Tricksters & Traditionalists Revisited: 2006

Article Index

In Sum

- The style of rock climbing continues to be contentious, with no sign of arguments and actions abating.
- The two factions in the game, traditionalists and sportsters, appear less interested in resolving the debate than sending it to screeching heights.
- Climbers deserve better than they are getting in the clash of styles, both for their personal enjoyment and for the long term history and interpretation of the sport.
- Much needed is attention to stable, standing, area climbing organizations agreeing on bolting and more general climbing styles, including encouraging such styles through guidebook first ascent attribution and histories.

Another twenty years will tell the tale. Style warring will persist or moderate not through wrangling but agreements.

1. Ascent, 1984.
2. See Rock and Ice 138, Summit 36 and Climbing, July 2005.
3. "Best Climber in the World," by Ian Parnell, from July 2, 2003.
4. "Weenie Boy" post, Supertopo, December 10, 2005.
5.  Mick Ryan, October, 2004,
6.  AAC Journal 2005.
7.  Bill Wright summarizing California climbs in AAC Journal, 2005.
8.  "Dihedral Perspectives," Tommy Caldwell, AAC Journal, 2005.
9.  Supertopo, October 26.
10.  AAC Access News, 11/22/05.
11.  Supertopo, 2003.
12.  See "Community" under
13.  In the days before the two camps evolved (roughly the mid 70's), "free" then didn't necessarily mean no falls and never before attempted, but did mean no or minimal falls, no rope rests on any attempts, and generally few attempts.
14.  For a worthy but eye glazing attempt at sorting out the terms, see Summit 36.
15.  "Master fly rod builders …," San Franciso Chronicle, December  18, 2005.
16.  "Yosemite Valley, Big Wall Onsights," Alpinist Climbing Notes, 12/12/2005.
17.  Letter from Jeff Achey, Climbing, 1985.
18.  All quotes in paragraph are from various authors in Rock and Ice, December 2004.
19.  Kevin Thaw in Summit #35.
20.  "Big Issues, The State of British Climbing," Summit 35.
21.  See Rules 2005, UIAA International Climbing Competitions.

 Source: Unpublished Pondering