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iamthewallress


Jun 20, 2003, 12:05 PM
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Women's FAs
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From dirtineye in the dirt barbie thread...

In reply to:
"IF you think leading a route is good, you need to try an FA. A 5.6 FA is better than a 5.10 repeat.

Don't you female climbers want to have a special place mostly done by women? Isn't it about time Normal CLimbing Women showed the world that you don't have to be in a climbing mag to go out and put up a route?

This is a chance to be a part of climbing history. Why witness history when you can make it? Come on you dirty dirt barbies, sign up today! If you are too far away to drive to Tennessee, start your own area DIRT BARBIE project!"

This is the kind of post that makes me want to yell yee-haw right here in my little glass office! The idea of a girl crag is an inspiring one, although in some way it feels mythical, like a crag established by a tribe of 6'2" single breasted amazonian huntresses or something... These sorts of things tht would seem contrived because they would almost necessarily have to happen by design for women always seems strange when you consider how many crags have only all-mens FAs on them!

I posted my list of women's firsts for Yosemite big walls on another thread. I really do find an extra level of inspiration in repeating a woman's FA or a route that was in some other way significant to woman's climbing history. Does anyone else motivate themselves with this sort of thing?

Theres a route that I found in the old Roper Guide called "Royal Arches Traverse". It's a 5.3 that was established by 3 women in the 1930's. I love imagining what it took to get three chicks loaded up in the horseless carriage with their ropes and iron to go do an FA in the Valley in the '30s. If anyone ever wants to check this route out with me, send me a PM.


angelaa


Jun 20, 2003, 12:42 PM
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I guess I see your point . . . I kinda do the same thing with Conn Routes in the Black Hills. .
Herb and Jan Conn did FA's all over that place. . . in a time when women just 'shouldn't' climb!

I think of their abilities and their gear at the time. . . and I am flabbergasted!
I guess it is mostly b/c Jan followed (did she lead? I don't know for sure,
but I would think so) Herb almost every climb he did. . . and a few all women ascents of her own. .

I am really hoping to get to the FA point myself . . I know I have that level of adventure in me . . . just need to get good enough to get myself out of a jam. . . . . there are some in Wyoming that I have been eyeing! unfortunately I have my BIG climbing trips planned until 2005, so it will be awhile before I get there. (hope they are still FA's by then)

wish me luck


indigo_nite


Jun 27, 2003, 11:11 AM
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was pretty inspired by watching the Yosemite movie, Vertical Frontiers, and hearing the stories of the wall FA's and speed ascents. always inspired by Lynn Hill's free climb of the Nose (only recently occurred that she musta led all the pitches).

as a leader, I'm working the grades Slowly (really Slowly). intellectually, I feel that if I can start leading 10's with stability in a couple years, then I should be able to do a 5.8 FA around then. also, if I'm dedicated enough to be an old-timer climber, it would be nice to help out now and then in the rebolting... those are my long-term hopes.

also inspired by the Bev Johnson FA girl team (forgot the route but I think that's a cool idea). next time I plan to get to Yosemite, I'll send a pm to see if there's anything cool to climb together. one day, I would love to name a route...


fern


Jul 12, 2003, 9:29 PM
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I met a fellow making a bouldering film once who told me about this "Barbie Boulder" that he wanted to get a bunch of girls to come and scrub (this is Squamish where all classics were originally a foot under the moss). I guess the idea was to have a sped-up sequence in the film of these girls unearthing a bunch of new problems and working them out. I don't know whatever came of that idea, or if he finished his film. On the one hand I thought it was sortof amusing and would work well in a film, but on the other hand I though it was a bit contrived and lame.


dirtineye


Jul 13, 2003, 4:56 AM
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This sort of thing is only contrived and lame because NOT ENOUGH WOMEN take it upon themselves for whatever reason to get out and do FAs. IF there were a large number of FA women, you wouldn't have threads like Ladies lets lead, or the dirt barbie thread.

