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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 5 of 6. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 111
Author
Climb Quality - how do you rate it?

Big G
13/09/2012
9:38:28 AM
wendy might like hufflepuff or shufflepuff or whatever its called
simey
13/09/2012
11:12:20 AM
On 11/09/2012 stugang wrote:
>FWIW - I reckon both Bard and Muldoon are stellar routes (in that order).
>I've done them both at least a dozen times and reckon that anyone who reckons
>otherwise is a dipshit.

Gotta agree Stugang. Damo - you are a dipshit!

And tnd's comments about ignoring the star system in guidebooks and launching up routes without any recommendation is equally naff. If you are visiting an area for a limited time, do you really want to waste your time climbing something mediocre or even total crap? I don't.

Given the subjective nature of starring, I much prefer a single editorial perspective throughout a guidebook. Even if you disagree with the author's perspective at least you will understand where he or she is coming from. There is nothing worse than an editor who just regurgitates the info without questioning any of it and then putting out a book which sees poxy routes getting stars and great routes getting none. Or even worse, the editor being a total soft c--k and not awarding any stars eg. old Point Perp guide, Central Australia guide, Climb Tasmania, to name a few.

With the latest Arapiles Select guidebook, the starring and grading is the result of many years of previous guidebooks setting a standard and then tweaking it accordingly. Glenn and I have personal experience with the majority of the routes but we also asked heaps of other climbers their thoughts and opinions. Not only would we would debate the merits of various climbs, we would debate the merits of the various climbers giving us their opinions! I think Glenn and I shared a similar outlook on what climbs appealed. Factors that we would take into consideration include quality of moves, consistency of climbing at the grade, position, protection, soundness of rock, visual appeal, historical perspective and X-factor.

Sometimes if a climb is exceptional in one of these areas it will get an extra star even if it is lacking in other aspects. For examples Debutantes and Centipedes (25) and Cobwebs (28) both get three stars due to the quality of climbing even though they lurk in dark gullies and lack great position.

A point to keep in mind is just how much your expectations are affected by star ratings. The high ideal that a climber establishes in their mind prior to starting up a three-star climb almost sets the climb up for failure. Correspondingly if you jump on a route with few stars and low expectations, then it won't take that much for that climb to pleasantly surprise you. You are far better to award a climb one less star if you don't want to disappoint climbers who might repeat that route.

It's often not hard to find something to fault in a lot of three-star routes, but at the end of the day they usually have a particular quality that makes them truly memorable and not just 'nice'.

PS. The latest Point Perp guide (possibly the best guidebook in the country) does a nice job of explaining why a particular route is awarded stars, or alternatively why it receives a warning symbol.



pmonks
13/09/2012
11:35:18 AM
On 13/09/2012 simey wrote:
>Given the subjective nature of starring, I much prefer a single editorial
>perspective throughout a guidebook. Even if you disagree with the author's
>perspective at least you will understand where he or she is coming from.

That's great in theory, but how many guidebook editors do you know who have a direct, personally formed opinion (i.e. have climbed) every single route in the guidebook they've edited? I could count that on no hands!

>There is nothing worse than an editor who just regurgitates the info without
>questioning any of it and then putting out a book which sees poxy routes
>getting stars and great routes getting none.

I think that's inevitable. Unless of course you're a proponent of select guidebooks to the exclusion of anything else - which might be fine for the casual visitor but sucks for locals, climbers with "unusual" tastes in climbs, the historical record etc. etc. Give me a comprehensive guidebook any day - at least then I can choose my own adventure if the alternative is queuing up behind a conga line of bumblies on some overrated "classic"!
simey
13/09/2012
12:06:08 PM
On 13/09/2012 pmonks wrote:
>That's great in theory, but how many guidebook editors do you know who
>have a direct, personally formed opinion (i.e. have climbed) every single
>route in the guidebook they've edited? I could count that on no hands!

You can still use some editorial discretion even if you haven't repeated the climb. For example if I got a bunch of route descriptions from Neil Monteith with stars thrown around like confetti, then I would immediately delete one star from each climb. Then I would also ask other people who have climbed the routes, but I would keep in mind their range of experience. Therefore an opinion from Malcolm Matheson is likely to carry more weight than an opinion from some gym bunny whose sole experience of climbing outdoors has been on Neil Monteith routes. Sorry Neil - I am only using you as an example. I could have just as easily used someone else - like Dalai (from his old days).

