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NEWS: James Pearson climbs Lexicon E11 7a

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 UKC News 15 Jun 2022

James Pearson has climbed Neil Gresham's route Lexicon (E11 7a) at Pavey Ark, Langdale. James's was the fifth ascent after repeats from Steve McClure, Dave MacLeod and Mat Wright. The route shares some climbing with Impact Day (E8 6c) but has an independent start and finish.

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 Michael Gordon 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

A fine effort, but that really would've been stretching the definition of flash past breaking point. Climbers will sometimes say "first go after abseil inspection", but understandably leave the word 'flash' well out of it. Once you start feeling the holds and looking at the moves, even if you aren't actually doing them, some (many?) would regard this as the light end of headpointing. Ultimately it becomes a grey area, whereas if you just say stay off the rope (yes, obviously some routes you have to ab in for!) it preserves the integrity of the style a bit more.

I applaud James wanting to increase the challenge for the fun of it, but if that's the ultimate reason, there's surely no need to try and shoehorn in certain style tags.

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 sfletch 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

“I abbed down it, felt all the holds, ticked it up and then had a quick headpoint” - doesn’t sound quite as impressive as - “I tried to flash an E11”.  One gets you more clicks than the other.

Post edited at 18:35
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 Adam Long 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

Nick, perhaps you could clarify one point. After the initial attempt, did he then resort to top-rope practice, further abseil inspection or just keep trying to lead it?

Because forgive me if I've misread but it isn't made clear. Which seems rather weird because the difference would mean either just another quick repeat of the country's most popular hard route, or potentially a new high watermark for non-headpointed British trad. 

Chapeau either way of course, but a rather bigger hat would be needed for the latter.

In reply to Adam Long:

He didn't top-rope, just made "ground-up" lead attempts on the top half from the halfway break. 

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 Ian Patterson 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Adam Long:

> Nick, perhaps you could clarify one point. After the initial attempt, did he then resort to top-rope practice, further abseil inspection or just keep trying to lead it?

> Because forgive me if I've misread but it isn't made clear. Which seems rather weird because the difference would mean either just another quick repeat of the country's most popular hard route, or potentially a new high watermark for non-headpointed British trad. 

> Chapeau either way of course, but a rather bigger hat would be needed for the latter.

This seems to have been lost a bit in all the fuss about the definition of a flash - my reading is that on his first day he got to the top from the mid height break after taking the fall twice and with no top roping/practice beyond the ab inspection, and on the second day he did it without any further practice.  In fact the says:

"It's by no means a death route, but you shouldn't underestimate its danger. Just because I managed to climb it without top-roping it or without really practising it doesn't mean that I think it was 100% safe"

Agree that from this understanding it's a bloody impressive achievement and worth more recognition than just the flash/not flash stuff.

 1poundSOCKS 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> He didn't top-rope, just made "ground-up" lead attempts on the top half from the halfway break. 

Now I'm even more confused. Wouldn't ground-up involve pulling the ropes and starting from the ground?

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 James Milton 15 Jun 2022
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

i guess its not ground up but you can see in dave mac's video steve sits down at the mid height break, so i'm not sure theres much difference

 1poundSOCKS 15 Jun 2022
In reply to James Milton:

> i guess its not ground up but you can see in dave mac's video steve sits down at the mid height break, so i'm not sure theres much difference

So are you saying he didn't actually lead the whole route in one? Because there's a sit down rest?

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In reply to James Milton:

The break James is referring to is the one where the nest of gear is before the headwall, (actually more like 2/3 of the way up). The sit-down ledge is on the Impact Day part down and left of this just before the crux moves of Impact Day which leads to the gear break where the two routes split.

It's clear in this video from James: https://www.instagram.com/p/CetwOG-Isig/?hl=en 

 Michael Gordon 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

So would it be correct to say "he led it in 2 halves after abseil inspection, then came back another day to lead the whole thing in a one-er"? If so, the final ascent is a headpoint by default, no question.

I'm also unclear as to exactly what is meant by "measure body positions"? I've never come across this before. Could this potentially mean hanging off every hold with one's feet in the position you envisage for the lead attempt? If so, it's not doing the moves (just) but is a hell of a lot more than just having a look.

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 Michael Gordon 15 Jun 2022
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> So are you saying he didn't actually lead the whole route in one? Because there's a sit down rest?

He did, at a later date.

