Can a top roped ascent count as FFA?


Original Post
Nick Blankenberger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Sorry folks, not an anchor design topic...

I've been taking a close look at peak 9854 in CO and how it could go free. For those not familiar with the formation, it's the famous(or infamous?) high point summited via drone rope placement. Some mentioned bolting as a viable solution but the rock quality looks suspect at best and frankly from my perspective should be left as is. If one could hypothetically rig a rope from the summit and a climber ascended with a top rope as back up, could this be considered FFA? My gut and any knowledge of what entails a FFA would say no. If this is true, I think the only method would be a gutsy highball on poor rock quality at best.

Thoughts?

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Summitseeker91 wrote:Sorry folks, not an anchor design topic... I've been taking a close look at peak 9854 in CO and how it could go free. For those not familiar with the formation, it's the famous(or infamous?) high point summited via drone rope placement. Some mentioned bolting as a viable solution but the rock quality looks suspect at best and frankly from my perspective should be left as is. If one could hypothetically rig a rope from the summit and a climber ascended with a top rope as back up, could this be considered FFA? My gut and any knowledge of what entails a FFA would say no. If this is true, I think the only method would be a gutsy highball on poor rock quality at best. Thoughts?
No. FFAs must be done on lead or solo, and you have to send the route. Onsight, flash, red point and free solo are all options, top roping is not. You could possibly qualify for the FA though as long as you make it to the top.
csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 25

I've always thought that was nonsense. FFA says nothing about leading vs. toproping.

First...free...ascent. TRing works on all three accounts. You can TR something first. TRing is certainly free climbing, and TRing certainly counts as an ascent, so why is TRing not count as a FFA?

Nick Blankenberger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

I've always thought the same regarding top ropes as non-free ascents. The FA has arguably been given to the party that ran the ropes via drone and jugged to the summit. I would just like to give the point a fair attempt of "climbing." But not to the point of risking the dangers of a 50 ft high ball on crumbling rock.

Sean Anderson · · Nevada City/ Berkeley · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

Not familiar with this route but it must be on lead. If someone isn't comfortable with leading something committing, then how can they claim a FFA if they didn't really come to terms with the route in "good" style. Allowing TRs as FFA would tarnish the importance of FFA and the respect that it deserves. Something I would ask myself here is "why do I want to climb this?". If it's to get to the top, then this might entail "murder of the impossible". If it's to climb it, then I don't see how compromising the experience or claiming greatness is acceptable.

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 12,867

TR, solo, aid, tyrolean...it all counts as a FA. As for a FFA, TR or solo counts as a FFA as long as the ascent is onsight, flash, or redpointed.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Obviously not. Do you really think Tommy and Kevin would have spent so much time working the Dawn Wall if they could have just TR'd the thing? What's next? Do Helicopters count as aid?

don'tchuffonme · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Sure it can. And you can wear your quickdraws in the gym. And you can count stick clipping your way up something as "working a route". And you can wear socks with your Sportiva Tarantulas. And you can use free climbing and free soloing interchangeably, because that's what people that count top roped FFAs do.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,115

FFA describes a free ascent of previous climbed route that used aid. As in free of aid. There does not sound like there is any aid - just trickery to TR the summit block.

If the FA was done on TR report it that way, if someone comes along later and does it on lead the they can claim the first lead ascent. After that it is all pedantic.

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0
Ted Pinson wrote:Obviously not. Do you really think Tommy and Kevin would have spent so much time working the Dawn Wall if they could have just TR'd the thing? What's next? Do Helicopters count as aid?
This strikes me as silly. Do you think they climbed it because of a label? Just to say the words "We did a FFA of Dawn Wall?" Do you think if we defined FFA as (exclusively) the first successful top rope of a climb, they'd have setup top ropes all the way up?

I don't.
Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 520

If there is any doubt, there is no doubt. You knew the answer to this rediculous quiery:
No, bro.

The rope hangs from you. Not the other way around.

