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The Perfect TR (not a TR)
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jeffers_mz


Sep 11, 2003, 8:30 AM
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The Perfect TR (not a TR)
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For me the perfect TR is a long one, one that pulls me in and takes me out there when I can't be out there. There are lots of ways to do that.

Pictures stand first on my list. Right there in the TR, big enough to see but small enough to load fast, with the fullscreen, high res, high exposure, you-are-there version one click and 0.000043 nanoseconds away. (you listening, Admins....wanna put the rags out of business?)

Humanity is a priority for me too. I want more than a topo and some beta. What you were thinking, how you were managing risk, tradeoffs and balances and more importantly why you went the way you did, lore, old timer tricks that make hard work into flash, stuff like that.

Post action revelry, the contrast between "out there" and the amazement of central HVAC and thick carpet under your feet during midnight sojourns or magma burns from post summit pizza cheese, victory and reward are high on my list too.

Extreme is always good. Weather, exposure, altitude, isolation, difficulty, on and on, but chopees score negative points. Too extreme belongs in "Injuries and Accidents" and I make sure my head's where it should be before I catch up in there, not the same as reading TR's at all.

In short, take me there. I want to feel it, see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, live it. I get out when I can, but my kids deserve more than a dirtbag dad, so the rest of the time, it's all about you, baby! I'm stuck behind this damn desk and you're out there so I want to shamelessy leach your buzz. Sue me.

That's what does it for me, what about the rest of you? What makes a TR a classic for you?


epic_ed


Sep 11, 2003, 8:52 AM
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I know what you mean. But then again, I am the king of long, verbose TRs. The only problems with the good ones is finding time to read them. I've started reading Travis's and the new one from Brutus several times, but always get torn away for something else. Like, uh -- oh I dunno -- work? I'm sure I'll be able to slck off soon enough to catch their entire post. Nothing like a well written adventure.

Ed


welshcorgi


Sep 11, 2003, 8:57 AM
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I personally have not tried to read many of them, as they all seem too long and a few that I tried to read have not been terribly well written. Which ones would either of you, or anyone else, recommend as being excellent??? Thanks for saving me some time endlessly surfing all of the TRs. :)


dingus


Sep 11, 2003, 9:03 AM
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Nice topic, one I hold dear...

How about a slant on the classic climbing TR plot? It's usually "we planned, we traveled, we hiked, we climbed, we epiced, we hiked out (or were rescued), we drove home, we drank heavily and debriefed." Wow. You don't say? That is SO UNUSUAL (NOT!).

I once read a TR written by someone's finger. Duh, you might say. It was written by his finger ABOUT his finger's point of view of a climb. Pretty original.

I too like the epic tale, as long as its well written.

I like a TR that focuses on some human dynamic... partner angst, bodily functions, the spirit world, substance abuse, injuries and other altered states, personal achievement, what have you... a story line that focuses primarily on something human, using climbing as a back drop.

Funny is always good, though sometimes hard to come by.

What is not terribly interesting is the 20th TR this year on Cathedral Peak or Nutcracker or Royal Arches or ... its cool that people write them, don't get me wrong. And you hae to start writing somewhere (kind of like learning climbing... how about a TR that includes learning to write a TR as you learn to climb the cliff??? Huh? How about THAT?) But they have a rather limited appeal to someone who has climbed the peak or route more times than he has read TR's about climbing them.

A few ideas just waiting to be fleshed out:

1. Tell a climbing TR with no climbing at all... of just a few lines mentioning the climbing, but focus the TR entirely on something else

2. A TR about sounds

3. A TR without sound (use your imagination)

4. A food TR - I started one once but ya kinda need to be a decent cook to write this one!

5. TR's about life changing events

6. A descriptive flourish TR - read some of John Muir's writings to understand this... then describe the flowers and the shapes of the rocks in the romantic language of yesteryear (just don't make a habit of it... MUir is HARD to read!)

7. Mental states - excitement, foreboding, anxiety, terror, boredom, accomplishment... and that was just getting out of the car! You know what I mean... take the time to really flesh out your feelings. Pick one of them and plumb the depths of your despair!

8. POSS - Pursuit Of Something Stupid: these almost always make a great TR... pick a stupid objective and then pursue it with the fervor of a zealot. Then write it up exactly as you did it... these sorts of TR's are usually very interesting because of, well, stupid objectives are always interesting. Remember the TR of the guy climbing the bridge abuttment in Minnesota (Climbing mag, don't remember which) with a boat anchor and assorted gadgets for pro? POSS incarnate! The TR was hilarious and yet gripping in its own way.

