouraged as it wears rock more than an onsight, and in this day and age there are vast amounts of other places to improve strength, stamina and technique instead of the finite outdoor rock in the UK (think of the future you, wondering what archangel was like before the polish!) If the e8 punters can do it, everyone can, so don't. 

All these routes are doable, leave it to those with the training and guts to do it onsight. The story and the ethic is always far better than the dull seige.

39
Rick Graham on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Read:

> Hi Rick, it is: you can record it as Lead RP (redpoint, but essentially the same as a headpoint).

But do E5 redpoints count as top ascents?

1
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

I think your complaint is vastly out of proportion. A huge amount of top-roping (far too much) goes on already, but, crucially, by people who are not capable of the routes they are trying. The top-roping scene now at Stanage Popular is astronomic in scale and is doing/has already done astronomic damage. It's a trillion-fold worse than a skilled climber using small holds skilfully and well. ... And what about the whole of (dear old ... because I was immensely fond of it) south-east sandstone? To put it very bluntly, I think what you're saying is pious nonsense, partly because the number of people who will emulate Franco on such outrageously hard and dangerous gritstone routes is absolutely miniscule.

1
Jon Read - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

It looks like they do, in that there are very few onsights happening regularly at the moment (they increase in the summer on kinder/safer rock types). I don't really care where the threshold is set, though it would be nice to search for recent ascents at or above a certain grade (and by whatever style you like).

On a related note, wouldn't it be nice to see the top sport routes not drowned out by soft touch foreign tick-gifts?

jonnie3430 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> People who are not capable of the routes they are trying.

Definition of the headpoint, sweetpea.

We need people to stop setting this example, which doesn't start with articles such as this from ukc's best known troll.

 

 

76
pasbury on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

> Definition of the headpoint, sweetpea.

> We need people to stop setting this example, which doesn't start with articles such as this from ukc's best known troll.

This suggest some kind of vendetta and does you no favours at all.

I think Franco has been as honest as he can be about his contribution to this style of climbing.

Certainly much less trollish than your contribution.

Post edited at 18:42
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

Very touching to be called a sweetpea. I can't remember any stranger ever saying something as nice before. Thanks.

TobyA on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

>  The top-roping scene now at Stanage Popular is astronomic in scale and is doing/has already done astronomic damage. 

It is? And it has? Astronomic damage? Really? 

jonnie3430 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

My pleasure, treasure

14
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

Oo. Nice rhyming too. It gets better.

3
Michael Gordon - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

I take it you never redpoint sport routes? Or is there some strange logic that it is OK for sport but not for trad, and somehow the rock on the former doesn't suffer?

1
bouldery bits - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Fiend:

Hahahaha, fiend and Franco.

 

Is it 2009 again? 

Michael Gordon - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice article, Franco. A few bits caught my eye.

"Because there are so many unpredictable variables to manage, it's advisable to learn your craft on something more towards the safe end of the scale." 

I don't quite follow the above. To my mind the act of headpointing is reducing unpredictable variables so that the only reasons for falling off are either error or just the fact that the moves are low percentage. If the route is dangerous then either get it more wired or take your life in your hands. But nothing wrong with working something serious - it doesn't HAVE to be led.

"The shunt can also be used on double ropes, which is useful if you want to pull the rope afterwards, or if there is a risk of sharp edges damaging a single line."

I don't have any evidence, but theorise that if one line were to be cut then that rope would become slack in the device and prevent the other line from locking. It's possible that two lines on the same device are no safer than one. 

With regard to screamers – I thought these had been proven to reduce forces on runners?

gethin_allen on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

While everyone else gets wound up about punters like myself having the gall to go near routes they may not be able to climb cleanly, does the term "pre-practice" get anyone elses pedantry radar binging? 

Surely pre-practice is just practice, or maybe the bit where you tie your shoes and chalk your hands?

 

Ah no, chalk and sticky rubber boots! Two more hornets nests to prod.

ashtond6 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

He's logged no worked routes on his profile haha, I wouldn't worry too much what he thinks on this article.

Oh and Fiend, still a bitter bell and stuck in Scotland are we??? Poor you 

 

15
Teappleby - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

I think you are confusing top roping and headpointing. They are very different things. I will agree that top roping has caused large amounts of damage to sections of crag. However headpointing I find, in alot of cases, is a less destructive method of climbing than onsight/ground up. When shunting a line the holds can be inspected and judgements made about them, unlike on the onsight (I think we have all been guilty of just grabbing at a hold/pebble in desperation before). In short, delicate holds and gear placements can be used appropriately when headpointing to cause as little damage as possible to the rock.

On a side note, I've done my fair share of all of these styles and I think people are often keen to write off headpointing. They all have their advantages and all provide you with totally different experiences, basically, they are different things. But as long as people are honest about what they've done all these styles can live happily alongside each other. Give it a try sometime, you might even find yourself in the bubble...

1
pasbury on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to ashtond6:

> Oh and Fiend, still a bitter bell and stuck in Scotland are we??? Poor you 

I think you are being unfair (or you’re a mate of his and ribbing him). He’s a dogged tradder with a tick list of obscure and esoteric adventures that would make yer average trad dogger’s balls drop off.

He speaks from experience of doing climbing a lot.

 

8
ashtond6 - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> I think you are being unfair (or you’re a mate of his and ribbing him). 

I'm the unfair one? That child picks on everyone and anyone, randomly sniping at them over the internet (then laughs about it on the other channel). Therefore, I call him out on it  

Occasionally I get an abuse filled email from him.

If he wasn't abusing people online, I would say nothing.

Oh, to add, I am most definitely not his friend.

10
Dan-Cheetham - on 15 Jan 2019

The issue here is whether to headpoint or not but fact this (debate) exists in the first place, and someone managed to write such a long article about pre practice. Still all being said and done I tend to agree with fiend in principle if not in practice. Long may the purists be subverted by the headpointers and there exists something for us all to get outraged about. 

8
lezec - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

or people can go out, do what they want, in whatever style they want, have fun, respect the rock, and we could all continue to live our lives in peace...

I like to read ukc articles but when I come across of a such PCP* by the UKC staff I wish you prefer to be more c'limbical and less political.

