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Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first?
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surfer9joe


Oct 26, 2009, 8:05 PM
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Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first?
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I am still kind of a newb, but I hear about all these first ascents, like in Yosemite, etc, and the first ascent person who did it gets to name it and grade it. Who is recording all this "official" info? is it all word of mouth?

Like in the sharp end movie, that guy with glasses does a first ascent of a roof somewhere off the beaten path in Yosemite, how does he know he's the first?


taydude


Oct 26, 2009, 8:45 PM
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Re: [surfer9joe] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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I'd say the easiest answer would be that if something is worth getting a first ascent then who ever did it first would have claimed it.


moose_droppings


Oct 26, 2009, 9:23 PM
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Re: [surfer9joe] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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surfer9joe wrote:
I am still kind of a newb, but I hear about all these first ascents, like in Yosemite, etc, and the first ascent person who did it gets to name it and grade it. Who is recording all this "official" info? is it all word of mouth?

Like in the sharp end movie, that guy with glasses does a first ascent of a roof somewhere off the beaten path in Yosemite, how does he know he's the first?

If there is no iron clad proof that someone hasn't done it before than there's also no iron clad proof that someone has, so it's up for grabs.
First claim (usually witnessed) = FA.


healyje


Oct 27, 2009, 1:32 AM
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Re: [taydude] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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taydude wrote:
I'd say the easiest answer would be that if something is worth getting a first ascent then who ever did it first would have claimed it.

Not at all. I and my partner have done onsight FA's on gear with no chalk and never said a word. Folks a decade later claimed an FA on one of them, up-rated it, and added six bolts saying the overhanging offwidth was unclimbable otherwise. In other words, it all went as planned (except the bolting), and had they not bolted it the climb was sufficiently remote that someone could have come along ten years after them and had the exact same FA experience both we and the folks who followed us had. FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray.

P.S. At this point if it isn't 5.13, x-rated, and you didn't a miserable six-hour approach then assume it's been done already.


AlEvans


Oct 27, 2009, 4:55 AM
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Re: [healyje] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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Well in the UK it's simple,you record new routes with the senior guidebook writer in the area of the climb. Usually its the BMC, the CC, The FRCC, or the SMC. This is getting slightly confused by newbies who use guides like Rockfax and Ground Up which are not definitive.
Anybody claiming a new route in the UK is advised to do it with one of the senior clubs mentioned. Ignoring these responsible clubs can only lead to anarchy (and already has done), Quite frankly if you don't record your route with one of these clubs, then keep your mouth shut if somebody else does, it's your fault.
Too many histories are sullied by statements like 'Done hundreds of times before', poor reportage like this is tragic and only can a true history be complied if new route setters follow the rules of accurate reportage.
If you don't report it , don't complain if somebody else does, your problem not theirs.


johnwesely


Oct 27, 2009, 5:06 AM
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Re: [healyje] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
taydude wrote:
I'd say the easiest answer would be that if something is worth getting a first ascent then who ever did it first would have claimed it.

Not at all. I and my partner have done onsight FA's on gear with no chalk and never said a word. Folks a decade later claimed an FA on one of them, up-rated it, and added six bolts saying the overhanging offwidth was unclimbable otherwise. In other words, it all went as planned (except the bolting), and had they not bolted it the climb was sufficiently remote that someone could have come along ten years after them and had the exact same FA experience both we and the folks who followed us had. FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray.

P.S. At this point if it isn't 5.13, x-rated, and you didn't a miserable six-hour approach then assume it's been done already.

If you wanted to save the style of your ascent, then you should have said something. If those sport climbers thought it was a first ascent, then that was their choice to make.


billl7


Oct 27, 2009, 5:23 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
If you wanted to save the style of your ascent, then you should have said something. If those sport climbers thought it was a first ascent, then that was their choice to make.

Respectfully, I think you missed the point which was "FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray." We only get one FA per route if each "FA" party reports.

Anyway, to me this is a noble approach which has been going on for a while.

Bill L


johnwesely


Oct 27, 2009, 5:29 AM
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Re: [billl7] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
If you wanted to save the style of your ascent, then you should have said something. If those sport climbers thought it was a first ascent, then that was their choice to make.

Respectfully, I think you missed the point which was "FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray." We only get one FA per route if each "FA" party reports.

Anyway, to me this is a noble approach which has been going on for a while.

Bill L

I agree that it is a really cool way to do things, but you have to weigh the pros and cons.


kachoong


Oct 27, 2009, 6:18 AM
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Re: [surfer9joe] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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surfer9joe wrote:
I am still kind of a newb, but I hear about all these first ascents, like in Yosemite, etc, and the first ascent person who did it gets to name it and grade it. Who is recording all this "official" info? is it all word of mouth?

Like in the sharp end movie, that guy with glasses does a first ascent of a roof somewhere off the beaten path in Yosemite, how does he know he's the first?

