Author Topic: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering  (Read 16979 times)

Dave Flanagan

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Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« on: June 11, 2015, 09:13:36 AM »


I'm not sure if anyone visits this forum much any more but it's the best place for this anyway.

Recent events have got me thinking about closed projects (an unclimbed problem in which a climber - probably the one who found/cleaned it - requests that other climbers give him the opportunity to do the first ascent).  I have written about closed projects before (http://boulderingireland.blogspot.ie/2012/01/projects-open-or-closed.html). (Out of curiosity on posted on UKBouldering to get a sense of what the UK angle is on the subject http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,25929.0.html)

Just to be clear I don't think that any climber believes they 'own' a piece of rock, or that they have a' right' to it, or that no one else is 'allowed' climb on it. There are no hard and fast rules, this whole idea is based on informal agreement, there is no punishment for transgression.

Also the concept applies only really to new areas, I don't anyone would 'red tag' (this term comes from sport climbing where the climber who bolted the route would tie some red tape on the first bolt to signify a work in progress) an obvious gap at a well established crags.

I will first give a bit of background and then make some general points, I would be really keen to hear other people's opinions on this subject.

In July 2011 I found a really nice problem in Glenmalure, probably the nicest I have ever found, a steep wall, about 30 degrees, with a few incut rails on it it, about 14 feet high (see photo above, Lee is on the sloper that marks the stand start, his left foot is on the starting hold of the sitter). I cleaned it up, built a landing and started working the moves. After a good bit of work I realised that the sitstart was beyond me and just focussed on the stand. I posted a video (http://boulderingireland.blogspot.ie/2013/01/working-proj.html) and a few shots but was vague on the exact location. I told a few people about it and implied that I wanted some time to get it done, I was satisfied that they would respect that. So four years later I still haven't done it, getting on it regularly but not all that often.
 
At the start of this year, aware that time was getting on, I made a plan to get it done and started training specifically (trying to loose a bit of weight, I built a model of it on my board, fingerboarding and doing core work) for it (don't laugh, I know lots of people could do it in their runners), my last session was in late April and I was getting close, I had done all the moves and linked a few.  This video is from a session in late March of this year https://youtu.be/6nM6JY8SXHM and here is another one from early January 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V65SpCnvqS4

Two weeks later I broke my elbow mountain biking. A few days after the accident I get a message from John asking about it, I said that I was getting close and would like more time, he seemed ok with this. Then a few days ago I get another message saying that he has climbed it. It was a long message, spelling out his reasoning, which I won't paraphrase, he can post here if he wants.


I was very disappointed to hear that the problem has been climbed. John is a good guy, and I wasn't angry with him, more confused. Now I get that a lot of people will say big deal it's just boulder problem, who cares who does it first, and they might well have a point. But I do care who does it first, I can't really articulate very well why it's important to me but it is. I have spent a lot of time over the years searching for, cleaning, climbing and documenting new problems.

The line itself is really nice, quite unique for Wicklow, steep on small holds. And you might say that it was a shame for me to selfishly hoard this problem just to satisfy my own ego. Why can't everyone enjoy it? I suppose part of it is that I feel that the FA is some kind of a reward for finding the problem. Plus I don't think that there is suddenly going to dozens of climbers queueing up to do the problem, the interested party is maybe a half dozen people, their lives aren't somehow rendered incomplete because that haven't been able to climb it, and anyway there are many, many great unclimbed problems out there, plenty to go around (some of which I have found on my travels and shared with others).

Now I acknowledge that my attempts to climb it have gone on for a long time, maybe too long, and I really appreciate the patience of those who held off. And maybe the time had come to offer it up, especially considering I'm injured and likely won't be able to climb for 4 more months. I wasn't 100% comfortable with the idea of having this project closed for so long, believe me I would of loved to have done it years ago, but I suppose I felt that it's reasonably obscure, there is a low chance of someone just finding it 100% under their own steam.