*PCP - a "perroqueeer corrext phrase"

No we should not climb to live together in a heavenly eternal peace. The climbing pleace should stay preserved at minum to the 7th generation after auuur here oical holds intearvention.

..... and head pointing to tope rope and other malice practices are not the best

YES we CAN and Should
All of US

of  "what, whoo, where, when ..... blabla ... ever .... blabla ....orgin and existance...blabla ....ever .... can   trolly"

 AGREE

Post edited at 23:21
16
pasbury on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to ashtond6:

Step back and get a grip.

5
pasbury on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to lezec:

I’ve missed this kind of contribution.

Thank you so much.

1
Dan-Cheetham - on 15 Jan 2019
In reply to lezec:

All praise the church of ukc 

2
jonnie3430 - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Teappleby:

> I think you are confusing top roping and headpointing. 

They are to be confused? Please enlighten.

ashtond6 - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Likes on the original posts say different ;)

FactorXXX - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

> They are to be confused? Please enlighten.

I think most climbers differentiate between the two by saying that Top Roping is done with no expectation of then leading the route.  Whereas, Headpointing is done with the explicit expectation of then leading the route.
 

deacondeacon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

Spot on. There's a big difference between  15 teenagers scrabbling up and down a vdiff slab in dirty trainers, and one person sussing out the moves of a route (a route that gets climbed maybe 10 times a year).

Also in my case. Headpoints are usually only taken on because I messed the Onsight up. No-ones under any illusion that they're not a 'second prize'. 

1
Dave Garnett - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I take it you never redpoint sport routes? Or is there some strange logic that it is OK for sport but not for trad

Yes, I think there is.  Redpointing on sport routes seems to be pretty much the default style, in that an onsight lead is usually lauded as such.  The assumption (still, I would say) is that trad routes will be led on sight, as they are graded.

I have no issue with competent people headpointing trad routes, but let’s not pretend it’s the standard style for trad.

Post edited at 07:51
1
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Redpointing on sport routes seems to be pretty much the default style, in that an onsight lead is usually lauded as such.

Are you talking about stories of elite climbers in the media? That's only a tiny fraction.

Dave Garnett - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> > Redpointing on sport routes seems to be pretty much the default style, in that an onsight lead is usually lauded as such.

> Are you talking about stories of elite climbers in the media? That's only a tiny fraction.

It's based on what I see, in that a lot of dogging happens on bolted routes.  To be fair, I have no idea how much of it results in a clean redpoint eventually!

It's surely obvious that sport routes are made for redpointing, whereas most hard trad routes tend not to have the sort of gear that encourages light-hearted repeated drop-testing (unless you are Franco perhaps) and are worked on a rope from above.  It follows that redpointing is a completely accepted version of sport climbing in a way that, I would contend, it isn't quite for trad except at the elite level. 

The fact that honest first ascensionists will give a hard headpointed route a specific H grade to reflect the state of play suggests that onsight is still the default assumption.  How many hard sport routes are onsighted on the first ascent?

Tyler - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to ashtond6:

> Likes on the original posts say different ;)

It says the mob loves to see a good argument. It doesn't mean getting personal over something so trivial is a good look per se.

In reply to UKC Articles:

Hi All,

Mulling over some of the more constructive comments it seems logical - seeing as we already have the information - to include the style (ie onsight, flash, headpoint/redpoint etc...) within the recent top ascents.

Hopefully this will satisfy everyone’s curiosity and add a bit more depth/context to the list as a whole.

 

 

Robert Durran - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I wonder whether significantly less headpointing would take place if there were a culture of not, in any way, gaining bragging rights to E grades for headpoint ascents without attracting ridicule (perhaps by universal acceptance of H grades or whatever). Is headpointing at least in part about being able to claim a bigger number?

8
aln - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to lezec:

What?

Nik Jennings - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Does this matter? Bragging to who? Aside from a small number of significant ascents surely most 'bragging rights' are just conversations amongst small circles of climbing mates, who will surely be well versed in the ins and outs of stylistic approaches and their relative merit (and ultimate pointlessness...).

1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

You seem to be throwing lots of issues out to justify something and I'm not sure what. It's not obvious bolted routes are made for redpointing. It's not obvious what the 'default' style is, whatever that means.

BTW, you seem to be asking me questions? I don't have the answers. You claim to have the answers so 

> How many hard sport routes are onsighted on the first ascent?

And why hard sport routes? Self selected subset of sport routes.

Post edited at 10:30
ianstevens - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I wonder whether significantly less headpointing would take place if there were a culture of not, in any way, gaining bragging rights to E grades for headpoint ascents without attracting ridicule (perhaps by universal acceptance of H grades or whatever). Is headpointing at least in part about being able to claim a bigger number?

I suppose partly, in the sense that people (myself included) are generally able to headpoint something harder than they could onsight. The motivation in my case however, is to try something right at my technical/mental limit - not to grade chase, although the two do appear correlated.

ianstevens - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> You seem to be throwing lots of issues out to justify something and I'm not sure what. It's not obvious bolted routes are made for redpointing. It's not obvious what the 'default' style is, whatever that means.

> BTW, you seem to be asking me questions? I don't have the answers. You claim to have the answers so 

> > How many hard sport routes are onsighted on the first ascent?

Presumably next-to-none, given that the bolts need putting in.

> And why hard sport routes? Self selected subset of sport routes.

 

1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to ianstevens:

> Presumably next-to-none, given that the bolts need putting in.

I'm not sure, and I'm also not sure how that defines the 'default' style of ascent for sport routes. Since it never was defined prior to the discussion, it will likely be retrospectively defined in a convenient way. As seems to be happening.

Dave Garnett - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> You seem to be throwing lots of issues out to justify something and I'm not sure what.

I'm not really justifying anything or picking a fight, I'm just responding to Michael Gordon's question about whether there is any logic to assuming that redpointing sport routes is in any way different to redpointing trad routes.  I think there is.  

Without having a huge problem with it, I don't think it's intrinsic to trad climbing in the same way it is to sport climbing.

ebdon on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Is it not the case sport climbing is graded for the RP and apart from lower grade stuff almost always gets done in that style? This very much the opposite situation to trad.

Unless your talking about the very British style of sport climbing which is basically trad climbing with bolts!