>>There is nothing worse than an editor who just regurgitates the info
>without
>>questioning any of it and then putting out a book which sees poxy routes
>>getting stars and great routes getting none.
>
>I think that's inevitable. Unless of course you're a proponent of select
>guidebooks to the exclusion of anything else - which might be fine for
>the casual visitor but suck for locals, climbers with "unusual" tastes
>in climbs, the historical record etc. etc. Give me a comprehensive guidebook
>any day - at least then I can choose my own adventure if the alternative
>is queuing up behind a conga line of bumblies on some overrated "classic"!

I am a local at Mt Arapiles and to be totally honest I have no interest in the thousands of very mediocre climbs that have been established there. There are still stacks of routes I have yet to do in our Select guide. Add to that, if we had spent all that extra time researching, photographing and writing up thousands of worthless attempts at glory, the rest of the guide would have suffered considerably.

The notion that you may be waiting in conga lines of bumblies on overated classics simply doesn't occur at Arapiles. Because we put a lot of effort into researching the easier climbs, there are more starred climbs in the easier grades and clearer information for people to find their way around. As a result the crowds at Arapiles are more dispersed than ever because people can trust good quality select guides much better than shitty comprehensive guides.


anthonycuskelly
13/09/2012
12:27:09 PM
On 13/09/2012 simey wrote:
>The notion that you may be waiting in conga lines of bumblies on overated
>classics simply doesn't occur at Arapiles.

Unless you want to do Tiptoe Ridge or The Bard, in which case get up early.

With respect to 'select' guidebooks... even if some of their opinions are rubbish (I thought Kamikaze was a bit pox), I'm perfectly happy to effectively buy Mentz and Tempest a beer each to give me a full rundown of Gramps and Araps. I've managed to average about 8 routes a month between the two... it might be a while before I get through those guides.

Superstu
13/09/2012
12:36:49 PM
I know where pmonks is coming from. The rise of select guides in the west coast of USA/Kanakastan has had a detrimental effect on the climbing experience there. More people crowded onto a few climbs. Some of the comprehensive guides are massive tomes and unless you are a local and going to climb at an area every weekend, the select guides look far more appealing to buy. If you are a tourist passing through then why would you consider the comprehensive guide over the cheaper, more compact select? But oh man the crowds!!!! Next time I road trip the States I'll be buying comprehensive guides and lugging them around, so I can get some peace on my climbs. Often there are plenty of excellent quality climbs that didn't make the select guide. There is so much good climbing about it doesn't have to be a crowded affair.

Kudos to Simey as the Araps Select guide isn't really a select, its just 3000 routes narrowed down to the 1000 you would actually like to climb. So its the ideal guide to araps for almost everyone.

i'm happy to reprint the first ascentionist's spray about their routes... i reckon the FA details speak more about a climb than any star rating system anyway.

As there are 165 recorded crags in metropolitan sydney, i doubt anybody will ever have visited every one! mikl maybe??

pmonks
13/09/2012
12:45:46 PM
On 13/09/2012 simey wrote:
>You can still use some editorial discretion even if you haven't repeated
>the climb.

I can't see how what you just described achieves a "single editorial perspective". In fact it probably makes it worse - if ODH put up some new routes in Sydney and I was still actively editing SSS, I'd have docked all his stars I reckon!

>I am a local at Mt Arapiles and to be totally honest I have no interest
>in the thousands of very mediocre climbs that have been established there.

Your "mediocre" is someone else's "underrated gem" - you're not everyclimber, nor is anyone else (guidebook editor or otherwise). At least comprehensive guides don't make that mistaken assumption - they can't, by definition.

>The notion that you may be waiting in conga lines of bumblies on overated
>classics simply doesn't occur at Arapiles.

I've hit queues at Araps most of the times I've been there, although I've usually chosen to climb some other route rather than exacerbate a conga line. The one time I recall not hitting any queues was one rainy May a few years back, but then not being a local means I don't have the luxury of visiting "off season" (in fact my last couple of visits have all been opportunistic).

>As a result the crowds at Arapiles are more dispersed than ever because
>people can trust good quality select guides much better than shitty comprehensive
>guides.

What a crock. Select guides concentrate climbers rather than dispersing them - I saw this first hand with the early sport climbing guides to the Blueys. Early 2000s was the best time to visit Piddo, Narrowneck etc. because no one was there! Mid to late 90s (when the comprehensive UBM guide was the latest & greatest guide) those crags were much more crowded - I assume they've gotten busier again what with Simon's select guides including them again.