 1poundSOCKS 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

So it was headpoint in the end, not ground-up?

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In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

I don't even know what to call it, but it's arguably more impressive to lead the headwall from the break up rather than work it on a top-rope I guess. The bottom section isn't too hard comparatively, and you can get a no-hands rest on the Impact Day ledge, then a fairly decent-ish rest at the gear break, so James just focused on the headwall with the time he had. Obviously the tiredness from placing the gear on the bottom (and overgripping since it was wet on his successful ascent) would feed into the difficulty of the whole thing somehow, but not as much as some people might think at the level the ascensionists are operating at. 

Post edited at 19:48
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In reply to Michael Gordon:

I don't know. Surely you're confusing 'flash' with 'onsight'. Two completely different things?

 1poundSOCKS 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> I don't even know what to call it

He looks like he's hanging on a rope, then practicing part of the route, in the video you posted. So that would make it a headpoint I reckon.

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 Michael Gordon 15 Jun 2022
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> So it was headpoint in the end, not ground-up?

It would never have been ground up by any definition, given he looked at it on an abseil rope.

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In reply to UKC News:

Amazing effort James, really a solid effort. 

 1poundSOCKS 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> It would never have been ground up by any definition

People tend to be flexible with these definitions.

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 Michael Gordon 15 Jun 2022
In reply to The Connor-Crabb:

> Surely you're confusing 'flash' with 'onsight'. Two completely different things?

Flash means first go with beta. But 'beta' does not usually mean hanging on the rope looking at the moves. It implies second-hand information, something useful someone has told you.

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 UKB Shark 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

“…try these things in a way that's going to push you and be totally honest about it." 

Totally agree with that sentiment but for him to describe his initial go as a ‘flash attempt’ on Instagram was far from totally honest when 99% of people who read that would assume that no abseil pre-inspection and up and down shenanigans were involved.

It makes me wonder whether his impressive ‘flash ascent’ of Something’s Burning E9 also involved abseil pre-inspection as most wouldn’t count it as a flash if that was the case.

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 Franco Cookson 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKB Shark:

I actually think this is a pretty cool ascent, so good effort James! It's definitely pushing things along in terms of style and shedding quite a lot of light onto how dangerous and tricky the thing is, so I don't think he quite deserves this level of criticism. It is obviously a ground up candidate route now, so that's pretty cool!

Perhaps his original post should have had a little more clarity (i can't remember what it said), but he's obviously been honest with saying what he's done now and seems to be being a lot more upfront about the challenges and merits of the route than other repeaters have been. So I think he needs applauding, rather than criticising. 

Interestingly, when I went for a look at the route (the day Steve did it), I mentioned to Steve that I thought it could be a great candidate for a ground up and he responded with "well you can't now, as you've abed it". I was a bit surprised by this comment, as I've always seen ground up climbing as being quite open to interpretation, with the onsight ground up being one option, right through to the pre-inspected ground up at the other end of the scale. It seems most people agree with Steve's view of what constitutes a ground up, which I'm sure wasn't the case 10 years ago or so, but perhaps it's progress to be a bit clearer with style.

James seems to be a bit of a king of the flash/ ground up, so i had always assumed his hardest flashes had been pre inspected, but maybe I'm wrong? I don't see anything wrong with that, but maybe we need some better definitions and names for these things. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't bowed to the peer pressure, as I think the way James has climbed this would be really cool and is miles away from a headpoint. It's also miles away from a onsight ground up though - so yeh, definitely some new names for these styles of ascent are needed. 

Post edited at 20:22
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 john arran 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

Seems people are getting very hung up on terminology and definitions. Almost as if some are looking for ways to be critical.

Certainly it wasn't a flash attempt by common understanding, although that kind of "after abseil inspection" was, in the 70s, extremely common in an era when headpointing was considered completely unacceptable and would invalidate an ascent. Somewhat strange to see such tactics making a comeback!

What's most impressive for me is that, even though it doesn't strictly qualify as ground-up (for reasons both of abseil inspection and starting again from midway) he nevertheless appears to have climbed the dangerous top section on lead without ever having done those moves beforehand. Hats off to him for that.

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 UKB Shark 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Yes he deserves admiration for the improvement in style he made with his ascent  but no one likes to be duped.

Your views on ground-up are bizarre as the term is self-explanatory and that was the case not just 10 but also 20 and 30 years ago.

