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gratefuljoe


Oct 2, 2012, 9:20 AM
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the end of climbers
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                        Climbers
Let me start by explaining the true story behind climbers. The men and women who can call themselves climbers are the ones who have been forged in the elements of nature through bad weather, rock fall and epic tales of survival. They are the ones who look death in the face and overcome just to face another day of trial by fire. I remember the times sitting around campfires hearing stories start with, ďTheir I was, I thought I was gonna die.Ē As a child I couldnít wait for the day as I could tell stories like these. They were stories of the death defying first ascents of epic adventures in The Valley. Even then I knew the stories were only half true. You see, thatís part of being a climber. You have to add to stories to capture the essence of the adventure for those who were not there, for those who cannot imagine the epic trials a climber will face. These days when I hear campfire stories being told they are about climbing v6 in the back right side of the gym. Todayís climbing stories are much different because the climbers themselves have changed. To them itís no longer about the adventure or exploration of the unknown. Itís all about repeating someone elseís great accomplishments. They have never known what it feels like to conquer an unclimbed peak or granite wall. This is a new breed of climber. Their excitement comes from a first ascent in the climbing gym or conquering the boulder problem that they have watched on video 100 times before ever trying. These are the same climbers who top rope a sport climb with 50 of their best friends who they just met on the Internet


Matthew0718


Oct 2, 2012, 10:11 AM
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When you find a new route up the north face of the eiger let me know


jbone


Oct 2, 2012, 10:39 AM
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I got a few "I thought I was gonna die" climbing stories but those aren't what define me as a climber. In fact I got enough without doing big walls or alpine "hiking" Everest.

Usually around the 10 yr point in a climbers career they begin giving back instead of retreading old lines. Some do it better than others and some do it poorly but its that pursuit that satisfies the need for a climbing experience for them.

Seems to me you need a new crowd perhaps a change in scenery so you can re-appreciate the experiences ahead of you. Take it from someone who has walked those shoes, if you carry resentment with you it will only hold you back from your own appreciation.


potreroed


Oct 2, 2012, 12:34 PM
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This is old news. I clearly remember noticing how the quality of the writing, and the tales themselves, declined rapidly in the climbing magazines with the advent of sport climbing. Climbing gyms and the internet had not yet appeared.

Fortunately, climbing is an activity where one can still find all the adventure they can handle despite the gyms and the videos etc.


saint_john


Oct 2, 2012, 12:37 PM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
Climbers
Let me start by explaining the true story behind climbers. The men and women who can call themselves climbers are the ones who have been forged in the elements of nature through bad weather, rock fall and epic tales of survival. They are the ones who look death in the face and overcome just to face another day of trial by fire. I remember the times sitting around campfires hearing stories start with, ďTheir I was, I thought I was gonna die.Ē As a child I couldnít wait for the day as I could tell stories like these. They were stories of the death defying first ascents of epic adventures in The Valley. Even then I knew the stories were only half true. You see, thatís part of being a climber. You have to add to stories to capture the essence of the adventure for those who were not there, for those who cannot imagine the epic trials a climber will face. These days when I hear campfire stories being told they are about climbing v6 in the back right side of the gym. Todayís climbing stories are much different because the climbers themselves have changed. To them itís no longer about the adventure or exploration of the unknown. Itís all about repeating someone elseís great accomplishments. They have never known what it feels like to conquer an unclimbed peak or granite wall. This is a new breed of climber. Their excitement comes from a first ascent in the climbing gym or conquering the boulder problem that they have watched on video 100 times before ever trying. These are the same climbers who top rope a sport climb with 50 of their best friends who they just met on the Internet

Maybe these new climbers aren't as egotistical or elitist as you. Maybe you're just old.


