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#58486 - 07/03/11 09:14 PM Re: confidence routes [Re: RangerRob]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
First of all, hangdogging as I've seen it practiced rarely has to do with "absolutely not having the juice to make it to the next stance" or to downclimb. In those circumstances, going for it and so taking a bigger fall would be stupid. But I see people dogging it as soon as the going gets a little tough, way before any of the absolutes Rob mentions come into play, when they still have plenty of options, one of which is to lower off and turn the lead over to their partner because they aren't up to the moves.

Maybe they are a little tired, maybe they are a little scared, so they sit down for a rest. To me, that's BS, it's not free climbing and its not trad climbing. But Rob says I'm relying on MY BIG FAT rule, one that doesn't happen to be HIS BIG FAT RULE, and so am, apparently, "pretty freaking elitist."

Nowadays, it seems you can utter the dread elitist word and anyone so addressed is supposed to crumple in defeat and dishonor. But climbing is about as elitist as it is possible to be. Some people are better than others. Some climbs are out of our reach. And even in sport climbing, there is a hierarchy of styles, some of which are universally recognized as being "better" than others.

Most people aspire to climb harder and better, which means that they fully embrace the very elitism that here is supposed to be some sort of ultimate criticism, but is really just an empty phrase. Climbing is elitist. Get used to it, and understand that you can't score debating points in a climbing discussion just by uttering the e-word.

Returning at least in the general direction of the thread, I don't know whether climbing down has to be practiced so much, but doing it involves certain states of mind which may need to be learned, especially in a training environment dominated by the gym and sport routes, where moving upward, often rather quickly, is the solution to every problem.

First of all, I think climbing down often isn't even on some people's radar. It's not that they can't do it, its more a case that they don't even think about it when the going starts to get tough.

Beyond that, as they climb up into unknown territory, experienced trad climbers are making mental notes about climbing down. They look back to see what the holds they just used look like from above. They make mental notes of where hand and footholds are that disappear, for example when you pull over a ceiling. They might reverse a tricky move before there is any need for or thoughts about retreat, just to be prepared.

Protecting steep climbs often involves climbing up to a strenuous position, working hard to get good gear in, and then climbing back down, not just plopping onto the gear for an extended rest. Rob advances a false dichotomy between safety and commitment, but the reality is far more complex and subtle, and is primarily a question of mental attitude and how committed you are to doing a free climb free.

Beyond that, the old-school climbing skills are not simply the relics of a bygone age now made irrelevant by plug 'n play protection. Sooner or later, you will inevitably find yourself in a bad situation. You made some strenuous moves, it looked like you could get in gear, but when you arrive, already pumped, you find you can't get anything worthwhile in. Your last piece is suddenly rather far below and you're wishing you had doubled up on it, because the next piece below that is way down. You will either have to climb up with a level of control that does not allow for falling, or else climb down, at the very least to minimize the fall you ultimately take.

What happens to you in this circumstance may, to a large extent, depend on whether you've been hang dogging your way up routes or not. If you haven't had the discipline to cope without hanging in situations when hanging is possible, then you aren't likely to fare well when, eventually, you find yourself strung out and hanging is not an option. From this perspective, not weighting the rope as much as possible is actually a form of safety training; it is money in the experience and strategy bank for that eventual rainy day.

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#58487 - 07/03/11 09:44 PM Re: confidence routes [Re: rg@ofmc]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5967
Loc: 212 land
That is one heck of a polemical post and I, for one, find it convincing, especially the last paragraph. Still, (s)he who is without sin may cast the first stone.

(Do you find all this worthwhile, Worthrussell?)
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#58488 - 07/03/11 09:59 PM Re: confidence routes [Re: oenophore]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Nobody is without sin, and everyone can, will, and should forget all the arbitrary rules and expectations and do what has to be done to come back safe.

That said, what you aspire to matters, in my polemical opinion.

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#58492 - 07/03/11 11:13 PM Re: confidence routes [Re: yorick]
jakedatc Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 241
Originally Posted By: yorick
Build a pyramid. Do every 8 and 8 + you can find, then start in on the 9 - before tackling 9s like Ant's Line. Get confident with your wire placements and equalizing pieces. Take Stannard's dictum to heart - three pieces between you and the business. Practice downclimbing. Building a solid base at each sub-grade, the slight increase in difficulty as you move up won't feel like a big deal.

Save Modern Times 'til you're cracking 10s.

Take your time.


Why? Modern times is so hyped up because it is a little bit steep. Yet other 8's are much harder and riskier than MT and get glowing reviews ie Drunkards, Son of Easy O...

MT is an 8 all day long. AND eat's easy to place pro before, through and after the crux roof. Plus there is a fixed red C4 stuck there so you can just clip and go.

