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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 72
Author
Naming rights on FAs (aka The Law of Ming)
Nottobetaken
10/07/2006
11:13:08 AM
The Law of Ming: A law declared by the mad genius Ming the Merciless, stating that anyone attempting to document a first ascent by way of a Top Rope or aid-move will have their house attacked by hot hail, and their minds re-programmed by way of the Ming Mind Re-Programmer...

You get this a lot in the climbing world - guidebooks containing...
- routes written up that still rely on some aid (ie. they haven't been completely freed) - but are named and recorded nonetheless
- uncompleted projects that - though not freed, are still named and recorded (virtually the same as above)
- or more rarely - those that have been TR'd, named and recorded

Example A - the TR: let's deal with the worst of these crimes - the 'TR' syndrome. Ming's Law states that any route written up in a guidebook that has the letters 'TR' in brackets alongside it - is open season, and shouldn't be recorded in a guide as a FA. Who in their right mind thinks that top-roping a route nowadays gives you first ascent rights? Not in Ming's domain it doesn't!

Example B - the Open Proj: A route that has been an old open project for some time - and has a name attached - is a lesser evil - but one nevertheless. Take for instance the famously documented case of Le Plafond. A long-standing French project dubbed 'Le Plafond' - until the Brit Ben Moon came along and made the first free ascent in '89 - then re-named it (rather cheekily) to 'The Maginot Line' (great name). Nowadays the route is referred to by most by its original working title (mainly by the French) - but why? They didn't put the thing up - did they? Ming says this is bollocks!

Example C - the ex-Aid Route: And then finally there is the aid route - named and recorded. You don't get many of these nowadays (aid routes that haven't been freed - big walls withstanding of course) - but does the eventual first-free ascentionist have naming rights - thereby changing an aid routes name of some 20, 30 , 40 or so years - to something different? Ming's Law states it can be done!

Over here in the land of Planet Mongo (South Australia) two routes put up by lizard men back in 1991 - and both with the letter's 'TR' attached to the first ascent details in the guidebook, have recently been soloed. As a result, they have also been re-named and re-graded.

Anyone opposing the Law of Ming should make their thoughts known by way of this topic - then prepare to have your house attacked by hot hail. The Law of Ming has spoken...

nmonteith
10/07/2006
11:50:41 AM
I tend to disagree Steve. I think attaching a name to a route is a good way of refering to as a historic
work in progress.

If the first ascent never actually led the route clean, they still:

a) Found the line
b) research (in guidebooks and in person) to see if the line had been done previously
c) cleaned the line
d) bolted the line (most sport routes costs $60+ to bolt)
e) spend considerable time trying the line

The person who then waltzes along and does the free ascent route second shot has invested a tiny
fraction of the work done by the original person! This seems grossly unfair to me.

Euros tend to credit the equipper of the route - as well as the actual person who did the FFA.

gremlin
10/07/2006
11:55:24 AM
Top roping these two piles of shite is now forbidden!
All must now prove their testicles by soloing them... preferably barefoot, blindfolded and with your hands tied behind your back.
Failure to comply will result in ego daminging insults back at the pub...
drdeviousii
10/07/2006
12:05:26 PM
It is interesting to note at Queenslands premier sport crag of Kangaroo Point that most routes were kept
as TR only for many many years. Some where over 30 years old. These routes have only recently been
bolted and led but the names have been kept. Attempts by first ascents to rename the routes have all
been shot down. If people know a route by a certain name then that is usually what will be kept in
peoples collective memory.

nmonteith
10/07/2006
12:19:17 PM
Some names are very clever - it woudl be a shame to loose them! Some are totally shit though. This
topic directly relates to the Taipan topo i am currenlty workign on. There are at least 5 in-complete routes
on Taipan that have been done in parts (mostly free - or all free, but with rests). Shoudl these routes be
ingnored on the topo, written up as PROJECT1 etc or given a name and grade + M1 to signify that most
of it has been done? Most of these routes already have a name - ie Medusa.
Nottobetaken
10/07/2006
12:30:18 PM
In the case of the two (worthless) examples in South Australia...