DemolitionRed


Oct 2, 2012, 1:08 PM
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We all imagine this old style climbing on virgin rock with vertical rock faces physical challenges and surging adrenaline rushes by those extreme physical climbers.
Mountaineering as a sport didnít really get started before the mid eighteen hundreds and that was long before serious rock climbing. It was walking long distances up mountains and scrambling over Alps. It was about reaching a destination, a means to an end and claiming that lofty summit with whatever flag they happened to be carrying in their back pack.
Places such as Everest or the Matterhorn were not easy places to get to without cars or planes and so most settled for climbing their local tors and most of that was tackled without ropes.
My grandfather grew up in the mountains and he knew all about mountaineering but he didnít know about climbing vertical rock faces until after the 1950s
He used to say, there are two types of mountaineers. One for the wealthy middle classes who had far too much time on their hands and parents who would happily pay for their recreational activities so that their sons could have some Ďjolly good funí and the farmers who had to venture up to often perilous heights and get their animals safely down before the winter set in.
As the world became a smaller place, rock climbing started to be seen as an athletic and pleasurable activity.
Yes, we did have pioneering daredevils who paved the way for what we have today. Now everyone has an opportunity to climb. We donít have to have wealthy parents or own a house in up market suburbia!
I say, thank goodness times have changed.


(This post was edited by DemolitionRed on Oct 2, 2012, 1:12 PM)


Marylandclimber


Oct 2, 2012, 1:50 PM
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Why are you so negative? There are plenty of climbers who like the adventure and the rush of doing it. You can have fun trying to send a climb and working on it. just do what you like to do and everyone is happy.


roninthorne


Oct 2, 2012, 3:01 PM
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If you are sitting around waiting for other people to tell great tales, you are not living great tales of your own. Life is not a spectator sport. Get out of the audience and onto the stage.


gratefuljoe


Oct 2, 2012, 3:41 PM
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WOW I think i might have pissed off the online climbers not what I was going for, I think you are all right I am some old grumpy climber who thinks the history of dirtdag climbers need to move over for the gym rats, meetup groups and REI poster climbers they are the ones putting the work in to make your local crag just like disneyland, my point is the passion of climbers has changed not for the better.


dan2see


Oct 2, 2012, 4:08 PM
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saint_john wrote:
... Maybe you're just old.

Huh? Hey, watch your language, young fella!

gratefuljoe wrote:
WOW I think i might have pissed off the online climbers not what I was going for, I think you are all right I am some old grumpy climber who thinks the history of dirtdag climbers need to move over for the gym rats, meetup groups and REI poster climbers they are the ones putting the work in to make your local crag just like disneyland, my point is the passion of climbers has changed not for the better.

And you should mind your manners, too! You are 'way off track when you generalize "climbers"! Instead you should look to yourself.

So I set myself as an example of positive healthy active fun -- OK all this adventure isn't easy, but I smile a lot.


billcoe_


Oct 2, 2012, 9:02 PM
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I've seen it change as well. I have to admit that I love seeing the stoke on the lil kids in the gym (when i do go to a gym). They're always so fired up an, happy and upbeat.

Lots of downside of the new ethic, but there is a lot of good as well, routes stay cleaner. the routes I usually am doing still don't have people crowding on them (for the most part) . Increased users means more management and oversight, but it also brings more power and weight. More money means more and better gear.
there's good with the bad.


hugepedro


Oct 2, 2012, 9:46 PM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
Climbers
Let me start by explaining the true story behind climbers. The men and women who can call themselves climbers are the ones who have been forged in the elements of nature through bad weather, rock fall and epic tales of survival. They are the ones who look death in the face and overcome just to face another day of trial by fire. I remember the times sitting around campfires hearing stories start with, ďTheir I was, I thought I was gonna die.Ē As a child I couldnít wait for the day as I could tell stories like these. They were stories of the death defying first ascents of epic adventures in The Valley. Even then I knew the stories were only half true. You see, thatís part of being a climber. You have to add to stories to capture the essence of the adventure for those who were not there, for those who cannot imagine the epic trials a climber will face. These days when I hear campfire stories being told they are about climbing v6 in the back right side of the gym. Todayís climbing stories are much different because the climbers themselves have changed. To them itís no longer about the adventure or exploration of the unknown. Itís all about repeating someone elseís great accomplishments. They have never known what it feels like to conquer an unclimbed peak or granite wall. This is a new breed of climber. Their excitement comes from a first ascent in the climbing gym or conquering the boulder problem that they have watched on video 100 times before ever trying. These are the same climbers who top rope a sport climb with 50 of their best friends who they just met on the Internet

Meh. I'm a grumpy old climber too, but you're wrong. The kids are doing as bold or bolder (not boulder) stuff today. Stuff that would make most of us older farts crap our Depends. You may not notice it because much of it isn't being done by celebrity climbers, and you probably don't go to the places where they are doing it, but it's being done.