Maybe in this regard I was lax, I told a few people about it, told them where it was. I was happy to do this as I trusted them. I documented some problems very close by. I even put up a video and a few photos of it. Maybe this was my mistake, if I had done everything I could to keep it hidden well then maybe things would be different. This is the main reason why I think closed projects aren't such a bad thing, they encourage the flow of information, or rather a lack of respect among climbers for each other's project creates a culture of secrecy. I shared information about other problems nearby, I tipped off Michael about what became Soul Revolution, Ireland's hardest problem, which is about 500m away from 'my' yoke, I documented the 45 degree wall in the second edition of the guide, these things mightn't have happened if I felt very that it was open season on the problem I found.

The other consequence of a world of open projects is that the best climbers get to hover up all the problems. I think it's fair to say that someone who has to work really hard for a long time to climb a problem will get more out of it then someone who does it easily in a few goes.

Also if you accept that some climbers value first ascents (even if you don't) and are prepared to put in effort (searching, cleaning etc.) to achieve them, in a world of open projects they risk having 'their' price taken from them, this could act as a disincentive to seeking out problems, which would be loss to the wider climbing community (even those who don't value FAs). So I don't think it's as simple as equating closed projects as good for the individual and open projects good for the community. (I have reposted an old article I wrote in 2008 about first ascents http://theshortspan.com/index.php/first-ascents-reposting-old-article-from-2008/).

As for the idea of attaching zero value to a first ascent, I would imagine most climbers would disagree with that. They mean as much as you want to think they mean and they are potentially some sort of ego thing, but the idea of valuing first is a fundamental part of human nature I think.

If a climber wants to protect a FA in a new area and they can't trust other climbers to stay off it then the only alternative is to keep the whole area secret, this means that the community, rather then just having to keep off one problem, misses out on a whole area.

Within all this is the fact that closed projects aren't documented anywhere, and someone could quite innocently find a problem that some consider closed and climb it. Nothing that can be done about this.

I don't think that this whole thing is equivalent to the Germans rushing out at dawn to put their towels on the best deckchairs, I see it more about respecting the efforts of a fellow climber. Imagine someone spend the whole day arranging dominoes, is it right that they get to be the one to knock the first one over?

Lastly I'm not saying that every new problem should be a closed project, far from it, but in certain situations I think its worth considering the idea of giving someone the time to see out something that they started.

 
 

Barry

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 02:56:30 PM »
I don't know is it just me but the forum roll (new forum posts) never appears on the frontpage of theshortspan (I'm using chrome), I have to click into the forum through the link in the banner to see any new posts.. Might explain the lack of use the last while.

Probably be nice to have a similar roll for the new problem database.


Mikey

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 10:13:23 PM »
Well, ya said on Facebook you'd love to hear peoples thoughts. I love bouldering, but don't value being the first up something too highly. From the look of that fine piece of rock anyone could have climbed it years since you cleaned it.
Would it have made you feel better or worse if you'd found out some random tourist climber who rented pad for the weekend stumbled across it and climbed it.

Dave Flanagan

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 07:51:14 AM »
Thanks Mikey for your comments.

Would it have made you feel better or worse if you'd found out some random tourist climber who rented pad for the weekend stumbled across it and climbed it.

I would feel a little better. The tourist didn't intentionally go out to climb something that they knew someone else, who they knew personally, was working. Whether you believe in closed projects or not, I think you have to agree that that adds an extra bit of sting to it.

Dave Flanagan

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 08:06:45 AM »
I don't know is it just me but the forum roll (new forum posts) never appears on the frontpage of theshortspan (I'm using chrome), I have to click into the forum through the link in the banner to see any new posts.. Might explain the lack of use the last while.

Probably be nice to have a similar roll for the new problem database.

Thanks Barry. I have sorted it, I haven't added a roll for the new problem database, if someone who knows a bit of php and wordpress want to do it great.

Pierre Fuentes

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2015, 08:26:37 AM »
Hi Dave,

I'll just post here what I said on the blog.

I think it simply comes down to the question: where’s the glory?

Explorers don’t ‘own’ the rocks they find but I think it’s fair to say they should enjoy some sort of ‘priority’ given they put the efforts to explore and clean rocks.