9. Try to avoid blow by blow descriptions and don't assume others will use your TR as the primary beta sourse. So don't feel compelled to give approach directions, mileage and other things which, HEY! belong in a guide book, not TR. You need not give any real clues to the climbing at all. In fact it seems as though the best TR's give you very little in this department.

10. (flak jacket on) - Are ALL your lies true? If they are, be sure to include some of them in your TR's. True lies always make for a better TR. If you're writing about your friends and you're worried about that, may I suggest an alias?

11. A TR about partner troubles... evil thoughts, misconstrued words, veiled emotions, outright tantrums, how about the time you were so mad at your partner you worked yourself into a frenzy in anticipation of the confrontation, but when you tried, she smiled at you and your anger evaoprated like a wisp of steam? There has gotta be a TR in that! GOTTA BE!

I don't think there are perfect TR's, but some are more perfect than others!

In terms of writing like this, I can only offer my perspective. I like to think about the TR for a number of days (or weeks, or months, rarely years though, I don't care all that much for retro-written TR's). During that time I'll begin to have some ideas about slant... how I'll write it, what the theme might be. This usually changes several times and might change again after I start typing.

Some TR's write themselves in one pass with a simple edit (that includes a lot of practice on my part, don't try this at home), others require 2 or 3 rewrites to get rid of the awkward sentences and harsh sounding words. Lots of little things to catch, but it can't be over-emppasized.... EDIT YOUR WORK!

Better yet, get an intelligent and willing friend (if you have any) to proof your work (and learn to set aside your ego before you hand the document over or you will react negatively when your friend tells you your baby is ugly... guess what? Your baby is ugly. That's why you wanted it looked at in the first place!)

Enough of my rambling. I have a TR to write!

DMT


silkyerm


Sep 11, 2003, 9:03 AM
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Wow! It is amazing how confusing the origional post is when you read it thinking that TR stands for Top Rope :? . I really thought you must be smokin' dope or something. Besides, no Top Rope climb could possibly inspire a person to that degree. :wink:


dingus


Sep 11, 2003, 9:05 AM
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I've started reading Travis's and the new one from Brutus several times, but always get torn away for something else. Like, uh -- oh I dunno -- work?Ed

Print em out, read em on the terlit or some other place where you don't be distracted.

DMT


epic_ed


Sep 11, 2003, 9:06 AM
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I personally have not tried to read many of them, as they all seem too long and a few that I tried to read have not been terribly well written. Which ones would either of you, or anyone else, recommend as being excellent??? Thanks for saving me some time endlessly surfing all of the TRs. :)

Anything by Brutus or Dingus is a good place to start. If they're long, they're usually well worth the read. These two often write great short TRs, as well.

Ed


epic_ed


Sep 11, 2003, 9:09 AM
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I've started reading Travis's and the new one from Brutus several times, but always get torn away for something else. Like, uh -- oh I dunno -- work?Ed

Print em out, read em on the terlit or some other place where you don't be distracted.

DMT

Huh. Speak of the devil! Print them out, huh? Not a bad idea. Now all I need is some really soft printer paper so I can make dual use out of the bad ones. A roll of Pete's TRs oughta last about a week or so. :P

Ed


Partner camhead


Sep 11, 2003, 9:34 AM
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TR stands for toprope, right? okay, gotcha.


jeffers_mz


Sep 11, 2003, 9:38 AM
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I know what you mean. But then again, I am the king of long, verbose TRs. The only problems with the good ones is finding time to read them. I've started reading Travis's and the new one from Brutus several times, but always get torn away for something else. Like, uh -- oh I dunno -- work? I'm sure I'll be able to slck off soon enough to catch their entire post. Nothing like a well written adventure.

Ed

Exact opposite for me. I like the ones posted here, just want more of them. Seems like only one or two go up a day leaving me with several hours of no choice but to actually produce something.

Ordinarily I'd reply with a thumbs up to all the ones I've seen here but that looks like you're just trying to get your post count up, and if you just mention a few, it's like dissin the ones you didn't post to, when that's not really your reaction.

Anyone else run into this?

