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1:07:07 PM
Off topic I know, but I was just reminiscing to myself.
Hey BA, remember when Kim Carrigan gave his treatise on the 'dead point' move? About the time of breaking Gd23, the whole concept of introducing dynamic moves to climbing was a revolution, as we were locked into static 'must maintain 3 points of contact' thinking back then ...

Ah, these young glasshoppers have a ways to go yet ...

1:51:14 PM
On 2/04/2004 WM wrote:
>Hey A5, crediting Ben with the ascent doesn't sound like disapproval to
>me - sounds more like you're letting him get away with it! Somehow I doubt
>that'll have the influence on future would-be chippers you're after?
I'm just giving credit where it is due. 34 is awsome no matter the subsequent shenanigans.
Personally I would not be too proud of being written up in a guidebook as having 'subsequently sequence enforced' a route.

Short of reducing our disapproval to writing which hangs around longer than the spoken word, by airing our opinions in forums such as this, there is not a lot we can do. Ignoring the achievment or the climb is only sticking our heads in the sand and a short term solution. People move on / evolve.

When Gd 50 is commonplace they will wonder what we were on about back in 2004 debating the ethics of a Gd34. The issues may well be different in the future, but the ideals hopefully will be passed on from generation to generation.

I am not even likely to lay eyes on the climb involved, let alone likely to ever meet the 1st ascentionist (and recognise him if I did), much less aspire to even attempt its opening move sucessfully; but as a participant with a 'sense of history' in a great pastime I feel the game has been denegrated by the subsequent actions done in this instance.
I would however, be prepared to express this view face to face with the 1st ascentionist if they cared to listen, ...
... but hey, like kieran says, "whatever"; ... as its just a bit of rock and its not me who has to live with my controversial actions.
I would be thrilled if Ben made a statement to the effect that he acknowledges it was not the 'Australian Good Sportsman' thing to do.
We all make mistakes. At least in climbing this mistake did not cost someone their life, (only their credibility amongst peers).

The game is supposed to be fun amongst other things. When it is not, then its time to move on or redress the issues by having respect and owning responsibility for our actions.
We need this debate.
We need a context to evaluate our ideals within.
We need to be fair dinkum.
... otherwise its all a w@nk and we are only kidding ourselves.
11:25:01 PM
A5 - Please don't get me wrong; I'm in strong agreement with quite a lot of what you're saying there actually. There's just a few points:

On 2/04/2004 A5iswhereitsat wrote:
>I'm just giving credit where it is due.
Believe me, I'm all for giving credit where credit is due too (I try to do my bit there actually). But what if you're giving credit where it perhaps isn't entirely due? Or do you just think it doesn’t matter because it has no impact on anything or anyone else?

On 1/04/2004 rodw wrote:
>so I guess its 34, so stays 34....

On 2/04/2004 A5iswhereitsat wrote:
>34 is awsome no matter the subsequent

So it's a free for all now? I'm not going to agree with that.

Also, I think some of you really should start asking why it is that you think the route is "34". It seems to be an important part of your argument. So why do you think that? This is a really interesting point everyone (can lead a horse to water but...).

Anyway, I'm not sure if you guys missed what I said in my earlier posts, but the simple fact of the matter is that if it the holds hadn't been hammered off then the route would be significantly easier for most climbers (three climbers who have attempted the route, and are (or at least were) perfectly capable of climbing it, have told me so themselves...). From what I have been told it seems almost certain that the route would have been DOWNGRADED (if it wasn't for the subsequent "chipping"). By the way, I simply would not write this on a public forum it I didn't have very good basis for believing this to be true.

11:48:20 PM
On 1/04/2004 Mighty Mouse wrote:
>i would certainly not consider this (enforcing a sequence) to be acceptable
>on a personal level-
Thanks Josh. That's what I was interested to know.

>but i do not dictate the ethics of the climbing community...
>Ben's action certainly seem deserving of a consequence such as invalidation
>of his send, but i don't believe thats up to any individual-
That's right. I don't want to push my personal climbing ethics on the climbing community either. I know what I think, I know what many highly respected climbers think about this issue, we've heard what others have had to say about it on this forum too... But that is one of the reasons I've partaken in this debate - because I want to know what others in the climbing community think about this too. And like you say:
>it is through the acceptance or rejection of such issues by the community
>as a whole that ethics are moulded.
So in that sense your opinion is as important as anyone elses.

