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Slouppi • View topic - Bold Traditional Routes: Not accepted in Finland?

Slouppi

Rock climbing and Bouldering in Finland
It is currently Thu Sep 20, 2018 14:51

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 Post subject: Bold Traditional Routes: Not accepted in Finland?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 18:17 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 02:00
Posts: 75
Recently, it has become clear to me that there is a growing trend away from bold trad routes (whether easy or hard), even to point were such routes are considered open targets for retro-bolting (Käkimassaa at Jaanankallio, for example).

While I am not suggesting that crags should be full of such routes, isn't there enough room in most crags to accommodate 1-2 of these lines? Even if these routes are rarely onsighted I find it hard to believe in a nation of top-ropes that no-one enjoys the challenge of Headpointing routes (that is practicing the moves on a top-rope before going for the lead, the trad equivalent of redpointing).

In Britain certain climbers spend pretty much of there life’s headpointing trad routes. And these bold routes don’t necessary have to be hard (I am living proof of that), e.g. there are many bold 4's and 5's graded routes. Of course, in Britain there is a tradition of trad climbing and also there is a grading system that reflects the seriousness of a route. That said, bold trad routes are not only climbed for tradition’s sake or for the grade, but also for the mental challenge. I believe that this mental challenge is one of the key attractions of climbing, without it we are left with mostly ‘gym training’ type climbing: climbing in a safe environment where grades and the number of laps one can do on a route is the target.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy Sports Climbing and Bouldering just as much as I enjoy onsighting trad climbing and headpointing. But I feel that later two are being increasing marginalized by a recent drive to transfer the safety and convenience of the indoor wall to outside crags. There seems no room in people’s minds for traditional routes that are not instantly protectable and ‘safe’.

This attitude is particularly strong in the medium to lower grades, i.e. 6+ and below. I get the feeling that hard bold trad routes are O.K, but easier ones are not. Isn’t this a bit elitist? Cannot a climber operating in 5’s and 6’s enjoy the mental challenge of a bold trad route?

Is there no-one else in Finland that enjoys conquering, both mentally and physically, a bold route (whatever the grade)? Or should we allow all current and future bold trad routes to be bolted?

Cheers,

Jody


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 18:48 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 02:00
Posts: 368
Hey!

I think reason for bolting is that (in my opinion) if a trad route which offers nice moves and good quality climbing might be climbed only too rarely if it is too serious. Most climbers climb between 5-7 grades of techical difficulty ( I do not mean british tech.diff.). So, in other words if somebody trains for example a climb with difficulty of 6+ or 7- and finally manages to climb that with serious potential to hurt himself, (s)he might be so happy after climb that (s)he never wants to do that again. So the climb can be top roped but it sees not too many leads, maybe once in 5 years or so..

This is just my opinion, I have seen that happen, but if the climb would be bolted in a way which eliminates the most serious consequences, like a groundfall from from the crux in 10m because there is no pro, I would prefer to bolt it. And I do not mean a sporty bolt ladder, just maybe one bolt, to keep the natural selection from working too effeciently.

Mikko


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 21:04 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 02:00
Posts: 75
I argee that routes with no protection at all may deserve a bolt, but again its upto ths first ascentist. I dont agree that all good lines need loads of ascents, just enough to keep them clean (something top roping will do). Part of the thrill of doing a bold route is that you know you cannot do it everyday. Sometimes carefull thought and practice are needed, making the eventual succes (or even failure) mean that much more. It is similar to redpointing a sports route, but while trad headpointing may not be physically hard it is mentally challenging. There is no rule that says Trad climbs have to be safe. Even your argument about avoiding a groundfall while seeming sensible means 1. climbers are not responsible for their own actions 2. 'we' should lower climbs to the abilities of the climber.

There are loads of climbs out there which are too hard and bold for me ever to climb without resulting in serrious injury, that does'nt mean I want them all bolted.

I guess what I mean is that deciding if a route should or should not be bolted is a balancing act. My issue is that it has tipped too much to the pro-bolting side. Take Kantti at Olhava, a classic route that represents the right balance between safe and bold. If it had been bolted in 2007 however I fear it would have twice as many bolts, ensuring no doubt that it gets twice as many ascents.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:32 
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 02:00
Posts: 368
Welcome next summer to kymenlaakso to climb some high quality sparsely bolted or trad headpoints, they do exist in Finland too.

If you want you can pm me and I will tell more.

Mikko


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:28 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 02:00
Posts: 75
Thanks, I have pm you.