You may lament some imaginary standard - that's nice and nostalgic - but the standard has passed us by, my friend.


crackmeup


Oct 2, 2012, 10:24 PM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
WOW I think i might have pissed off the online climbers not what I was going for, I think you are all right I am some old grumpy climber who thinks the history of dirtdag climbers need to move over for the gym rats, meetup groups and REI poster climbers they are the ones putting the work in to make your local crag just like disneyland, my point is the passion of climbers has changed not for the better.

You're getting caught in semantics. Adventurers will always exist. In the most recent Reel Rock Tour film, Conrad Anker says that if he had been born in the 16th century, he mght have been an explorer. He can't discover new continents now, so instead he climbs Meru's Shark's Fin.

There was a brief period of time during which most climbers were adventurers. Now most are not. There are other endeavors where most people are adventurers. Big deal.


petsfed


Oct 2, 2012, 11:30 PM
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I always read the same thing when I read one of these rants: I just recently managed to break into 5.11 trad and am I absolutely flabbergasted that this doesn't make me hot shit, so I invented this imaginary past where I would've been ahead of the curve by simply doing what I did today.

Sorry to rip on you like that joe, but the crusty old climber longing for an imaginary golden age is a trope alongside asking about shoes and practice whippers on gear.

For myself, I've always been a trad climber, and I've never been that good at it, but I don't operate under the false assumptions that a) if I'd been climbing 50 years ago, my mediocre skills or tolerance for risk would've made me stand out or b) there has been a time in the last 30 years where climbers could be described as a single community that was all driven by the same sense of what climbing was about. I appreciate how the apparent baby-proofing of climbing can be really off-putting. Ultimately though, the adventure is still definitely there if you want to look for it. You just can't get adventure, solitude, and 5 minute approaches in the same place.


guangzhou


Oct 3, 2012, 2:12 AM
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In reply to:
Climbers
Let me start by explaining the true story behind climbers. The men and women who can call themselves climbers are the ones who have been forged in the elements of nature through bad weather, rock fall and epic tales of survival.

Some of us climbers do our best to avoid bad elements of nature. Overall, I've been fairly successful. The longer I climb, the more I've mange to avoid these situation. Better judgement I guess.

In reply to:
They are the ones who look death in the face and overcome just to face another day of trial by fire. I remember the times sitting around campfires hearing stories start with, ďTheir I was, I thought I was gonna die.Ē

You were the one hearing the stories. Well, some of us climbers today are still the ones telling those stories.

In reply to:
As a child I couldnít wait for the day as I could tell stories like these. They were stories of the death defying first ascents of epic adventures in The Valley. Even then I knew the stories were only half true. You see, thatís part of being a climber.

You're partial right, climbing history is full of half truths, even outright lies.

Last I checked, we still have climbers doing epic first ascents all over the wall. Some with bad weather like you want. Don't believe me, check out trip reports about first ascent in Baffin or Greenland. These days, climbers don't just strive for the summit by any means, they aim to free the route too.

In reply to:
You have to add to stories to capture the essence of the adventure for those who were not there, for those who cannot imagine the epic trials a climber will face. These days when I hear campfire stories being told they are about climbing v6 in the back right side of the gym.

Haven't heard any of those stories around the campfire. Of course, if that's what they enjoy climbing, who cares.

Maybe you're just hanging out with the wrong climbers these days. Maybe you're the one who has lost a sense of adventure or a willingness to risk life and limb, so you gravitate towards others who are similar.

In reply to:
Todayís climbing stories are much different because the climbers themselves have changed. To them itís no longer about the adventure or exploration of the unknown. Itís all about repeating someone elseís great accomplishments.

Different climbers strive for different things. Most climbers I climb with are establishing new routes, many on big walls, some sport climbs, some aid.

While my wife, who is my main climbing partner, and I put upa lot of new routes every year. From 1 pitch to 20 pitches. We also enjoy climbing other people's routes. Nothing wrong with either.

