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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

First Top Rope Ascent

9:41:21 AM
I'm one of the editors of the SW Victoria Guide Book. Do any of you dudes have an opinion as to what constitutes a legitimate first ascent? Specifically the ethics surrounding the claiming a first ascent on a top rope.

10:32:52 AM
My opinion would be that top roped ascents should be noted in guides, but not given a name,e.g.

"The face left of XX has been top roped at grade YY"

If people are allowed to claim top roped ascents as first ascents, it seems less likely that someone will at a later stage come back and bolt the climb to make it leadable (assuming the line was top roped due to lack of protection). Since leading is what climbing is all about, id prefer to see only lead ascents recognised.

This makes me officially a hypocrytical bastard, as last months Argus contains a top-roped first ascent that I wrote up and sent in......

12:18:32 PM
If you let FTRA ascents into guidebooks - you will have hundreds of useless chossy routes being published - as every man and his dog can sudennly throw a rope down a pile of choss and claim it. I agree a possible mention of

"The face left of XX has been top roped at grade YY"

is a good idea. I can understand the 'toprope' record if the cliff will in hardly ever be visited. Recording a toprope ascent might actually encourage climbers to lvisit the carg and attemot to lead it. I just don't want to see another five routes recorded at Werribie!

12:24:08 PM
Also, whilest on the subject of the SW Guide. BA sent me the text of the current guides content. It is whoefully out of date for Werribie. Someone needs to go out there with the guide and completely re-write it. Many of the routes have been retrobolted in the last 5 years including French Revolution, Snatch and Grab & Redux. I will re-write what I know from memory - but i really think it needs 'in the field' investigation.

12:32:48 PM
I agree that a top rope ascent isn't worth mentioning. An exception might be if the lead can not be protected naturally and local ethics / land owner doesn't permit fixed gear, or it simply impractical or unsightly. In this instance a top roped ascent or "lead" via clipping knots on a static, might be the only means up. Unless you want to solo. But it would have to be an attractive line.

1:36:14 PM
Ahhh, but what if it's a really super cool route that just doesn't need bolting...I mean do we really have to bolt everything? I think that if the route is quality and provides a great experience it should be noted whether it is Bolted, Top Roped, Aided, for naming it, why ever not? Unless of course it's super crap and you don't want to be associated with it ;) Putting everything in a guidebook eliminates future debate and provides a would be future ascentionist with clues as to the routes quality, moves, etc etc...
9:44:03 PM
I do have a problem with FTRA's. The only case where I think an FTRA has any status is in the case of an aid-climb. For instance : The First Commandment at Staughton Vale was originally aidied. Then it was top-roped (by some-one else). Finally it was led (by the late Nick Reeves).

These days most hard (or bolt-protected) climbs are effectively top-roped before they are led. An FTRA is an affectation.

I also disagree with the use of knots in ropes rather than placing bolts, especially on slab climbs. It is one thing to run it out between bolts; it is quite different if there is a fat rope within reach.

There are 7 messages in this topic.


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