>the status
>quo of australian climbing seems to say that since he climbed it in an
>acceptable redpoint style, he gets the send regardless of what happens
>to the climb afterwards.
I think the "validity" side of this debate might be claiming victory a little prematurely. What status quo of Oz climbing? So far I've only seen a few people on this forum put together any sort of argument that suggests that it is valid - and it certainly hasn't convinced me.


7:19:32 AM
certainly the 'status quo' doesnt suggest anything directly related to MA, however it does infer what the acceptable redpoint style involves, and as far as I know Ben complied with these ethics...

your comments about subsequent ascentsionists both intrigues and disturbs me....these other climbers (presumably Lee, Garth and Zac), have any of them made a 'valid' ascent using the other hold before it was removed? its a shame that ben couldnt (or so it would seem from my current cache of info regarding the incident) swallow his pride at having put up 34 and just allowed the climb to be downgraded- a lot of people would have had far more respect for that (including myself). He still would have been unofficially regarded as having climbed 34, if that's whats so important to him, but i would certainly (not sure about him) rather have just let the climb be downgraded and found a LEGITIMITE 34.

also just wondering- were the other guys all there when he chipped the hold off? its not like he snuck out during the night to do it is it? being 'bens' climb it certainly would have been an uncomfortable situation, but couldnt they just sedate him (Ben) and tie him down with prussics (or an equivilant but more socially acceptable form or discoureagement) to stop him from chipping it?

12:17:47 PM
Interestign to note that there is no mention of this controvery in the latest Rock magazine - and Ben even has his own column!

1:03:39 PM
For something to be deemed valid you need a criteria and an assessor. Other than a bunch of people posting on a forum, there is neither in this case. Australian climbing is not regulated by any official organisation (thank god!) and hence a climb such as this cannot be deemed valid or invalid. All that can be done is for the history/facts of the case to be recorded in places where facts are recorded. So guidebooks, journals, mags etc need to write it the way it is. This is what has happened in the past and will continue to happen until some horrid day when some beaurocracy takes over with recognased criteria.

Other than that its basically a personal decision to be argued in the pub by those that care.

The issue of the goodness or evil of chipping has been well and truly discussed here and a big effort to decide validity is a waste of time.
1:09:09 PM
On 5/04/2004 nmonteith wrote:
>Interestign to note that there is no mention of this controvery in the
>latest Rock magazine - and Ben even has his own column!

What? No mention whatsoever??? No mentioned in the editorial? No mentioned in letters to the editor? No correction for the errors/omissions/misquotes in the last news item? I find that difficult to believe...

1:22:30 PM
I havn't read every word - but saw no mention in letters/news/corrections.
1:38:24 PM
On 5/04/2004 nmonteith wrote:
>I havn't read every word - but saw no mention in letters/news/corrections.

Oh my, now that is interesting.......

Well, I know for a fact that they were aware of all this early December last year (several weeks prior to the last issue coming out).

>This is a really interesting point everyone (can
>lead a horse to water but...).

1:50:32 PM
I too am a little disappointed, whilst reading this thread has been really interesting I was hoping to hear from the horses mouth so to speak. It seems a shame that Ben isn't willing (at this stage ) to stand behind his ascent and speak about it even moreso as they are aware of the controversy/dissent/opinions.

2:10:04 PM
On 4/04/2004 onsight wrote:
>what if you're giving credit where it perhaps isn't entirely due? Or do you just think it >doesn’t matter because it has no impact on anything or anyone else?
He climbed it via a hard sequence, so isnt it 'due'?.
I'm not sure about your next point, as the 'apparent controversy' indicates it does matter to some people.

>So it's a free for all now? I'm not going to agree with that.
I think it always was a free for all, but probably in a different sense to how you view it.

>why it is that you think the route is "34". It seems to be an important part of your >argument. So why do you think that?
I dont know if it is or isnt, but it doesnt really matter unless he is claiming it as such.

Yes, it sounds like it would have been downgraded and perhaps significantly so.
I am not hung up over this, nor would I be concerned if it was graded up! (since I will never attain grades close to it anyway).
For those who can climb that hard however, I see no problem with calling it like it is; ie If you do it this way then its grade x, and if you do it that way its grade y.

The fact that 'grade y' has been taken away is a different issue to getting up 'way x'.

I think shmalec has it pegged right. I also think the silent majority (if pressed) would say its not a 'free for all' if the unsportsmanship subsequent actions are a continueing part of the game. I think most climbers recognise and do not condone this kind of behaviour.