So what do you suggest, that women not get together and do an FA fest because you think it is a contrived lameosity? I guess you think following the bolted chalk highways is not lame then. It's easy to decry efforts to get more women into lead climbing and FAing, it's hard to actually lead trad or do FAs.


BUT, a semi famed FA friend here is the south would tell you, not many people period do FAs. So it's not only a lack of women FA-ists, it's a lack of general interest in adventure by men and women. IF you think of climbing as adventure, then it's only normal to want to do FAs. There just are not many adventure climbers in the world of either sex.


I'm glad someone pointed out the Conn's activity in the needles. They wore tight keds for climbing shoes, or so I've been told by a friend who met them about 16 years ago. Tied the rope around their waists. At age 60 Herb Conn could do 10 pullups by pinching a couple of rafters. My pal saw him do it LOL.


fern


Jul 13, 2003, 1:18 PM
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perhaps you misunderstand. I think the contrivance and lameness comes because for the film sequence I mention the whole thing is a setup, planned by a filmmaker who had already chosen the boulder and already chosen who would be there to work it. If it was a documentary type film following some girls searching for their own boulders to scrub and send then my opinion would be different.

I disagree with you on the following point:

"It's easy to decry efforts to get more women into lead climbing and FAing, it's hard to actually lead trad or do FAs. "

It isn't hard to lead or do FAs. I have done it and I am as far from being a superstar magazine climber as they come. You can lead on gear at any level you like, there's no entrance requirement. And the tricky part of doing FAs is finding an appealing line that no-one else has done yet, but a few hours in the library looking at alpine journals and photos will help you, or just get a scrub brush and some webbing and go exploring on rappel at your local crag. To say that more women don't lead or FA because it is hard seems to me a weak excuse. I think it just doesn't occur to them to really try. And even if it is hard, so what? Women can't work hard? gimme a break! Any woman who has stepped out and tied into her first top-rope has already proven herself more burly and hardcore than probably 80% of the population. The extra steps to leading sport/trad/aid/ice/etc. and the steps beyond to expeditions and new routes are tiny in comparison to the big one that got you hooked into climbing in the first place.

I recognize that not everyone wants to or even should be leading and new-routing and all that. Whatever makes it the most fun is the way to go. But it's not hard ... really it's not. You just have to be careful to be safe.

This is just my opinions and not very important, I don't want to argue about them. Have a nice day.


dirtineye


Jul 13, 2003, 4:27 PM
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It is hard, otherwise there would be a LOT more first ascentionists pf bothe sexes. HEY if trad is so easy, how come so few people do it, compared to gym climbing sport climbing and bouldering?

Most people don't want to do anything but drive up to the crag, walk about 50 feet if that and start clipping bolts. If one would have to walk a mile to get to the climbing, the traffic at that crag woudl be considerably less. Mkae it uphill and it wil be even less. Make it a bushwhack adn even less....


IF yoiu had to actually clean the climbs a la FA mode most people would not bother, they woudl go to the gym.


Trad climbing is way harder. IT's more work. FA is even more work cause most of the time there is cleaning involved.

AGAIN my point is, it's not just harder for women, it's harder for everybody.

As for an entrance requirement, I guesss not. There is however a pricey exit requirement. YOu have to be good enough not to kill yourself.

Not really arguing wiht you fern, I'm in a bad mood, was around this group this weekend that thought everythign should be done for them, that everythign was ok even if it was unsafe, they coulnd't build an anchor without a tree or BIG rock, heck why didn't they jsut stay in the gym or go sport Clmbing. And I saw NOBODY leading trad all weekend, they were all top roping.


dirtineye


Jul 13, 2003, 7:17 PM
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Yeha well, If you think following a chalk path is adventure, go for it. It's a hollow argument, just like saying crossing the street is an adventure for some, but hey, make it.


katydid


Jul 14, 2003, 5:25 AM
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Not every route that isn't an FA is simply "a path of chalk marks." And not every FA is worth climbing a second time. For example (from Alan Watts' Climber's Guide to Smith Rock): SCABIES 5.8X (Gear to 3 inches) Avoid this diseased climb at all costs ... stagger up rotten, poorly-protected rock for two sickening pitches.