On 10/07/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>If the first ascent never actually led the route clean, they still:
>a) Found the line
they're both just below a well-trodden hiking track and pretty obvious
>b) research (in guidebooks and in person) to see if the line had been
>done previously
big deal!
>c) cleaned the line
ditto...
>d) bolted the line (most sport routes costs $60+ to bolt)
neither route has any bolts - or any trad placements for that matter
>e) spend considerable time trying the line
...on a toprope
>The person who then waltzes along and does the free ascent route second
>shot has invested a tiny fraction of the work done by the original person! This seems grossly unfair
>to me.
Not applicable in this case - as they are trad routes requiring minimal (if any) cleaning - however, looking at it from a broader perspective (say for instance - an actual bolted line) then I can see your point - but still disagree. The eventual freeing of a line should dictate who gets the credentials to name and grade a route. If not - then it's too easy to just go out, bolt and then aid your way up something and call it a first ascent. What about the time and effort involved (not to mention the training) in trying to free the aided section? Take for instance (for one example) Pegasus down on Lower Taipan. When Andy Pollit freed the majority of it back in the early '90's - he re-named it 'Sheffield Steal' and graded it 31 M-something-or-other... Come the day when a stronger climber turns up and frees the entire route, do you think it should remain labelled as 'Pegasus', 'Sheffield Steal' - or become something else? The original aiders probably spent a whole day drilling holes into the rock simply to say they 'got up it' - Andy probably spent a couple of weeks (if not months) work trying to free what he did - and the eventual ascentionist will probably spend a lot longer than that.

nmonteith
10/07/2006
12:35:47 PM
The Shefield Steal example is really stupid. He didn't even free the entire route! If we all re-named a route
every time someone elimnated an aid move we would have 5+ different names for Ozy, Seventh Pillar
ect ect.

It soudns like these South Australian routes are just being renamed and re-graded to inflate an ego. If
they were ignored for many years and considered worthless than they probably are!
BA
10/07/2006
12:46:23 PM
I printed this article in the intro to the North Grampians Guide (over fifteen years ago!). It was written by Lyle Closs and appeared in SCREAMER 84/85

APPEAL (FOR THE UNKNOWN FIRST CLIMBER)

I know a few people who are important. I am sure you'll agree.
Bob Bull, for example. Led the hard bits on the first ascent of Euridyce at Arapiles. Bit of an idiot in his baby days. Lovely family now. Farm in the mountains behind Hobart. Smashing record collection. Great bloke by the fire when the rain's pissing down on the cold Tassie hills, glass of Guinness warming in your fist.
Donny Holmes for example. Led a 14 new route once. Died of cancer a year or two back. Fought it monumentally for many years. Drank a lot with me and the lads a long time ago. You don't know him do you? Bloody annoying I call it.
Reg Williams for example. A great climber and bushman. Stutters. A very important person in the lives of many. On the first ascent of Emperor at Buffalo. Led first ascent of Orang Utang at Arapiles. Not just initials in a book you know. Raising his kids. Making perfect replica steam trains for Christ's sake. What do you care I wonder.
Mick McHugh. Skyhooking in a hurricane at Coles Bay. Abseiling off Frenchmans and leaping fires. Designing kitchens for princesses now isn't he! More than nine point Helvetica bold underneath the climb description.
Peter Jackson, teacher, powerhouse of suburban Hobart. Man of many visions, discoverer of Arapiles, searcher ever since. Lots of climbs with his name on, and many line drawings without peer, but do you sense how I feel here? No, probably not.
Me. I did a few new routes, knew a few people, made a certain short term impression. But what does FIRST CLIMBED: L. CLOSS mean to anyone? Bugger all I suspect.
So what the hell use is this strange appendage at the bottom of each route description? Why bother recording the first climbers?
If it says FIRST CLIMBED; D. WHILLANS, J. BROWN now that means something because you've read the biographies, seen the movie, analysed the photograph. There's some response drilled up from the core of the mind. There's some encouragement there to resurrect the mythology ... My mythology, now. What do you know of that if you haven't read the Tasmanian Climbers Club magazines and Thrutches of the late sixties, early seventies? Most who have have probably forgotten them anyway. I have.
You see, my mythology involves the previously mentioned characters among many others and is wreathed in mists of time, lit bright with the sharp rays of younger perception - all that crap.
And all of these important climbers I have mentioned - each has his own mythology in which I am a peripheral shade drifting through and past. To themselves they are mythologically central.
Memory is just mythology of course. It is not real and deserves less credence than it is allowed - pathos, however, insists.
And it does seem a little pathetic that we insist on forcing our meagre mythologies on to the small guidebook page, forever thumbed with the aim of finding the way to a present, a future climbing enjoyment, not a wistful rememberance of days long past. Probably not to recognise the achievments of the first ascenders. Certainly with no capacity to know of their feelings at the time.
Dammit there is no art in any of it.
The climb descriptions are as much descriptive of human emotion as the rememberance columns of the Saturday papers.
And doing the climbs, well, the physical surroundings are roughly the same, but the actions are different, and of course the feelings are new, personally exclusive.
The actions, well they are just a necessary response to the surroundings.
But the feelings! Now there is something like art, something like real dreams in flood.
And those little words at the bottom of the route description are, of course memorials to other men's dreams.
And perhaps your dreams are every bit as powerful or langorous as were those of the first to climb the climb. But stop your arrogant mental static a moment before you approach the eternally patient stone and think of those that first dreamed the dream.
Even if they no longer breathe, at least, that day, they dreamed where no man had ever dreamed before. It's a thing worthy of the gods, a breath on the window of eternity.
A breath on the window perhaps.
And just as the printing of the names of the first to climb the route is a memorial to other menís dreams, so to climb that climb is to lie in another man's grave.
The grave may be the same. But it was not dug for you.