Now Araps might be different since it's basically just one crag (ignoring Mitre Rock, Campbell's Kingdom etc.) but for areas like Sydney and the Blueys select guides have a significant impact on a crag's traffic.

[edit after Stu's response] And yes it's significantly worse here in seppoland, partly because there are way more climbers (and they're much more polarised - you're either a hardman or a bumbly, and it's the latter who are mostly doing the moderate "select guide classics"), and also because there are a lot of routes that are slightly less than awesome (according to some guidebook editor's opinion) and so don't make the cut, while some "classic" nearby gets worn and accident prone due to overcrowding! It's quite irritating!!
gfdonc
13/09/2012
12:46:58 PM
Good points, I'll add some:
- the Yosemite select guide is a perfect example. Too few routes for the whole Valley, resulting in queues (and some nice lines clearly scruffy for lack of traffic, such as the Layton-Kor route I think on Middle Cathedral).

- sometimes what is missing from the select guides is a problem in itself. I was in Austria a couple of years back and bought the select guide to the whole of Austria. Then when visiting Rote Wand in eastern Austria was befuddled attempting to sort out which of (say) 20-30 major multipitch routes on the cliff were matching up with the 5 route descriptions I had in front of me. After a day or two of this I caved in and bought the local comprehensive guide.

- the Arapiles Select avoids this problem by providing lots of routes (covering all the major lines), good topos and occasional mentions of lines in-between so as to avoid confusion.
Nick Clow
13/09/2012
1:00:12 PM
Peter
> Mid to late 90s (when the comprehensive UBM guide was the latest & greatest guide) those crags were much more crowded

I actually disagree with that - not necessarily that the crags weren't more crowded. Climbing (full stop) probably got more popular in that period resulting in more people at crags like Piddo.

That is hardly the fault of the UBM though. In fact I am pretty sure that one of the reasons Bede did the UBM was to provide a guide encompassing many areas of the mountains, thereby making more crags available to people and creating less of a concentration at the popular crags.

In many ways it is still the most comprehensive and accurate guidebook for the mountains.
.

pmonks
13/09/2012
1:05:28 PM
On 13/09/2012 gfdonc wrote:
>Good points, I'll add some:
>- the Yosemite select guide is a perfect example. Too few routes for
>the whole Valley, resulting in queues (and some nice lines clearly scruffy
>for lack of traffic, such as the Layton-Kor route I think on Middle Cathedral).

I think a large part of the Valley's problem is that there just aren't that many free climbs full stop, and many of them are by no means "moderate". Glacier Point Apron was a major concentration of moderate free climbs, but in the last 10-15 years there's a very real sense that you're flirting with death every time you go in there. I've only climbed there once, and we walked straight up to the climb we wanted to do, did it, then got the hell out of there - it was pretty spooky, though for no obvious reason (it's not like you can see a hundred thousand tonne loose block that's 500m above you).

>- sometimes what is missing from the select guides is a problem in itself.

Yeah I had that problem with the circa 1992 select guide to the Blueys (by Mikl and Andrew Penney, IIRC?). Very glad I bought the UBM guide soon after.

pmonks
13/09/2012
1:08:39 PM
On 13/09/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>I actually disagree with that - not necessarily that the crags weren't
>more crowded. Climbing (full stop) probably got more popular in that period
>resulting in more people at crags like Piddo.

My point was that those crags got less crowded after the sport climbing guides came out (1997 and 2001 IIRC?). The UBM may have increased traffic at those crags prior to then (I only started climbing in 1996, so I don't have any perspective from pre-UBM), but the crowds were reduced there for a bit before I left Aus, and I think the Blueys sport climbing guides were a major contributor to that (since they didn't include "trad" crags like Piddo, Narrowneck, Zigzag, etc. etc.).
Nick Clow
13/09/2012
1:16:38 PM
Begging yr pardon Peter, I see.

It is axiomatic that a new guide has the effect of suddenly galvanising interest in or popularising areas.

I assume that the Point is undergoing a resurgence at the moment?

The Wolgan did a few years back with Wade's guide.

If someone did a new guide for Mount Wellington or Moonarie, then you would probably see the same effect at those crags.
Cam McKenzie
13/09/2012
2:19:24 PM
On 13/09/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>
>If someone did a new guide for Mount Wellington or Moonarie, then you
>would probably see the same effect at those crags.