I don't know many boulderers, but I don't boulder much either. Just not a circle I travel in.

In reply to:
They have never known what it feels like to conquer an unclimbed peak or granite wall. This is a new breed of climber. Their excitement comes from a first ascent in the climbing gym or conquering the boulder problem that they have watched on video 100 times before ever trying. These are the same climbers who top rope a sport climb with 50 of their best friends who they just met on the Internet

I can not think of a time in rock climbing history when they were more people putting up first ascent than they were people repeating routes.

How many first ascents of big wall, or any wall, have you done?


(This post was edited by guangzhou on Oct 3, 2012, 2:15 AM)


DemolitionRed


Oct 3, 2012, 3:38 AM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
WOW I think i might have pissed off the online climbers not what I was going for, I think you are all right I am some old grumpy climber who thinks the history of dirtdag climbers need to move over for the gym rats, meetup groups and REI poster climbers they are the ones putting the work in to make your local crag just like disneyland, my point is the passion of climbers has changed not for the better.


Those old tales you listened to around the campfire, no matter how exaggerated they may of been, were given to you so you could realize that there is more out there than we can see superficially. They fed your imagination and gave you opportunities for adventure. Well you know what? Those camp fires still burn but if you lack imagination you won't find them.

Reality is in the eye of the beholder.
Gerar Toye


hyhuu


Oct 3, 2012, 6:05 AM
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That kid Alex Honnold seems to be having one hell of an aventure.


Partner cracklover


Oct 3, 2012, 9:28 AM
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T2+

GO


robx


Oct 3, 2012, 9:56 AM
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who cares? As long as you're having fun and being safe then be grateful for having a life that lets you spend time outside. Even if it's like disneyland, at least you're not sitting inside.
I'm thankful every day that I get to climb overcrowded, over bolted, junky, over hiked, loud, annoying crags because it's still 100 times better than sitting at a desk.

count your blessings my friends.


sycamore


Oct 3, 2012, 10:41 AM
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"Hey, look at that amazing blank face. Wouldn't it be great
to climb it?"

"Well, modern ropes, sticky rubber, and Hiltis didn't exist in the "Golden Age" of climbing, so in adherence to that antiquated standard, maybe we should just let it go."

"You're right, bro. Integrity."

[vignette over]

Ah, the Luddite's lament!


Fred20


Oct 3, 2012, 10:56 AM
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you don't seem that grateful brah! jajaja


gratefuljoe


Oct 3, 2012, 12:55 PM
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I am supper grateful I live in Joshua tree and climb more than most, but after seeing holds being cheeped and joshua trees being burned down in the park and the park coming so close to being shut down to all climbers i am not to happy with the climbing community, i fill the old school climbers had it right and the new climbers lost sight of what it is to be a climber. Take a good look at today's climbers and tell me they still have the same ethical out look, I know there are lots of good ethical climbers still but it seems there is more bad than good.


hugepedro


Oct 3, 2012, 2:38 PM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
I am supper grateful I live in Joshua tree and climb more than most, but after seeing holds being cheeped and joshua trees being burned down in the park and the park coming so close to being shut down to all climbers i am not to happy with the climbing community, i fill the old school climbers had it right and the new climbers lost sight of what it is to be a climber. Take a good look at today's climbers and tell me they still have the same ethical out look, I know there are lots of good ethical climbers still but it seems there is more bad than good.

That's because you're hanging out where the hords of limited range live. Where there is little commitment required to access the place. You need to go where the real shit is happening.

Over the past ten years I've witnessed a renaissnace in climbing happening on the glaciated peaks. The kids are doing stuff we never even dreamed of, pushing routes over glacier, snow, and technical ice and rock.

You can tell who they are. They're the ones with only a summit pack with a pair of ice tools strapped on back, a rope, and handful of screws, a picket, and maybe a few stoppers, often skiis or snowboard strapped on there as well, barely more than the clothes on their back and a day's food.

They're doiing massive car-to-car pushes or with bivies mixed in, climbing stuff that hasn't seen traffic in decades because nobody but the FAists dared, and pushing new crazy, mixed, real mountain climbing routes.