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In reply to UKC News:

Maybe a UKC article title of 'JP has loads of fun on lexicon' would have sucked everyone in to read the article without (in some people's view) misleading the reader about what actually happened. The style of ascent is clearly an improvement on style and is to be applauded. It's also, as other have said, not really a redpoint but also not really a flash and not quite ground up either. Sounds like a good effort whatever style you want to label it though. 

 Michael Gordon 15 Jun 2022
In reply to Franco Cookson:

> In hindsight, I wish I hadn't bowed to the peer pressure, as I think the way James has climbed this would be really cool and is miles away from a headpoint. It's also miles away from a onsight ground up though - so yeh, definitely some new names for these styles of ascent are needed. 

At the risk of stating the obvious, couldn't you have still attempted the route in any manner you chose to, and not worried about how it would be labelled? It's folk trying to claim certain labels for their ascents which leads to these sorts of discussions as others try to work out exactly how many shades of grey were coloured in. "3rd go after abseil inspection" doesn't quite explain everything but it's not a bad summary.

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 Si dH 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKB Shark:

> Totally agree with that sentiment but for him to describe his initial go as a ‘flash attempt’ on Instagram was far from totally honest when 99% of people who read that would assume that no abseil pre-inspection and up and down shenanigans were involved.

I think this original post has been overly critiqued. Unless there was something else I didn't see, it was just an Instagram story that lasted about 5 seconds so the words needed to be kept short. Sure we could argue that's the wrong format, but ultimately he hadn't even done the route that day, he was just telling his followers what he was up to. If he had actually done the route that go, written it up properly and claimed it as a flash then I would agree.

(I seem to fall at the lax end of the scale when it comes to defining a flash. I would be happy to ab and clean something as long as I didn't actually pull on any holds and then still consider a subsequent first-go ascent to be a flash in my own mind. But all the stuff he says he did - checking out body positions and stuff,as well as climbing up and down the lower bit - definitely isn't leaving a flash open. But he as much as says that himself anyway in this article.)

Great effort to do a route towards the upper end of trad climbing difficulty in the way he did, anyway.

Post edited at 21:30
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 George_Surf 15 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

Call it what you want. It’s a Mega effort, fair play for trying it without getting on a top rope / shunt. 

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 Ian Patterson 15 Jun 2022
In reply to George_Surf:

> Call it what you want. It’s a Mega effort, fair play for trying it without getting on a top rope / shunt. 

This  (and did it really quickly as well)

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 JLS 15 Jun 2022
In reply to George_Surf:

>”Call it what you want.”

A Boris Flash. Abbing the route was purely an inspection event. No rules were broken.

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 Dave Todd 16 Jun 2022
In reply to George_Surf:

> Call it what you want.

Flab ascent?

(Flash with Ab)

 climbercool 16 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

Awesome effort by James, the style he has used is a massive improvement on the previous ascents and I totally understand why he chose to climb in this way,  he had close to zero chance of a traditional flash  but the headpoint would be a foregone conclusion for him, so this would be the best way to challenge himself.  After reading his account of the ascent i feel he has been totally honest about his motivations and the way he climbed the route.  However, I think he's daft (but not dishonest) for putting the flash headline on his instagram post, he should have guessed that the internet mob would jump on that hard, he just needs a P.R assistant.

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 climbercool 16 Jun 2022
In reply to climbercool:

Having said, i definitely don't think future ascensionists should use the word flash if they have touched any of the holds, it's just too hard to define what is touching the holds and what is trying the move to ever be clear about what you have done, I think at top end climbing as soon as you touch the rock it has to become a headpoint.

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 B-team 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Franco Cookson:

> It seems most people agree with Steve's view of what constitutes a ground up, which I'm sure wasn't the case 10 years ago or so, but perhaps it's progress to be a bit clearer with style.

I don't think there's been a change; ground up has, by definition, always precluded inspection (though not necessarily beta). That's certainly how I understood thirty years ago.

Very impressive ascent from James. 

 Andy Moles 16 Jun 2022
In reply to climbercool:

> he just needs a P.R assistant.

Ironic, I believe he has one, though probably not by that job title. Which I guess allows him more time to be a dad and wad.

It's predictable that everyone is getting into the weeds because this style of ascent doesn't fit neatly into a box, but it's a pity to distract from what is an outstanding effort on a route of this level. Impressive to be so sanguine about the prospect of falling nearly the length of the crag! 