I understand that there are some new bold trad line in Finland, around Kustavi especially. However, I can see this idea that all routes in Finland should be safe and convenient is growing. It my eyes this trend will result in Finnish climbing becoming increasingly bland, unadventurous, and uninspiring. Of course, I am willing to accept that I am the only one in Finland with this view point.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:56 
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 02:00
Posts: 264
you are not alone, i'm sure toby will back you up.. if my memory serves me right we had a pretty heated conversation few years back regarding the same subject. i still think that the 1st ascent defines how a route should remain. retrobolting is wrong and gives bad karma.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:33 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 02:00
Posts: 335
Location: Hki/Tku
I should not write anything under this topic, but...

You are right Toby. There should be also these bold lines. If all the lines would be bolted "safely", a good climber can easily (and fast) onsight all the "easy" lines in one typical small finnish rockwall (or all routes in Finland..). (Mental) challenge has to remain to keep up the good motivation. If all the lines would be safe, climbing would lose adventurous side of this "sport". For many of us, climbing is some kind of adventure. By climbing bold routes, you will learn something really important, like trusting your skills, and getting some mental strenght. These skills can be really important indeed, if you like to climb (long) new routes onsight like in the mountains. For many adventurous outings you can´t "train" climbing by safely bolted routes. Of course it helps if you are able to climb like 8a sport climbs, but if you don´t have the mental strenght to climb that runout 5a-6a "deathfall" pitch in the mountains, you can´t climb the route.

And.. One good and inspiring (bold) route is better than 100 blame average routes, if you manage to climb the route. :)

This topic has been discussed many times, and it looks like every now and then comes new generation of climbers who wants to bolt every route, because they have used to climb with these dopey bolts (inside). That is why retrobolting sucks, because (almost) every line should remain like it was when first climbed.

And you can always climb routes with toprope if you are too afraid to lead them. There is nothing wrong with that. blaablaablaa, there are and will be a lot of different aspects and opinions about bolting the routes. etc etc etc etc .... Peace. Just climb the routes onsight, toprope, solo, trad, sport, aid, cruise, grunt, fast, slow, ice, snow, rock, boulder, team, alone, with friends, babies, loved ones, new friends, in finland, abroad, have a picnic or an epic etc etc etc... just climb.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 14:24 
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 02:00
Posts: 264
Pauli wrote:
Of course it helps if you are able to climb like 8a sport climbs, but if you don´t have the mental strenght to climb that runout 5a-6a "deathfall" pitch in the mountains, you can´t climb the route.


well, then you need to walk it up .. heh.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 15:02 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 02:00
Posts: 75
Good points Pauli.

I sure Toby would back me up (although his sense of adventure completely overshadows mine, e.g. moss lined, dark, and damp chimneys :) ) and I understand that this topic has been discussed over and over, but there still would seems to be too little consensus and too much 'if I stick my head in the sand it will all be fine'. Meanwhile Finnish climbing slowly shifts towards bolt overkill.

Let me say again that I am not anti-bolts, I very much enjoy sports climbing and have put up a 4 new bolted lines myself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 15:57 
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 02:00
Posts: 56
Thats called new generation. Everything have to get just now. Ok thats little bit provokation, it´s coming from indoor climbing.

Maybe we old climbers should take new climbers climbing with us much more and then we can show old way to climbing. That way we don´t have to missionary mans, they just learn when they will see what is the point of that kind of climbing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 16:09 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2002 02:00
Posts: 216
Location: Vantaa
My only thought is minimal bolting is silly. Either make a safe, good sports route, or leave it as a mental challenge or a top-rope line for those who don't want the risk. And don't bolt where trad gear is sufficient on some spurious reason that it is 'democratic' or some such. Anyone with a smallish collection of braincells can learn to lead trad protected granite cracks safely. If you think you can't, then I would question whether you should be allowed to cross the road on your own. Bolting cracks was my big problem with what happened at Haukkakallio.

Finland is quite lucky in this isn't a huge debate because of the nature of the granite. You tend to get routes that either have reasonable gear the whole way (cracks - whether they be 4+ or 7+), or basically none. Some bold (gearless) slabs or whatever are fine if that what people want (respect the first ascent), but also I don't have a problem with them being turned into sports routes as well. Rami's brilliant looking Dragon may well have been a *** E9 if someone had wanted to lead it with(out much!) gear, but instead it is probably one of Scandinavia's best 7b+s, so that's just fine as well. One or the other, not something in between.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 16:15 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2002 02:00
Posts: 216
Location: Vantaa
Jody wrote:
I sure Toby would back me up (although his sense of adventure completely overshadows mine, e.g. moss lined, dark, and damp chimneys :) )


"George Bush Don't like Black People" 4+, is a classic in its genre!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 16:28 
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Joined: Fri May 10, 2002 02:00
Posts: 1001
Location: Imatra
I´m 38 years old...


