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blueeyedclimber


Mar 4, 2013, 8:20 AM
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A Classic Debate
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I have been around long enough to witness rockclimbing.com go through many changes. Poo and trophies, the monkey, change in ownership, the vaginal logo, and long-time members dropping like flies. I have seen my own indifference towards the site cause me to spend less and less time here. Maybe I've outgrown it, but more likely it is that the site just isn't that interesting anymore. There are a precious few that try to invoke discussion and it seems that they are less and less every time I visit. So, in the hopes that I might incite debate, or just ruffle some feathers, here is my thread.

We haven't had any classic debates in a while, so I thought I would combine a Sport vs. Trad thread with a good old fashioned belaying thread.

Sport climbers are better belayers than trad climbers.

There, I said it. If I had to label myself, I would be a trad climber. I spend most of my time climbing at traditional areas, such as North Conway, NH and the Gunks. I would much rather carry a rack of cams and nuts than a rack of draws. Sport climbing is fun too. Any trad climber who wants to climb hard trad, must include either sport climbing, bouldering, or both into their routine. Anybody who spends a significant amount of time sport climbing (even if its indoors), becomes much more experienced at catching falls than someone who either just climbs trad, or someone who clips bolts but treats it like trad (meaning they don't ever fall).

I know a lot of climbers. I have been belayed by a lot of climbers. But when it comes down to belaying me on something hard, whether its trad or sport, I have a very small group of people I trust. Everyone in this small group of people are either predominantly sport climbers, or are just climbers (who happen to have a lot of experience sport climbing).

Just to complete the anecdote, I have been belayed by people who I consider to be old school trad climbers, or just do not fall. EVER. I don't like being belayed by them. Just keeping your brake hand on is not enough. Now, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If you practice catching falls, you will get better at catching falls. But that's not it. You also get better at everything, just because of the fact that your climber may fall at anytime. Your focus gets better, your decision making gets better, your rope management and feeding gets better, your reaction time gets better. Everything related to belaying gets better.

In closing, this is not a judgement thread. I don't really care whether you regularly fall or you don't. But just know this. Falling doesn't just help your climbing improve, it helps the belayer improve.

Discuss.

Josh


caughtinside


Mar 4, 2013, 9:01 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] A Classic Debate [In reply to]
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I just got a pair of Belay Specs. They are amazing, and I am a better belayer because it's easier to watch your climber. However, I only use them sport climbing.

So I'd have to say I agree with you.


lena_chita
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Mar 4, 2013, 9:40 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] A Classic Debate [In reply to]
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It's not even a debate. Would you rather be belayed by someone who has caught thousands of falls, or by someone who never caught a fall?

I don't know anybody who would pick the second.


iron106


Mar 4, 2013, 9:49 AM
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I know plenty of climbers who have been climbing a long time and do not know how to belay. I think is is more of a personality thing than an experience thing.


dr_feelgood


Mar 4, 2013, 9:53 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] A Classic Debate [In reply to]
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Never let an ice climber belay you. Those fuckers are lazy as shit.


clymbrchk


Mar 4, 2013, 9:59 AM
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
I have been around long enough to witness rockclimbing.com go through many changes. Poo and trophies, the monkey, change in ownership, the vaginal logo, and long-time members dropping like flies. I have seen my own indifference towards the site cause me to spend less and less time here. Maybe I've outgrown it, but more likely it is that the site just isn't that interesting anymore. There are a precious few that try to invoke discussion and it seems that they are less and less every time I visit.

You know, it's funny that you say that. My husband and I were talking about it the other night, and I think that a few things have happened:

1. Climbing isnt fraught with complexity that can be discussed and explored from countless angles.

1A. There are only so many 'basic' concepts that can be discussed and explored in an online forum such as this. There arent thousands of variations on critical knots, for example, and it only costs a few bucks to purchase a book.

1B. A topic worthy of ongoing discussion would be routes, but the routes DB here isnt well-designed. The forums are the main attraction here at rc.com. Super Taco and MP have MUCH better route info.

1C. For a variety of reasons (clarity and safety among the top of the list), folks are more likely to seek out climbing technique type information in the offline world.


This relegates rc.com to a primarily social platform.

2. rc.com has failed to keep up with internet technologies and many of us have migrated to more rich/dynamic social media platforms.

3. Speaking for myself, the politics of the 'social scene' on this site are a bit complex for my simple mind.

Regarding the topic of discussion, I have no opinions on the merits of belaying a sport climber versus a trad climber.


jeepnphreak


Mar 4, 2013, 10:26 AM
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I think that there is three schools of thought here at least IMHO and observations.