Not that I'm doing that crazy shit with them, I'm just watching from the glaciers, haha! But the kids, late teens to late 20's, are crawling all over the Cascades and the Bugaboos and the coastal ranges (there's still near endless supply of stuff there that have barely felt the gaze of man) on up to Alaska, mostly with zero notoriety. But you watch. They're going to break out onto the international scene and totally change the game, and make the rest of us look like the pussies we are.

So don't fret!


petsfed


Oct 3, 2012, 2:55 PM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
I am supper grateful I live in Joshua tree and climb more than most, but after seeing holds being cheeped and joshua trees being burned down in the park and the park coming so close to being shut down to all climbers i am not to happy with the climbing community, i fill the old school climbers had it right and the new climbers lost sight of what it is to be a climber. Take a good look at today's climbers and tell me they still have the same ethical out look, I know there are lots of good ethical climbers still but it seems there is more bad than good.

Again, I appreciate the sentiment, but one could argue that the biggest difference between now and way back when, in a lot of respects, is that there are more people watching us today. Burning down Joshua Trees is such an old "tradition" that when Thesenga got thrown under the bus for it, his defense was "we've been doing it this way for decades". Hold chipping (outside of those knuckleheads that got so much attention) is a lot LESS prevalent now than it used to be, and I think that today's generation of climbers are being seeped in a quasi-leave-no-trace ethic that has led to a revolution in clean climbing. On the other hand, we just have more climbers going out the door, so while the percentage of shitty folks stays the same (or even decreases) there are still more shitty people out climbing than there used to be. And all it takes is one incident to cast all climbers in a bad light.


marc801


Oct 3, 2012, 5:45 PM
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gratefuljoe wrote:
Climbers
Let me start by explaining the true story behind climbers. The men and women who can call themselves climbers are the ones who have been forged in the elements of nature through bad weather, rock fall and epic tales of survival. They are the ones who look death in the face and overcome just to face another day of trial by fire. I remember the times sitting around campfires hearing stories start with, ďTheir I was, I thought I was gonna die.Ē As a child I couldnít wait for the day as I could tell stories like these. They were stories of the death defying first ascents of epic adventures in The Valley. Even then I knew the stories were only half true. You see, thatís part of being a climber. You have to add to stories to capture the essence of the adventure for those who were not there, for those who cannot imagine the epic trials a climber will face. These days when I hear campfire stories being told they are about climbing v6 in the back right side of the gym. Todayís climbing stories are much different because the climbers themselves have changed. To them itís no longer about the adventure or exploration of the unknown. Itís all about repeating someone elseís great accomplishments. They have never known what it feels like to conquer an unclimbed peak or granite wall. This is a new breed of climber. Their excitement comes from a first ascent in the climbing gym or conquering the boulder problem that they have watched on video 100 times before ever trying. These are the same climbers who top rope a sport climb with 50 of their best friends who they just met on the Internet
What a whiny bunch of BS. Sounds like it was written by a bitchy little girl. T2 for sure.

Oh, I also qualify for the old guard in the group, having started 40 years ago. I totally reject this argument from some disillusioned grumpy old guy.


Partner rgold


Oct 4, 2012, 2:42 AM
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Re: [marc801] the end of climbers [In reply to]
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I'll see Marc his 40 years and add fifteen to that. Someone once called me a retrogrouch in a forum. So I'm as old and grumpy as they come, but there are limits to appropriate grouchiness, and g-joe went way past the line.

I've put in my time complaining about the effects of modern climbing trends on the sport. But what has happened is a very substantial broadening of the the climbing population, which is very different from losing those mythical dyed-in-the-wool-knickers alpenstock-wielding demigods from the good old days. They're still there, in greater numbers and at higher levels of competence than before. There hasn't been any decrease in the number of adventure-oriented, ground-up trad and alpine climbers, we've simply added a whole lot of climbers with other orientations to the mix, all of who are, at heart, looking for personal challenges.

As for those death-defying tales of yore, half true is mighty optimistic. The amount of death being defied is very much in the mind of the defier, and plenty of those heroes were wanking about on moderate ground. Meanwhile, adventure is where you find it, and there are some folks doing, say, highball boulder problems that are signing up for a hell of a lot more adventure some of the grouchy old guys ever manned up for in their entire careers.