Sure. Somebody had to climb it to find out how crappy it was, but that doesn't make it a worthwhile climb. I'd be willing to guess it wasn't even personally fulfilling, other than the FA-ists knowing they weren't dead at the end of the day.

Me, I was the second on an FA my eighth or ninth time climbing outside. Now maybe I haven't done enough climbing in general to truly appreciate what was going on (or maybe it was because I was just cleaning the gear, not trying to hang on to lichen-encrusted rock while placing the damn stuff), but the lichen seemed to be the only appreciable difference between putting up a new line and climbing an old one. Okay, that and not being exactly sure what the route went at until getting to the crux and realizing that it was a little tougher than it looked from the ground.

Yes. It's very neat to have your name in a guidebook (it's fun to see your friends' names in there, too). It's really fun to come up with a name for the route. I have every intention of leading FA's at some point or other, when the opportunity arises, because it's one more thing for me to climb. I'm not trying to poop anyone's party, here, but as far as doing it for the thrill, a sheer drop hundreds of feet to the deck or a long runout on a trad line with manky gear seems a much bigger adrenaline rush to me than knowing my partner and I were there first.

People find adventure where they want to. For some people, toproping's as much adventure as they want to get. Fine for them. Personally, I don't find climbing any more or less adventurous whether someone else put up the route first or I was the one to do it (other than discovering the only decent hold for miles is buried in lichen or trying to avoid rockfall while anchored to a tree ... that's a bit tricky). Either way, when I climb it, I'm the one placing the gear and making the safety decisions. I'm the one taking the risks.

For those of you who ARE hardcore first ascensionists, without using the word "adventure", which means different things to different people, what is it that draws you to putting up FA's? Is it succeeding at something others have failed at, if you do hard stuff? Is it knowing that you've left something for posterity? Is it getting your name in the guidebook/taking "ownership" of the route?

Curiosity killed the cat.

k.


dirtineye


Jul 14, 2003, 5:34 AM
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That's elitist PIG to you.

You said a first climb is an adventure along with crossing the street in a wya. That includes calling a chalk highway an adventure.

I naver said a thing about talking up your FAs, you are bringing that in. Do your FAs in silence and keep quiet if you like, but I've seen several women express the desire on this board to do an FA and have their name on a route. In fact, this thread was started by a woman, who admires other FA-ists, particularly the female kind. The point was made that you don't hvae to be the greatest climber around to do an FA, and that is right.

I've stated that a 5.6 FA is better than a 5.10 repeat, and that is a quote from a pretty serious climber. IF you don't agree, fine.

Really, you are puting words into my mouth. It should be clear that FAs are not for everyone. There is nothing terribly elite about climbing or doing FAs, on the contrary, unlike in your (elite) mountains, in the foot hills FAs tend to take a lot of housekeeping such as gardneing, a lot of animal management (frogs, bees, bats, flying ssuirrels, snakes), and a lot of time, maybe three days for 200 feet if the route is nasty enough.

So, Gardener, zoo keeper, plodder, those are a few FA-ist attributes to keep in mind.

On the other hand, There is something about an FA that you can't get on other climbs. You know this. It is also clearly a matter of opinion, like saying chocolate is better than vanilla. IF I say chocolate is way better than vanilla and you say I am demeaning the acomplishments of all the vanilla eaters, well, OK. I'm a chocolate loving FA loving eliteist pig then.

OINK.



How about going back to encouraging more FAs by women now?


angelaa


Jul 14, 2003, 8:43 AM
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In reply to:
it's a lack of general interest in adventure by men and women. IF you think of climbing as adventure, then it's only normal to want to do FAs. There just are not many adventure climbers in the world of either sex.


I'm glad someone pointed out the Conn's activity in the needles. They wore tight keds for climbing shoes, or so I've been told by a friend who met them about 16 years ago. Tied the rope around their waists. At age 60 Herb Conn could do 10 pullups by pinching a couple of rafters. My pal saw him do it LOL.