Robert Durran - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to ebdon:

> Unless your talking about the very British style of sport climbing which is basically trad climbing with bolts!

To me this comes across rather tiresomely as you saying that, unless people take my approach to sport climbing, they're not doing properly. If it's fully bolted then it's proper sport climbing whatever your approach.

 

3
Skotch85 - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to deacondeacon:

Unfortunately I've seen many already well experienced climbers not cleaning their climbing boots before stepping on the rock. They just walk from climb to climb in their climbing boots. 

Dirt polishes so much faster than rubber! 

So while the teens climbing the first time in trainers are oblivious, the old trad lover in his comfy climbing boots is ignorant.

2
ashtond6 - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Tyler:

See original post, if fiend wasn't getting personal on a weekly basis to random then no one would be getting personal  

4
Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Skotch85:

I think that's often much more of an issue on boulder porblems than on routes, although some beginners' crags do get trashed pretty quickly.  Gordon points out the damage on Stanage Popular but from talking to old climbers when I started,  in the late 80s, most of that damage was done before 1970 (by climbers wearing nailed boots and climbing in poor conditions). Little has changed polish wise on these routes since I started.  The two big changes I've seen on grit since the late 80s is cam damage (especially on flakes but also trashing softer grit breaks like at Birchen) and trashed boulder problems from a combination of dirty shoes, climbing on wet rock and overbrushing.

I'd actually prefer people headpoint routes like Orpheus Wall than optimistically try and onsight it (it needs a capable top end HVS leader or the key break gets even more grinding)....if you do try and lead it don't move around if you fall on the cams. Some grit routes are getting worse due to top-roping by climbers not good enough for it...Downhill Racer is a good example where it's often caused by good climbers who should know better. Some high performers I know are worried about routes like The Angel's Share.

I agree that good skilled climbers with clean shoes on dry rock do almost no damage and thousands of such climbers will be less of a problem than a single climber scrabbling about on a tr in dirty transers.

 

In the article my biggest worry is no one should be recommending using a shunt  on its own on overhanging rock. Petzl say don't use a shunt on its own at all because of this.

https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/FAQ/can-i-use-the-shunt-to-self-belay

Their advice on use of a shunt in roped soloing, in combination with another device is here:

https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/General-principles-for-solo-climbing-with-a-fixed-belay-rope?sfdcIFrameOrigin=null

 

Post edited at 13:58
1
HeMa on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Their advice on use of a shunt in roped soloing, in combination with another device is here:

AFAIK that is the traditional approach.... from equipment manufacturers... always use 2 independent methods or a primary one plus back-up... 

And yet most don't and survive just fine.

lagerstarfish - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Fiend:

Some people like to buy their Warhammer figures ready painted, just to get on with whatever it is they like doing with the figures. Some people like to spend ages painting the figures themselves, partly for experiencing the process and partly to get exactly the look they like. I'm sure there are some people who do both.

I don't personally know any of these people, but I see them huddled in little groups wearing black t-shirts. They all look to be having an OK time. 

If you had to link to a route name which expressed how this article makes you feel, what would it be?

Do you need a hug?

USBRIT - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think the only true on sight ground up is when done as a first ascent... an on sight of a known route if it has chalked holds is I believe not a true on sight.  Franco have you had another go a Post Mortem ?

4
Martin Hore - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> "The shunt can also be used on double ropes, which is useful if you want to pull the rope afterwards, or if there is a risk of sharp edges damaging a single line."

> I don't have any evidence, but theorise that if one line were to be cut then that rope would become slack in the device and prevent the other line from locking. It's possible that two lines on the same device are no safer than one. 

It's worse than that surely. If the double rope is rigged to be pulled then cutting one rope will just allow the rope to pull through the karabiner at the top and put you on the deck.

Nice article though. I wonder if it would have got so much stick if Franco had used a pseudonym. Seems some of the history - about which I know no more than what I've read on here over the years - is showing through in some people's responses to this.

Martin

 

 

Franco Cookson on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

> It's worse than that surely. If the double rope is rigged to be pulled then cutting one rope will just allow the rope to pull through the karabiner at the top and put you on the deck.

> Nice article though. I wonder if it would have got so much stick if Franco had used a pseudonym. Seems some of the history - about which I know no more than what I've read on here over the years - is showing through in some people's responses to this.

> Martin

 

Perhaps I should have made it clearer in the article - if you're using double ropes with a shunt, you should tie a figure of eight on the bite at the top and clip that directly into your anchor, or fix the ends of the ropes in a similar fashion. You're absolutely correct that just shunting on a double rope set up like a retrievable abseil is excessively dangerous. It's quite rare to see people shunting on double ropes, but it works really well and can give you a lot of flexibility if you want to work longer routes. 

It's also worth mentioning that using a shunt as a sole means of arresting a fall goes against the manufacturers instructions of use, so a knot below the device and a secondary method of protecting yourself is also essential. Also make sure your ropes are the correct diameter for the device used. 

This article is intended to be a reference for tactics and approach to headpointing rather than an instructional article on shunting, so there are gaps in it about the exact ropework that's best practise for different situations. You should of course always seek out the safest way of working routes elsewhere, if you feel at all unsure.

 

Regarding controversy. Headpointing is always going to be divisive in the UK Trad scene. There's actually very little proper headpointing going on these days - maybe the odd top rope and then quick lead, but I see very few people properly getting their teeth stuck into stuff. As Rob says, we need to respect the rock (Sandstone and Grit in particular you need to be very careful with/ stay away from), but if you do, there's a huge ocean of possibilities - particularly in Scotland. I find it sad that the long history of new levels of difficulty been pushed in UK Trad has taken a bit of a pause since Echo Wall. General strength and fitness has improved massively in the last five years and it would be great to see that transferred into the Trad game.

 

 

 

 

Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to HeMa:

They are using a device against manufacturer's instructions and 'get away with it' because they know what they are doing:  a rope solo beginner might not realise the dangers on overhanging rock. Franco shouldn't be recommending it for first timer's use on 'steep' rock: it's too easy to misunderstand.

I've nothing against Franco... a good BMC NE access rep who gets on with his climbing, with some impressive results. 