 PaulJepson 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Andy Moles:

It's only a minor boing compared to what he took on the walk of life! 

James is clearly trolling ukc. Bet he's rofling over his cornflakes at the outrage he has caused. 

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 Ramblin dave 16 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News:

I don't know whether I'm more impressed by the climbing or by the audacity of the childcare wrangling!

> James and wife Caroline Ciavaldini were in the Lakes for his sister's wedding on Saturday and were due to help with preparations on Friday. Having lent a hand in the morning and with the weather looking uncertain but not a write-off, James was kindly encouraged by his family to head back up to Pavey Ark. James said:

> "Suddenly at about 2 p.m. it was back on again. [...] I didn't have a belayer as Neil was busy that day, but luckily Caro said that she could do it and my mum, sister and her bridesmaids offered to take care of the kids for us.

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In reply to Franco Cookson:

> so yeh, definitely some new names for these styles of ascent are needed. 

Onsight ground up > Flash with verbal beta > Flash with video beta > Flash with visual inspection > Flash with touch inspection.  Whether you'd want to combine the last two is probably another endless debate.

  We could also have a debate about by how much the apparent grade is changed by each option.......

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 Darkinbad 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Franco Cookson:

I have always regarded a flash as any ascent that does not involve pre-practice.

Within that, there is clearly a continuum from more to less impressive styles, but I think it would be useful to distinguish onsight flash (knowing only the line to be climbed), beta flash (informed by written, verbal or video information - the original source of the term beta) and what might be called inspected flash (abseil inspection and probably cleaning of the holds and gear placements, including measuring yourself against them). I would draw the line at anything involving pulling on the holds, as being a form of practice.

A pre-practiced ascent is a ground-up if the practice is achieved by climbing from the ground up and lowering off after a fall. Other forms of practice (dogging, top-roping, on abseil) could result in a subsequent headcount/redpoint ascent.

There are plenty of other factors that could be thrown in (e.g. down-climbing, previous ascents on a shared line) but ultimately all that is required in the court of public opinion (if one even wishes to present oneself there) is a clear and honest account such as that given here. 

 simes303 16 Jun 2022
In reply to The Connor-Crabb:

> Amazing effort James, really a solid effort. 

A positive post at last!!!

Really well done James. Si.

Post edited at 12:57
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In reply to Darkinbad:

> onsight flash

I'm sure I remember jokes in probably OTE in the 90s about people saying "onsight flash", the joke being an onsight can't be a flash and flash can't be an onsight?

Surely a flash is when you climb a route with some prior knowledge, and onsight is when you just do it with no prior knowledge*.

*beyond what's in the guidebook I suppose.

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 PaulJepson 16 Jun 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Didn't James catch a bit of flack from a 'flash' in Pembroke where he got Caro to essentially headpoint it on his behalf?

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 john arran 16 Jun 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

In reply to PaulJepson:

I always took 'flash' to mean that you can know as much as you like of the route before you try it, having viewed it from any angle, but you can't have weighted a rope on it before for any reason. Seems fairly robust as a definition to be, barring routes that share some common ground.

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 Michael Gordon 16 Jun 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

> Didn't James catch a bit of flack from a 'flash' in Pembroke where he got Caro to essentially headpoint it on his behalf?

I don't recall him getting stick for it, beyond the obvious recognition that it's at the very heavy end of the flash scale.

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 JLS 16 Jun 2022
In reply to TobyA:

My understanding is that the terms were originally “onsight flash” and “ beta flash” which over time were confusingly reduced to “onsight” and “flash”.

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 Fatal 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

(Yet, see also Adam Ondra's heavily rehearsed flash 9a+ : who complained ?) 

Anyway Jame's approach here is very bold and a remarkable success: lacking time and lacking super fitness he ups the ante (vs. a standard headpoint approach), goes on lead straight on (in two parts), and succeeds on what is _essentially_ his second go.

Bravo !

 Michael Gordon 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Fatal:

> (Yet, see also Adam Ondra's heavily rehearsed flash 9a+ : who complained ?) >

Dunno. I just looked back at the news threads for Something's Burning, Muy Caliente and the Ondra route and couldn't see anything much

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 Ramblin dave 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Darkinbad:

> A pre-practiced ascent is a ground-up if the practice is achieved by climbing from the ground up and lowering off after a fall. Other forms of practice (dogging, top-roping, on abseil) could result in a subsequent headcount/redpoint ascent.