It is true, in my opinion, that the sport-climbing mentality insists on spreading beyond the reservation and infecting trad climbing with a deadly virus that threatens to make all climbing the same. This too is a byproduct of climbing's new diversity and the energy of its newest components. But we're a long way from homogeneity, and there's plenty of vitality left in the old games, played anew by a younger generation that is, as it should be, better and bolder than its forefathers.


robx


Oct 4, 2012, 7:22 AM
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Re: [gratefuljoe] the end of climbers [In reply to]
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I responded once already to this, but I think i was too positive -

you sound like a spoiled baby.

feel lucky you were alive for what you consider to be the great era of climbing, and feel lucky your'e still alive and able to be around for the bad era of climbing. You aren't dead, you aren't crippled, you can still put your shoes on and put your hands in jugs, you're doing pretty freaking good for yourself.

what you posted isn't constructive criticism, it's the complaints of someone that isn't aware of how much better they have it than almost everyone else in the world. I would kill to be able to drive to joshua tree whenever I felt, even if it turned into disneyland.


bearbreeder


Oct 4, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Re: [gratefuljoe] the end of climbers [In reply to]
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many if not most of the young "adventure" climbers today started out climbing in the gym, sport or bouldering ... and still go do sport, bouldering or the gym

worry about what you are climbing and sending .. not what some teenager who just send 5.15c, or some young former competition gym climber who recently freed the compressor route with 60 foot run outs on 5.12 terrain is doing

i will say this, every good sport climber ive taught trad to can outclimb many a "trad" climber i know on trad routes within a year or two ... and safely as well


donald949


Oct 4, 2012, 11:17 PM
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Re: [hugepedro] the end of climbers [In reply to]
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hugepedro wrote:
gratefuljoe wrote:
I am supper grateful I live in Joshua tree and climb more than most, but after seeing holds being cheeped and joshua trees being burned down in the park and the park coming so close to being shut down to all climbers i am not to happy with the climbing community, i fill the old school climbers had it right and the new climbers lost sight of what it is to be a climber. Take a good look at today's climbers and tell me they still have the same ethical out look, I know there are lots of good ethical climbers still but it seems there is more bad than good.

That's because you're hanging out where the hords of limited range live. Where there is little commitment required to access the place. You need to go where the real shit is happening.

Over the past ten years I've witnessed a renaissnace in climbing happening on the glaciated peaks. The kids are doing stuff we never even dreamed of, pushing routes over glacier, snow, and technical ice and rock.

You can tell who they are. They're the ones with only a summit pack with a pair of ice tools strapped on back, a rope, and handful of screws, a picket, and maybe a few stoppers, often skiis or snowboard strapped on there as well, barely more than the clothes on their back and a day's food.

They're doiing massive car-to-car pushes or with bivies mixed in, climbing stuff that hasn't seen traffic in decades because nobody but the FAists dared, and pushing new crazy, mixed, real mountain climbing routes.

Not that I'm doing that crazy shit with them, I'm just watching from the glaciers, haha! But the kids, late teens to late 20's, are crawling all over the Cascades and the Bugaboos and the coastal ranges (there's still near endless supply of stuff there that have barely felt the gaze of man) on up to Alaska, mostly with zero notoriety. But you watch. They're going to break out onto the international scene and totally change the game, and make the rest of us look like the pussies we are.

So don't fret!
This!


guangzhou


Oct 5, 2012, 4:58 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] the end of climbers [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
many if not most of the young "adventure" climbers today started out climbing in the gym, sport or bouldering ... and still go do sport, bouldering or the gym

worry about what you are climbing and sending .. not what some teenager who just send 5.15c, or some young former competition gym climber who recently freed the compressor route with 60 foot run outs on 5.12 terrain is doing

i will say this, every good sport climber ive taught trad to can outclimb many a "trad" climber i know on trad routes within a year or two ... and safely as well


I have to agree, the dedicated climbers I've taught trad to who came from a trad climbing background are climbing much harder then those who didn't.

Very safe too.


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