Post edited at 15:01
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I'm not really justifying anything or picking a fight, I'm just responding to Michael Gordon's question about whether there is any logic to assuming that redpointing sport routes is in any way different to redpointing trad routes.  I think there is.

I wouldn't class it as a fight, just opposing perspectives. I'd say redpointing and headpointing are analogous. Whilst I agree more redpointing goes on than headpointing, I see that as an irrelevant statistic. If I choose to work a route I don't care what the FA was thinking, or what the majority do. Why would it matter?

> Without having a huge problem with it, I don't think it's intrinsic to trad climbing in the same way it is to sport climbing.

Does it matter if it's intrinsic or not? Choosing to work a route is often just grade related and a different challenge. Less of the unknown, more strategic, and physically and technically harder. These things affect my choice of how to approach a route, not other statistics or opinions. That seems to be the heart of article, i.e. why would I headpoint a route? The article exists precisely because it's seen as more of a niche activity.

Skotch85 - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Agreed with all you said. Informative with the advice to self belay with a shunt.

While walking from climb to climb is more rare than from boulder to boulder, there is some crags where you walk of from the top. Here in Scotland my prime witnessed example is a small outcrop called Limekilns. The limestone enjoys a good rubbing and only the harder climbs, less travelled and where people put more effort (and thought) are not polished. 

Joining the discussion about headpointing again, if a route became dear to you as you put in so much time hanging on a rope, figuring all the moves, you will pay more attention to keeping your line clean.

So concluding, I think headpointing might teach you actually good practice on the rock overall. 

1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to ebdon:

> Is it not the case sport climbing is graded for the RP and apart from lower grade stuff almost always gets done in that style? This very much the opposite situation to trad.

Yes.

> Unless your talking about the very British style of sport climbing which is basically trad climbing with bolts!

It goes on all over the world. It's mainly grade related.

jimtitt - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> They are using a device against manufacturer's instructions and 'get away with it' because they know what they are doing:  a rope solo beginner might not realise the dangers on overhanging rock. Franco shouldn't be recommending it for first timer's use on 'steep' rock: it's too easy to misunderstand.

Hmmm...

The Petzl site used to have a diagram showing the problem but I´m not going to bother to search for it, the danger is not "overhanging" rock but going over an overhang as Petzl say. With overhanging routes you fall away from the rock and the Shunt engages, if you pull over an overhang on an otherwise slabby route and fall the Shunt can become temporarily disengaged until you clear the lip . In reality (I´ve done this plenty of times) it is of no real concern even if it gives one a brown trousers moment.

With two ropes Franco is regrettably still wrong (up to a point), whichever way you look at it two ropes through the Shunt are not safer than one. If they are tied at the top to make two seperate strands and one is cut this prevents the Shunt locking up on the other strand and you fall, there is a certain amount of resistance but it isn´t really a lot in terms of stopping a fall. Petzl recommend(ed) the strands should be loose through the top anchor so if one doesn´t feed properly the other strand would equalise this, otherwise you would fall the distance you had climbed from when the strand stopped feeding. However if you DO take a large fall on a Shunt with two ropes it and the ropes withstand far more force with two strands rather than one, 7kN to 4kN from memory of the testing I did with a 9mm rope.

I like many use a Shunt as it the best for working moves, allowing one easily to move up and down the rope, the other solutions are fine for running laps on easy routes but rubbish for working anything. I trail a modified GriGri on the other strand (which there normally is) or the GriGri on the same strand if there´s only one.

 

 

 

1
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Yes, I think there is.  Redpointing on sport routes seems to be pretty much the default style, in that an onsight lead is usually lauded as such.  The assumption (still, I would say) is that trad routes will be led on sight, as they are graded.

> I have no issue with competent people headpointing trad routes, but let’s not pretend it’s the standard style for trad.

Yes, the usual style for trad is onsight. And yes, redpointing sport routes is common. But this is not an explanation why for some reason redpointing sport routes should be fine and headpointing trad routes not. 

Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I wonder whether significantly less headpointing would take place if there were a culture of not, in any way, gaining bragging rights to E grades for headpoint ascents without attracting ridicule (perhaps by universal acceptance of H grades or whatever). Is headpointing at least in part about being able to claim a bigger number?

As long as people are honest I can't see why they should attract ridicule. Anyone who thinks they can say they climb E6 by headpointing one is obviously kidding themselves, but I think pretty much everyone recognises that and therefore climbers are usually careful to say when an ascent is flawed in one way or another. 

1
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks for clearing up the two ropes thing.

Franco Cookson on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

 

> With two ropes Franco is regrettably still wrong (up to a point), whichever way you look at it two ropes through the Shunt are not safer than one. If they are tied at the top to make two seperate strands and one is cut this prevents the Shunt locking up on the other strand and you fall, there is a certain amount of resistance but it isn´t really a lot in terms of stopping a fall.

 

Can you explain this to me? I'd always hope to be open minded, particularly when it could effect my safety, but I can't see how the device being engaged on one rope would stop it having engaged the other. Surely in most scenarios it engages both ropes at the same time, with a bit of a self-equalising effect?

Hope all is well in Germany! 

 

1
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Franco Cookson:

> You're absolutely correct that just shunting on a double rope set up like a retrievable abseil is excessively dangerous.

My point was that in reality it isn't more dangerous than on a single line, nor any safer with the same device on two independent lines. In the event of a rope being cut, the end result may be the same in all three cases.

 

jimtitt - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Franco Cookson:

The cut rope stops the Shunt closing onto the other strand which is needed to start the Shunt working and gripping the rope properly, it´s actually a cool feature which I investigated in detail as it gives the possibility of using it to make a proper "equalising" belay, with two strands of 8mm cord you can guarantee the load difference is less than about 0.8kN as the Shunt slides down the loaded strand until the two tensions are more or less equal.

Kinda snowy down here recently! The Franken is still waiting for you, spent a day with a buddy projecting Sautanz this summer (him not me), he couldn´t get up it either!

Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Franco Cookson:

When you put your weight on a rope, you effectively make the diameter slightly less (even on a static). The cut rope when it goes slack will remain the same diameter and therefore stop the device from biting into the remaining rope enough to lock. The cut rope will be thicker than the diameter you want the good rope to be to work. 