The first being that true for the most part Trad climbers in general don’t push themselves to the same extent as sport climbers. Usually most people are willing whip on a bolt than a nut or cam.

Second I see younger climbers at the sport craigs and the average age of trad climbers is a bit older. For me I have been climbing 19 years and have lost the need to push hard 5.12s and such. I have become more content cruzeing multi pitch 5.easy trad.

Third I find it harder to fall in general trad climbing, just stick in my hands and feet and twist. The rocks hold me and I can hang out for a long time. Sport climbing I have to hold on to the rock and look for features that protrude I find it much harder to stay on the rock when I am holding on than when the rock is holding on to me.

So yes sport belayer defiantly get more catching practice.


marc801


Mar 4, 2013, 10:27 AM
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clymbrchk wrote:
2. rc.com has failed to keep up with internet technologies and many of us have migrated to more rich/dynamic social media platforms.

Please elaborate. Which technologies? Which other social media platforms and why?


clymbrchk wrote:
3. Speaking for myself, the politics of the 'social scene' on this site are a bit complex for my simple mind.
This is different than any other discussion forums how?


bearbreeder


Mar 4, 2013, 11:01 AM
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Every day i lead in the gym ill pitch off, by design if needed ... Over and over again

As will my partners

A good belayer needs to practice catching falls over and over again


JimTitt


Mar 4, 2013, 11:16 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
Every day i lead in the gym ill pitch off, by design if needed ... Over and over again

As will my partners

A good belayer needs to practice catching falls over and over again

I know my sport belayer is brilliant since I fall of a lot. On the other hand I donīt test my trad belayers skills so canīt give a view on his abilities.


hyhuu


Mar 4, 2013, 11:40 AM
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Sport belayers certainly catch more often but I don't know if that means they are better. In sport climbings, for the most part falls are relatively benign while falling on trad isn't. My partners have done great jobs catching me on both sport and trad.

The laziest belayers are on big wall because it takes forever to complete a pitch. Smile


blueeyedclimber


Mar 4, 2013, 11:55 AM
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clymbrchk wrote:
You know, it's funny that you say that. My husband and I were talking about it the other night, and I think that a few things have happened:

1. Climbing isnt fraught with complexity that can be discussed and explored from countless angles.

1A. There are only so many 'basic' concepts that can be discussed and explored in an online forum such as this. There arent thousands of variations on critical knots, for example, and it only costs a few bucks to purchase a book.

1B. A topic worthy of ongoing discussion would be routes, but the routes DB here isnt well-designed. The forums are the main attraction here at rc.com. Super Taco and MP have MUCH better route info.

1C. For a variety of reasons (clarity and safety among the top of the list), folks are more likely to seek out climbing technique type information in the offline world.


This relegates rc.com to a primarily social platform.

2. rc.com has failed to keep up with internet technologies and many of us have migrated to more rich/dynamic social media platforms.

3. Speaking for myself, the politics of the 'social scene' on this site are a bit complex for my simple mind.

Regarding the topic of discussion, I have no opinions on the merits of belaying a sport climber versus a trad climber.

This could be a separate thread, but if you think those are the reasons, then you haven't been paying attention. I am not talking 30 years ago, I'm talking 5-7. There were a lot more members who were not just more experienced, but actually took the time to create thoughtful and original posts. Creating a thread in itself is an art form, and there just doesn't seem to be any artists left.

In the hands of a creative writer, you don't necessarily need a new topic, just a new way to look at it Wink

Josh


njrox


Mar 4, 2013, 12:01 PM
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the more falls caught, the better a belayer - check

more falls when sport climbing vs trad climbing - check

Well, I'm one of the old school trad climbers andI...ah, fugg it. I hate falling. I'm scared to death of falling. I purposely lead the easiest climbs I can find to limit the chance I will fall.


olderic


Mar 4, 2013, 2:41 PM
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hyhuu wrote:
Sport belayers certainly catch more often but I don't know if that means they are better.


Bingo. The pure sport climber is undoubtably far superior is giving sport type catches (the almighty soft catch) in a pure sport climbing context. But will he:

run backwards to shorten the fall when required?
funcion well when he is on a hanging belay?
Keep the rope neatly stacked over his tie in?
Cope when the leader is out of sight?
Cope when the leader is out of earshot?
Cope when the leaeder ir out of sight, out of ear shot and just run out of rope and is pulling hard?
Cope in a"don't fall now or we'll both go" situation?
Cope in the dark, cold rain while all the above are happening?
Move in coils?
Escape the belay and rescue an inconscious leader?
Be a ceryitied WFA?
Belay with a munter?
Hip belay?
Contruct a 3:1?
etc.