This is where a good mix of sport climbing and bouldering come in handy. Being comfortable when the rock tilts back.. especially at the gunks should be just as important as being able to downclimb and all that stuff.

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#58493 - 07/03/11 11:29 PM Re: confidence routes [Re: jakedatc]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
Originally Posted By: jakedatc

Why?


Just a suggestion.
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it\'s Shawank-unk.

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#58494 - 07/03/11 11:34 PM Re: confidence routes [Re: yorick]
jakedatc Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 241
Originally Posted By: yorick
Originally Posted By: jakedatc

Why?


Just a suggestion.


I think it is overhyped and once people get on it they realize that. I find the approach bit from the ledge to the roof to be more tricky than the roof.


Edited by jakedatc (07/03/11 11:34 PM)

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#58497 - 07/04/11 12:58 AM Re: confidence routes [Re: jakedatc]
worthrussell Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/11/10
Posts: 90
Loc: NY, Brooklyn

Interesting commentary. For the record i have zero issues with down climbing and i've found myself in more than a couple scenarios where i've felt it necessary to do so. However I don't see the issue with hanging on gear. Im not into the elitism of climbing. I don't necessarily care about grade. What i care about is being able to visit other climbing areas in the adks and such and being able to lead climbs all day. I've been eyeballing poke o for some time now but what's the point. All the leads are at my limit or harder. I wanna go out, lead and enjoy the day. In order to do this my lead limit needs to rise a bit both mentally and physically.

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#58498 - 07/04/11 02:43 AM Re: confidence routes [Re: worthrussell]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
Worthrussell, I think the answer is maybe not the one you want to hear. It sounds to me from your first post like you think you would have sent Ants' Line if you'd just had the confidence to climb through without placing so much gear. And maybe that's correct. But I'm glad you did place the gear, and I fear that your goal is to be bolder and place less pro, when I would hope instead that your goal would be to gain the strength and technique to BOTH place the gear and make the moves.

My answer to the question of how to get solid at 5.9 is to keep on working up the grades as you've been doing. There are a lot of great 5.8's in the Gunks, some very challenging for the grade. City Lights is not, in my opinion, one of these challenging 5.8's. It has one unique, weird move, and then a little 5.6 and a lot of 5.4. It is a great climb, but it is not a good climb to use to measure whether you are ready to skip into the next grade. Climb a lot of other 5.8's and you'll begin to get a better feel for when you're ready to move into the next grade. You'll also get to do some of the best climbs in the Gunks.

Have fun and be safe out there.
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#58499 - 07/04/11 03:27 AM Re: confidence routes [Re: SethG]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
As usual I respect and pretty much agree with what Rich has to say although he says it allot better than I ever will be able to. There is no magic potion to getting better. Just put the time in and when your mind and body are ready to advance then it will just happen. Having goals is a great thing, but trying to put improvement onto a tight timeline may not be the best thing to do. The rock isn't going anywhere and when you are ready to climb it, it will be there.

The funny thing about what Seth says is that it is good to be safe and place more gear if you are not ready to run it out a bit, but usually once you are strong enough to hang in an place all that gear without getting pumped you don't really need it. P38 is a great example of that. You can place all the gear you want to on that climb but if you do over protect it you are probably going to get pumped out. Once you are strong enough and have the confidence to hang in and get as much gear as you like your generally also strong enough to climb through while only placing a few pieces.

By the way since when did City Lights become a 5.8. It has been 5.7 forever as far as I know.

Continue to hone your skills on safe 5.8's such as Ants Line, Arrow, Snookys, Alphones and Airy Aria just to name a few and you will eventually get to where you are looking to go.

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#58500 - 07/04/11 03:29 AM Re: confidence routes [Re: SethG]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
No one can judge what another person should or should not be doing, especially not on the basis of an internet account. But "onsighting" all the 5.7's (does that include hanging on pro as on the "onsight" of Ant's Line?) and then doing a one-move 5.8- doesn't, on the surface, suggest that a 5.9 campaign is next in order.

I'd suggest a more appropriate goal for this season is to be solid at 5.8. That would mean onsighting (using the real definition of the term) classics like Birdland (to the top), Farewell to Arms, Yellow Belly, Alphonse, and Broken Sling in the Near Trapps and Absurdland, Annie Oh, Three Doves, Double Crack, Pas de Deux, Son of Easy O, Boldville, and Mr. P's Wurst in the Trapps. (This is not a starter set, it is some of the routes you would want to feel solid on before taking on the 5.9's.)

As for Poko Moonshine, at 5.8 you have a very solid weekend of excellent climbing in Discord, FM (5.7 but you won't be bored) Gamesmanship of course, Paralysis and Sunburst Arete. (But check the DEC site for peregrine falcon closures before heading up there---a significant portion of the cliff is usually closed through most of July).

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