Whether we consider bouldering to be a sport or an art, the glory comes from climbing something harder than expected, i.e. harder than what you would usually climb, or harder than what the people at your own level climb.

So whether a project is ‘closed’ or ‘open’, a climber’s glory in FA only comes from those projects which are in his/her own league or above.

In other words, there would be glory for you if you stole one of Micko Duffy's known closed projects (not sure if they're 'closed' but I'm pretty sure he's got some secret/quiet ones), but there would be little glory for him if he stole one of yours/mine – no offense meant ;-)

I don’t know if John is much stronger than you, but from what you say, it sounds like it did not take him a lot of efforts. So where’s the glory for him?

Unless the location of your project (Can't remember where Glenmalure is) makes it a 5 star problem (I doubt it), or unless it becomes a local test piece (which I also doubt, again no offense meant), there’s none in my opinion.

In my view, the line's still yours, never mind John's FA.

Mikey

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2015, 08:33:40 AM »
The frenchman speaks the truth! The glory is wherever we believe it to be.
The perfect situation woulda been of course if this John dude had climbed it for himself and never told anyone about it.

Or maybe told someone on his death bed, Rosebud style!  8)

John Howard

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2015, 08:40:14 AM »
I've included the fb messages sent between Dave and I this week for context, hopefully they should shed some light on my side of the story.

Quote
Sunday
John Howard
07/06/2015 23:41
Hiya Dave,
I've been down in Glenmalure a fair bit recently and that steep wall up high has been eating away at me, completely out of character for Wicklow and an incredibly aesthetic problem on perfect rock, really not much out there like it - I couldn't shake the thought that it's a shame that other people can't enjoy it too, something just didn't sit right with me - having stumbled upon it myself but then stopping myself or others from trying it as I knew you wanted to do if first.
I can get my head around people sitting on a project for a season or two if that's their desire but is there not a point after years and years when the balance shifts towards maybe letting other people have fun on these things rather than inhibiting the community by red tagging the most inspiring lines? I've been wrestling with it in my head and had been asking people what they thought to try and get a more objective perspective.
So today I was down there and decided to just get on it and climb it, it felt somewhere around 7B - and a completely compelling line that climbs so well - I imagine it'll be a complete classic once people get on it, why keep these things to ourselves? The notion of doing it first/naming/'stealing'/ego shit etc wasn't my drive whatsoever, just the quality of the climb - for all I know someone else could well have done it already, and to be honest I'd prefer it that way rather than having to constantly question myself and top out a problem with such a strange aftertaste.
I can appreciate that it might seem like a complete dick move but really, I think on balance, that to most people your stance would seem like the one that's more out of keeping with where the consensus is on this. I'm sorry if you find this hurtful, but does my having climbed a bit of rock inherently change your future experience on it? I'm happy to be proven to be way out of line here and in conflict with accepted norms in climbing on this but as far as I can reason, I think it makes more sense for others to get out and enjoy these things within reason - life's too short, why can't we all enjoy these gems? The model of localism and protectionism in surfing isn't a culture worth emulating in my opinion.
Being first isn't my primary motivation with these things, and absolutely not in this case, I was half dreading topping out as I really have no interest in rubbing you up the wrong way. I sincerely appreciate the exploring and sharing you do and that you've personally invested a lot in this boulder - whatever name have in mind for it and any publicizing you do/don't want to do - absolutely go ahead, I have zero desire for my hobby to be a vehiclefor ego inflation or undermining other people, simply wanted to enjoy a superb bit of climbing. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from here.
Anyway, apologies for the ramble, just thought I'd let you know now rather than down the line, and to try and make my motives clear. looking forward to seeing you outside when your arm has healed,
All the best,
John

David Flanagan
08/06/2015 00:24
Very disappointed to hear that John.