1
Deadeye - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> ...vastly ...huge ... crucially ...astronomic ...astronomic ... trillion-fold ... outrageously dangerous... miniscule

Hyperbole much?

> To put it very bluntly, I think what you're saying is pious nonsense

You said it

 

Dan-Cheetham - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I wonder whether significantly less headpointing would take place if there were a culture of not, in any way, gaining bragging rights to E grades for headpoint ascents without attracting ridicule (perhaps by universal acceptance of H grades or whatever). Is headpointing at least in part about being able to claim a bigger number?

This surely can’t be real? Can it? 

3
Dan-Cheetham - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

That’s not quite true either, with all things being equal for the same climber (individual) trying the routes some e6’s are perfectly onsight-able while others are groundup-able and others more headpoint fodder. From a personal perspective I’ve pretty much exhausted most routes on peak grit and a bit in Yorkshire that are onsightable or groundupable for me at this current time with limited time to climb. So I’ve chosen to do a bit of headpointing which has actually been more / equally as challenging in a lot of ways than the onsight / ground up ethic, both from a mental and physical perspective. A lot of what the article says is pretty much nonsense padding that’s as much to do with ‘selling climbing’ as anything else. One thing is apparent the onsight, ground up or headpoint, the traditional crags I’ve visited have been pretty quiet this year. Long may it continue 

4
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Dan-Cheetham:

> with all things being equal for the same climber (individual) trying the routes some e6’s are perfectly onsight-able while others are groundup-able and others more headpoint fodder. From a personal perspective I’ve pretty much exhausted most routes on peak grit and a bit in Yorkshire that are onsightable or groundupable for me at this current time with limited time to climb. So I’ve chosen to do a bit of headpointing which has actually been more / equally as challenging in a lot of ways than the onsight / ground up ethic, both from a mental and physical perspective. 

I'm sure that is the case. Nevertheless, one wouldn't call themselves a VS/E4/E7 climber without having onsighted a few (as a bare minimum) routes at the relevant grade.

 

2
Dan-Cheetham - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I’ve climbed a fair few routes from e4 to e7 either onsight, ground up or headpointed on a range of rock types in the uk and abroad and on a good day I still wouldn’t call myself an ‘e3 climber’ 

 

crikey, keep picking up the thumbs down haha even for this innocuous post ???? 

Post edited at 20:37
4
HeMa on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to Dan-Cheetham:

> I’ve climbed a fair few routes from e4 to e7 either onsight, ground up or headpointed on a range of rock types in the uk and abroad and on a good day I still wouldn’t call myself an ‘e3 climber’ 

That just means that you're from the old school thinking (of trad on mountains)...

For you to be a grade X climber, means that you need to be able to OS solo that grade, blind folded, in pissing rain and carrying your buddy that broke his leg.

 

If you'd be a bolt clippin', indoor bred sport climber... you'd be an E7 climber (as in you happened to OS one E7.... ever).

And had you been a boulderer... you'd be and E11 climber (as you once tried some holds on such route... but still struggle to get up E2s, often failing).

4
Offwidth - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks for clarifying that Jim... there is also the second problem if you panic and grab the device handle. People shouldn't be using a shunt unless they are clear on these functional risks. Too many climbers watch others using a device and copy them and inadvertently include bad habits... in this case it could be dangerous.

Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Trailing a GriGri is an idea which I'll consider, though it would require learning to use another device! My question is this. Folk often talk on here about the limitations of a shunt or even 'failure', then it turns out they are just referring to its functionality with the user - mainly slipping down the rope due to the climber's position in relation to the rock. Like the potential for a prussik to slip, this I'm entirely happy with. But last year while on the odd crag, having used a shunt for many years, I did start to wonder about the potential for the device to fail entirely. When I looked later though, it seemed like a pretty big bolt to be worrying about, even with repeated small slumps onto it. Do they have a life span? There's no real sign of wear on the device other than the inevitable wee scratches on the outside. User error etc aside, can I stop worrying?

jimtitt - on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I´ve never destruction tested one to find out what breaks, mostly I stop testing when the rope starts to be destroyed. I know my brother has retired one because it wore out but which bit I don´t know.

Niall Grimes - on 17 Jan 2019

I had a dream last night where I was locked in a room with everyone who had voiced their opinions on this thread. It was a really nice dream, I didn't want to wake up and for it to ever end.

 

3
Mike Stretford - on 17 Jan 2019
Dan-Cheetham - on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to Niall Grimes:

Wow grimer, you’re my hero ????

2
Dave Garnett - on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to Niall Grimes:

Sorry.

1
Niall Grimes - on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett: Apology accepted

 

Offwidth - on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to Niall Grimes:

"I don't want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there."   Oscar Wilde

Hey, that might means your dreams are better than heaven.

 

Post edited at 14:48
Michael Gordon - on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks for the reply, and I'm sure certain others (like the below) will shock load the shunt many times more often than me, so that's good if you haven't heard of any incidents.

For those who liked the article, Dave MacLeod did quite a good video last year at Binnien Shuas about the logistics of shunting something a bit trickier than just chucking the rope down a slab. 

Rick Graham on 17 Jan 2019
In reply to Niall Grimes:

> I had a dream last night where I was locked in a room with everyone who had voiced their opinions on this thread. It was a really nice dream, I didn't want to wake up and for it to ever end.

Nice .

Having just past the fifty years of climbing threshold, I do not think this topic will ever end.

meggies - on 18 Jan 2019
Offwidth - on 18 Jan 2019
In reply to meggies:

Good video with clear reasoned disclaimers and a backup system (a knot below the shunt).  Particularly good focus on keeping the rope from being damaged on edges with rebelays and a rope protector.

Rick Graham on 18 Jan 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Good video with clear reasoned disclaimers and a backup system (a knot below the shunt).  Particularly good focus on keeping the rope from being damaged on edges with rebelays and a rope protector.

I had a knot below the shunt (actually a mini traxion ) when I broke my ankle.

The back up knot was on the deck by the time I had stopped. 

After a lot of afterthought/investigation      ( and quite a bit of crawling off the crag,) the conclusion was that the rope had a slack loop off snagged off route and this had suddenly released . 