manacubus
10/07/2006
12:46:42 PM
It's simple. If you want to rename the route - just make sure you're the person putting out the next guidebook. Possession is 9/10ths.

nmonteith
10/07/2006
12:47:57 PM
Agreed Lee!
jiminy cricket
10/07/2006
12:54:02 PM
>It's simple. If you want to rename the route - just make sure you're the
>person putting out the next guidebook.

or maybe even less hassle, just add a variant start/variant finish/link-up
Nottobetaken
10/07/2006
12:55:57 PM
On 10/07/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>The Shefield Steal example is really stupid. He didn't even free the entire
>route!
...that was my point!
>It sounds like these South Australian routes are just being renamed and
>re-graded to inflate an ego
actually they're being renamed for 2 reasons a) they were crap names to start with, and b) they were crap names to start with. Oh - and then there's also that little bit about them not being 'led' either... and the bit about those beers over lunch - but then that's another story...

nmonteith
10/07/2006
12:59:17 PM
I reckon its fair game to rename things if they are so obscure that no-one would care (apart form the
FTRA ist). I soloed a few stupid first ascents at the Devious' stomping ground (KP) - but i made sure i
whacked soem bolts in after so others could enjoy the route. I thik the climbs are probably still never
repated as they were crap anyway. It was meerly a brief flicker of light - on an otherwise choss wall.
Ronny
10/07/2006
1:01:52 PM
I'm with Boardlord on this one - at least partially.

There's a big difference between aid routes (that actually have merit as aid routes) and free routes. If a route has been dogged/top roped/batmaned then it really just hasn't been done yet. Aid routes on the other hand have definately been 'done'. Standards of what is acceptable as an aid route have changed a fair bit over the last 50 years - new aid routes tend to be lines that will not go free, and are for the most part long. Whereas things like Pegasus made sense as aid routes in days gone by, if they were found these days they would really be considered to be a potential free route.

So Pegasus was 'done' as an aid route, hence Ming says naming is ok.
I can think of one example of someone writing up a route at Moonarie at about 17M1 in recent years. Someone else did it free (at 16). Really that route made no sense as an aid route, so it hadn't been 'done'.

Toproping is never enough to properly 'do' a free route. There may be some debate about what is (flash v redpoint v onsight v pinkpoint), but surely no one disagrees with this. Maybe if a guide book is coming out and there's a line that has been top roped but no one's had the balls to solo it yet then including it makes sense - but surely it should just say that there is a project which been TRed but is yet to see a proper ascent.