This is how I understand it too, but I've always thought it was slightly odd that we don't give more weight to the distinction between "headpoint by dogging" and "headpoint by toprope practice", at least for trad. From my bumbly's perspective, it seems like a much bigger deal for someone to be willing to commit to a long, hard, run-out section on lead for the first time if they haven't got the moves wired on  a top rope first?

Post edited at 23:27
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 PaulJepson 16 Jun 2022
In reply to Fatal:

You're permitted as much research as you like for a flash. If you abseil the route then it's questionable whether it qualifies and if you touch the holds then it's certain that it doesn't. 

It doesn't matter though, it's a definite step up and he was honest about what he did. Definitely wouldn't have been a flash though, just a very ballsy headpoint. 

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 JLS 17 Jun 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

>"It doesn't matter though, it's a definite step up and he was honest about what he did. Definitely wouldn't have been a flash though, just a very ballsy headpoint."

Indeed, if the word "flash" hadn't been banded about I think there would have been universal acclaim. I do hope, as someone above speculated, James has only used the description "flash" for shits and giggles and the joke is on us. If he's deadly serious then he needs laughed at...

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In reply to JLS:

> My understanding is that the terms were originally “onsight flash” and “ beta flash” which over time were confusingly reduced to “onsight” and “flash”.

I started climbing in about 1990, and the mags were full of onsights, repoints and flashes back then, but I don't really remember hearing "beta" until probably well into the noughties...? Beta as a climbing term is in my head at least very American, and is of the same sort of vintage as "send". But I know I've totally misremembered things from climbing youth before, so I might be completely wrong on this too.

 john arran 17 Jun 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> I started climbing in about 1990, and the mags were full of onsights, repoints and flashes back then, but I don't really remember hearing "beta" until probably well into the noughties...?

That will be because it had already been and gone by the 90s, in terms of its use describing a style of ascent, i.e. beta-flash (flash with beta) as opposed to onsight-flash (flash without beta). I can see how the subsequent shortening of the former to 'flash' and the latter to 'onsight' would be a recipe for confusion!

> Beta as a climbing term is in my head at least very American, and is of the same sort of vintage as "send". But I know I've totally misremembered things from climbing youth before, so I might be completely wrong on this too.

I don't remember 'send' being around until sometime after 'beta' became popular (early 80s?) but you're right that they both are of American origin.

In reply to john arran:

> I can see how the subsequent shortening of the former to 'flash' and the latter to 'onsight' would be a recipe for confusion!

And now we will discuss if it right to have the gates of your krabs facing the same way or opposing directions on your quickdraws. Opposing obvs. And whether you are allowed to have only the first bolt pre clipped on sport climb, or the first two.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> It would never have been ground up by any definition, given he looked at it on an abseil rope.

What about all those 1970s classics that were cleaned then led by the first ascensionists?

 Darkinbad 17 Jun 2022
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> What about all those 1970s classics that were cleaned then led by the first ascensionists?

Assuming they were led clean at the first attempt, then in modern parlance they would be flash ascents, if moves were not practiced, or headpoints if practiced. And obviously it can be difficult to distinguish between pulling on the holds to see if they will come off and actually trying the moves. 

Not that anyone would have cared. New routes are being cleaned today and perhaps the difference is that (some) people do care. If you want the 'purest' style of ascent for a new route, you will have to get a mate to clean it for you (which happens fairly frequently in sport climbing, where routes may be equipped by one person but climbed by another).

If you want to describe your ascent as ground-up, then perhaps both your inspection and practice (if any) need to be ground up. So what I described earlier as an 'inspected flash' might instead be termed a 'non-ground-up flash', which is a bit of a mouthful.

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 Darkinbad 17 Jun 2022
In reply to Darkinbad:

Actually, 'headpoint' doesn't seem the right word for a practiced ascent of a safe trad route. Lexicon can be headpointed, but Magic Line? 'Worked' is probably a better term that sees actual usage. 'Redpoint' is too specific to sport routes.

Interestingly, the distinction between redpoint and pinkpoint seems to have pretty much disappeared in recent years, which is not the case for trad, where pre-placed gear (other than threads, of course ) tends to be frowned upon.