I am confused and curious. What is it about our reasoning that the ascent is 'valid' (as it was), that you object to?
Is it that the climb is no longer as 'easy' as it may have become rated therefore its invalid; or is it disgruntlement from the would be ascentionists who became 'pre-empted'?

It would be irony indeed if someone gets up it using Bens original sequence and still downgrades it!

Its OK if we agree to disagree. I have enjoyed exploring the issue.

10:53:15 PM
The issue is that the climber may have altered the holds to produce a grade. If that was what happened then I condemn it.
If the climber had altered some holds to keep themselves alive, that would be regrettable but acceptable.
Perhaps you could stop being an apologist and let the climber speak for themselves.
Sorry. Terrible grammar.
11:55:33 PM
young, dumb and full of cum!
I think the last laugh is on the wanker who didn't see the easier sequence in the first place.

10:27:47 AM
On 5/04/2004 kieranl wrote:
>A5, Perhaps you could stop being an apologist and let the climber speak for themselves.
Good to have your view kieranl. I didn't think I was an apologist though, because I am not arguing in defense of the person or the cause.
Like insight I am curious as to how others perceive the 'affair'; and am coming from the perspective of 'record it as history to pass on as an inheritance'.

Maybe I waffle on too much, but unless someone stirs the 'cauldron' a bit we are not likely to see what bubbles to the surface?

There is ample room for the climber/s involved to contribute themselves, but I doubt it will happen given the silence to date.

So how did your follow-up medical-check results go? ... All clear I hope, as it would be good to share a rope with you someday.

10:34:47 AM
On 5/04/2004 stinkingoat wrote:
>I think the last laugh is on the wanker who didn't see the easier sequence in the first place.
If the discussion was to end here, I think stinkinggoat has summed it up succinctly.
9:19:37 PM
A5, poor choice of words from me. I was meaning that the person involved should have provided their own defense rather than relying on you (or anyone else).
12:25:39 PM
Getting grade 34 into perspective. (From where I sit a very powerful telescope is required, a Hubble perhaps?)

I was having a bit of a clean up and stumbled across the first issue of Splat (Wot? You haven't heard of it?) that appeared in January 1996. In it there is an article by Peter Balint called "8c+ just isn't that hard anymore ..." What!!!

Here are two paragraphs from it.

"The standard has definitely been rising seeing more and more climbers at the cutting edge - 8c+ /9a (34/35). ... there have been no true breakthroughs, just a consolidation of the existing grades which have been around for a reasonable amount of time. 1990 saw the establishment of Ben Moon 's Hubble 8c+, and in 1991 Wolfgang Gullich climbed the tendon tweaking Action Directe 9a . Although 8c+/9a may not actually be that hard any more, it seems that breaking through to the next level certainly is."

"So how does Australia fit in? Well Punks in the Gym is consensus 8b and Sperm Bitches is probably 8b+ - still a fair way behind. But at least, not like in much of recent history Australians are now capable of climbing Australia's hardest routes. Though what was potentially the worlds hardest route in 1985, Punks, is now a very long way from being anywhere near the world standard – at least four grades, and if Rouhling is to be believed, as many as six grades. It has been almost six years since Hubble was first climbed. The number of climbers climbing 8c+ appears to be growing every day, and more and more routes of this standard are going up. An 18yr old Spaniard Daniel Andrada has climbed one, there are a string of climbers with three under their belts (Moon, Tribout, Coffey, etc), and Huber has done at least five, and so it seems that 8c+ just isn't that hard anymore... "

What does it all mean? It means that grade 34 was climbed in 1990 and in 1991 grade 35 was climbed. 13 years after grade 34 was first climbed, an Oz climber has achieved that level in his own backyard. It would appear that the same Oz climber missed the easier sequence, and in a fit of pique at being denied that grade, removed the holds that enabled it to be done in an easier manner. His ascent of the climb was valid, the discovery of an easier sequence was valid, that the downgrading of the climb was inevitable is also valid. The removal of the holds that enabled an easier sequence is not valid and his actions are those of either a childish or ego-driven person who will probably be remembered in Oz climbing history for all the wrong reasons.

And remember, the quotes from article were written 8 years ago.

4:43:20 PM
A very powerful statement, BA. Nicely summarised.
12:47:13 PM
After deciphering his "article" in Rock I'm tending towards the opinion that he is childish rather than the ego driven. If it is an attempt at adopting a 'persona' rather than genuine illiteracy he should get some lessons from Hex-Troll and find out how it is really done.

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