Monday
David Flanagan
08/06/2015 09:37
Hi John. Have had a bit of time to mull this over. Firstly thanks for letting me know, I appreciate that, I wouldn't like to have not know about it. Secondly let me say that I think you are a good guy. I found the problem in the summer of 2011 so nearly four years ago and I know that is a long time, I have been concious of that and wasn't planning on sitting on it for ever, I hadn't come up with a deadline though. I wish you had got in touch with me before hand and said you weren't happy with the situation, I could of filled you in with my point of view, I probably would of asked for some time to get back climbing and do a little more training and give it a few last shots. I last tried it two weeks before I broke my elbow and have been working on a training plan specifically for the purpose of getting it done for the last 3 months. So it's not like I haven't been on it for a long time.

David Flanagan
08/06/2015 09:47
A few years ago I met some of the lads Chris and Kev anyway at the Kinky Regae boulder and told them about it (I had already told Duffy and a few others about it), I didn't specifically ask them not to climb it but probably implied that I would like that, and I trusted that they would get respect that. I regretted this a little later as there was some comments about time passing, not sure how much this was banter. I also felt that if I hadn't told anyone about it that it was unlikely that anyone would stumble on it. I think I posted up one or two photos and a video, maybe not the best idea but again I trusted people. I put the 45 degree wall in the guide, which again probably wasn't a good idea if I wanted to keep the project to myself as they are pretty close together. Now I'm not sure how you came across the boulder, whether you saw the stuff I had posted about it, were checking out the 45 and went for a wander, heard others talk about it, or found it 100% under your own steam I don't know.

Tuesday
John Howard
09/06/2015 23:50
I suppose maybe what this comes down to is a difference of opinion on the value of first ascents and the concept of 'ownership/possession' (for want of a better word) of rock climbs.
For me, I haven't come across a persuasive argument that valuing first ascents to the extent that climbs become red-tagged or out of bounds to others, is in any way appropriate or justified. To me, the idea of 'owning' a piece of rock before or after climbing it, is tenuous at best when looked at from an objective perspective. Any arguments in support of it essentially boil down to a person valuing their persona as 'first ascensionist' to a degree that the potential participation of the wider community is eclipsed by the desire of the self, or the debate simply reverts to 'well it's just a tradition in climbing'.
At the core of this is my inability to continue to support the concept of climbs becoming personal possessions. If I at all considered that this particular piece of rock somehow belonged to you, then of course I would consider climbing it before you, its rightful owner, as a disrespectful act, and would be ashamed of my actions - but the truth is that I simply don't think the argument for ownership/red tagging holds any water. (Yes, I understand that we as a community name and give estimated grades of climbs for categorisation purposes, that's the extent of it for me)
August 2010 - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_c3VFx-OHNEg/TGvRKdj-fPI/AAAAAAAAAow/fyUhl6nAM58/s1600/Copy+of+IMG_4220.JPG
"We also spotted some mysterious boulderers. Well we assumed they were boulderers as they seemed to be hanging around some steep rocks high up the hillside, was it you?"
I wonder if these two lads will be furious when they find out that the two of us have been climbing on 'their' problem over the past 5 years? - I'm being facetious here but that's honestly where this argument leads, there can be no 'first' owner of an ancient lump of granite through 'conquering' it first. So for me it's quite black and white, either we see this common asset as being for everyone, or we as a community say that it's ok to prohibit public involvement in these 'red-tagging' cases, as the (self appointed) 'finder/explorer/equipper' has ownership rights over the climb.
Just because the latter stance is traditional in climbing, or is advocated by certain wads and personalities does not make it justified or above criticism. I see the consensus shifting towards the former viewpoint in coming years, you only have to look our collective, quiet discomfort at the Chris Sharma Red tagging story of a few years ago, or even this recent blog of Ricky's - "Don't make Gentleman's agreements with people - obviously we shouldn't be overly attached to being the first person to climb up something; what's the rush..? but that's always been a part of rock climbing and in the case of this arete, I didn't feel bad about asking Dan for the time... That part felt nice. His ettiequte really,  "the dothing of ones cap" as Dan put it, to someone in a similar situation with similar drive and affections." I agree with his first statement but can't make the jump to the second, some traditions are worth discarding if they don't stand up to reason.
But again, even if the tradition lingers, and I'm in a complete minority, I'm still comfortable with my reasoning until I'm given a convincing argument other than 'it's just how it is in climbing - it's tradition' or 'it's my rock, I saw it first, the rest of you can climb it when I'm finished with it'
The reason I didn't message you saying I was unhappy with the situation is because I clarified my position to myself and realised that you have no greater say or right than I or anyone else, so why would I feel the need to request your permission? Only to be then told at length of the efforts you've gone to to try and climb this rock as a way of supporting the misguided idea that it has somehow become yours? - my actions in no way undermine your relationship to this problem, that can only be the case if your sole motivation to climb this stunning line is to claim some ownership of it over others, which is frankly a shame. Is it not a hollow victory (if you do prize first ascents), to claim your trophy of a first ascent only by denying others the chance to try?
If you feel that this concept of being first is worth pursuing at the expense of the community at large then I think you've assumed an antiquated, regressive convention and should examine it, or put forward your perspective so that we can debate it. This is definitely a debate worth having but probably even better in person.
In answer to your question as to how I came across it, was a mix of exploring Glenmalure at the moment, knowing there's other cool shit to be done ('your' proj included - had seen your stuff online and heard about it), it's quite a prominent cluster from Intergalactic so wasn't long til I stumbled upon it.
Before signing off I'd like to say that my tone here isn't intended to be combative in case it reads that way, simply hard to convey tone in these messages.
Cheers,
John