Well, elämä on...

I love bouldering and sport climbing but as a father I´m not so much into scary stuff in anything as I was when I was younger. That was not climbing related anyway but quite hazardous stuff still.

I see nothing bad in the new gym raised generation who climb 8a onsights on an overhang but can´t manage a 7a slab. That is maybe not the way to do it for my opinion, but I can live with that. Different people - different styles - different likings. World changes so why don´t we. The good old times are not always the best. Still I see nothing bad in a guy wanting to do only trad headpoints in the dark with bears jumping under the route. Absolutely good for him/her.

What is quite common in the climbing world everybody seems to know what is the absolute right way to do it. Usually that includes no training and systematic approaches, no safety, no shirt... climbing should be FUN. Well... if the training aspect and keeping ones shirt on IS the fun part for someone... so be it.

For me there isn´t really "the best" way to do it. I respect all styles equally even if I won´t do it myself. The most important thing to me is that the person enjoys the way (s)he does it. Even if I won´t do bold trad I really and honestly think routes like that should absolutely exist. Again for the same reason: for the pleasure of some people. If someone loves to do indoor bouldering ONLY that´s great too. Who am I to criticize that?

If there´s hypothetical questionnaire about the safety issue there´s still pretty much room in between for many kinds of ways to do it if the character of routes is held wide. In this case the trad climbing maybe includes the numbers 1-10 and sport climbing the numbers 1-2.

In trad IMO there is and there should be a lot of different kinds of routes also in the boldness scale. In sport the danger issue refers maybe only to a possibility to fall badly inspite of good bolting so that´s why the number 2 also.

More like:
very safe (sport) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 very dangerous (bold trad)

and not black and white like:
very safe OR very dangerous

Climb a lot. Create many kinds of routes!
:)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 17:16 
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 20:36
Posts: 49
Location: Helsinki
Jolli, nowadays the scale has been extended up to (E)11.. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 17:21 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 02:00
Posts: 75
I am not sure if its ‘new’ climbers that are really driving this bolting craze. New climbers tend not to go out and put up new routes. There possibly needs to be a rethink in the existing climbing community about what is best for the long run (its easy to put bolts in but hard to take them out). As mentioned before the motives for bolting a bold line seem sensible, its makes it safe, more beginner climbers can get on it etc, but unfortunately the long run result of this gradual softening of climbs and mothering of climbers is to undermine one of the strongest reasons climbing in the first place: adventure (at all levels of difficulty).

The increasingly popularity of climbing in Finland means that there is a need for easier sport and trad lines outside. But that is no reason for existing climbers to think that beginners need all climbs to be lined in cotton wool. Especially, as there are so many routes yet to be found and developed. I think it’s a lot healthier for the climbing scene and for new climbers themselves if it is made instantly clear that there are risks in climbing, and that each climber has to make his/her own judgements about whether to climb a particular route. If some climber falls to the ground on a particular route it’s nobody’s fault but their own. Trying to protect the climber from themselves is a short-sighted and dangerous strategy.

As Jolli mentions a big problem is the lack of a widely used scale in Finland that rates the seriousness of a route. The (v) grade of old is too black and white. The 5 scale picture approach (e.g. teddy bear = well protected, mountain goat = not so protected etc…) used in Kustavi is a good simple scale. Having 5 rather than 10 or so ratings of seriousness (as we have in Britain) is well suited to the type of rock in Finland that is usually either fairly protectable (e.g. a crack) or not (e.g. a face/slab).

Having such a scale I believe would make routes both safer and more popular by both informing climbers about the requirements of the route (in terms of equipment and ability) and also partially quantify the mental side of climbing; something to help development.

Toby: I don’t fully agree that there is a straight bolts or no bolt trade off (Kantti and Mänty at Olhava have reached a good balance I think). I do think, however, that if you are creating a sports routes (i.e. more than just 2 bolts for every 20 meters of route) then you might as well bolt it fully as mixed routes tend to make both crap trad and sport routes. There are some ‘sports’ routes in Finland (particularly easier ones) where falling between the first and second or second and third bolts would result in a painful ground fall (Port-to 5c, at Louhos is one such route), in my opinion this is daft.


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