One of the few times I have shunted a line without abseiling down that section of rope first. 

I had only been shunting for 27 years when the accident happened, I know more now.

Offwidth - on 19 Jan 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

You're just showing climbing is dangerous, even for the experienced. I'd rather we don't recommend a shunt without a backup to roped solo beginners. My favourite true story of the perils of beginners and devices was a super keen friend of mine on Gaia, who had shunted the route but struggled to find belayers for the lead. He was so desperate to get it done, he got someone on his lead attempt who had never used a grigri before.. He seemed to get the idea of it's function OK, so my friend sets bravely off. He pulled the technical crux better than he'd ever done before then found he was locked off on the grigri... a few desperate communications didn't resolve the issue and so he fell, at which point the belayer finally managed to release the device and so he decked (luckily with little damage). Gaia was also where one of my club lead ropes was trashed as a good outcome (aspirant strong climbers but clueless headpointers, who hadn't extended the belay point low enough, nor used rope protectors) so when the dynamic lead rope stretched, weighted, and moving across the gritty top it stripped the sheath but luckily didn't cut the rope.

Rick Graham on 19 Jan 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

 

I try not to forget that climbing is dangerous. A good idea is to remind yourself that the death zone starts a lot lower than 8000m but as soon  as you leave the car or house. On here re shunting I normally just refer folk to the petzl advice.

Post edited at 11:54
Andy Gamisou - on 20 Jan 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

> I try not to forget that climbing is dangerous. A good idea is to remind yourself that the death zone starts a lot lower than 8000m but as soon  as you leave the car or house. 

In some countries the bit between leaving the house and exiting the car at the crag is a lot more dangerous than the actual climbing bits at the crag. And the return trip often more so.

 

purkle - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I entirely agree with your sentiment, as long as it's not overly damaging rock. But it appears that fiend has been banned from UKC (or blocked, however it is termed) for his comment here, which I honestly and objectively think is ridiculous. There's nothing offensive about his comment. Many climbers feel strongly about ethics. I don't understand this very over reactive response. UKC always has and is likely to always be a contentious forum with many different opinions. I don't think it's a positive way forward to just remove those with opinions, you wouldn't have many people left. I understand there's a past involced and probably built up resentment from critical comments, but maybe some objectivity would be healthy here?

I don't think there's anything wrong with the article or any of the comments.

3
Mike Stretford - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to purkle:

There's probably more to it, but policy is not to discuss it, which is right IMO.

1
In reply to purkle:

Fiend has not been blocked just for his comment on this thread. The reasons are many and varied and go back over the last 11 years. This would be the 4th time he has been banned in that period for a variety of different indiscretions.

He was on borrowed time but the thing that tipped the balance was his public admission elsewhere that he had no intention of engaging in debate on this thread after his opening post. Most of his previous posts in the last few months have been characterised by single negative posts with no follow up. That is not engaging in debate but is a negative campaign and not one that I am not willing to fund.

Alan

32
Dave Garnett - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to purkle:

> I entirely agree with your sentiment, as long as it's not overly damaging rock. But it appears that fiend has been banned from UKC (or blocked, however it is termed) for his comment here, which I honestly and objectively think is ridiculous.

If that's true then I agree, it would be an unusually thin-skinned over-reaction.

 

In reply to Mike Stretford:

> There's probably more to it, but policy is not to discuss it, which is right IMO.

That is true but on occasion we do debate it especially when someone makes reasonable points like 'Purkle' did.

Alan

4
Adam Long - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to spidermonkey09:

> Ground upping things is often just as damaging if not more so. See Parthian Shot, The Angels Share, etc etc.

 

Only just seen this nonsense. The flake on Parthian was broken by a headpointer.

I'm not aware of any damage to Angel's share by either headpointing or ground-uppers. There was only ever one tiny pebble and it's still there.

If these are your prime evidence, maybe fill out the etc etc?

Meanwhile, examples of routes suffering wear and tear from headpointers abound - Braille Trail, End of the Affair, Kaluza Klein for starters.

Dan-Cheetham - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Funding Fiend? That’s a bigger joke than the rest of the thread and article put together. Anyway surely the likes of Fiend posting on here is actually part of what is funding ukc.  Personally I welcome a bit of controversy and opinion in what is otherwise a  dull as dish water and overly commoditised direction that the ‘sport’ of climbing is going in. I know ukc is hardly 4chan but does it really need a headmaster to keep everyone in order? As long as the ‘attitude’ is right then is ok by you guys. Ugh 

6
Rick Graham on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Dan-Cheetham:

Fwiw I have never been offended by any of Fiends posts that I have seen, in fact I am a fan.

My impression is that he? is  a keen passionate climber, nowt wrong with that.

Regarding headmaster Alan and the other mods, it would be chaos without them.

If you do not like it, other climbing websites are available.

1
mark20 - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Adam Long:

Are the blown gear slots on Braille Trail and Balance It Is from headpointers or ground uppers? 

HeMa on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to mark20:

Obviously from headpointing ascents... most likely from the practice runs, when they try to fiddle in the gear whilst on toprope...

8
Dan-Cheetham - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

> Regarding headmaster Alan and the other mods, it would be chaos without them.

> If you do not like it, other climbing websites are available.

 

There is a difference between moderating obscene or inappropriate content as opposed to just gagging someone for having an opinion or attitude you don’t agree with. 

Youre right there are other websites, (evening sends is pretty good)I just felt the urge to comment on this topic. 

 

2
Rick Graham on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Dan-Cheetham:

Have a like.

spidermonkey09 - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Adam Long:

Just typed a long response to this and lost it, nightmare...

We both know Parthian was a ground up target for loads of strong people before the flake broke which was playing dice with the rock and the gear placement. Whether this weakened it or not is obviously a counterfactual; who can say for sure. Stanhope practised on a top rope I agree but my point was more the former, that both have the potential to damage the rock. Ground up = more falls onto marginal gear = damage to rock and placements.

Re Angels Share, I remember reading a Dawes piece years ago which bemoaned the state of the slab from people skittering down it. Makes logical sense to me but if he's talking bollocks I stand corrected.

Frankly I would refer everyone getting exercised about this to Rob's comment at the top of the thread. Just do your own thing, have fun and don't damage the rock. Its not rocket science.