Wednesday
David Flanagan
10/06/2015 09:07
Hi John Thanks for the considered reply. Would you have any objection if I posted up about this whole thing on the short span forum, I would be keen to see what other people's thoughts are on open/closed projects?
I will also reply to you points above.

John Howard
10/06/2015 09:34
Yeah I have no issue with it being discussed openly, like you I'd be curious to know where other people stand. I suspect it'll descend into a flame war - seems to be the way with online debate but absolutely - fire away, no harm in trying.

David Flanagan
10/06/2015 10:10
It might do but worth a try I think.

Wednesday
David Flanagan
10/06/2015 16:57
Sorry John but reading through your messages again I'm a still a little unclear on your reasoning. You say "I can get my head around people sitting on a project for a season or two if that's their desire" yet "the truth is that I simply don't think the argument for ownership/red tagging holds any water". So it that my redtagging went on too long or is it that you just don't believe in closed projects in any way shape or form?

David Flanagan
10/06/2015 16:57
"We also spotted some mysterious boulderers. Well we assumed they were boulderers as they seemed to be hanging around some steep rocks high up the hillside, was it you?"
On reflection I think these guys where geocachers, there is a geocach at the entrance to the cave just right of the problem.

John Howard
10/06/2015 17:42
I don't believe in red-tagging in any way, shape or form Dave. what I should have written instead of -
"I can get my head around people sitting on a project for a season or two if that's their desire"
is that I've been able to tolerate it previously because although I didn't support the concept at all, I didn't view the ensuing hassle as being worth it. The difference is that now I see the value in directly confronting the issue, as I think the benefits of an open community and a potential shift in our collective approach, and how we view and value first ascents.
I now have no problem discussing it or ruffling feathers as I see it as being a wholly negative practice and one which is a net loss to climbing.
http://boulderingireland.blogspot.ie/2012/01/projects-open-or-closed.html
"The advantage of closed projects is that
It reduces the need for secrecy, people will share information more freely if they aren't worrried someone will go along and do their project.
It encourages people to get out and look for new problems of their own."
Your argument above in support of the practice is predicated on the false notion of potential ownership; that, for me, is the central thread of this that all the nitty gritty details spin out from. There is no need for secrecy, no loss in sharing if the thing can never be ownder in the first place, that's where I stand on it.
What's your take? I feel I've defended my position but I'm still in the dark on what you actually believe?
have to run

David Flanagan
10/06/2015 17:48
I have been writing a long forum post, I will post it shortly. Please post up your thoughts, I took would welcome a discussion, see what people's thoughts are, maybe gauge a consensus.  To be honest it seems like we disagree on the fundamental issue of whether a FA means anything. Correct me if I'm wrong though, you don't have an intention of following the consensus if you don't agree with it?7

David Flanagan
10/06/2015 17:50
With the whole FA thing I get that you just don't believe that's, but you have to understand that other people do, and this motivates their actions for example keeping problems secret.