There was a great new community based guide for Mount Wellington when I was living in Tas 4 or so years ago, and the online guide at thesarvo.com is always being updated.

Can't say that I noticed any difference in the popularity of the crag when the new guide came out. There was still rarely anyone climbing on the same cliff as you, and everyone was a local. Probably not a great example given the number of climbers in Hobart. One of my favorite places to climb though.
Mike Bee
13/09/2012
4:29:24 PM
On 13/09/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>If someone did a new guide for Mount Wellington or Moonarie, then you
>would probably see the same effect at those crags.

Not sure that would happen with Moonarie. Since the Moon isn't very beginner friendly anyway, and it's not an easy cragging trip (compared to Araps or the Gramps, ie no water, toilets and a big walk in), I think those that do climb there are generally keen enough regardless. Because of the committment to get there and climb, I don't expect a boom at Moonarie if the new guide being rumoured does ever get completed.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
14/09/2012
9:12:11 AM
On 12/09/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>On 12/09/2012 Wendy wrote:
>>I've done plenty of other routes where bodgy rock really detracted from
>>the experience. But then again, those complete pieces of choss at Barbican
>>Wall were actually memorable and strangely great. Or at least for me.
>
>I've been trying to work out a systematic method for determining which
>choss is acceptable and which isn't........can't seem to pin it down. Some
>choss is amusing and cool, some is plain offensive, I don't know why.
>>

Choss for some is it's own genre in the climbing game, just like sport, bouldering, etc.

I would suggest that the memorableness/offensiveness of same is closely related to location, and 'location' itself is a slippery term!
Location at one end of the spectrum can be inspiring (eg 'Bungles), and at the other end of the spectrum it can mean what is available at your local location, eg the poxy road-side cutting or quarry, as any rock is better than no rock for a climb-starved climber!


Regarding the star system; I think it has a useful application at times (although I don't rely heavily on it), but is best when simple, ie not more than three, and refers to the specific of the cliff involved. This is because when it becomes confused with comparing cliffs then that should be another yardstick.
If I turn up at a cliff it is usually apparent to me that it is choss or not, but it can still be worth knowing what others regard as the better climbs there.

rodw
14/09/2012
9:25:54 AM
On 14/09/2012 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>If I turn up at a cliff it is usually apparent to me that it is choss
>or not, but it can still be worth knowing what others regard as the better
>climbs there.

Totally agree, that pretty much wraps it up IMHO.

Climboholic
14/09/2012
9:40:35 AM
The argument that is all-too-often used to justify bolting, actually can be applied to the star-rating system: If you don't like it, don't use it.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
14/09/2012
9:48:18 AM
On 14/09/2012 Climboholic wrote:
>The argument that is all-too-often used to justify bolting, actually can
>be applied to the star-rating system: If you don't like it, don't use it.

Why stop at stars?
If you don't like guidebook/guide-company/slcd/belayer/rope/conga-line/crash-mat/website/-
Heh, heh, heh.

Climboholic
14/09/2012
9:49:38 AM
On 11/09/2012 Cliff D wrote:
>On 11/09/2012 Climboholic wrote:
>>On 11/09/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>>>On 11/09/2012 nmonteith wrote:
>>>>Your right Damo - that was an oversight!
>>>>
>>>>Length = sustained and exposed for me. A 50m pitch is always better
>>than
>>>>a 20m pitch, but only if the rock quality is good for that length.
>>>
>>>However, a 200m route can be great even if all the individual 10m sections
>>>would be garbage on their own. The Warrrumbungles is an excellent example
>>>of an area with crap rock, crap moves, crap pro, but brilliant climbing.
>>
>>Bloody good point, well made!
>
>How can a climb be "great" Climboholic if the rock is shit, and you may
>as well be on a stairmaster because all the moves are boring, and you may
>as well be soloing because the pro sucks? Given that climbing is about
>moving; and good pro offers safety, what do you think makes climbs in the
>the 'Bungles so great that it could forego these other aspects of climbing?
>
>EDIT

People have already covered it, but what makes the Bungles great is that the climbs are memorable!

I've done dozens of climbs at Nowra and apart from walking away feeling like I'd had a penis enlargement, the only thing that I can remember about them is the offensive names. I've done 3 climbs in the Bungles and they were all experiences I'll reminisce about when I'm old.
kp
14/09/2012
10:09:54 AM
I actually think Nowra has some of the best climbing in the country. Quiet funny how it divides the climbing community.

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