When I want some one to belay me while shouting "allez - you got it bro" on some overbolted overgraded 50 foot shoss pile by all means I will look s for an experienced sport belayer.

When I want someone to go CLIMBING with I'll look for someone with trad experience.


DougMartin


Mar 4, 2013, 3:33 PM
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olderic wrote:
hyhuu wrote:
Sport belayers certainly catch more often but I don't know if that means they are better.


Bingo. The pure sport climber is undoubtably far superior is giving sport type catches (the almighty soft catch) in a pure sport climbing context. But will he:

run backwards to shorten the fall when required?
funcion well when he is on a hanging belay?
Keep the rope neatly stacked over his tie in?
Cope when the leader is out of sight?
Cope when the leader is out of earshot?
Cope when the leaeder ir out of sight, out of ear shot and just run out of rope and is pulling hard?
Cope in a"don't fall now or we'll both go" situation?
Cope in the dark, cold rain while all the above are happening?
Move in coils?
Escape the belay and rescue an inconscious leader?
Be a ceryitied WFA?
Belay with a munter?
Hip belay?
Contruct a 3:1?
etc.

When I want some one to belay me while shouting "allez - you got it bro" on some overbolted overgraded 50 foot shoss pile by all means I will look s for an experienced sport belayer.

When I want someone to go CLIMBING with I'll look for someone with trad experience.

Good Point, you most definitely need more knowledge to climb or belay trad, not much rope management needed in sport climbing!

That being said, the type of climbing involved does not make one a good belayer. The same skills that make a good sport belayer make a good trad belayer and vice-verse! Genre makes little or no impact on a climbers belay skills! Attention and technique however, matter greatly.


clymbrchk


Mar 4, 2013, 3:59 PM
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blueeyedclimber wrote:

This could be a separate thread, but if you think those are the reasons, then you haven't been paying attention. I am not talking 30 years ago, I'm talking 5-7. There were a lot more members who were not just more experienced, but actually took the time to create thoughtful and original posts. Creating a thread in itself is an art form, and there just doesn't seem to be any artists left.

Okay, I will definitely give you that I have not been paying attention. The points listed above were my best guess based on a 10-year(ish) absence (insert exasperated - I can't believe it's been that long) and my own myoptic view of the world.

Although, I do think the lack of anything remotely near Web 2.0 hurts the site as much as personal dynamics. And I suspect that the combination of those things (plus other factors that I missed) have made the site unappealing for the great muses that you invoke.

This world-wide-space has lots more outlets for the rock climbing scribes these days, and rc.com would fair much better if it were willing to compete for their virtual pens.


clymbrchk


Mar 4, 2013, 4:29 PM
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
Creating a thread in itself is an art form, and there just doesn't seem to be any artists left.

PS. I would also add that an engaging thread takes more than a single artist, lest it be a soliloquy.

Or a beautiful piece of prose lost to deaf ears.

As my husband might say, "you are speaking in a room where only you are present."


(This post was edited by clymbrchk on Mar 4, 2013, 4:32 PM)


blueeyedclimber


Mar 4, 2013, 4:57 PM
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olderic wrote:
hyhuu wrote:
Sport belayers certainly catch more often but I don't know if that means they are better.


Bingo. The pure sport climber is undoubtably far superior is giving sport type catches (the almighty soft catch) in a pure sport climbing context. But will he:

run backwards to shorten the fall when required?
funcion well when he is on a hanging belay?
Keep the rope neatly stacked over his tie in?
Cope when the leader is out of sight?
Cope when the leader is out of earshot?
Cope when the leaeder ir out of sight, out of ear shot and just run out of rope and is pulling hard?
Cope in a"don't fall now or we'll both go" situation?
Cope in the dark, cold rain while all the above are happening?
Move in coils?
Escape the belay and rescue an inconscious leader?
Be a ceryitied WFA?
Belay with a munter?
Hip belay?
Contruct a 3:1?
etc.

When I want some one to belay me while shouting "allez - you got it bro" on some overbolted overgraded 50 foot shoss pile by all means I will look s for an experienced sport belayer.

When I want someone to go CLIMBING with I'll look for someone with trad experience.

This is what I am looking for. Debate. Although I more or less side with you. My original bolded statement was only half of it, but I was trying to draw some people out first Tongue

But, when looking for a partner to go climbing, out of your most trusted belayers, does experience with sport climbing and catching falls factor in? I say that it's up there with the rest of the things you mentioned.

Josh


olderic


Mar 4, 2013, 6:21 PM
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
[

But, when looking for a partner to go climbing, out of your most trusted belayers, does experience with sport climbing and catching falls factor in? I say that it's up there with the rest of the things you mentioned.

Josh

I'm looking for a belayer who won't blow my cover
she's so hard to find.