2
Michael Gordon - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't agree with Fiend, but don't see why his comments should be labelled 'negative'. They are just putting forward a strong view on one side of the argument. I'm not surprised he doesn't hang around to 'debate' the issue as I doubt many would be won over either way. 

1
DAVETHOMAS90 - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Fiend:

That reflects my own initial feelings in response to this very much.

To quote Rob Greenwood:

"or people can go out, do what they want, in whatever style they want, have fun, respect the rock, and we could all continue to live our lives in peace..."

My impression from Fiend's post is a sense of consequence - where things lead - rather than preaching, and in my view, the more of that we have, the better.

Old guidebooks I have at home are filled with first ascent records, where it's recorded that various routes were first climbed "after abseil inspection", "after top-rope practice" etc.

These days, cheating no longer exists. Ironically, I would say that, in fact, much of the argument today is very much about what is/is not "allowed", in order for someone else to define what is/isn't valid.

In the past, it was the controversy of various tactics used - including Rurps, tied-off pegs, bolts - or even catch blankets, and ropes tied around genitalia - which I felt encouraged the drive towards improvements in style.

If we discourage criticism, then we also discourage the important debate about better ways of doing things.

#inpraiseofcheating .. or something like that ;)

 

Robert Durran - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Good grief! Friend has been banned for his comment on this thread (or at least the comment tipped the balance to a ban)? If people get banned for sparking debate by expressing their strong but passionate opinions about climbing in an unoffensive way then it is no wonder the forums are dying. I despair. And yes, I do know and climb with Fiend and there are few I know with such a dedicated enthusiasm for climbing; the forums need his like. No one, myself included, need agree with all his views.

Post edited at 21:02
alan moore - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

I miss Fiend on here; he talks a lot of sense.

Did he say something offensive on his blog?

Nobody reads that surely?

1
Robert Durran - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to alan moore:

> I miss Fiend on here; he talks a lot of sense.

> Did he say something offensive on his blog?

No. The second post in this thread - I can just imagine the mixture of mischievousness and conviction with which he would have typed it.....

On our last trip together we had an agreed point of climbing contention to debate over each evening meal - good fun and just the sort of stuff that would liven up UKC a bit....... It's a pity he posts so infrequently nowadays - and then gets banned.....

 

Dan-Cheetham - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> or people can go out, do what they want, in whatever style they want, have fun, respect the rock, and we could all continue to live our lives in peace...

I’ve been trying to figure out what bothers me about this. It’s not that I disagree with the ‘live and let live’ sentiment, although that is a bit unrealisticly John and Yoko. It’s more the intimation that by posting this it places Fiend’s post in opposition I.e. by having an opinion on the value of something he is affecting the ability of others to ‘have fun and live in peace’. The (Rob’s) post on initial reading makes a lot of sense but in the context of being used critically and in a morally superior fashion actually is rather uncomfortable. It says to me that having an opinion is incongruent with the basic values of mutual respect, environmental respect, enjoyment and peace (in this case) creating the illusion that there is an issue with having a strong opinion. All rather preachy if you ask me 

9
Valkyrie1968 - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Dan-Cheetham:

> mutual respect

This is the basic issue with Fiend's contributions to this site; outside of creepy posts on female users' photos (check his photo comment history), the vast majority of his contributions are entirely lacking in respect for the opinions of others.

For the record, I don't think that he should have been banned, however.

1
Robert Durran - on 21 Jan 2019
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> This is the basic issue with Fiend's contributions to this sit ............. the vast majority of his contributions are entirely lacking in respect for the opinions of others.

Having strong opinions of one's own does not preclude respecting others' opinions; in his post in this thread he simply stated a contentious opinion - I've just reread it and it I find it outrageous that it could have triggered a ban.

 

1
In reply to Dan-Cheetham:

Hi Dan,

It comes as no surprise that you dislike my comment, because it’s pretty apparent from reading comments elsewhere you dislike pretty much every aspect of the site: our news, our articles etc… In fact, I’m at quite a loss as to why you keep coming back, other than with the intention of seeing something you dislike, again.

My response was specifically tailored to Fiend and his general approach to online communication, which I think we can all agree tends to err on the negative. I am - or at least I think I am - a generally positive person and whilst I’m not averse to negativity I do think there’s a difference in between expressing a contrary opinion and expressing a contrary opinion in a negative/aggressive way. The former is completely legitimate, the latter - in my eyes - cheapens the tone of anything expressed. Fiend falls into this category time and time again, all the more so because of his open admission that he has no interest in engaging in further debate. I hesitate to use the word ‘troll’, but he wouldn’t be far off.

Now it’s worth nothing these are my views, not the site’s views (or the reason he got banned), but I personally find his constantly negative/aggressive tone goes too far, hence my post/reaction. In terms of 'preachiness' I’d actually seen mine as something of an anti-preach, insofar as it essentially said “do what you want, but a few terms and conditions apply” compared to “you must do everything onsight…”. Is the former really more preachy than the latter? Thoughts on the back of a postcard…

For what it’s worth, my intention wasn’t to stifle debate and - by the look of it - debate has occurred regardless. In fact, in light of the discussion that’s taken place we are making some adjustments to the Top Ascents page, which will include style of ascent, so hopefully that’s a positive example of how constructive criticism is taken on board and actioned.

In terms of the future of expressing opinions online, I have a feeling that opinions both for and against, positive and negative, will continue to be expressed on the Forums for some time to come (whether we like it or not)!

 

2
Robert Durran - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> My response was specifically tailored to Fiend and his general approach to online communication, which I think we can all agree tends to err on the negative.

I don't agree.

Fiend's post very positive about onsighting. I thought it was quite balanced.

The fact that it has resulted in a positive change to the Top Ascents thing would seem to vindicate him.

 

 

 

11
In reply to Robert Durran:

As per the comments within my post, and Alan's, the Fiend was not blocked specifically due to that post: "the reasons are many and varied and go back over the last 11 years. This would be the 4th time he has been banned in that period for a variety of different indiscretions".

When it comes to the resulting changes to Top Ascents, I would actually attribute these to Rick Graham, as his comments regarding style are what gave me the idea. There's a further discussion for shifting the boundaries somewhat (i.e. what Rick suggested about E5 being the onsight baseline and E7 being the headpoint baseline), but I'll leave that conversation for another thread/day.

