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The Climbing Club • View topic - Exit 32 cragging

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:36 pm 
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Banana Nut
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Bummer. I was hoping for a more interesting thread, but it didn't end up amounting to much - just some tired trolling.

Here's a question to hopefully provoke some chin scratching:

High altitude alpine climbing is considered by many to be the most dangerous type of climbing. Perhaps for that reason, it carries the highest cachet [we can save the discussion of the merits of said 'cachet' for another thread], as reflected in the history, literature, international awards, funding, etc. available for such ventures (as compared to, say, hard bouldering). And yet many of the difficulties of high-altitude alpine climbing have little to do with technical difficulty - they usually involve weather, altitude, commitment, environmental hazards like rockfall and avalanches, etc. These same issues have much more in common with scrambling and hiking than they do with sport climbing, or just about any rock climbing. Ergo, it would seem that either 1-hiking and scrambling (at altitude!) are better training for that first ascent proj on K2, or 2-Messner, House, Twight, etc. are merely accomplished hikers. Discuss.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:54 pm 
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Sissy Boy

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I have to agree, alpine is probably the most dangerous type of climbing there is. There are plenty of R/X rated free routes that are just as dangerous and just as terrifying I bet. Back to your agruement though. Hiking is not even remotely the same as alpine climbing and holds little or no value in preperation for alpine except from a purely physical stand point. Hiking holds virtually no fear and fear is a huge deciding factor in alpine climbing.

It is VERY easy to push yourself physically when there is no fear invovled, it can feel impossible to barely push yourself physically if you are full of fear. Climbing hard free routes and pushing yourself above gear is a much better preperation to facing those fears than hiking ever will be.

If fear isn't an issue then I guess hiking would be better, get the strength and endurance required for the route and go for it. I don't know about you guys but when I'm above gear and pulling as hard as I can, fear is the deciding factor in me taking the whip. If it feels easy to me and I have no fear, I'm probably not climbing hard enough routes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:00 pm 
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UW Climber

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wouldn't something like hiking up something like denali or everest be slightly better training for alpine climbing than climbing hard sport routes at x38? I wouldn't know for sure, but then again I don't get on the internet at tell ppl how much they suck and I'm better than them at something they might not put as much effort into as myself.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:59 pm 
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I would actually go beyond what Dan said and argue that while 8000m Himalayan classics will garner significant respect in the mainstream media, amongst other climbers I think it is the modern high altitude hardman routes that garner the most respect. No amount of hiking is going to prepare somebody for 5.10 M6 R/X at 7000m. For these modern routes I think strong rock climbers clearly have a physical edge over even the fittest casual peak baggers.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:48 pm 
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Ok, I'd have to concede that the mental game is a huge part of alpine climbing, and that climbing is the only way to get that experience. Whether clipping bolts and pulling 10m long bouldery sequences helps at all in this respect seems debatable, though.

I'm not (necessarily) talking about peak-bagging on 8000ers; Stevie Haston (and others) said back in the early 90s that the frontier of climbing remains hard stuff at altitude. Very few climbers are willing to commit to the risks involved in these ventures, not to mention the logistical hassles of such expeditions. And so, I would guess that nothing over, say, mid- 5.10 has ever been freed over 7000m (that's a pure guess, mind you). So conditioning and overall fitness are going to be probably more important than getting grades up to 5.13 or whatever.

And in response to 'hiking up Denali' - this reminds me of the old cc.com debacle with buddy speedclimber wacko who shall not be named; some folks were arguing that running up Rainier did not constitue climbing. IMO, if you're doing glacier travel and using an axe, you're climbing, but it's obviously a very different animal than rock cragging, much more akin to scrambling than rock climbing.

I recall a friend of mine at his most obsessive (Jer Frimer from Vancouver, who did a few FAs down in South America as well as one on Mt Logan (the big one in Yukon, not the Cascades one)). He was thinking about going on a rock climbing trip at one point, but said "I can't afford the loss in fitness". At the time, he was running something like 10k a day training to be in shape for another south America trip, and didn't want to take a week off to pull on rock... this is taking it a bit far in my books, but then again I have no illusions of ever doing FAs on big mountains.

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climbing isn't a hobby, its a lifestyle. its one step above bum and one below pimp.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:59 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:18 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:20 am 
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Sissy Boy

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:56 pm 
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ferous wolvineerian

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it means that there is perhaps some 5.10 or equivalent climbing above 7000m on the southwest buttress of nuptse. A route that had been tried for years by some very good alpinist that was finally climbed 2 years ago. jeez

I could go to index for a bit. Uppertown wall.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:54 pm 
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Sissy Boy

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I'm trying to convince Nelly to head out there for the weekend, it's not going well. I'll let you know tonight what the deal is, which day is better for you? Sat or Sun?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:37 pm 
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