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 fotoVUE 17 Jun 2022
In reply to JLS:

> My understanding is that the terms were originally “onsight flash” and “ beta flash” which over time were confusingly reduced to “onsight” and “flash”.

Yes, I pushed for that in the 90s and even when I was editor at UKC in the 2000s. It seemed ripe for confusion not defining the type of flash - onsight or beta flash, rather than the undetermined solitary 'flash'.

Not sure if it has been mentioned by the term beta, came from Betamax video format....

The original use of the term Beta in climbing is generally attributed to the late climber Jack Mileski. "Beta" was short for Betamax, a reference to an old videotape format largely replaced by the VHS format.[3] According to some sources Mileski would record himself on tape while completing routes and then share these tapes with friends. According to other sources, it was actually a play on words, as Mileski would often ask, "you want the beta, Max?"

Mick Ryan

In reply to john arran:

> I always took 'flash' to mean that you can know as much as you like of the route before you try it, having viewed it from any angle, but you can't have weighted a rope on it before for any reason. Seems fairly robust as a definition to be, barring routes that share some common ground.

I've read and heard about many old ascents that were essentially cleaned on a top rope first and a climber would not wear climbing shoes to 'show' that they weren't trying the moves. 

I personally don't see how you can differentiate between cleaning and examining, assessing body positions, etc. If you haven't tried the holds with either feet or hands, then all you have is visual beta which I thought was allowed in a flash.

Arguing the difference between using your own eyes or someone else's or video or photos or drone inspection or hanging a bloody model of yourself in front of the climb with a crane seems like trying to come up with all sorts of shades of grey to define things when a simple "no hands, no feet" is about as simple a definition as you can come up with. I'm sure some people would like a "feet don't leave floor, no binoculars, no eyewear better than 20/20 vision, etc etc."

Whatever definition you come up with is open to abuse (3D model generated using drones and photogrammetry allowed?). A simple definition at least is easy to verify. 

Having tried to define things like this in another space (photography competitions, 'natural' photos) you have to admit that whatever you come up with as a definition will piss somebody off... It's better for the definition to be simple to understand even if it pisses everyone off  

Tim

 

 john arran 17 Jun 2022
In reply to timparkin:

Many of the hardish routes of the 70s were done with such "prior inspection", for example Right Wall (E5 6a). ("After carefully inspecting his line, ...) But over the course of a decade or so this clearly became a catchall for 'as much knowledge and practice from a rope as you think you can get away with', which ridiculous situation paved the way for climbers such as Johnny and Andy Woodward to break the mould by openly admitting top-rope rehearsal and effectively leaving the establishment with little choice but to accept that their routes should be acknowledged anyway. However, I don't recall anyone at the time referring to an ascent after such tactics as being a flash, as I don't think that term had come into use by then; it simply would have been a no-falls ascent.

In reply to john arran:

> Many of the hardish routes of the 70s were done with such "prior inspection", for example Right Wall (E5 6a). ("After carefully inspecting his line, ...) But over the course of a decade or so this clearly became a catchall for 'as much knowledge and practice from a rope as you think you can get away with', which ridiculous situation paved the way for climbers such as Johnny and Andy Woodward to break the mould by openly admitting top-rope rehearsal and effectively leaving the establishment with little choice but to accept that their routes should be acknowledged anyway. However, I don't recall anyone at the time referring to an ascent after such tactics as being a flash, as I don't think that term had come into use by then; it simply would have been a no-falls ascent.

Would not some of those have been recorded as ground up? I sort of assumed that this would be the case? Perhaps it's a symptom that over time the nuances of the supporting context are lost so the "after carefully inspecting the line etc" gets dropped but the 'ground up' summary is retained

 Michael Gordon 17 Jun 2022
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> I've always thought it was slightly odd that we don't give more weight to the distinction between "headpoint by dogging" and "headpoint by toprope practice", at least for trad. From my bumbly's perspective, it seems like a much bigger deal for someone to be willing to commit to a long, hard, run-out section on lead for the first time if they haven't got the moves wired on  a top rope first?

Absolutely. It's also a style a lot of 'normal climbers' will adopt much more frequently than going to the bother of trying ground-up ascents once the onsight has been lost. There was a thread on this a while back and John Arran came up with the rather neat term 'Ledpoint' to describe an ascent previously led but not cleanly.

 Michael Gordon 17 Jun 2022
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> What about all those 1970s classics that were cleaned then led by the first ascensionists?