Thursday
David Flanagan
11/06/2015 10:14
http://www.theshortspan.com/smf/index.php?topic=112.0
Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
theshortspan.com

Mikey

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2015, 10:49:14 AM »
Oh, this John dude  8)

Mikey

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2015, 11:56:10 AM »
Ok, I've thought about this for a while and read Johns reasoning, so here goes:

I don't think it was rude / ungentlemanly / against the climbers code of conduct for someone else to climb that route. The only alternative would be to expect no one else to pull on the rock or to jump off before the top out which to me seems as fake as Hussain Bolt jogging on the spot before the finish line so someone else can come in first.

The whole question woulda been a bit of a grey area if it wasn't for a the broken bone factor and the years since the cleaning and first attempts. Also it does seem like you guys did different climbs. Dave was working the stand start (in the videos) and from the 7b grade it seems John did the sit start.

If it had only been cleaned for less than a year, Dave was healthy and still working it and either Dave was working the sit start or John did the stand start I think my moral compass would swing more towards "Aww, shoulda asked him to set a deadline before trying it"

In summary first ascents are overrated in my opinion. First ascent should be like first in a race. If others are holding back to let you come in first, it doesn't mean much. As soon as there are other runners holding back it just feels fake. (Coming first while no one else knows about the race is still totally cool though)

(The above is my opinion only and shouldn't be taken too seriously or start any flame wars)

Dave Flanagan

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2015, 12:36:28 PM »
Good post Mikey. I thing the race analogy is pretty good but flawed. The thing is that there isn't just one race, there are lots of them, they can start at any time, and people are free to choose which races they take part in, there is no reason why it can't be one person per race ie. it doesn't need to be race.

The point I'm making is that it's not like this was the only boulder problem in the county and that all the other the other boulderers were just standing around waiting for me to do it. There is a huge amount of good stuff out there, maybe better stuff, I don't know, so why not focus on that stuff.

All that said I understand your point of view.

Mikey

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2015, 12:51:47 PM »
I agree with that 100%! "it doesn't need to be a race"
And if there isn't a race, there's no first!

"The best climber in the world is the one who's having the most fun." - Alex Lowe

(Instead of FA in the guide book we can add "The climber to have the most fun on this route at the time of writing was...")

Paul Brennan

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2015, 05:16:17 PM »
View from a decommissioned punter on the bench:

On balance, and its a close run thing, I don't think John should have climbed it.

Knowing that Dave's motivation was deeply linked to the process of finding, cleaning, sorting the landing to finally getting the FA, I think it was a disrespectful thing to do. Particularly given the differing levels of ability (John's being above most of the rest of us), and Dave's current layoff through injury. Also considering the longer term social currency of Dave's contribution to Wicklow bouldering, including putting a rake of projects in the guide, which many authors wouldn't have done.

I get the point that the immediate physical experience that Dave would have of climbing on that bit of rock would be the same. But the larger experience of climbing that bit of rock, given how much he's invested in it, is undeniably changed.

Basically, the way I look at it is that the problem was pushing Dave to up his game and climb something harder than he'd done before. John's base level is higher, and his view on first ascents is obviously different. It was less of a challenge for John to climb the problem, it was his choice to impose his ethic on the situation. Just because you can, and want to, doesn't mean you always should. I think the passion and motivation of others should be respected. There is a point to be made about "protectionism" and "local only areas", but I don't think they apply here. This was a single problem in an out of the way area that Dave had put a lot of work into.

On the flip side, the "Closed Project" gentlemanly agreement status was wearing thin after 4 years, and Dave had publicized the thing quite a bit, so something like this happening was a definite possibility.

Despite that, climbing is about more than just the rock. Its a community activity, and as such, empathy and respect are important.