Naming routes is completely unnecessary anyway. But if its going to be done there might as well be some recognised 'ethic'/'tradition' by which it occurs. There is. It is the Law of Ming.




rodw
10/07/2006
1:12:58 PM
Ive top roped many a route that i haevtn named...mainly because I thought it to crap to bother putting steel in it....and in truth I wouldnt even think of claiming an FA after a top rope.

I also dont name climbs until Ive freed them, dont really care what others do but I feel if i can't free it...Im not worthy of having my name next to it. Placing bolts in a route does not give you ownership/naming rights, just buys you some time to work the route to get em....otherwise it becomes "Open project" until someone gets the clean ascent. Yeah its hard working putting up a route, but me personally would rather just walk away if I cant get up it, rather than saying "I cant climb it, but you see those bolts, those babys I put in...good eh???"...but like I said thats just my thoughts, everyone will have different ideals and thats fine.

nmonteith
10/07/2006
1:13:33 PM
I think its just too murky to make a blanket rule. Names and dates of the first TR ascent can be a pretty
cool historial record! (ie routes at KP were done by the famous old guared in the late 1950's as training
for real mountain routes - and then led decades later by their more pure minded trainees). Remember
single pitch climbing wasn't really consideedr proper climbing until the 60s! They top-roped things
because it was just a training tool.
James
10/07/2006
1:24:11 PM
On 10/07/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>The Shefield Steal example is really stupid. He didn't even free the entire
>route! If we all re-named a route
>every time someone elimnated an aid move we would have 5+ different names
>for Ozy, Seventh Pillar
>ect ect.

There has never been a precedent for re-naming freed aid routes in Australia (unlike the UK for example). why change this now?

everyone knows it looks stupid claiming top-ropes as FA's - if anyone wants to claim anything as such then I don't really care if they do, its not my name on it.

in the case of the Taipan topo though.. to me it makes sense to mark projects (or routes done as 24 M1 or whatever the case may be). But only because this topo will end up being a resource used by lots & lots of people for a fair while into the future (until the next time a topo for Taipan is produced). Everyone will look at the lines of mystery bolts & wonder what they are - at least they will know they're a project/open project/abandoned project/whatever. The topo would be incomplete otherwise.
Ronny
10/07/2006
1:24:54 PM
On 10/07/2006 nmonteith wrote:
>I think its just too murky to make a blanket rule. Names and dates of the
>first TR ascent can be a pretty
>cool historial record! (ie routes at KP were done by the famous old guared
>in the late 1950's as training
>for real mountain routes - and then led decades later by their more pure
>minded trainees). Remember
>single pitch climbing wasn't really consideedr proper climbing until the
>60s! They top-roped things
>because it was just a training tool.

Just like I said above, those routes were 'done' in the style of the times back then. So sure they go down as routes with first ascent details. If you tried to write up routes similar to those as top-rope routes these days it wouldn't make sense. So this is not really relevant.

And the 'historical record' argument doesn't really go anywhere anyway - what about rodw's routes that he walks away from when he can't do it after much work and expense? who records that? The answer is that if it is important it will be recorded in a guide or whatever (eg everyone knows who 'prepared and equipped' punks).

BTW- didn't mean to suggest you weren't important rodw ;)

rodw
10/07/2006
1:27:00 PM
I also agree with that Neil, to be honest if someone had already named it after TR, even if I did bolt it I'd probably not claim FA or rename the route...its smacks a bit like its grandstanding to me.

gremlin
10/07/2006
1:38:08 PM
Knowing who the FA (even FTRA) is handy... certain climbers have certain styles
Rob Stazewski's difficult, bold and hard to protect trad lines... (yuk!)
Montheith's weird/elcheapo/crazy/rusted Tibro routes... (double yuk!!!) :P (just kidding)
Stuff done by Rick White, Greg Sherd and Co. before they found Frog...

Sometimes i pick a climb (or choose not to do one) simply based on the FA.

(editted to fix my poor grasp of english)

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