I'd love to find someone who is experienced all around but I haven't. So I do tend to try and partner up with someone experienced and good at the venue involved - gym, sport, trad, alpine, ice..


edge


Mar 4, 2013, 6:45 PM
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I'm pretty much in agreement with Eric on all points.


olderic


Mar 4, 2013, 7:15 PM
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edge wrote:
I'm pretty much in agreement with Eric on all points.

Boring - I'll have to try a different rant...


camhead


Mar 5, 2013, 5:46 AM
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First off, OBVIOUSLY sport climbers are better belayers than trad climbers. Try to explain a "soft catch" to a traddie sometime.


More important...

clymbrchk wrote:

You know, it's funny that you say that. My husband and I were talking about it the other night, and I think that a few things have happened:

1. Climbing isnt fraught with complexity that can be discussed and explored from countless angles.

1A. There are only so many 'basic' concepts that can be discussed and explored in an online forum such as this. There arent thousands of variations on critical knots, for example, and it only costs a few bucks to purchase a book.

1B. A topic worthy of ongoing discussion would be routes, but the routes DB here isnt well-designed. The forums are the main attraction here at rc.com. Super Taco and MP have MUCH better route info.

1C. For a variety of reasons (clarity and safety among the top of the list), folks are more likely to seek out climbing technique type information in the offline world.

I disagree with this.

Go onto mountainproject.com, or supertopo, and they are both very lively places. Yes, the safety/gear/technical aspects of climbing are boring (and tend to mostly be populated by noob questions), but training, travel, and that abstract thing we call "climbing culture" are all very lively topics for online discussion. It's just that rc.com does not provide a good environment or platform for discussing these things.

In reply to:

2. rc.com has failed to keep up with internet technologies and many of us have migrated to more rich/dynamic social media platforms.

3. Speaking for myself, the politics of the 'social scene' on this site are a bit complex for my simple mind.

This is more the true cause. They might seem like little things, but a integration into other social media, decent search function, ability to embed videos, auto-linking features (rather than this stupid cc code), and even more informed and reasonable moderation all make internet discussion smoother and easier. This place has little to none of that.

For that reason, there is no social scene here any more, especially to folks like climbr_chk, blue eyed climber, and myself who remember "back in the day."


Partner cracklover


Mar 5, 2013, 7:32 AM
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camhead wrote:
This is more the true cause. They might seem like little things, but a integration into other social media, decent search function, ability to embed videos, auto-linking features (rather than this stupid cc code), and even more informed and reasonable moderation all make internet discussion smoother and easier. This place has little to none of that.

For that reason, there is no social scene here any more, especially to folks like climbr_chk, blue eyed climber, and myself who remember "back in the day."

Count me in that list, too.

And there you have the reason why I've taken up a seat in a dark corner of the <censored> thread. Some of the patrons are a little unsavory, but it's the only saloon left in town.

GO


lena_chita
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Mar 5, 2013, 7:54 AM
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
But, when looking for a partner to go climbing, out of your most trusted belayers, does experience with sport climbing and catching falls factor in?

As you yourself have mentioned in the beginning, every strong trad climber also does some sport climbing and/or bouldering.

My most-trusted partners are experienced. Not just experienced sport climbers, or experienced trad climbers, or experienced boulderers, but all of the above. They are experienced climbers.

I think what you are asking is, all things being equal, would a person who is equally experienced in sport and trad climbing rather take an experienced sport belayer as their newbie trad belayer on a hard multi-pitch gear climb, or would he rather take an exclusive traddie to belay him on a hard sport climb.

And in that case, I think the answer is, both are not optimal. In both cases that belayer will need additional instruction.

A sport belayer might need to learn to belay with double ropes on an ATC, and learn how to stack ropes, manage a hanging belay, etc. etc., while a traddie belayer who never caught a leader fall might need to learn how to give a soft catch, how to quickly give out rope, etc. etc.

I do think that teaching a good sport belayer the additional skills needed for multi-pitch climbing will take less time than getting the traddie belayer to the 1000-fall experience level.


Partner macherry


Mar 5, 2013, 8:10 AM
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cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
This is more the true cause. They might seem like little things, but a integration into other social media, decent search function, ability to embed videos, auto-linking features (rather than this stupid cc code), and even more informed and reasonable moderation all make internet discussion smoother and easier. This place has little to none of that.

For that reason, there is no social scene here any more, especially to folks like climbr_chk, blue eyed climber, and myself who remember "back in the day."

Count me in that list, too.

And there you have the reason why I've taken up a seat in a dark corner of the <censored> thread. Some of the patrons are a little unsavory, but it's the only saloon left in town.

GO

yup

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