Post edited at 10:54
1
Rick Graham on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Thank you for your kind words , Rob.

Problem is I am probably better with smart*rse comments nowadays than climbing. 

But at least I keep trying

Post edited at 10:56
Robert Durran - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> As per the comments within my post, and Alan's, the Fiend was not blocked specifically due to that post.

Yes, I know, but I can't see how that post could tip things over the edge. It was at worst mischievous and, I think, just the sort of post which the forums need to keep things lively.

> When it comes to the resulting changes to Top Ascents, I would actually attribute these to Rick Graham.

Yes, but Fiend's post provoked the discussion, and I think that can only be a good thing.

 

 

4
Rick Graham on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

 

Correct.I think fiend rob and I have similar views.Its just that we did not have time to fully discuss them in our initial posts.
jimtitt - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

For Sale, original photo of Fiend failing while top-roping a route. Serious offers only.

1
Dan-Cheetham - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Hey sorry, nothing personal man. Just trying to keep the sub in the culture (which I’m aware is a losing battle). I did carefully think about what I was writing in response to express something I actually felt. Which I think would have probably come across more neutral in conversation not text. On a positive note I do keep coming back to ukc for its fantastic route database which is an invaluable resource, the occasional standout article / piece like Dave’s recent podcast and sometimes to read more controversial forum threads which are kind of engaging. To me climbing has always been and will continue to be a counter culture where perceived authority is uncomfortable, so sorry if it came across as negative. On a more personal note I actually very much agree with all your posts (on a deeper level, but maybe just not in this context) and also think you’re a cool dude with an enviously great climbing cv. See you on the crag at some point this year I’m sure  

Post edited at 13:07
Michael Gordon - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I still can't see anything negative or aggressive about that post, or the decision not to make any further posts on the thread. Not that he would have the option of doing so anyway if banned... 

2
Robert Durran - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

If likes/dislikes are anything to go by, it is interesting that those of us who have defended Fiend (his post, not his opinion) have generally met with approval. To me this suggests that the large number of dislikes for his post were more in fair disagreement with his opinion that with his right to post it.

And lets not forget his 55 likes - a ratio of 1 to 3 likes to dislikes is hardly universal condemnation anyway.

Post edited at 13:44
2
Robert Durran - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> For Sale, original photo of Fiend failing while top-roping a route. Serious offers only.

What route? Serious question.

Rick Graham on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Interestingly the 1:3 ratio crops up a lot on here. 

Could be a little project for students, a combination of maths and attitudes/opinions.

Rick Graham on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> What route? Serious question.

I think I have seen it on here sometime.

Maybe the buyer will need to pay Alan

jimtitt - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

The route is irrelevant, flailing on a top rope on a route well out of your paygrade and which you never attempted to onsight and had no intention of doing so hardly puts one in a position to comment negatively on the desirability of others doing so.

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Smelly Fox - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

We all did foolish things in our youth.... I very much doubt the photo in question is recent!

jimtitt - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Smelly Fox:

Youth is a relative concept, as is recent.

Robert Durran - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> The route is irrelevant.

But the evidence might not be.

> Flailing on a top rope on a route well out of your paygrade and which you never attempted to onsight and had no intention of doing so hardly puts one in a position to comment negatively on the desirability of others doing so.

Why not? Maybe he regrets it and feels he has learnt from the experience. Or maybe he was more talking about routes which might have been realistic onsight targets in the future rather than something completely unrealistic.

Or maybe he was simply top roping for fun or training rather than projecting a headpoint (as has been pointed out earlier, there is a distinction).

 

LeeWood - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> That is not engaging in debate but is a negative campaign and not one that I am not willing to fund.

I fail to understand this judgement. No bad language - just a strongly stated opinion. The impressive vote of dislikes is instant motivation to read further into the thread so Fiend has done UKC a service.

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no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Jan 2019
In reply to LeeWood:

+1 

Smelly Fox - on 23 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

I suppose that’s correct, what’s your point?

jimtitt - on 23 Jan 2019
In reply to Smelly Fox:

> I suppose that’s correct, what’s your point?


Well you wanted to make a bet so you need to firm up some numbers. For me young covers 50% of the population and recent is well before the millenium.

Smelly Fox - on 23 Jan 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

You’d consider 19 years ago recent! 

Fair enough then...

If you want to get picky and facetious, what’s recent and youthful to you is irrelevant to my “bet”. Since we are taking about a photo and behaviour of Fiend, what is recent and youthful to Fiend is the variables to consider.

But I think you know fine well what I meant!

Kisses xxx

 

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Mike Stretford - on 23 Jan 2019
In reply to LeeWood: You have indulged in a bit of selective requoting there, the original post does explain the reasoning.

 

Rick Graham on 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

>  There's a further discussion for shifting the boundaries somewhat (i.e. what Rick suggested about E5 being the onsight baseline and E7 being the headpoint baseline), but I'll leave that conversation for another thread/day.

Why another thread /day?

The proposal has already got 22 likes and my stalking phantom disliker put 1 against.

Get on with it

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Andy Moles - on 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

+1, headpointing E5 is puddlenuts compared to bouldering 7c.

helwin - on 09 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

I am an Austrian (chossy limestone) climber.

Thank you all for presenting me British climbing "in an nutshell" with this thread

Sorry for my english.

SteveSBlake - on 09 Feb 2019
In reply to helwin:

  No Problem, this is a useful site. You will find endless advice about how to gaze at your navel,  why you should not wear your helmet back to front and a ton of other useful stuff that is  invaluable to British climbers. 

Offwidth - on 10 Feb 2019
In reply to SteveSBlake:

There is loads of really good stuff here and most posts are worthwile. 

kevin stephens - on 10 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

It seems to me that all that is needed to resolve the conflict in this thread  is a simple algorithm for the UKC top ascents list, new category for head point. E5 headpoints graded as E3 (purely for purposes of the list) E7 heapoint as E5, E8 as E7 and leave E9 as E9

PLEASE DON’T BAN ME! Just a bit of tongue in cheek attempt at conflict resolution 

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