That's just a slight downside to new routing. It comes with the territory. Either you clean on lead to try and preserve the ground-up onsight ethic, or you accept that you've lost those style options but perhaps have a much nicer experience! Some will clean the route after leading it to try and encourage repeats.

 wbo2 17 Jun 2022
In reply to timparkin:

> Would not some of those have been recorded as ground up? 

They were simply recorded as first ascents.  Hopefully any prior inspection on a rope would be recorded , but was often simply a given, and any hanging may or may not be mentioned.

'Not that anyone would have cared. ' 

Don't kid yourself.  A bit of cheeky cleaning, with pulling, testing of holds, or vigorous cleaning would kick up one heck of a fuss

2
 john arran 17 Jun 2022
In reply to timparkin:

> Would not some of those have been recorded as ground up? I sort of assumed that this would be the case? 

I don't believe the term 'ground-up' was in use until after headpointing had already become accepted, and people then wanted a term to mean that it was climbed in a style that had been more common some years earlier (which at the time would simply have been 'led'), i.e. not headpointed (in terms of prior practice) but not flashed either. It reminds me a little of the retrospective addition of the word 'trad' to describe what people once would have simply called 'climbing'!

In reply to john arran:

> for example Right Wall (E5 6a). ("After carefully inspecting his line, ...) 

... and untieing on the girdle ledge and soloing off so he could have another look at the upper wall...

 ian caton 17 Jun 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

This is probably the greatest trad lead in the uk ever. E11 without toproping. What more needs adding? Chapeau. 

Post edited at 19:11
6
 Michael Gordon 17 Jun 2022
In reply to ian caton:

That would be an interesting discussion but probably not for this thread!

9
 Misha 18 Jun 2022
In reply to Darkinbad:

I like inspected flash. This is what James did. Or a flashpoint?

For ground up, I think strictly there should be no working of the moves. Climb up, fall off, lower off, pull the ropes, try again.

1
 ian caton 18 Jun 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Apologies for diverting thread from nomenclature. 

1
 Michael Gordon 18 Jun 2022
In reply to ian caton:

I don't know what that means. I don't think it's a discussion folk want to get into on this thread but be my guest.

14
 Darkinbad 18 Jun 2022
In reply to ian caton:

I take the Wittgensteinian view that we can only explore the meaning of James' ascent if we can find the right words to describe it

 wbo2 18 Jun 2022
In reply to UKC News: Top work then.  Good for him

In reply to Michael Gordon:

Oh come on! If ian wants to congratulate James and talk about his achievement, rather than debate the etymology of “flash”, then this seems like exactly the place to do so. 

1
In reply to Misha:

What about trying again without pulling the ropes?

 Misha 18 Jun 2022
In reply to pancakeandchips:

That’s yo-yo. A style which was popular in the early 80s I believe, eg Fawcett did that on Strawberries IIRC. However don’t think it’s the done thing any more but I may be wrong. 

 Cusco 18 Jun 2022

On the contrary. On a thread entitled "James Pearson climbs Lexicon E11 7a" some folk like me would like to see focus on another great achievemement by another great climber rather than the name of the style of the ascent. But hey, horses for courses. 

1
 Michael Gordon 19 Jun 2022
In reply to Stuart Williams:

> Oh come on! If ian wants to congratulate James and talk about his achievement, rather than debate the etymology of “flash”, then this seems like exactly the place to do so. 

Yes, I think I was just being a bit dense. I should have looked up 'nomenclature' rather than just saying I didn't know what it meant.

 Bob578 20 Jun 2022

Is there something potentially missing here? Given the volume of ascents and the short times taken, is the real question not the grade? 
 

Seems more like a candidate for a downgrade….Dave M sort of alluded to it.

2
 Tom Redwood 22 Jun 2022
In reply to Bob578:

The grades are already a bit compressed at the top end, I'd prefer to see some of Dave's get an upgrade!

 Michael Gordon 22 Jun 2022
In reply to Tom Redwood:

I always find it slightly odd when folk say that with zero evidence or experience of the routes and grades in question. Surely if those climbing these undergraded E10s thought they were such, they would suggest upgrades. In the absence of such suggestions, perhaps the grades are correct?

1
In reply to UKC News:

Great to hear that Keith is still climbing. Loved all the uncle somebody stuff.


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