I agree with dirtineye completely . . . it seems todays generation of climbers have lost their sense of adventure.
[indigo]Adventure was the original reason to climb! [/indigo]
It wasn't about how good you looked doing it, or who's name was in a magazine, it was all about adventure. I really think that has been lost to 99% of climbers. If they were only interested in the history of climbing they would see it has much more to offer than just a 'SCENE'. A lot of female (and male) climbers think climbing is hip, a fashion show and a social activity. If you look at history, climbing was full of misfits who knew how to have a good time. . . go out in the wilderness and get the pants scared off them. That is why I admire the Conns so much, they were pioneers, and the stuff they climbed had (and many still do) a wonderful sense of adventure. . . and that is what makes this a great sport.


alpnclmbr1


Jul 14, 2003, 10:38 AM
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Many people do FAís for the ego boost in being able to claim that they have done an FA. This is not adventure. Equating adventure to gardening is quite a stretch, I notice that you always think that everyone should do what you do and they are wankers if they donít.

The reason there are not as many female FAís as compared to men is because we live in a male dominated patriarchal society that does everything in itís power to discourage women from pursuing goals that threaten the masculinity of the power elite.

In her prime Lynne Hill was one of the 5 best climbers in the world. Considering the disparity in the number of women pursuing climbing compared to men, that is saying a lot.

Adventure comes from the heart and soul. Being willing to venture into unknown territory has all kinds of variations and possible ways of accomplishing that.

For some it will mean leading a sport route, for some it will mean climbing in the mountains. How you go about it is meaningless, the point of it is to expand the range of your own capabilities, to step out of your comfort zone. Do the thing you donít think you can do, for me this is the definition of adventure.

Gym climbing is the antithesis of adventure. My preferred form of adventure is to do multi-pitch trad with no fixed gear in the mountains with no one around to bail you out if you get in trouble. First, second, third makes no difference here, it is all the same and for all you know it may be an FA.



About the Conns, they had a practice of downclimbing all their routes and considered it incomplete if they did not do that.


iamthewallress


Jul 14, 2003, 11:13 AM
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In reply to:
What is it that draws you to putting up FA's?

Where I climb, as is the case in many places, there are long lines for the well-protected moderates. Like many, I complained about this alot. It seemed that the people putting up routes weren't interested in spending much time establishing moderates, and that many of the moderates that they did establish were too poorly protected to be reasonable for someone who was maxing at that level. So, I decided that once I had enough experience to start trying to do a few myself, I would.

Unfortunately, I haven't done any routes worth sharing a topo for yet (unless you like short, dirty routes), but it is fun to start looking around for potential new lines on the rock instead of on th page.

It's also fun to try to do climbs with my boyfriend that are at my level that he hasn't already done a zillion times. Even the topoed climbs are a big adventure of discovery for me (judging by the frequency w/ which I get lost), but when I am with him if he's already been there some of that disappears. It's nice to go somewhere brand new for both of us where neither of us knows exactly what is going to happen.

These reasons explain some of the appeal to me. Still, what I like best is climbing of any stripe, and I get to do a lot more of it on established routes. Some folks prefer to FA all or most of the time. I'm not sure that will ever be me, because I do like the aesthetics of getting in a crack that I know contiues for many pitches, and just going, going, going...


dirtineye


Jul 14, 2003, 8:52 PM
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In reply to:
Many people do FAís for the ego boost in being able to claim that they have done an FA. This is not adventure. Equating adventure to gardening is quite a stretch, I notice that you always think that everyone should do what you do and they are wankers if they donít.

I notice that you make a habit of following my posts around and trying to provoke me, and in doing so you make a lot of rediculous statements and that others have commented on your efforts in much more telling fashion than I wish to bother with.

You are killfiled, say all you want. Hope you enjoy making a fool out of yourself this time as much as you did last time.

Sorry for the incovenience folks.


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