Hmmm maybe we could rate them....heh....reading difficulty, run-out factor, and subjective risk.


welshcorgi


Sep 11, 2003, 11:00 AM
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Well, I just read the first several TRs during lunch and I must admit that not many kept me going for very long. I did find myself tearing up a bit about the one with the father/daughter; I wish my dad had been around more when I was growing up. Also the article on El Cap was very nice too.

I will try to peruse them a little more closely now for these hidden gems.


crotch


Sep 11, 2003, 11:14 AM
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10. (flak jacket on) - Are ALL your lies true? If they are, be sure to include some of them in your TR's. True lies always make for a better TR.

I'm not sure what you mean by "true lies"? Can you elaborate for the mentally retarded out here behind the screens? Thx.

In reply to:
Enough of my rambling. I have a TR to write!

I look forward to it.


Partner philbox
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Sep 11, 2003, 6:33 PM
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I`ve gotta go with the pictures being planted within the text. I love a mental picture being painted within my skull but when an actual picture goes along with the text of a TR then I can be transported right alongside the writer.

I do adore the mental side i/e what is going on inside someones mind. Exploring the psych is where I get my jollys. I want to know what you are thinking when you are doing x. I guess it comes down to me vicariously climbing with you.


tenn_dawg


Sep 11, 2003, 7:35 PM
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Dingus,

It's funny you mention tying in something outside the TR, and telling stories about your friends in the same post.

My crummy "Eye of the Tiger" TR got my ass CHEWED OUT, by the young lady involved in it. She read it and got MAD that in mentioned the stuff about our failed relationship, as well as how bad her condition was in the cave.

I thought that really added a touch of reality at the attempted climax. I think Pete was the only person that noticed though, as anything to do with girls can't slip past his radar.

My ears are still ringing, and I don't even DARE mentioning it around her anymore.

She wanted me to change it, but I wholeheartedly refused. A man's gotta have SOME principles.

Hahaha

Travis


dingus


Sep 18, 2003, 4:27 PM
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10. (flak jacket on) - Are ALL your lies true? If they are, be sure to include some of them in your TR's. True lies always make for a better TR.

I'm not sure what you mean by "true lies"? Can you elaborate for the mentally retarded out here behind the screens? Thx.

I needed to think about this for a while, as the notion is quite clear in my soul but sort of foggy when it comes to words. This is not an easy thing to encapsulate and after rereading this, I've failed, but I'm gonna hit the send button anyway to see if someone else can say it better.

Climbing can be a moving experience of epic proportion. It can have a profound impact on our emotions and lives. And our climbing encompasses these experiences, becomes these experiences. We learn important lessons about ourselves, our friends, humanity. How can we capture the essense of some of these profound emotions in our writing? For there is the heart of the matter to many.

When you tell your TR tales... I encourage you to remember from whence our forebears came. Generation after generation, down through the ages, father to son, mother to daughter, elders to children, humans sat around campfires and told the tales of the lessons of life.

Their tales of myth and legend, their fables, became the accumulation of wisdom our species gained through communication. They are the very fabric of language. Events happened and were told time and time again, over and over, by all sorts of people, till over time the stories' coherence emerged from the chaos of creation. The individual details hazed into the mist and the greater truth of humanity emerged. These fables, the fireside tales, became larger than life and their lessons demonstrated a greater truth of humanity.

We humans love a good fire side story. It's in our bones. It's how we learned to communicate, both then and now. And we like our fire side chats to contain some of that myth and fable, for we know instinctively, we need it as surely as we need water and air. We are less human without it.

We like our fables and mythologies to contain epic tales of heros and devils, dragons and death. We like to see good triumph over evil and we like it when the good guys go home at the end and live happily ever after. We all boo together at every appearence of the bad guy and wish for her demise at the earliest convenience. We all tense together at the climax, and lean in toward the fire light. We watch the light in the Story Teller's eyes, we see the look on his face, we hear the words, his emotions... and we are all spell bound, swept up together in the magic of the night.

Climbing has that ingredient of fable to it. It contains truths that are greater than the sum of the parts. It holds the epic tales. There are heros aplenty. Ulysses would make a great Wall Climber, the odyssey a great TR! We have our tragedies and comedies too. To climb or not to climb, that is the question.

But to keep it simple, I believe TR's are best told around the camp fire. I think that's the best frame of mine from which to write them. Write them like you'd tell them. Tell them like our forefathers did. Jump around, make shadows and faces. And put some of those True Lies in there.

DMT


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