Usually someone doing FA's knows the area in question enough and/or has done plenty of research including historical accounts from, for example, published journals like the AAJ.


jcrew


Oct 27, 2009, 7:57 AM
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Re: [surfer9joe] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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a lot of times, cleaning and prep. work is required. when you've spent a couple days hanging in a harness scrubbing and bolting, you know nobody has been there yet.

but then you have another issue.: you can spend tons of time,money, and energy putting up a route that you can't quite climb free, without hanging. you had the vision, saw the line, worked the beta, etc...then some 12 year old girl comes along and hikes the thing first go. guess who gets the FA credit......not you!


(This post was edited by jcrew on Oct 27, 2009, 9:10 AM)


healyje


Oct 27, 2009, 8:00 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
healyje wrote:
taydude wrote:
I'd say the easiest answer would be that if something is worth getting a first ascent then who ever did it first would have claimed it.

Not at all. I and my partner have done onsight FA's on gear with no chalk and never said a word. Folks a decade later claimed an FA on one of them, up-rated it, and added six bolts saying the overhanging offwidth was unclimbable otherwise. In other words, it all went as planned (except the bolting), and had they not bolted it the climb was sufficiently remote that someone could have come along ten years after them and had the exact same FA experience both we and the folks who followed us had. FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray.

P.S. At this point if it isn't 5.13, x-rated, and you didn't a miserable six-hour approach then assume it's been done already.

If you wanted to save the style of your ascent, then you should have said something. If those sport climbers thought it was a first ascent, then that was their choice to make.

They weren't sport climbers, it isn't a sport climb even with the bolts, and it's never seen a third ascent in the past 23 years that anyone knows of. I'm o.k. with whatever followed. At least it saw two FA's.


healyje


Oct 27, 2009, 8:05 AM
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Re: [AlEvans] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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AlEvans wrote:
Anybody claiming a new route in the UK is advised to do it with one of the senior clubs mentioned. Ignoring these responsible clubs can only lead to anarchy (and already has done).

OMG! Brits in anarchy? Wouldn't want to emulate the U.S...

The whole idea of 'clubs' is a pretty repugnant one over on this side of the pond.


(This post was edited by healyje on Oct 27, 2009, 8:06 AM)


johnwesely


Oct 27, 2009, 8:23 AM
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healyje wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
healyje wrote:
taydude wrote:
I'd say the easiest answer would be that if something is worth getting a first ascent then who ever did it first would have claimed it.

Not at all. I and my partner have done onsight FA's on gear with no chalk and never said a word. Folks a decade later claimed an FA on one of them, up-rated it, and added six bolts saying the overhanging offwidth was unclimbable otherwise. In other words, it all went as planned (except the bolting), and had they not bolted it the climb was sufficiently remote that someone could have come along ten years after them and had the exact same FA experience both we and the folks who followed us had. FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray.

P.S. At this point if it isn't 5.13, x-rated, and you didn't a miserable six-hour approach then assume it's been done already.

If you wanted to save the style of your ascent, then you should have said something. If those sport climbers thought it was a first ascent, then that was their choice to make.

They weren't sport climbers, it isn't a sport climb even with the bolts, and it's never seen a third ascent in the past 23 years that anyone knows of. I'm o.k. with whatever followed. At least it saw two FA's.

Ok. You sounded upset in the first post, but I see what you mean now.


AlEvans


Oct 27, 2009, 9:58 AM
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Re: [healyje] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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I suspect that the concept of 'clubs' in the US is quite different to the ones I mention in the UK. Bearing in mind that there are probably cities, let alone states, in the US that have as big climbing areas as the UK in total it is probably not as easy to centralize. Nobody is suggesting that pirate/private guides cannot do a good job, indeed the ones mentioned in the UK are excellent, but unless there is a central collating system, like senior clubs producing definitive guides, the true history of first ascents will be hard to evaluate.


Partner drector


Oct 27, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Re: [surfer9joe] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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There is nothing "official" about climbing, in quotes or not.


technogeekery


Oct 27, 2009, 5:09 PM
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Re: [healyje] Official First Ascents - How do they know they are the first? [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
Not at all. I and my partner have done onsight FA's on gear with no chalk and never said a word. Folks a decade later claimed an FA on one of them, up-rated it, and added six bolts saying the overhanging offwidth was unclimbable otherwise. In other words, it all went as planned (except the bolting), and had they not bolted it the climb was sufficiently remote that someone could have come along ten years after them and had the exact same FA experience both we and the folks who followed us had. FA's - the glory is in the climbing, not the spray.

P.S. At this point if it isn't 5.13, x-rated, and you didn't a miserable six-hour approach then assume it's been done already.

Of course, you don't KNOW that they were FA's...

...but your point well taken, this is the most adventurous approach to leading - find attractive line, and try to get up it.

To the OP - don't worry about "official" FA, you can get the FA experience in any trad (non-bolted) wilderness area you choose - just leave your guidebooks at home.


Tootie


Oct 27, 2009, 5:17 PM
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