Finally, I want to say that first ascents don't mean that much to me, but some of my most memorable experiences are first ascents. Personally, I think theres a perverse glory in the second ascent. Its an objectively pointless sport anyway, why not give up the notion of the big self and revel in the frivolity?

John Howard

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2015, 06:56:48 PM »
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I think it simply comes down to the question: where’s the glory?

Explorers don’t ‘own’ the rocks they find but I think it’s fair to say they should enjoy some sort of ‘priority’ given they put the efforts to explore and clean rocks.

Whether we consider bouldering to be a sport or an art, the glory comes from climbing something harder than expected, i.e. harder than what you would usually climb, or harder than what the people at your own level climb.

So whether a project is ‘closed’ or ‘open’, a climber’s glory in FA only comes from those projects which are in his/her own league or above.

In other words, there would be glory for you if you stole one of Micko Duffy's known closed projects (not sure if they're 'closed' but I'm pretty sure he's got some secret/quiet ones), but there would be little glory for him if he stole one of yours/mine – no offense meant ;-)

I don’t know if John is much stronger than you, but from what you say, it sounds like it did not take him a lot of efforts. So where’s the glory for him?



Not sure what to add to this other than that I find it baffling and disagree entirely with your concept of 'glory'. Fair enough if burning people off is your sole motivation in climbing but it isn't mine. I climb for things like setting, aesthetic appeal of a line, movement, style of climbing etc before secrecy or burning people off ever come into it, but each to their own.

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Unless the location of your project (Can't remember where Glenmalure is) makes it a 5 star problem (I doubt it), or unless it becomes a local test piece (which I also doubt, again no offense meant), there’s none in my opinion.

In my view, the line's still yours, never mind John's FA.


Glenmalure wall on Vimeo


Relative to other classics in Wicklow Pierre, it is 5 stars and in my opinion one of the best 7's out there. And if you look at the number of ascents things like Rhythm and Stealth or 2.4 Pascals get these days then I also think that this problem is destined to become a bench march test piece for its grade.

Glenmalure is the next valley South of Glendalough, and though not big in quantity, it's big in quality - it already hosts some classic lines in this problem (~7B/+, one of the best), Kinky Reggae (6C, probably the best in Wicklow), Intergalactic (8B, maybe the most aesthetic grade 8 in Wicklow), Soul Revolution (8B+, Ireland's hardest problem), Trans (7A/+, highball arete with completely unique moves, ***classic), a brilliant traverse project on the Trans boulder, all pretty close to the road and in one of the most beautiful valleys in Wicklow. So although it might be off the beaten track for you, if god forbid, we share these things that may well change.

If you read through my messages to Dave you'll see that I have no desire to declare this thing "John The Conqueror's Magnum Opus", I have no interest in 'glory' or being associated with the problem, just wanted to appreciate a stunning line before I keel over.

John Howard

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Re: Whose line is it anyway? Closed projects in bouldering
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2015, 07:03:58 PM »
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Particularly given the differing levels of ability (John's being above most of the rest of us), and Dave's current layoff through injury

Just to say, I would have tried to climb the problem whether or not Dave was injured, that wasn't a determining factor, was just disillusioned with the concept of closed projects and decided life's too short. If it was a shit problem I obviously wouldn't have bothered, but it's not, and I thought other people deserved to enjoy it too.

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It was less of a challenge for John to climb the problem, it was his choice to impose his ethic on the situation.

Hang on, one guy preventing any other person from climbing on a piece of rock indefinitely is having his rights violated?

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Despite that, climbing is about more than just the rock. Its a community activity, and as such, empathy and respect are important.

Couldn't agree more, cuts both ways though

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Its an objectively pointless sport anyway, why not give up the notion of the big self and revel in the frivolity?

What's your point here Paul? What are you referring to by "the big self" No clue how this supports Dave's stance - I enjoy the frivolity of climbing as much as the next guy, in fact, I enjoy it so much that when I see a beautiful problem I try and have fun and climb on it! My self worth and identity isn't hinged upon being the first person to climb a small rock sitting on a big rock hurtling through the void

 

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