Tricksters and Traditionalists

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And the traditionalists will have their points:

—How can we strike agreements with tricksters to ignore certain walls, areas, or established routes?
—If tricksters continue their ways, why don't they at least agree to report their style of ascent in articles and guidebooks?
—Should there be experiments with new bolting technology? Would climbers use the technology more to climb in traditional fashion or more to place aid ladders for protection? Or both?

Agreements among climbers about styles have changed and will continue to change. Although tricksters now dominate the scene in many climbing areas, they have not buried previous agreements favoring traditional styles. Agreements against tricks, for full reporting, and for preservation of established routes have a sound basis. They have protected the fundamental interests and experiences of climbers for many decades. Consequently, the agreements may have more proponents than tricksters know. At the very least, such agreements govern an older generation of climbers who still climb in the traditional style. Other proponents may be occasional visitors to climbing areas, who are numerous but not generally vocal about style. Also, a younger generation now beginning to climb will soon discover the reasons for agreements about traditional style. Many will be in a quandary about how new climbs are done. They will consequently find it hard to measure themselves against the challenge. And they will watch as beautiful, improbable walls succumb only to those who practice special tricks. It is likely that many in this generation will demand to know how first ascents were done, to try the "impossible" without resorting to tricks, and to experience the rock and protection of classic routes as they were originally. Perhaps it will not be long before demands for old and familiar agreements rise up like so many poltergeists. If so, what will the tricksters do? Agree or not? Abide or not?

Ascent, Sierra Club, 1984