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,520
Ted Pinson wrote:Obviously not. Do you really think Tommy and Kevin would have spent so much time working the Dawn Wall if they could have just TR'd the thing? What's next? Do Helicopters count as aid?
Well, they actually both TR'd roughly half of it... There's no cheating in climbing. Just lying. Do what you do, report it honestly, and that leaves room for others to improve on your style.
20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
csproul wrote: TRing certainly counts as an ascent, so why is TRing not count as a FFA?
Because there is a notable difference between climbing a line on lead and TR. In some cases the difference is absolutely massive. For example, there is a huge difference between top roping some 5.12 move up on a headwall and doing the move runout 25' over a 00 TCU. Tons of climbers could do the first, few could do the second. I've top roped X-rated 5.12 face climbs before, but I would not lead them. Would it make sense to you for me to claim I sent a route that I would never be willing to lead?

Benjamin Chapman wrote:TR or solo counts as a FFA as long as the ascent is onsight, flash, or redpointed.
Those terms by themselves imply lead. Onsight, flash and red point cannot be achieved on top rope. A top rope ascent is exactly that, top rope.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
SeanAnderson wrote:Not familiar with this route
http://www.climbing.com/news/drone-attack-the-ingenious-first-ascent-of-colorados-highest-unclimbed-peak/

A top rope ascent would be an improvement in style.
don'tchuffonme · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0
Max Tepfer wrote: Well, they actually both TR'd roughly half of it... There's no cheating in climbing. Just lying. Do what you do, report it honestly, and that leaves room for others to improve on your style.
This is the real answer.
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

I just like to do FSA (first sock assent). You know climbing in socks can even make it harder than doing a barefoot assent!

Going back to the orignal topic if you are on TR you still technically by the definition of the word did the FFA. However just because the word's true meaning means one thing doesn't mean the community means the same thing.

Think about PC, most people out there call microsoft computers a PC but an apple is not a PC... this makes no sense because a PC = Personal computer. Aka any phone is a PC. An apple computer is a PC running apple's OS.

Organic, another stupid word because it means of, relating to, or derived from living matter. However when you start using it for chemistry it now means of, relating to, or denoting compounds containing carbon (other than simple binary compounds and salts) and chiefly or ultimately of biological origin. But if we start talking about food and organic it now means (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.

So you are completely and 100% correct saying a TR can be a FFA however the community is also correct in saying a TR cannot be a FFA.

These words are what I call quantum words because they can mean 2 different things that invalidates the other at the same time!

Also just make sure you document however you do the assent, think about it the first true FA for el cap was really just hiking to the top. It isn't until you start restricting the routes that other FAs came about.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

I agree with the consensus here that a free ascent should be led.

I've seen some areas, notably Vedauwoo, among others where topropes are given names and grades. Interestingly, this is rare but in the case that it does happen, people get super uptight if bolts for a lead are proposed.

So it doesn't count unless it does?

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 60

Just a few historical notes: often very famous or iconic routes will credit both the first TR ascent as well as first lead. For example: Equinox usually gets a shoutout to Bachar for TRing it, and Yaniro for first leading it.

In SOME select old-school bouldering problems, the community ignores that a TR was used. John Gill admits that some of his problems he TR'd others he didn't, and he honestly can't remember which ones were which. Everyone credits the now-closed "El Murray" problems on the Mushroom Boulder in Hueco to Bob Murray, although he never bouldered them, but toproped them.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 60

Got the TRonsight brah

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,332

While folks don't like to admit or would like to ignore climbing history, in many areas back east a TR is a FFA. In CT, where climbing has been an established since the 20's, there are quiet a good number of TR only ascents that are considered free ascents. They aren't leads but FFA isnt about leading per se, its about climbing without aid. A now a TR could be argued to be aid if weighted but that's easily remedied with a slack rope.

Example: Bill Lutkis aided Black Orchid @ Ragged Mountain's Main cliff in CT and later went back and completed the moves on TR. It has never been lead. There's an FA and a FFA yet the line has never been lead. Does this mean the aid line has never gone free (free of aid)? Of course not but it must be stated that it was TR. This isn't a one off either.

Now I'll add a twist, I don't think that someone who TR's a line has the right to say it can never have fixed gear added to it to attempt a lead. I think leading takes precedence over TR any day.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 63
Max Tepfer wrote: Well, they actually both TR'd roughly half of it...
What do you mean by this? On the push they both led all the pitches. TC was 5 or 6 pitches ahead of KJ while he was getting himself healed up and through the crux.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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